THE CONTENTMENT ANTIDOTE

Posted by Nathan Warner on

“For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either” (1 Timothy 6:7).

Discontentment is a serious danger. It is at the core of Balaam’s stumbling block, and what his disciples employ today. By “enticing unstable souls...they entice by fleshly desires(2 Pt. 2:14a; 18b), teaching you that the discontentment they themselves have created can be “cured” by “freeing your flesh” through “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these” (Gal. 5:19b-20a)— basically whatever your fleshly weakness is, “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God” (Rom. 8:7a), and people will be “like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit” (Pro. 25:28). This is the point of Balaam’s technique: causing people to give into sin, so they come out from God’s protection and are made prey.

Balaam’s technique was invented by satan when he used it against Adam and Eve. In Eden, he sow discontent by marketing the deception that the one tree God didn’t want them eating from was the very tree they needed to be satisfied, and God was purposefully keeping them from what He knew would make them happy! “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:4-5). Satan tempted mankind out from under God’s protection by arousing the lusts of their flesh to be discontent with their situation—to see God’s protection as a prison and poison as antidote. Thinking they were freeing themselves from an oppressor, they instead became prey to sin and death.

Discontent comes from buying into the prideful idea that you are entitled – to do something or have something – or not to do something or to not have something. Today, we are surrounded by a “culture of entitlement” that acts for its own interests and rejects their duties, responsibilities, and accountability to God, family, and neighbor.

God’s Word does not instruct us to promote our own interests, to be entitled, or take what we think we deserve. On the contrary, you are to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and have need of nothing(1 Thess. 4:11-12).

A content person is one who is not easily led astray. The antidote to Balaam’s poison is to be content, humble, committed, faithful, accountable – which only can come from a heart changed from its rebelliousness and pride by God through the reconciling sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. As Paul says, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me(Phil. 4:11b-13). It is through Jesus alone by the grace of God that man can truly be content to take pleasure in the will of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit. “Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment” (1 Tim 6:6). Even so, Amen.

Tags: astray, balaam, content, contentment, culture, deception, discontent, discontentment, entitlement, flesh, holy spirit, jesus, life, salvation, works of the flesh

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