We’re living in a state of “new normalcy”. The economy is in the toilet. People are losing their jobs. Companies are getting bajillions of bucks from the government. Loans are harder to get. Many of us have probably joked about getting our own bailout. I’ve seen articles about how people who want to get divorced are now putting it off just to survive financially. Craziness.
One thing I’m not hearing much about: the fact that we did this to ourselves.
Our greed drove the economic “boom” of the late ’90’s and early ’00’s. Our coveting blew up the housing bubble that burst back in ’07. We can blame predatory lenders all we want. The fact is this: we’re grown ups, and we didn’t have to spend like we did. For many, the American dream has become the American nightmare.
I love what Psalm 128 says, and it speaks volumes to our situation today:
How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you shall eat the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vin, within your house, your children like olive plants around your table.
God stressed that we shouldn’t covet–we shouldn’t desire something (or someone) so much that we’ll do anything to get it. The reason is simple: when we covet, we replace God with… ourselves.
When we covet the bigger house, it’s because we want to be comfortable.
When we covet the newer car, it’s because we want that “new car smell”.
When we covet that person, it’s because we think they’ll make us feel good.
And it’s never enough. We’ll get tired of the things we covet, and we’ll simply want more.
But when we fear God–when we honor Him and give Him His rightful place as God–and walk in His ways, we can actually be content. We don’t have to have the bigger house (with the increased upkeep costs, higher mortgage and taxes, and thus more hours at work to pay for it), the newer car (with the higher insurance rates), or the new person (which saves us the heartache of adultery and the years of healing that aren’t guaranteed to happen).
When we fear God, we can be content with our jobs, our financial situation, and our families. Each becomes a blessing to us. Is it always perfect? No. The house needs repairs. People get laid off. We get into arguments with our spouse. Our kids will become teenagers who believe we’re the dumbest people on earth and they’ll wish we were dead. But when we let God be God, and He alone is sufficient–when we find happiness and contentment in Him–we can be content in any situation, even when we suffer.
Are you content?