rebelling against low expectations

Living in the Now: Being Content


As I read email updates from the Bible school in England I plan to attend, I find myself wishing I were already there. As I hear about my online friends and the fun things they’re doing with their friends, I find myself wishing for friends that were here with me. As I hear of friends getting jobs, I find myself wishing there were some way I could make money.

And I find myself wondering, what’s wrong with wishing?

The Problem with Wishing

The problem with wishing is that it feeds both discontentment and covetousness. I’ve discovered that when I find myself wishing for things I know aren’t possible, or things that I need to wait for, I become discontented with what I have now. I find that I begin to covet these things, always desiring them.

I’ve realized that by always looking at the future, I’m forgetting about the here and now. About spending time with my family while I can. About being happy that I have friends to talk to, even if it happens to be over the phone. About having the time now to do the things I enjoy.

By always wishing things were different or would happen differently, we are ultimately breaking the last of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17).

When we focus on what we want and allow our thoughts to be consumed by wishing that things were different, it is the same as being eaten by jealousy or lusting after something or someone. I had never realized this before. Not only does this verse speak to the things I’ve mentioned, but it has deeper meaning.

Like most verses in the Bible, you must dig deeper to really understand what is being said here. I never really understood that deeply desiring material possessions is not the only way you can be covetous.

When we want something, someone, or different circumstances so much so that we are constantly thinking about it more than God, we are coveting those things.

What then are we to do about this? How are we to combat covetousness? The answer is one simple word.


What Scripture Says About Contentment

The Bible has lots to say on contentment. Take for example, the words of Paul to Timothy,

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

-1 Timothy 6:6-7

What we can understand from these verses is that we did not bring anything into this world when we were born and therefore, we cannot take anything out of it when we die. We ought, then, to be content and to pursue godliness above all else.

Job really understood this. His life was absolutely destroyed when God let Satan test Job’s faith and perseverance. Even when everything Job had was taken away, he was still able to live with it and not curse God, like his wife wanted him to.

“And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing,” (Job 1:21).

If Job can still be sinless when his possessions and family are taken from him, we ought to at least remain content even when things don’t go our way, or when we don’t have the material possessions we desire.

Cultivate Contentment

Remaining content might seem impossible for you, but there are a few things that we can do to cultivate contentment.

1. Pray for contentment. Solomon asked for wisdom, and it was given to him. Jesus Himself says, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith,” (Matthew 21:22).

2. Trust God with your life. Trust Him with what you will eat, what you will drink, what you will do tomorrow, where you will get money for college, with your hopes and dreams for the future. He delights in giving us good things. Why should we doubt Him? James has something to say about the gifts God gives in chapter 1 verse 17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

3. Dwell in the present instead of the past or the future. You cannot change the past, and you cannot control the future. And you can only act in the now. Jesus has some strong words to say about trusting God to take care of your future in Matthew 6:25-34:

“Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither reap nor sow or gather into barns and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

4. Choose joy in Christ. Choose to be happy with the things you have. Choose to be happy even when life doesn’t go your way. Choose to rejoice in Christ above everything else in life. A quote by Karen Warren just about sums it up: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately, everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”

Content in All Things

So then, I charge you to step back and take a look at your life. Are you cultivating contentment or covetousness? Are you trusting God with your life and dwelling in His care for you?

I’ll leave you with one last verse on contentment, 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

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About the author

Dee Robertson

Dee Robertson is a God-loving 18 year-old whose passion is to work with an unreached people group as a midwife. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya as an MK and absolutely loves it there! Reading, writing, photography, and playing with her dog are some of the things she does in her spare time. You can find her (and some awesome pictures!) on her blog at


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  • Wow, Dee, this is such a good article! I struggle so much with contentment, and your article really helped me in this area. Thank you for the tips, I am striving to find ultimate joy in Christ, rather than in earthly things.
    Thank you for the article!

  • I have always seemed to struggle with this, but I know God gives us such peace when we rely on His perfect plan rather than ourselves. <3

  • Wonderfully written! Thank you for these encouraging words to be content in areas we often let slide by and excuse. I plan to meditate on II Corinthians 12:10 this week – a good verse to memorize – familiarize!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →