“We must live lives characterized by contentment with what we have, and more importantly, who we are.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 22, 2022
Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14, ESV
Though a new year brings with it the hopes of a fresh start and new beginnings, there is also a real danger in our culture’s obsession with personal growth and development. If we aren’t careful, this focus on growth and change can sow seeds of chronic discontentment in our hearts and lives. While remaining open to growth and transformation, we must also live lives characterized by contentment with what we have, and more importantly, who we are.
While the life of a solider is seen as both noble and patriotic, it is rarely a sure path to financial abundance. This is true in our modern world, and it was true in the ancient world of Jesus’ day. It is for good reason then that Jesus exhorts the soldiers to no longer extort money from people through deception and intimidation. Human nature tells us that acts of this kind are driven by a sense of scarcity, not abundance. The soldiers desire more wealth than they were entitled to, and so they sought it by any means necessary. Jesus calls them out for this pattern of sin, and yet as he always does, in the same breath he calls them into a new way of life: be content with what you have.
Just as he did in today’s passage, our Lord longs in this very moment to speak the same words to you and to me. First, we are invited to turn away from sin. In what ways does a root of fear or insecurity in your life lead you into patterns of desperation and distorted desire? Though maybe not as bold as violent extortion, how do you quest after greater financial resources, paying little thought to the impact your actions have upon others?
Secondly, as we turn away from sin, we must turn towards the way of Jesus. In a world that conditions us at every turn to be discontent with our paystubs, possessions, and personal fitness, Jesus looks to you today and says, “Be at peace.” What if your growth this year had nothing to do with the size of your bank account? What if the goals you set weren’t at the same time a constant reminder of your perceived shortcomings or deficiencies?
In Christ we have all that we need (2 Peter 1:3). Let us choose today to live by this truth, and be content in all things!
“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble” (Proverbs 19:23).
Father, help me to live a life of peace, rejoicing in your love for me and faithful provision, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What patterns of discontentment do you need to identify and put to death in your life so that you can be truly free and content in Christ?
Ronnie Freeman: Satisfied
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