Dissatisfaction is the result of focusing on what you don’t have – and not on what you do have. The apostle Paul was content and happy in prison, and yet today many Christians are depressed while living in luxury. Dissatisfaction can cause a lot of unhappiness in your life and can lead you to sin. This is what happened in the Garden of Eden.
“The snake was the most clever of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. The snake spoke to the woman and said, “Woman, did God really tell you that you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” The woman answered the snake, “No, we can eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But there is one tree we must not eat from. God told us, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. You must not even touch that tree, or you will die.'” But the snake said to the woman, “You will not die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree you will learn about good and evil, and then you will be like God!” Genesis 3:1-5 ERV
Adam and Eve were living in perfection; they had everything they could ever need. They didn’t struggle or worry, and they had more than enough food to eat. How do you tempt someone like that? How do you tempt someone who is living in perfection? Well, Satan got them to start focusing on the one thing they didn’t have. He stirred up discontent in them. The enemy tempts us in the same way. We often aren’t satisfied with what we’ve got because we’re focused on what we don’t have. We think “I’ll be happy if I get a girlfriend/ boyfriend/husband/wife…” Then the novelty wears off and we start thinking we’d be happy if we had a new, more godly girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife. You might have an iPhone which works perfectly fine, but since the new iPhone came out you won’t be satisfied until you get it. Dissatisfaction comes as a result of not being thankful for what we have and focusing on what we don’t have.
Adam and Eve had nothing wrong in their lives, but satan got them to be discontent by thinking they were missing out on something. If the enemy can convince perfect people (living in perfection and who lack nothing) that they are lacking something, then how easy do you think it would be to tempt us (living in a broken fallen world) to become discontent?
Your focus and perspective determines your contentment. Adam and Eve sinned because they became discontent as a result of focusing on the one thing they didn’t have. A Google search told me that there are 270,000 plant species in the world of which 1000 to 2000 are edible for humans. Satan didn’t come to Eve and say, “God said you can only eat of 1999 trees; He’s withholding 1 tree from you. You’re missing out!”. The temptation was more subtle than that. The enemy won’t get you to focus on all the good going on in your life, in your church or at your work; he will get you to focus in on the few things which are negative. He gets you to focus on the negative, not the positive. And when you focus on the negative, meditate on the negative and talk about the negative, all you will see is the negative. You might be dead-center in God’s will for your life, and yet if you choose to focus on the negative and cultivate seeds of discontentment it could lead to you stepping out of the place where God wants you. Discontentment can lead you to sin, but it can also lead you out of your God-ordained destiny.
If you cultivate seeds of discontentment by focusing on everything wrong with your marriage and your spouse, it could lead to adultery. You might not be aiming for adultery but you would certainly be sowing seeds towards it. You may be working exactly where God wants you to – but if all you do is think about what you could be doing instead or how much you should be earning, then you will eventually seek change and if you are following your feelings and not being led by the Spirit of God, you might step out of your destiny. I see the same thing happen with people and our church. They arrive saying that God brought them here and then, after the excitement wears off they start focusing on things we should be doing or are doing wrong or aren’t doing, they start getting dissatisfied. There is no perfect church. Every church has problems. They say that if you find the perfect church, don’t join it – because you’ll ruin it! Often people will focus on the problems we have and not on the good that there is, and that prevents them from receiving ministry and from growing. Their dissatisfaction grows to the place where they infect others with their negativity (ungodliness) and eventually they feel the Lord leading them to leave. I know that God moves people to other churches, but a lot of the time people move churches simply because they aren’t thankful for what they have and they’re only focused on the few negative things there are. Now, there are bad churches out there and if you are in a bad church, you should leave – but make sure you leave for the right reasons and not because you gave birth to dissatisfaction.
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
Philippians 4:12 NLT
Philippians 4:12 NLT
If you want to be happy in life, you need to learn to be content with what you have and stop focusing on what you don’t have. If you want to enjoy the job you have, you need to be thankful for it and focus on the good in it (not the negative). Your marriage may be difficult and you may be suffering, but start to focus in on even the little bit of good in your spouse; start to compliment them on things and start thanking God for the good in them and in your relationship. If you can’t find something good, thank God that there is always hope because He is with you. If you want to be happy in your church and continue to grow, then be thankful for the good things going on there. We need to stop focusing on the few negative things in our lives and start focusing on the good. Cultivate seeds of contentment by being thankful for what you have, and then we will start to enjoy life more.