“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21.

In his book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller talks about how most people spend their lives trying to make their heart’s fondest dreams come true. Isn’t that what life is all about, “the pursuit of happiness”? We search endlessly for ways to acquire the things we desire, and we are willing to sacrifice much to achieve them. Or, as we were talking about on Sunday, the “it” in our lives. 

In the book, Tim says the following: “The human heart takes good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfillment, if we attain them. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life. An idol is something we cannot live without.”

So what is the “it” or “counterfeit god” in your life? The “it” is the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side. It is the thought that we are not content with where we are at in life and the circumstances that God allows to come into our lives. We want more, for more expensive cars and vacations, for that lottery ticket that might give us a big jackpot. We also are looking for better and more favorable circumstances. The “it” or “counterfeit god” keeps us from being satisfied with what life brings our way and with God’s sovereign purpose for our daily lives.

What is contentment anyway? Philippians 4:11:12 gives the answer:”Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”  Hebrews 13:4 says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Everyone is searching for contentment but few actually find it. Paul says that in any and every circumstance he has learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I have learned the secret of being content. This idea is directly opposed to how we are conditioned and trained to go after contentment, to search for the “it” which will make us happy. 

Instead of changing our circumstances God changes our hearts so that we can be content in the midst of changing circumstances.

Contentment then does not depend on outward circumstances but rather upon an inward mindset. Contentment is worked from the inside out. The secret to contentment is not in a change of circumstances but a change of heart, a heart fixed on Jesus. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is there an “it” or “counterfeit god” in your life?
  2. What gives you contentment? What takes away your contentment?
  3. What can we tell about the kind of relationship people have with God by their level of contentment?
  4. What can you do this week to learn to be more content?