I wouldn’t consider myself an ambitious person. But there is a holy angst I feel very often. An angst that wants to push against the tide of the culture. An angst that seems to test everything and weighs carefully what comes into my life. I believe this can be a very good thing. But it can also birth discontentment. Not the holy kind.
Living with this posture can quickly become breeding ground for complaining, grumbling, pessimism, and a critical spirit. It can also veil the glory of what God is doing around you. When we are in constant challenge-mode it is hard for us to receive the good and holy purposes of God around us. The things that don’t need to be challenged but need to be received with a glad heart.
I was reading in Matthew 12. The passage where we find three messages given by Jesus that end with Him rebuking the people for not seeing the glory right in front of them. The Son of God in their midst.
The longing and the angst within us for more is because we were made for more. Eternal hunger and thirst cannot be satisfied by mortal food and drink. Because I was made for more, I have within me a constant drive of restlessness that urges me to press on and pursue more of Jesus until I see Him face to face. When every longing will be satisfied. The question is, how do I remain urgent while remaining content? Godliness with contentment is great gain, says the Apostle Paul. Yet, I have such a hunger to see more of the Lord. More of His eternal impact on my life and the lives of those around me. A desire to see the lost come to know the glory of Jesus. The answer is something quite mundane. Balance.
This requires great wisdom and discernment. Regardless of circumstances we are to remain content. Are we in want? Contentment in the Lord provides restraint from obtaining sinfully. Do we have an abundance? Contentment safeguards us from consuming rather than giving. Contentment in the Lord goes a long way in securing for us a balanced heart before life’s circumstances.
For those who are wired like me, there will always be something more to do. I am hardly ever content with my sanctification. When growth in Christ seems slow, my flesh wants to make it happen and conform myself to the image of God. I more often think of what I could be rather than thanking the Lord for the good I see.
After reading the passage in Matthew, God quickly reminded me not to miss the glory right in front of me. The Pharisees could never see the forest for the trees. The Son of God was in their midst and they completely missed it. Never receiving, never seeing, never in awe of the glory that was greater than all that came before. That was a word for me today. I do not want to miss the beautiful purposes of God that are right before my eyes because I am always focused on what life should be and could be. It is good to strive for holiness. (Philippians 1:27, Colossians 1:29, Luke 13:24). But there is a striving that leads to godliness and a striving that leads to sinful dissatisfaction.
Be careful with your longings. Don’t miss the beauty of the Lord around you today. This is not an article about weakening your holy angst. Let the urgency that is born of the Spirit be led by the Spirit. But do not expect that urgency to be fulfilled a part from the Spirit.
Imagine holding a newborn and never being able to enjoy her because of consuming thoughts of what she might be like in a month, a year, a decade. Missing out on her first steps because your delight is focused only on her future athletic ability. Experiencing her first smile only thinking about what her laugh might sound like.
God didn’t create an eternal mindset in us for the sake of depleting every ounce of glory in the present. No. Don’t miss today. Jesus told us to be present with our cares (Matthew 6:34). Be present with what is before our eyes today. Let your hope rest in the fact that He will make all the disappointing realities in your life new. But who is to say that today’s grace is not a part of His restoration process.
Give your God white-hot praise for the grace you see today. Every moment is full of the Lord’s handiwork. Something greater is here. Don’t miss Him today.
*For those of you who are reading this and wondering what a godly discontentment looks like, there are much smarter Christian’s who have written on the subject and I encourage you to dive into their findings.