“I want” is a phrase that we all know too well isn’t it? We said it when we were kids and we sure say it a lot now. It’s so easy to confuse the “wants” from the “needs” of life. In America especially, we have all fallen into the trap of consumerism. Staying up to date with the latest clothes, or shoes, or phones or cars…the list could go on forever. Is it really worth it? Why do we so easily fall into this seemingly shallow trap and call it “happiness?”
First off, I have a confession to make. I’m a pretty simple guy for the most part. I do have a weakness though…..shoes. I love shoes and I always have. Growing up, I got my 1st pair of Nike’s in Jr. High.
I had to buy them with my own money and I was so proud of them. I would take them out of the box and just stare at them. They were my idol for the moment….sitting there in their flourescent green and purple brilliance. I cleaned them religiously. They were a part of how I viewed myself. They contributed to my identity, so to speak.
I still love shoes and that’s ok. I really try to keep my little fetish under control. It’s alright to like stuff. When our “stuff” starts to become our identity is when hope can begin to fade and the search for happiness continues, one credit card swipe at a time. You see, it’s all temporary. It wears out. It gets old. It gets left behind after we die.
Another thing….we, as a people, really aren’t as cool as we think we are. Let’s be honest, people don’t really care about our appearance or our things as much as we think they do.
So, let’s say all our luxuries were taken away; where does our happiness come from? How do we get past this “I want” mentality and start living day-to-day with a content spirit?
There’s a guy named Paul in the Bible who is an awesome example of how to live a content life. This guy’s been beaten, blinded, starved, ship-wrecked, the list goes on. Here are a of couple verses that pretty much sum it up:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”-Philippians 4:11-13
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”-1 Timothy 6:6-8
It sounds like Paul had things figured out. Through his faith, through his belief in Jesus, he finds peace. The stuff of this world is secondary. The opinions of others is secondary. His relationship with God is primary.
So let’s say that we take Paul’s advice. Instead of relying on stuff like clothes, phones, cars, careers, opinions, appearance, Facebook, Twitter, etc., we rely on our Creator. What a shift.
You see, God is not temporary. He is eternal and so is Heaven; the destination for those who believe in Jesus Christ. If we can somehow focus on this truth and reality, we find hope. Hope turns into love and love turns into contentment.
We’re more concerned with pleasing Him, not those around us.
Taking our eyes off ourselves and pointing them straight up to God. So simple to say, yet seemingly impossible to do at times.
Where do you find your happiness? Do you feel content?