“…I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.” Psalm 131: 2
Most of us are familiar with the Genesis account of Eve taking the fruit from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden and eating of it. But have you considered why she was tempted by the serpent in the first place? She was discontent. The clever serpent (Satan) was successful in getting Eve to question God’s goodness after he posed the question, “Did God [really] say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’? (Genesis 3:1). He planted the idea in Eve’s mind that God was tightfisted, not wanting to allow Adam and Eve to partake in His knowledge of good and evil. She reasoned, if she couldn’t have anything from that one tree, how could she be happy or content? The crafty serpent managed to get Eve to take her eyes off of God and refocus on what she didn’t have. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve defied God and received understanding of good and evil–with disastrous consequences.
In the military lifestyle, perplexing circumstances are a norm. Some of these difficult circumstances will test your level of contentment. Like Eve, you may sense a nagging dissatisfaction with your life.2
Lingering discontentment causes us to look at the lives of others and secretly covet what they have. Discontentment turns our focus from all that God has provided for us to what we lack. This lack, whether tangible or intangible, becomes our “I’ve got to have it”3 mentality. Basic human nature hasn’t changed since Eve. She was convinced that having the knowledge of good and evil was harmless. 4 However, we must also consider that perhaps what we don’t have is best for us. Consider Eve’s mistake. The serpent told Eve that she could become like God by taking matters into her own hands and deciding for herself what was best for her. She believed that by having the knowledge of God she would be content. What it boils down to is that the serpent convinced Eve she could become her own god. Her shortsighted plan backfired. In the end, it saddened and displeased God.
Humility Leads to Contentment
Jonathan Edwards said this about humility:
A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.1
Only God knows what’s best for us. Like Eve, some of the things we want are not good for us. When we defy God’s authority and decide for ourselves what we believe are good and right for us, we are making the same mistake Eve did. If what we desire is a worthy goal, but we leave God out of our plans, we are putting ourselves above God. Sadly, this is exactly where Satan wants us to be.
Until God changes our current situation, we are to work at being content in the here and now. We must rest in the secure knowledge that He will be the Keeper of our hearts. This means taking our desires and plans to the Lord for Him to determine what is best for us – trusting Him with the outcome. It also means putting on humility. Humility declares that God knows what’s best. Humility acknowledges God is in control. Humility also means that for the things we don’t understand, we leave in His hands. It is in this framework that our humility leads to contentment.
1 Lisa Nixon Phillips. Faith Steps for Military Families–Spiritual Readiness Through the Psalms of Ascent ( New York, NY:, Morgan James Publishing, 2014) 126.
2 Ibid. 131.
3 Profile of Eve, Life Application Bible (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, Inc. 1989).
4 Bible Note for Genesis 3:6, Life Application Bible (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, Inc. 1989).