What does the Bible say about the difference between pursuing something you want and being discontent with your circumstances?


Clarify Share Report Asked August 08 2015 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Being a Christian, and putting God first in one's life, do not disqualify a person from wanting or desiring earthly things or situations for themselves. God wishes to reward and give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11).

However, God also has both a will and a plan for each believer that will glorify Him (which should be our ultimate goal in serving God, as well). In addition, God is omniscient, while we are not. Knowing the future, He is capable of using events in a believer's life in the furtherance of His will in ways that may not be immediately apparent to our limited perspective, and even though those events may seem to us at any given point to be unpleasant, or a hindrance in carrying out our own plans or desires. 

Our goal should be to seek God's will in all things, and to consider ways in which God may be using situations in which we find ourselves both as preparation for, or an aid in moving toward, a goal or objective that we desire, and also as a means of witnessing to others about our relationship with God in a manner that we might not otherwise have been able to do. If we remain faithful to God in such circumstances, there is no limit to the good that He is capable of bringing (both to us and to others) from our actions.

Two instances of this in the Bible that come to mind are the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50, in which God allowed multiple seemingly adverse events to occur in Joseph's life. In spite of these events, however, Joseph did not lose his faith in God, and the chain of events that occurred to him eventually resulted in Joseph becoming the second-most powerful person in Egypt behind only the Pharaoh, as part of God's centuries-long plan to preserve Israel, and to bring the Israelites into the land that He had promised to Abraham. 

Also, despite the many difficulties and hardships that Paul endured during his ministry (as he himself cataloged in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28), he was still able to say (Philippians 4:11-13), "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 things through Him who gives me strength." And the epistles that Paul produced have led countless people to Christ over thousands of years.

August 09 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Judy Nolan Miller
I believe the question was about goals/dreams/plans and whether they imply discontentment. My experience with chronic illness taught me to remain in acceptance of my circumstance, praying to know God better, to be shown ways to glorify Him IN this circumstance, and also to become well again, doing everything He would guide me to, giving me compassion and a testimony, which He did. I hear too many Christians express a "woe is me" kind of resignation because they think they "shouldn't" complain or dream for more/better but trudge on saying "it's my cross to bear".

September 23 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

1477591454 Aleida Alves
My opinion is that the difference is in faith. First of all, if we are Christians our desire has to be obey God and do what He want us to do. Who loves God knows what He wants, and be happy doing things for His honor. If we do things that make us feel uncomfortable or insecure, we have to stop doing these things and ask God if He wants us to continue. 

The Bible says that: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1 ESV) And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6 ESV) So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding (Romans 14:19 ESV) The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God (Romans 14:22 ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2 ESV) not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart (Ephesians 6:6 ESV) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3 ESV) For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:17 ESV) And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:17 ESV) When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice (Deuteronomy 4:30 ESV)

November 01 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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