“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
To one extent or another, we are all products of our environment. In the western world, we have been moved by the spirit of the age to seek comfort, pleasure, and entertainment as ends in and of themselves. Of course this is completely antithetical to God’s heart on the matter. The blessed King of kings instructs us to pursue holiness as a goal, “without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Taking pleasure in the temporal blessings in this life is not sinful; God Himself “giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). The problem comes when we begin making the pursuit of temporal comforts and pleasures our chief goals. This is not only offensive to God, it is disastrous to our own mental health and well-being. “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver” wrote Solomon, “nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Our fallen, transient, and uncertain world simply cannot give us what we really need in terms of personal peace and contentment. Even though we know this in our hearts, we still find ourselves sometimes being carried away with the false perspectives and priorities of the unregenerate. I remember years ago driving home from work after having a particularly “bad” day. Nothing seemed to go right and I was tired, frustrated, and just plain fed up. Stopped in traffic, I looked to my left to see workers pushing people in wheelchairs towards a waiting bus. These people were severely challenged, physically and mentally. Some had trays set before them, some had braces and head rests to hold their heads up. I thought about them and their families and what difficult challenges they must face on a daily basis. I was instantly convicted. My “bad” day would have easily been the best day of someone else’s life. Ironically, by turning our backs on the selfish spirit of the age we move towards real peace and contentment. When we intentionally and deliberately focus on God’s special revelation in Scripture and use it as our interpretive lens through which we see the world, we understand that none of us, despite our felt self-importance, were worthy of the least of God’s mercies (cf. Genesis 32:10). God in His amazing grace has nevertheless secured for us eternal redemption, and He has done so at an enormously high price (Acts 20:28). With our regenerate hearts and renewed minds, let us be content (1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5) and grateful (Psalm 100:4). Let us also seek for ways to bless others, to give them reasons to be grateful as well, and this to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15).