A great hindrance to your enjoyment of God is discontentment.

To be discontent is to always be spinning your wheels in the soft mud of self-pity.

To be discontent is to walk about in your work-a-day life with a constant fever, mind and heart burning up as you continually take inventory of things missing from your life.

The kind of spouse and marriage you wanted - missing. The kind of children and grandchildren you wanted - missing. The kind of credentials and career opportunities you wanted - missing. The kind of wealth and prosperity and financial freedom you wanted - missing. The kind of health and beauty and fitness you wanted - missing. The kind of romance, excitement, friends, adventures, opportunities you wanted - missing. The kind of influence, importance and stature you wanted - missing.

Your life is more ordinary and saddled with limitations than you ever thought it would be.

To be discontent is to be always nursing wounds given to you by you to remind you of what you are certain you should have but you do not have. Life has become all about you.

When discontentment becomes the dominant atmosphere of soul, devotion to God becomes a more distant desire than the planet Pluto. The discontent have no power to reach the enjoyment of God.

The discontent, in fact, believe God has failed them. They may not state it overtly or even think it consciously, but the discontent believe it most definitely. They believe God has, in some way, either by inability or sovereign design, withheld from them that which is necessary for their happiness. So God is no longer adored, trusted, pursued, or sincerely worshiped. Devotion to God has withered. The discontent refuse to rest the whole weight of their life upon him. They withdraw their obedience from him and harden their will before him. They no longer seek first his kingdom nor strive to enter his narrow door. They have become utterly indifferent to the danger of apostasy.

What the discontent think they are missing looms so large in their heart it casts shadows upon all that is true and righteous and good and gracious and kind about God. This is a primal sin. As Paul said to the discontented Corinthians: "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3).

I am missing out / I am missing out / I am missing out. This is the beat of a discontented heart in devoted lament to its own losses.

The remedy for all discontentment is faith in Christ or renewed faith in Christ.

Only Spirit wrought faith can see past the circumstances of life and become transfixed upon the goodness and grandness of God's reaching out to us in his Son.

Only by faith can we see our whole lives in the perfect care and under the perfect ordering of the Almighty, who has given us the most important thing missing from our life: "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).

Having not withheld his Son from us as an atoning sacrifice, God is certainly not now withholding something else from us.

What then shall we say about all those things a harder more discontented heart sees as missing? They are not. "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:3). No bounty is missing from our lives nor is any affliction assigned to our lives in any way preventing us doing that for which we have been given life - to glorify and enjoy God.

This is why the phrase "to the Lord" is so important in scripture. Slaves can serve with a good will as "to the Lord" (Eph. 6:7). Wives can submit to their husbands as "to the Lord" (Eph. 5:22). Children, employees, employers, married men, married women, single women, single men, the sick, the rich, the powerful, the poor, all Christians in all circumstances in all stations of life are right where they need to be to offering themselves in obedience "to the Lord." Thus the scripture says: "For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's" (Romans 14:7).

Transformation into holy contentment can only move forward by saying "no" again and again and over and over to this question: "Does this missing thing, this troubling circumstance, this impoverishment of life in any way keep me from offering myself to God as a fragrant and pleasing sacrifice?

This is the secret to all contentment, apprehended by faith alone: having been graciously bound to God in Christ we now regard ourselves as no longer belonging to ourselves but to the Lord; now accepting every lot and assignment and bounty and deprivation as the very altars from which we offer up to God, covered by the mercies of Christ, the living sacrifice of our lives (Romans 12:1-3).

This is when the heart and will opens to everlasting contentment, when by faith we stop seeking the enjoyment of ourselves by chasing what we have not and seek the enjoyment of God in what we already have in full, Jesus Christ. Soli Deo Gloria!