Do you struggle to be content? I do. Almost daily, I am confronted with things I wish I could change about myself and my circumstances. As a Western mom surrounded by the pressures of social media and society at large, it is easy to think that everyone else is living their best life now while I’m over here scraping dried banana sludge off the floor. But discontentment isn’t unique to moms like me. Eve, the mother of all the living, also faced the temptation to be discontent with what God had given her.
Eve was tempted by the serpent’s suggestion that God was withholding something good from her. “Did God really say that you couldn’t eat this? He doesn’t want you to eat this because then you’ll be like Him, knowing good and evil.” We can’t imagine how she could doubt God’s good provision for her in a completely perfect world. Eve had a perfect home, perfect body, perfect marriage, perfect future. She had never experienced strife, loss, sickness, sorrow, shame, or pain. And yet, Eve was still tempted to discontentment with her lot, and she yielded to that temptation by disobeying God’s command and eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. All that God had supplied was not enough for her. She needed just one more piece of fruit and the great knowledge it would grant her, and then she would be satisfied. So she took it, and she ate.
The knowledge of good and evil that she just couldn’t live without turned out to be knowledge that she couldn’t live with, either. Through Eve and Adam’s disobedience, suffering and death entered Eden and all humanity.
We may wonder how Eve could have been dissatisfied with literal perfection, but the uncomfortable truth is that discontentment with God’s gifts is as much a sin for us as it was for her. Even in our broken, fallen, sin-stained world, we are lavished with abundant blessings beyond anything we could ever hope to deserve. The very breath in a sinner’s lungs is a testament to the kindness and mercy of God. And while we might prefer to think differently, every time we give in to temptation, we are essentially saying that we agree with Eve’s decision to disobey God to attain something that He had forbidden. In the moments when we yield to discontentment, we effectively admit that we would have made the exact same decision in her position.
Discontentment with what we have reveals a lack of trust in God and his provision for us. When we are dissatisfied with our home, job, family, marriage, health, or finances, we reveal that we’re asking the same inner question that Eve asked: Is God withholding something good from me?
Contentment, on the other hand, begins and is rooted in a deep, abiding confidence in the goodness and benevolence of God. When we believe Romans 8:28 “that for those who love God all things work together for good,” we find satisfaction and contentment. We can rest in God’s provision for us, knowing that even if circumstances are not what we would choose, He is at work in us and on our behalf. This is not some sort of prosperity gospel that finds hope in the idea that God will bless us materially in this life. Rather, contentment happens when we begin to value what God values: our sanctification and relationship with Him over all our temporal desires. When we put our faith in His good and trustworthy character, we can rest in the knowledge that whatever our lot, He has our good in mind.
Eve had all the proof she needed of God’s goodness and His goodwill toward her. So do we. If ever we doubt it, we need only look to the Cross for reassurance. If God did not spare His own Son to bring us into His family, will He refuse us anything that we truly need? The answer, praise Him, is a resounding no.