Contentment with Godliness is Great Gain
by C.M. Erickson 2/20/2008 / Christian Living
My husband and I recently got married and moved to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. We moved into on post housing so my husband would have a short commute to work. We were newlyweds, so everything was bright and rosy as we moved in to our little 1970's two bedroom, one bathroom duplex with a combined living/dining room and a washer and dryer (we had to purchase) conveniently located in the kitchen. I got busy making our little place into a welcoming home and started looking for ways to connect with other women in the community.
We joined a local Baptist church and found a Sunday school class of other newly-wed military couples. We made friends and soon started having game nights at different people's houses. My contentment with our little duplex soon collapsed into rubble as I saw how other people were living. For the same price we were paying for our tiny place, I saw people living in brand new three bedroom, two bath stand alone homes over full unfinished basements, and back decks overlooking gorgeous wooded valleys. I drooled over walk-in closets, five piece master bathrooms with dual sinks, new appliances, and counter space that seemed to go on for infinity. I fumed over how little I was getting for the monthly rent compared to our friends who were paying the same rent and living off post.
After visiting several friends over the course of a few months, I became a monster to live with. I would daydream about our friends' houses and how easy it would be for them to use separate bathrooms in toilet emergencies, or how nice it must be to have two sinks in the master bath, so we wouldn't spit on each other's hands by accident while brushing their teeth. I dreamed of a laundry room where I could shut the door and walk away from the noise.
Proverbs 21:9 says "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife." (ESV) My husband was looking for that corner every time he came home to me whining and complaining about the injustices I was suffering in such a small house. Proverbs 27:15 states "A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike." My husband sure needed an umbrella for all the quarrels I started over my desire for a bigger house!
My husband finally sat me down and told me in loving and no uncertain terms that my attitude needed to change. While it hurt my feelings, I knew he was right. I sat down with God and bawled my eyes out. I had allowed covetousness and jealousy of others to push me into a realm of discontent over my circumstances, and I had made House Quality an idol that had replaced God in my affections.
As I looked up verses on contentment, I felt more and more convicted. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 tells us "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. " Philippians 4:11b "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." Proverbs 15: "Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it." I surrendered my sin of jealousy and discontent to God that day, and now keep 1Timothy 6:6-10 and Philippians 4:10-13 on index cards taped to the bathroom mirror to remind me that God has chosen my circumstances, and I can be content in those circumstances with Christ's strength.
Carolyn Erickson has lived a storied life, from graduating the United States Military Academy, to living in Germany for five years, to a tour to Iraq, to now an Army spouse. She is a freelance writer and personal trainer in her free time.