Overcoming Discontentment

Author: David Wilber

Why do people complain and rebel against God’s will? Before we answer that question, it’s important to understand that the reason given by the complaining rebels is usually not the complete picture. Rebels give one reason for their complaint, but there is often a secret reason below the surface.

We read in the Book of Numbers that Korah had a complaint against Moses and Aaron. He said they were bad leaders. He didn’t like the way they were running things (Num. 16:3). But when we take a closer look, we discover that Korah’s real reason for his complaint was a selfish agenda. Indeed, Korah wasn’t satisfied with being only a Levite; he wanted to be a priest (Num. 16:10). He hid his true motives behind his criticisms of Moses and Aaron.

Korah's rebellion began with discontentment. Often when we aren’t satisfied with our current circumstances in life, we will complain and grumble. We will blame other people. We will strive and manipulate and force our own agenda, running over anyone who gets in our way. Korah’s cult following echoed Korah’s complaints against Moses, but they also had their own selfish agenda—to go back to the way things were before:

And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and they said, “We will not come up. Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you must also make yourself a prince over us? (Numbers 16:12-13)

Referring to Egypt as a "land flowing with milk and honey" shows how distorted the thinking among Korah’s cult following had become. Discontentment often leads to delusional thinking and bad decisions. Someone who is discontent with their job might immediately quit without thinking it through or having a plan, thus bringing hardship upon themselves and their family. If someone is discontent being single, they might settle for a complete jerk just because they’re tired of feeling lonely. Discontentment leads us to try to force our own way, but most often the outcome isn't truly what we want.

How do we overcome discontentment? One way to do that is to pursue a grateful heart. We are to thank God in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). We must agree with His sovereign wisdom that He has us where we are for a reason. If we think too much about where we “should” be in life to the point where we become obsessive, it can hinder our spiritual growth. It can make us impatient and anxious.

The enemy’s trick is to ever so slightly take our eyes off of God so that we feel discouraged and discontent. These feelings steal our shalom. And as we see with Korah, they also can lead us into sin and rebellion against God and the people He's placed in our lives.

Whatever your circumstance might be, understand that God has you there for a reason. Maybe He is teaching you something, building your character, or using you specifically to be a light to those around you. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t have goals and work toward achieving them, but we need to understand and be okay with the fact that God’s plans trump ours.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

So if you find yourself complaining against the will of God in your life, you need to look at the real reason behind your rebellion. You need to deal with your discontentment and lack of gratitude. Trust in God. He loves you. Lay your discontentment down and rest in His divine wisdom. There is wisdom in the saying, "Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway."

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