The predominant struggle for western Christians is the fight to believe that Christ is more precious than anything that the world has to offer.
I’m now well into my mid-twenties, and as I have progressed through tentative steps into proper adulthood I have noticed an increasing pressure and temptation to give in to the merry-go-round of aspiration and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and all the demands of aspirational living.
How do you prioritise?
It is mercilessly everywhere. You just need to switch your television on and notice the tidal wave of good living programming to get a sense of how we choose to prioritise our lives; from the postcode jostle of home improvement broadcasting to the catwalk of ruthless one-upmanship of the Apprentice’s upwardly mobile contestants.
If I’m not careful, I can easily find myself becoming envious of their exploits and disparaging of what I perceive to be my limitations.
Covetousness is an afront to God. It says to him, in all his perfect wisdom and providence, that he has made a mistake. It says to him that I am wiser than he is and I expect him to give me what I want.
It’s a daily internal struggle, and can manifest itself in all manner of ways. It doesn’t have to be the obvious things such as money, house, status, education or holidays. It could be anything that you feel other people have that you are entitled to as well.
That’s why it kills your joy. It feeds the lie that contentment is found in having x or y, and it is especially important to be seen to have x or y.
Nothing will eat away at your contentment in life (or your relationships) than the urge to compare your situation with someone else’s.
“To love is to stop comparing.” John Piper
Ultimately, like all things, it is a question of faith. Do you really believe that Jesus is supremely valuable? Do you seek to place Christ on the throne of your heart at the beginning of every day and keep him there until your day is over? That is true contentment.
Aspiration is a merry-go-round. It takes you nowhere and it’s all plastic.
Everything that the world has to offer will let you down. We all have a huge, gaping God-shaped hole in our lives that we chuck nice cars, expensive wine and our reputation into in the hope that it will eventually be filled up and we won’t notice it anymore. The truth is, this hole is so big it takes a great, big God to come and fill it up. Not a measly, pathetic god of Jesus + the world. Only a great, big God.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:7-8