Things can bring happiness for a while, but the thrill is short-lived. It doesn’t last. The excitement wears off.
We have all experienced this. You get something new. You have been looking forward to it. You are so excited about it. It is wonderful at first, but before long, the new wears off. It’s not so great anymore.
Why don’t things make us permanently happy? Because things don’t change and people do. Since things don’t change, we get bored with them. Our wants always are changing. That’s why we have to periodically redecorate or remodel or repair or replace things. None of this stuff can provide permanent happiness. Coveting leads to dissatisfaction.
The antidote to coveting is contentment. The Apostle Paul said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12)
Contentment is learned behavior. None of us are contented people by nature. Contentment is not automatic. We have to learn to be content. It is a process of educating ourselves and making specific commitments.
Contentment begins by resisting the tendency to compare ourselves to others. Comparing always leads to coveting. It is not wise.
Comparing yourself to others — whether it is houses, cars, jobs, looks, clothes, kids, etc. — is a foolish thing to do. We create all kinds of dissatisfaction in our lives when we play the comparison game.
How do you react when you see somebody with a nicer house, a nicer car or a better job? It is a sign of maturity when you develop the ability to admire without having to acquire or compete.
You don’t have to own everything to enjoy it. Learn to be happy for others and be content with what you have.
We sometimes try to measure a person’s worth by their possessions. That is a definite sign of insecurity. Do you know that your net worth has absolutely nothing to do with your self-worth?
Things can control us. You can be possessed by your money and possessions if you’re not careful. People will sacrifice values, morals, integrity and all kinds of things in their pursuit to get more.
They’ll even sacrifice relationships for the love of money and things. We need to stop comparing and learn to be thankful for what we already have.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at [email protected].