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Holy Discontent

I once heard someone say that no real change happens until there’s a level of disgust at how things are. Intuitively, that makes sense to me.

As such, it’s no surprise that every January gym memberships spike. People have New Year’s resolutions and they are discontent with their overall physical health, weight, and how they look. So, people make an investment in change.

It’s also no surprise that statistically by the end of January nearly half of the people who started with a gym membership stop working out! Why? Because their level of discontent has shifted into acceptance of the status quo. And the status quo equals contentment.

I think for those who are Christ followers, there are two primary things about which we should never be content. In fact, there should be a level of holy discontent in us that rises up and says: “I want more!” and “I want things to be better!”

Here’s what I’ve identified as the two areas where we should legitimately be discontent:

1. Spiritual growth

When it comes to our relationship with Jesus, we should never have the feeling that we have arrived. In fact, there is always something new to learn about who God is, the depths and riches of the Bible, and how our lives are to be aligned with Jesus. This isn’t new. In fact, the writer of Hebrews had to address this with the early Jewish Christians…

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,… But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:12, 14

So how do we live this out? Some of it is from sheer discipline. Instead of gradually fading out like a February gym membership, keep consistency and your daily Bible reading. Use apps and tools like YouVersion and RightNow Media to help in your spiritual development. Stay faithful and regular in your church attendance. (I’ve never heard someone say that they regretted coming to church, but I frequently hear people say that they regretted missing!)

2. Salvation of others

We know that people need Jesus to experience forgiveness of sins and to have eternal life in heaven. But we can easily slide into the complacency of “someday I’ll talk to them about it.” Urgency and purpose quickly drift into contentment with how others’ spiritual status is at the moment.

Salvation Army founder William Booth said he wished he could have his soldiers in training exposed to hell for 24 hours. He said that if they saw the consequences of rejecting Christ, they would be more motivated to reach people for Christ! I think that would be true for any of us. As one pastor told me years ago, “Time is short, and hell is hot!”

Jesus was certainly motivated and not satisfied with the status quo. He was willing to go all the way to the cross so that no one would perish. In fact, he said that that was his primary mission when he came:

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

Here at The River Church, we talk about our River 5 and the first two parts are the five people in our lives who don’t know Jesus and the five homes around our home. The focus is to be praying for these individuals and families and building a relationship with them to tell them about Jesus.

Instead of contentment, ask God to give you a holy discontent for where each of those individuals and families is at spiritually. Ask him to guide you and show you how you can take intentional next steps in building your relationship and sharing Jesus with them. Let’s start off the journey together of holy discontent around the things that matter most to God!


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