Five years ago our family hashtag was #NoDiscontentDecember. We decided (because we needed) to focus on our contentment, whether over the extra events or tasks or expenses, or even the lack of energy or desired gifts. A picture of contentment would be good for any month on the annual calendar, but contentment for the twelfth would be on point like the star at the top of the Christmas tree.
Today, and for the following few exhortations before Christmas, I want to give a twist on NDD and talk about No Disordered-Contentment December. What I mean is, there are some ways we might call ourselves content that are wrong, unhelpful, even sinful.
We talk about ordered loves. Some things are more lovely and excellent and beautiful, so they are to be loved more. God’s holiness is more beautiful than any sunset. Doing justice is better than tithing herbs. Neighbors should be served, but not by neglecting spouse and offspring.
To be content is to be satisfied. We accept what we have as adequate. We’re in a state of peace rather than panic or anxious pursuit.
But some so-called contentment might be complacence, which is a smug or uncritical satisfaction. Godly contentment isn’t unthinking; three beers and an all night Netflix binge and call it good; that’s not good. Godly contentment is an acquired skill. “I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content” (Philippians 4:11). It requires the strength of Christ to be content.
So this first exhortation is against the disordered contentment of being content with a low contentment level. If your version of contentment is that you just don’t complain, that’s the floor, not the ceiling. Keep growing. Don’t be easily satisfied with barely not grumbling.