Bible and Theology
The Loss of Contentment
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Apr 5, 2019
Counting Stars in an Empty Sky

FOR YOUR GIFT OF ANY AMOUNT

The search for contentment produces an inner restlessness fed by the belief that we will never really be satisfied where we are. We suspect relief is just around the bend and that someday we will reach our hoped-for destination. At least that is our hope.

It might seem odd that we would study an ancient Bible story to find the explanation for our modern disease of discontent. But a spiritual cause is the only explanation for our restlessness. In Genesis, restlessness first appears when Adam and Eve sin against God. The shame they feel after their disobedience makes them uneasy and unsettled—feelings with which they, and all humanity after them, would continue to struggle in exile from the Garden of Eden.

We can experience peace here and now when we come to God through Christ.

 

Although Adam and Eve were allowed to remain near the Garden, they constantly sensed their loss of intimacy with God. Their sin put distance between them and their Creator. And the same is true for us. Our sin moves us far from God and steals our contentment.

The Bible begins with creation. As God created matter out of nothing, He set aside a special place where He fellowshipped with Adam and Eve—a beautiful garden where they enjoyed unhindered communion with God. Scripture ends with Revelation, which describes the New Jerusalem, a magnificent garden city that will come down from heaven. In between these two gardens, as we read the Biblical account, there was another garden—the Garden of Gethsemane.

At the beginning, Adam and Eve were placed in the garden as God's deputies; Revelation depicts Jesus' followers ruling and reigning with Him. The Bible begins with a man and a woman in a place of tranquility and joy, and it ends with all believers restored to that transcendent peace and infinite joy. 

Although the beginning mirrors the ending, there is much that had to occur in between to bring about this assured heavenly hope. Beginning with the fall of man, Scripture reveals the cause of our restlessness and leads us to the perfect solution. Through the perfect life, sacrificial death, and wondrous resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has secured our future hope—our eternal garden and city lit with the presence of the Holy One.

In the meantime, we can experience peace here and now when we come to God through Christ, who in the Garden of Gethsemane agreed to the Father's will that He pay the penalty for Adam's sin and the sins of all who would willingly receive Him as Lord and Savior.

Prayer: Lord, in Your Word, You promise that when I seek You, I will find You. Help me begin to trust that You alone are the source of true contentment. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).