The story of Adam and Eve should have been a lesson to us on how to live a contented life. But it wasn’t. It was about the dangers of not learning to be satisfied. It became a riches to rags story.
How Not to Live A Contented Life
They were the world’s richest couple. They had everything they could think of. Adam and Eve lived in a luxury that we can only imagine. They had perfect bodies, perfect health, perfect lives. They had no need for doctors or gym memberships.
There was no hunger. There was no pain. There was no fear. There was no abuse (physical, emotional or mental). There were no extra-marital affairs. To you and me, this sounds perfect. Yet this idyllic marriage didn’t remain that way.
All because Eve wanted something she shouldn’t have. She had not learned how to live a contented life. When we covet or envy what others have or what we don’t have, we train our spirits to lust.
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world (1 John 2:16 ESV).
Learning to Be Satisfied
Eve’s downfall came because she was not satisfied with what she had. The bounty that she had before her paled in comparison to the one thing she did not have.
God said: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat” (Genesis 2:16, emphasis added).
Eve said: “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:2)
The absence of two words changed the whole perspective of what she had. You could almost hear the click when her eyes focused on the tree that she should not eat from.
“Why can’t I have that? I want it!”
Instead of: “I don’t really need that. I have enough.”
But aren’t we still doing that though? We like to think only the very rich are discontent with what they have. When the truth is, every day we whine and complain about something that we have that a lot of that other people would want.
As Jamaicans say:
“Want it want it can’t get it, and get it get it no want it.” That is to say: those who want something usually don’t get it and those who have an abundance of something usually don’t want it or can’t appreciate it.
What We Can Learn from Eve
But we should not get discouraged. We still have the lesson of Eve to help us figure out how to live a contented life. By simply doing the opposite, we can learn to be satisfied with what we have.
Here are three quick ways to shift our focus towards contentment:
1. Praise God. We were created for worship, but when we focus on the “missing” element, we forget to give praise for our many blessings. In more cases than not, our quest for that one thing costs us everything else. Want all, lose all.
2. Focus. Eve teaches us to focus on what we have instead of what we want. Focus on the bounty instead of what we lack.
Eve’s desire for the “missing thing” cost her and her husband everything. Their home. Their cozy jobs. A stress-free life. An unhindered friendship with God.
3. Avoid the enemy. One of the things which led to Eve’s downfall was that she chose to engage with the enemy. My friend, Satan has been doing his job for a really long time. We are not capable of matching his skill and we won’t always be able to pick up on his deception. The best thing to do when the enemy attacks is to walk away.
Do NOT engage with the enemy. You will not win.
What the Bible Says About Contentment
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content (1 Timothy 6:6-8 ESV).
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content (Philippians 4:11 ESV).
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15 ESV ).
Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice (Proverbs 16:8 ESV).
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 ESV
Lord, help us not to focus on what we don’t have. Instead, teach us to appreciate what we do. Thank You for being the God who supplies all our needs. Amen.
What “missing thing” are you pursuing today? Are you willing to let it cost you everything?
You may also like: