Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Again he says in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “…so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” I never cease to be amazed at how Satan can work his way into our hearts and minds through methods we wouldn’t expect. I could list a number of them here, but for this article I’d like to focus on what I call “demons of discontent.” If the enemy can get us into discontented thinking and living, he has won a major victory and has robbed us of the power and peace that are ours in Christ.
We face demons of discontent in our personal life. Most people know by now that I suffered an ankle injury in a freak accident while in the third month of a four-month training program for the Marshall Marathon. At first I was ticked off that I couldn’t run. Three weeks later I was even more ticked off to learn the ankle was broken and would require a non-weight bearing cast for a month. While on crutches, I am pretty much rendered useless for many of the personal and professional activities I love to be doing. As a result of focusing on my situation, I became discontent.
We face demons of discontent in our families. “If my husband/wife would only do such-and-such, I would be happy.” “My parents are making my life miserable.” “My kids are driving me crazy!” The family discontent makes its way into our hearts and minds, and our witness for Christ suffers.
We face demons of discontent in our schools and workplaces. We find ourselves hating to face the beginning of another week, for that certain teacher or boss is simply unbearable. Our classmates or co-workers are more than we can handle, and we have had it with them. We may even spiritualize things by focusing on their lack of a godly lifestyle, and believe our frustration is motivated by “righteous indignation.” Truth be told, it’s a demon of discontent.
We face demons of discontent in our church. Yes, we face them in our church, especially in our church. For some of us, we see too much change. We wish things were the way they used to be, but they aren’t. As we finally realize God has no plans of returning our congregation to what we fondly remember, we grow discontent. For others of us, we don’t see enough change. The congregation is too lethargic in its worship, too filled with inconsistencies in its structure, and too lacking in Biblical grounding and passion. God isn’t changing things rapidly enough in His church to suit us, so we too become discontent.
What’s the secret then to defeating demons of discontent? It’s pretty simple actually – we shift our focus away from ourselves and towards our Lord Jesus. Philippians 4:6-8 describes the process:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse (TMSG).
So the choice is ours. We can celebrate what God has done and is doing through Christ, or we can lament what He isn’t doing. We can set our eyes on Jesus, follow Him and be content. Or, we can turn our gaze towards ourselves and others, and allow demons of discontent to overtake us. What will your choice be?