It takes a lot to be content. A lot.
To not be in a constant state of coveting...wanting what others have that I don't have.
Not fully understanding why others have what I want but don't have myself.
It just leads to frustration, which is an opposite to contentment.
In Phillippians 4:11-13, the Apostle Paul talks about learning to live with a little or a lot...and that is what leads him to write one of the most quoted Scripture references of "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength..." (I wrote another blog about that portion of Scripture - I called it "The Apostle Paul's Advice on Being a Mom")
1) pray for strength from Jesus. It's what the Apostle Paul did. He was in some horrible circumstances, and yet he LEARNED to be content. It is not going to happen over night.
*side note: often when we pray/ask God for something, He gives us the opportunity to grow in that area. He doesn't just let us blink and be changed. He wants us to go through the growth process. So, if you ask for contentment, He is going to give you the opportunity to not covet.
2) be grateful for what you have.
Pastor David at Crossroads church asked once, "Do you have spare change in your car or your house?" He went on to say that if you answered yes, you are already richer than most other people in the world. We may not be able to have everything that we want, but we certainly have everything we need. And one way to be content with what you have is to thank God for it.
Some of the greatest joys that Lee & I have are giving to others. We absolutely love it. We often don't think twice about giving...and we rarely ever regret giving things or money away. Often when we give, it allows room for God to give us more, even when we don't expect it.
4) make a wish list for yourself and others
It's not wrong to want things...it's just wrong to let those wants consume us. I have a wish list of things for myself that I may never get everything on it. It's ok, though. I don't think about that list all of the time, and I don't get angry when one of my friends gets something that is on my list. God knows the desires of my heart. As long as I'm not needing it, if I don't get it, it's not a big deal.
And Lee & I have a wish list of things we would like to get for others - even outside of our family. Some of these things are inexpensive, and other things cost more. But it is a lot of fun being able to cross something off of the list and see the person's face when we give it to them. And the thing is, most of the people who are on this list never know!! :)
These are just a few things that have helped me in the area of contentment. It's definitely not an easy task, and it's not something that happens over night. It has to be learned. But we can do it through Christ who will give us strength!!!