Use God’s math to find contentment. From God’s perspective, you can find contentment by adding and subtracting. When you add the burden of an awareness of your sin to the other burdens that are making you feel discontented, you’ll see that your sin is the greatest problem. Confess and repent of whatever sins God brings to your mind. When you subtract desires that don’t please God by purging them from your life, you open your soul to receive the contentment God wants to give you, so you’ll be at peace with the right desires at the right times.

Long for heaven. Recognize that you’re ultimately a citizen of heaven rather than this fallen world, so you can be content that you can do God-given work while you’re here and then move on to be in heaven – where you’ll enjoy being in Jesus’ presence, with nothing to separate you anymore. Whenever you must endure suffering on earth, remind yourself of the wonderful times that await you in heaven, where you will have your deepest desires fulfilled.

Find contentment by enjoying God and His promises. You can be content when you realize that God will give you what you need the most, since He loves you completely and unconditionally. Remind yourself of God’s many promises to you in the Bible, from salvation through Jesus to working everything that you experience together to accomplish good purposes in your life. Thank God regularly for the many gifts He has given you.

Keep dying to yourself and living for God and others. You can keep growing more content when you choose each day to die to selfish desires and pursuits and instead live in ways that please God and show His love to other people. As you decide to choose faithfulness over selfishness, you’ll gain freedom over sin that causes restless discontent and be able to enjoy calm contentment in any situation. You’ll discover that your greatest joy comes from God Himself, who is with you no matter what circumstances you go through.

Adapted from The Secret of Contentment, copyright 2010 by William B. Barcley. Published by P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ,
William B. Barcley is the pastor of Sovereign Grace Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was previously Academic Dean at Reformed Theological Seminary, where he is still adjunct professor. He has also taught at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. Dr. Barcley and his wife Kristy have six children.

Whitney Hopler is a full-time freelance writer and editor.  You can visit her website at:

Publication date: June 8, 2011