3. Lord, grant me contentment.
I’ve found I need to repeat this prayer often—every time a covetous, discontent thought arises. When our daughter was young, we lived in the Los Angeles suburbs, and I was surrounded by peers with much more money than we had (or at least, who routinely spent more than we did). Initially, we mirrored the practices of our friends and buried ourselves in debt. One Christmas, with maxed-out credit cards and a nearly depleted bank account, we were forced to make a choice: apply for more credit or drastically change our habits.
Praise God, by His grace, we chose the latter, and our journey began with learning to be content. For us, this meant buying a used car instead of a newer one, and driving it well past its glamorous stage. For Paul, the apostle who wrote the oft-quoted passage on learning the secret of being content when in plenty or in want, that meant cultivating joy while imprisoned and gratitude for whatever sliver of bread God provided.
That might seem harsh, perhaps even unrealistic, but it’s interesting to note, Paul is also the man who wrote Philippians, the book on joy.
Could it be that contentment paves the way for joy, and in the process, financial freedom?
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