COMPARISON VERSUS CONTENTMENT
HOW AND WHY HAVE WE BECOME SO DISCONTENTED? AND WHEN AND WHERE DID IT START?
o The garden/Adam and Eve (Genesis 3)
o Abraham and Lot (Genesis 13)
o Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25)
WHAT CAN BE THE RESULT OF DISCONTENTMENT? THE ROTTEN FRUIT OF DISCONTENTEDNESS.
Galatians 5:16–17 16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
SO HOW DO WE MOVE FROM COMPARISON TO CONTENTMENT IN OUR MARRIAGES AND RELATIONSHIPS?
Philippians 4:10–13 10I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS WITH YOUR LIFE GROUP AND FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Passages to consider: Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
1. Read Philippians 4:11-13 and 1 Timothy 6:6-8. What do you learn about contentment from these passages? A) What seems to be essential to contentment from these verses?
2. What has been your experience with practicing contentment? A) What helps you nurture contentment in your heart and thinking?
3. What makes comparison harmful? A) When could comparison be helpful? a) Who are models or mentors for you in your marriage and relationships?
4. How do you recognize discontentment or comparison in your thinking? A) What do you do when you recognize it is present?
5. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:15-16 and Hebrews 13:5. What do you see that is helpful and practical for growing and practicing contentment in these passages? Challenge: Try keeping a gratitude journal this week—write down at least one thing daily that you are thankful for. Next week, share with the group anything you notice about how it affected your attitude and relationships.