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EXPLORATION 16 | Contentment

Madison Avenue advertisers know we’re restless and endlessly searching for “something more.” So do Hollywood moguls, San Fernando Valley pornographers, and Wall Street tycoons. But no matter where we look for satisfaction, we always want more.

Blaise Pascal, a 17-century French mathematician, inventor, philosopher, and Christian writer, explains why we are never ultimately satisfied with the things of this world.

What can this incessant craving and this impotence of attainment mean, unless there was once a happiness belonging to man, of which only the faintest traces remain, in that void which he attempts to fill with everything within his reach? But it is in vain he seeks from absent objects the relief things present cannot give, and which neither of them can give; because, in a soul that will live forever, there is an infinite void that nothing can fill, but an infinite unchangeable being.[1]

Jesus engages a first-century culture trapped in a soul-crushing form of religion, where duty and obligation had replaced heart’s desire with knowledge and performance.

If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within.[2]

The promise here is some form of contentment. However, “being content is not pretending that everything is the way you wish it to be; it is not acting as though you have no wishes. Rather, it is no longer being ruled by your desires”[3] because your heart has found home.

Listen to how Paul describes his journey toward contentment: “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”[4]


Prayerfully ask Jesus to show you what it would take for you to be genuinely content. Keep a journal of what he reveals.

  1. Blaise Pascal, Pensées, VII (425).
  2. John 7:37-38.
  3. John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire, 182.
  4. 2 Corinthians 6:10.