Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with messages that push us toward covetousness and discontent. Every commercial on television stresses some lack in our life. Let’s not get started with the print media and their subliminal messages.
America is a wealthy country where the greatest percentage of the population has more than enough to meet basic necessities. “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:8). But we aren’t content.
We want more. A new car or new house or new dress or new body (yep, there are ads promising to reshape yours so it looks like a new one). In fact, the psychology behind Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains this human addiction.
Maslow stated that people will do anything necessary to meet their basic physiological needs. These things are hunger, thirst, bodily comforts and the like. Without these things they will die.
It’s no surprise that Paul told Timothy that he could be content after having food and raiment. Yes, his first level needs would be satisfied. Then he could focus his attention on serving Christ.
Not so for our humanistic society. According to Maslow, the second level of needs are for safety. Third would be belonging and love, having companionship and fitting in. We do a lot of unwise things trying to meet this third level need.
Which is crazy. “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16) is our ticket to love and belonging. We don’t need to search any farther than the free gift of salvation offered by a loving God.
But we do. We want that self-actualization offered at the top of Maslow’s pyramid. That is the selfish human nature Adam cursed us with when he disobeyed God in the garden.
Thus, there isn’t much contentment in our 21st Century world. As long as you’re striving, you can’t be at peace.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
We can get ahead and be successful. As soon as we focus our attention on doing God’s will, He gives us contentment. We no longer care about the physical amenities or accolades. He has “added” to us those things that fulfill level three and level four of the pyramid (level four is esteem – achievement, competence, approval and recognition).
Prove the psychologists right and fight to gain those levels on Maslow’s Hierarchy. It won’t buy you contentment. You’ll never be self-actualized.
Come to God for love and esteem and you’ll find peace, joy and contentment. He always gives more than what the world promises.