Working Your Way Up

Working Your Way Up

Why do we all seem to want more?

Why is it so hard for us to accept less?

Why do we get haunted by bigger and better?

Why is it so difficult to be satisfied?

Why it is so hard to be content?

Maybe it’s a better job, maybe it’s a more succulent steak, maybe it’s a nicer boss, maybe it’s a prettier girlfriend, maybe it’s a nicer car, maybe it’s a more luxurious condo, maybe it’s a better vacation than last year, or maybe it’s as little as a better cup of coffee than yesterday; but the spiritual energies of your life can be consumed by working your way up.

What do I mean by working your way up? I mean that, in reality, you’re living in a state of constant discontent. Yes, you’re thankful for the joy of the moment, but you don’t have your head down in prayerful thanks. No, your head’s up and your eyes are scanning for the next bigger, better, more satisfying thing.

When you’re discontent, you’re always in some way working your way up the ladder of personally satisfying delights. You’re not really thankful for, or committed to, what you’ve been given because in your heart you think that there must be something better out there and so you’re on the hunt.

What’s the solution to the “working your way up the ladder” hunt all about? It is about IDENTITYand WORSHIP. When I begin to humbly accept who I am as a sinner, when I honestly face the fact the my deepest problem in life exists inside me and not outside me, and when I begin to grasp the reality that God sent his Son to free me from my biggest problem – me – then I’ll quit working my way up.

Why? Because I’ll be so filled with gratitude that the one thing I desperately needed, God freely gave me in his Son, Christ Jesus. What’s this one thing? It’s the thing in life that I couldn’t do for myself, yet I can’t live without. By an act of his grace, God has freed me from my bondage to me. He’s freed me from my addiction to having me at the center of my universe. He’s freed me from the ravenous and unsatisfiable appetite of sin so that I may begin to experience true personal satisfaction where it can only be found – in worship of him. He’s broken the power of this addiction over me so that I can be increasingly free where I live every day.

The key to getting off the ladder and experiencing true contentment is not having more or learning to live with less. The key to contentment is WORSHIP. It’s only when my heart is satisfied because of what I’ve been given in Christ and so much more delighted with God’s glory than in the possibility of possessing the next glorious physical thing, that I’ll leave the hunt.

Where do you struggle with discontent? Where do you tend to reach for the next best thing? What are you telling yourself that you need? Do you remind yourself daily of who you really are? Do you constantly remember your deepest need? Are you increasingly content because you’ve begun to grasp that you’ve been given everything you need? And have you realized that that “everything” is HIM?

May your heart be satisfied in the only place where satisfaction can be found!

This guest post is from Paul David Tripp, and appears with the author’s permission. It first appeared at

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