The Single Minded Pursuit of Unholy Discontentment, and Dissatisfaction. Pursuit of Emptiness Without Christ. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, 24-26.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, 24-26 Easy-to-Read Version

Does “Having Fun” Bring Happiness?

I said to myself, “I should have fun—I should enjoy everything as much as I can.” But I learned that this is also useless. It is foolish to laugh all the time. Having fun does not do any good.

So I decided to fill my body with wine while I filled my mind with wisdom. I tried this foolishness because I wanted to find a way to be happy. I wanted to see what was good for people to do during their few days of life.

Does Hard Work Bring Happiness?

Then I began doing great things. I built houses, and I planted vineyards for myself. I planted gardens, and I made parks. I planted all kinds of fruit trees. I made pools of water for myself, and I used them to water my growing trees. I bought men and women slaves, and there were slaves born in my house. I owned many great things. I had herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. I owned more things than any other person in Jerusalem did.

I also gathered silver and gold for myself. I took treasures from kings and their nations. I had men and women singing for me. I had everything any man could want.

I became very rich and famous. I was greater than anyone who lived in Jerusalem before me. My wisdom was always there to help me. 10 Anything my eyes saw and wanted, I got for myself. My mind was pleased with everything I did. And this happiness was the reward for all my hard work.

11 But then I looked at everything I had done and the wealth I had gained. I decided it was all a waste of time! It was like trying to catch the wind.[a] There is nothing to gain from anything we do in this life.[b]

24-25 There is no one who has tried to enjoy life more than I have. And this is what I learned: The best thing people can do is eat, drink, and enjoy the work they must do. I also saw that this comes from God.[a]26 If people do good and please God, he will give them wisdom, knowledge, and joy. But those who sin will get only the work of gathering and carrying things. God takes from the bad person and gives to the good person. But all this work is useless. It is like trying to catch the wind.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Chasing the Winds, Searching for the Winds

People always seem to be chasing after and searching for the “best” good life.

But what is the “best” good life anyway?

For some, it is an education – graduating from high school, or from college, it’s a successful career.

For others, it’s getting married and having a family, it is raising their children in such a way as it brings glory to God, the Father, God the Son, Holy Spirit.

For still others, it’s having a million dollars in the bank–or all of the above!

Whatever a person’s idea of the “best” good life is, it usually means having or doing something more, significantly more than what they have or can do now.

The writer of Ecclesiastes had an insatiable appetite for the good life.

We will read through the opening chapters and verses of Ecclesiastes, and we’ll see that he tried knowledge and education, pleasure and entertainment, wealth and kingly gifts, tons and tons of precious metals and gems and possessions, he traveled wide, partied, plotted, and perused everything the world has to offer.

He acquired much and achieved much.

But, in the end, what was ultimately achieved?

But in the end he was left empty inside.

Unholy Discontentment – chasing after winds he could never hope to catch.

Reaching for the Sun and searching for literally everything under the sun – in search for satisfaction, in search of the greatest measure of happiness possible.

But in the end of it all, the winds always elude him, satisfaction always eludes him, happiness always eludes him – forever tempting him to keep going forth in the full scale and joyful and highly satisfactory, joyful pursuit of all futility.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in their wholly satisfactory, joyful, joy-filled, reckless and feckless pursuit of maximum futility these past 3,000 years.

Many people still search for the good life in all the wrong places.

A staff member of a large, growing church recently told me of hearing many faith stories from new believers who “had it all” but were still empty inside.

Unholy Discontentment

I don’t know if there is a greater or more subtler foe of the gospel-oriented life than unholy discontentment – unholy pursuit of winds we can still not catch.

I throw in that “unholy” qualifier because there are times when God stirs up discontentment in our hearts – reaches into our hearts and captures futility, separates out the futility which has governed our lives and parades it before us.

So we can see for ourselves what governed and ruined the life of the Teacher – in a “human form” we can identify with and looking upon it – abhor its ugly.

To stop our pursuits of “everything meaningless under the sun – step in front of us, look directly and decisively look deep into our eyes – challenging, daring us to take one more step forward beyond what God has already determined to be well and good and the “best” “most joyful, satisfactory” pursuit of happiness.

I myself find myself spiritually tired of the pursuit of such winds that do not bring glory and honor unto God, the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.

I know people like to think, believe God is a “gentleman” who won’t interfere with our personal decision-making, but the max truth is that sometimes he graciously pesters us about a specific issue until we will respond in obedience.

He may want us to pursue a different vocation, a different ministry or mission solely for the sake of the Kingdom, pull back from a toxic relationship that is hindering our growth and usefulness, or leave the comfort of our first world culture and go walk and live, move amongst an “unreachable” people group.

There are times when the Holy Spirit creates restlessness in our souls, gently (but persistently) nudging us to hop aboard the greater will-of-God train.

I have experienced this kind of holy discontentment on a few occasions in my journey with Jesus – such was the original impetus for my writing devotions.

However, nowadays, what I experience more often is a fleshly, distracting, anger provoking, ministry, mission-abating kind of unholy discontentment.

You know, the kind of discontentment that entails me moping around and obsessing about all the things or experiences I don’t have but so desperately desire – desire solely for the purpose of bringing glory and honor unto God.

It seems like every four to six months or so, I begin to feel like my life is lacking and I need to pray over, to implement some circumstantial change or newness into it in order to be fulfilled – feel like I am doing something more for my God.

Switching vocations, more education, moving to a different city, making more money, getting a new gadget, going to a different church, making new friends, or pursuing a new ministry relationship status are just a few of the things I tend to entertain-I entertain them but struggle mightily to bring into Godly fruition.

None of these things are inherently unholy or bad, but when my compulsive pondering and praying on them (and sometimes impulsive pursuit of them) is driven purely by fleshly restlessness—well, that’s obviously, distressingly bad.

I become so obsessed with only thinking about the changes I could make or the things I could get, Jesus and his Kingdom almost completely fall off my radar.

This unholy discontentment wages more vicious war on my resolve to live a gospel-oriented life than any other sin struggle I experience.

And maybe I am being presumptuous, but I have a difficult time believing I am the only Christian who struggles mightily with this most discontenting mess.

I think it’s a spiritual virus we’re all constantly battling.

Some of us may try to satisfy our discontentment by shifting around our life circumstances (like me).

Some of us may try to numb it by turning to food or alcohol or or “nap times.”

Some of us may do all of the above or may do so significantly much more!

We all experience this inner-thirst of discontentment and try to satisfy it with all the wrong things in all the wrong places and at all of the wrong moments.

We sip from the all too many cups this world offers, only to be repeatedly reminded that they don’t contain the satisfying substance we really desire.

We indulge, manipulate our circumstances, and buy new things we do not need nor justify, yet we continue to find ourselves dissatisfied, fidgety, also, bored.

Single Mindedly Pursuing Satisfaction in God May Look Substantially Different Than What We Think.

So what are we to do?

What are we to “single mindedly” pursue?

Who are we to “single mindedly” pursue?

I think most Christians believe, understand that discontentment is birthed and nurtured in a heart that isn’t satisfied in God – “why doesn’t God move faster?”

So, obviously, the best way to go about fighting such unholy discontentment is to seek to be less satisfied in God, – reduce, diminish, minimize pursuing God !



Quite obvious.

Quite obviously facetious.

But why are so few of us so successful or such failures in that fight?

I know there are a lot of completely valid answers to both those questions, but I think a huge reason is many of us don’t know what “seeking to be less or more satisfied in our single minded pursuit of God” looks like, feels like or tastes like.

Contemporary Christian culture is jam-packed with fantastic sounding ideas, but the problem is most of us don’t know how to pull those magnificent ideas down from the clouds and single mindedly apply them unto our everyday lives.

We hear that we should find our deepest joy in God, and we respond to that with a thousand “amens!”—and then quickly realize we have no idea how to do that.

So, what does it actually look like to single mindedly seek satisfaction in God?

Some might say we should open our Bibles and seek to see the all-satisfying God it reveals.

And they’re 100% right; we should.

Head and Heart Knowledge of God – absolutely matters!

Head and Heart Knowledge of Jesus Christ – absolutely matters!

Head and Heart Knowledge of the Holy Spirit – absolutely matters!

The Holy Spirit cultivates fresh joy in our hearts as we shift our eyes away from the world and gaze upon God in his written word.

Positioning ourselves under the Holy Spirit’s power in prayerful Bible-reading and study brightens our vision, expands our vision of Christ and ushers us into the single minded pursuit of a God honoring, eternity-oriented state of mind.

But is this all a single minded pursuit of complete satisfaction in God entails?

Some may object, saying, “I already do that, though. I read the Bible constantly. I pray every day. And I still find myself mightily struggling to be content in Christ!” 

I hear you—because this is also my personal spiritual experience.

Everyday, every morning I stay inside the Scriptures and prioritize prayer.

I don’t do these things perfectly by any means, but they are a part of my daily pursuit of a spiritually God glorifying, God honoring, God praising life.

And I praise God for giving me grace to seek him via these glorious means because doing so is such a huge part of my cultivating contentment in God!

However, reading and praying isn’t everything.

If it were, would I continue to find myself wrestling so regularly and intensely with discontentment?

Something the Lord began to teach me a few years ago when I started writing these devotions—and evidently something I have been slow to learn—is that there is too a deep well of spiritual satisfaction found in living in the will of God. 

A private pursuit of him or “quiet time” is part of his will for our lives, sure.

But it’s not the whole sum. 

We weren’t spiritually resurrected just so we could sit in our bedrooms, take up much needed space at our dining room tables and read and study our Bibles.

We were cleansed of our sins at Calvary and endowed with the Holy Spirit that we might give the single minded totality of our lives over unto God’s purposes!

I find it to be no coincidence that the seasons I am most discontent are also the seasons I am just barely participating in the ministry of my church, loving my siblings in Christ poorly, not grabbing hold of the plentiful opportunities God is continually giving me to engage unbelievers with the grace, truth of the gospel.

And on the flipside, the seasons I am most content in God are the seasons I am most fully single mindedly pursuing, giving myself over to His will for my life!

I’ve found nothing more effective in shutting down the unholy discontentment than giving my time and energy to my wife, the ministry of the local church, my spiritual siblings, and those who have yet to enter into the deep joy of salvation.

If Christ’s single minded pursuit of “food” was to single mindedly do the will of His Father God, accomplish his work on earth (John 4:34), would not we do well also to single mindedly pursue such “God Food,” to feast upon the same things?

If discontentment is plaguing your heart today, I challenge you—as I also now challenge myself—to put your hands to the plow of God’s purposes for your life.

Find ways to single mindedly pursuit through study and fellowship the deeper knowledge, deeper truths of God, the Father and God the Son and Holy Spirit.

Devote yourselves to the single minded pursuit of prayer, talking with our God.

Devote yourselves to the single minded pursuit of connecting your whole family to God, the Father and God the Son and Holy Spirit thru your daily devotions.

Find ways to connect with and participate in the ministry’s of your church.

Find ways to love on your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Find ways to engage the lost with the gospel.

I guarantee you that if you will discipline yourselves to single mindedly toss idleness aside and submerge yourself in the ministry and mission of the gospel, a God-centered, Jesus centered, Holy Spirit centered, and Scripturally centered satisfaction will invade your soul, mercilessly crush unholy discontentment.

The good news is we now know Jesus is resurrected, alive and fully within us.

In our attempts to reach out in Jesus’ name, let’s not be intimidated by what people’s single minded pursuit of the sun and winds have acquired, achieved.

Nothing satisfies like God!

Nothing satisfies like Jesus!

Nothing satisfies like the Holy Spirit.

The greatest discovery is to learn that single mindedly losing yourself in Jesus our Savior and in his purpose for life is the only way to have true, lasting joy.

Steps to Single Mindedly Pursuing God

1. Carve out time to seek God:

God leaves us with instructions to start each day by teaching us to “seek Him first, then all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

I’m not saying it has to be the first thing you do when you wake up.

“Seek first” is an indication of priorities.

But I like the idea of filling my cup up with God’s spirit before I fill it up with what the world has to offer.

Decide on the best time that works for you and work to discipline yourself to make it a regularly scheduled part of your daily “I’ll God all the glory” routine.

2. Empty out your cup:

Before you can fill up your cup, you must first empty it out.

You cannot fill something up that is fully or partially full of other things.

Pour out your hurts, concerns, worries, agenda, unforgiveness, sin, and requests as God says to “cast all your burdens on Him” (1 Peter 5:7).

Once you empty yourself out,

it leaves room for you to then fill yourself back up with Him. 

3. Fill up with God’s word and strive to memorize Scripture:

Receive the word of God like an athlete might receive an energy bar.

Scripture is food and nourishment for your spirit.

It is crucial to fill your cup up with the “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) words of Scripture, because they consist of all the essential truths for our pursuing God.

Dissatisfaction and Discontentment of the World

Dissatisfaction and discontentment will always be present if we are single mindedly pursuing and filling our cups with things or people of this world.

Jesus teaches the Samaritan women at the well a valuable lesson.

This woman tried to find her satisfaction in other people.

She went from husband to new husband searching for satisfaction.

Jesus taught her, that “whoever drinks of this water [the water the world offers] will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst” (John 4:13-14).

Worldly Satisfaction Does Not Go with You or Me to Eternity

Here me when I say this –

there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the joyful things of this world.

God wants for us to enjoy the gifts He gives us (Matthew 7:11), inasmuch as they direct us to glorify, honor and praise Him for all the good things He has made.

But if you are searching for fulfillment and satisfaction from the things of the world, that is where you will always be left searching, never fully satisfied, as material things are only temporary, and only going to end up rusting away.

We live in a world chocked full of the single minded pursuit of fantastic lies, but thankfully, we have the truth of our Savior Jesus to fill us up at our fingertips.

The God that makes us whole and fulfills us makes us alive forever.

The same God we have maximum access to while we are here on this earth through our Savior Jesus Christ and the ministry and works of the Holy Spirit.

And it’s through the Holy Spirit that we find the only true maximum allowable satisfaction, not discontenting things of the world that won’t join us in eternity.

All Glory, Honor and Praise be unto God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is 100% now, forever shall be, worlds without end!

In the name of God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God of truth, sometimes I not sure if I’m actually hearing your voice, or if it’s just my own sinful thoughts or even another spirit. Sharpen my spiritual hearing, Lord, so I can recognize your words when you are speaking to me. Help me know it’s really you, with no doubt or second-guessing. When I’m asking for your guidance in life’s important decisions, give me your peace that surpasses understanding with your answer. Help me remember that your words to me will never go against your written word in the Bible. Give me a clear mind and push out all my confusion. Lord, may we discover anew that the “best” good life is found only in relationship with you. Fill us with yourself. May our spiritual hunger draw us and others to your side. In Jesus,

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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