Hell is a place of perpetual discontent. People in hell are always angry and never at peace, always frustrated and never satisfied. That is surely the significance of our Lord’s words about “gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30).
There are three sins that lie behind discontent—pride, rebellion and unbelief. These are the original sins of the devil and his angels. They are sins that come from hell itself, and they continue in hell forever.
1. Discontent is a manifestation of pride.
These [the ungodly] are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. (Jude 16)
Discontent is a manifestation of pride. It flows from a heart that says, “I deserve better than God has given me.” This was the original sin of Satan himself.
In our letter of Jude, we have a reference to angels who, like Satan, were not content to be the servants of God, “angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling” (Jude 6).
Pride led some angels to say, “We deserve better than God has given to us!” God gave them positions of authority, but they were not content. They are not content now. They never will be. Thomas Boston says, “The devil is the proudest creature and the most discontented because pride and discontent lodge under one roof.”
I deserve better than God has given me! If I catch myself thinking like that, I have to take myself in hand. I have to say to myself, That is the opposite of everything I believe! I believe God has given me abundantly more than I ever deserved. What I deserve is hell on earth followed by hell in hell. But God has loved me. God gave his Son for me.
God has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He has given me all that I need for life and godliness. In all things his love surrounds me, and in all things he pursues his great purpose, which is also my purpose, that a true likeness of his Son, Jesus Christ, be formed in me.
Discontent is a hellish sin because it is a manifestation of pride.
2. Discontent is an expression of rebellion.
In the Old Testament, we have the story of Job, a good and godly man who was greatly blessed by God. His family was blessed, his business was blessed. Job was living the dream, and then one day through a series of disasters, he lost everything. Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
The discontented person says something different. The discontented person says, “The Lord gave, but he should have given more,” or, “The Lord has taken away, and he should not have done that.” Jude talks about “harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against God.”
Discontent is a hellish sin because, at its heart, it is an expression of rebellion against God. The clay says to the potter, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:20). “God, you should have done something different!” That’s rebellion, and the Scripture says, “Who are you to speak like that to God?” (Romans 9:20).
3. Discontent is a fruit of unbelief.
You see this is Exodus 17. God’s people had been greatly blessed. He brought them out of slavery in Egypt, and he provided manna to feed them in the wilderness. Often those who are most blessed are most discontented!
Then God’s people came to a place where there was no water. Now that is a legitimate concern. And there are times in life when we may have legitimate concerns about how God will supply what we need. But their legitimate concern metastasized into unbelief. They tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (17:7).
They were redeemed people, but they lost confidence that God was with them. If you no longer believe that God is with you, you will no longer be confident that he will supply what you need. And it will not be long before the grumbling begins and you find yourself sliding into the hellish sin of discontent.
Deal with Discontent
I hope you are in a place of saying, “I didn’t think too much about this before, but now I see that I need to deal with this hellish sin wherever it rears its ugly head in my life. I need to get beyond the idea that moaning and complaining doesn’t matter. I need to get serious about moving from anger to peace, from frustration to satisfaction, and from anxiety to trust.”
Thank God there is a Savior to whom we can come. Ask him to forgive this hellish sin if you see it in your life today. Ask him to cleanse you and wash this from your heart. Then ask him to help you grow in contentment.
Here is what you will find:
- Peace in life comes from knowing that everything that concerns you is in the hands of the Savior who loves you.
- Satisfaction lies in knowing that in Jesus Christ you have all you need.
- Trust begins when you know that he is faithful, and those who look to him are never put to shame.
Alan Redpath says,
There is nothing—no circumstance, no trouble, no testing—that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. I refuse to panic. And as I lift up my eyes to him…no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is—that is the rest of victory!