On writing one of my last posts, I’d noticed I had explored the subject of contentment here on more than one occasion, so when I came upon Melissa’s thoughts on the matter, I couldn’t let it pass by without sharing.
I was introduced to Melissa via social media by one of my best friends, and while I was impressed with her writing from the start, it took me a little while to get around to listening to her sermons, and that is where the idea for this guest post was born. My sister and I sat down to listen to her message, “Finding Contentment in a Covetous World” and I was floored. Melissa speaks with candidness, a genuine love for her audience and a desire to see her fellow Christian grow spiritually. This came out of an even bigger project in her life, a book called The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World. And once you are done reading about it below, click HERE to listen to one of the most well thought-out and helpful messages I’ve heard on the subject of cultivating contentment.
Q: What’s the story behind your recent book The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World?
A: A number of years ago, while doing a study on the book of Joshua, I noticed the pattern of “see, covet, take and hide” in Achan’s story. As I began to explore this pattern in Scripture, I realized that it goes all the way back to the original sin of Eve in the garden. It became clear that the sin of “coveting” was no minor problem, but one that was at the core of our rebellion against God. But, this issue of coveting was not just an academic one—it was one I faced in my own life as I wrestled with unmet expectations, difficulties and trials. The breakthrough came when I began to realize that God’s commands for thanksgiving and joy were rooted in the Lord’s sovereignty and goodness, not the specific circumstances of my life. My problem was a failure to believe something, not a failure to possess something. I found that coveting was most often a right desire for a good thing that had soured in the waiting process. This awareness drove me deep into God’s word in search of Biblical ways to combat covetous tendencies. Five years after that initial study on the book of Joshua, The Envy of Eve was complete.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
A: The central idea that I hope my readers will take away from The Envy of Eve is that discontentment is not a circumstantial problem, but a heart problem. Our lack of joy, impatience, discontentment, or irritability have much more to do with a failure to believe something about the Lord than with what is actually happening on a particular day. Rather than living life always wondering, “Why isn’t God giving me what I desire?”, my hope is that we would start asking, “What does God desire of me as I walk through the circumstances He has providentially planned for me today?” Truthfully, it changes everything to believe that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are available for each day as we abide in Jesus and walk by His Spirit.
Q: Is The Envy of Eve for women only or will men find something of value in your book as well?
A: When we consider that the command against coveting is found within the 10 Commandments, we realize that it is clearly an equal opportunity sin struggle for both men and women! In fact, I think it is one of the most important commandments because it speaks to what is happening inside our hearts, not just our external actions. If anyone thought they had fulfilled the law by their outward actions, this command digs deep into the soul and exposes one’s need for the gospel in a particular way. While the examples I use are often directed towards women, the Biblical stories that expose prevalence of this sin pattern are beneficial for both men and women to consider. God’s truths are relevant for everyone, even if the particular desires they battle against are different. We can all benefit from considering carefully what we desire and the effects that might have upon ourselves, the church, and the world around us.
Melissa Kruger serves on staff as Women’s Ministry Coordinator at Uptown Church (PCA) in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the author of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World (Christian Focus, 2012) and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood (WaterBrook/Multnomah, 2015). She blogs at Wit’s End (www.melissabkruger.com) and writes regularly for The Gospel Coalition and Christianity.com. Her husband, Mike, is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary and they have three children. You can follow her on twitter: @melissabkruger