Contents: verse 12 calls these “riches”; according to Webster’s dictionary, these are “something contained” or “the amount of material contained.” Contentment or contentedness is “the quality or state of being content.”
Surely, the things of this world belong to the people of this world. It should not be so hard to understand why they prosper and increase in the riches of this world; they are the ungodly. Those of us who have been born again are no longer of this world. (John 17:16) “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
Daily we are being taught how to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). We should first learn that our blessings, and the things that we should look to prosper in, are spiritual in nature more than physical.
The Psalmist explains in verse 13 how he looked to prosper in the things of this world as the reason for him cleansing his heart and washing his hands. In other words he was thinking, as many of us think today, that since he had made the choice to give his heart to God and do right or good works; then he should automatically prosper in the world. Especially when compared to the ungodly.
I have often been reminded to obey God by (or in) contentedness, by studying the Psalmist’s words in Psalms 37:1 where he says, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.”
Jealousy has been the enemy of my being content many times in my life; jealousy about the physical things of this world that people had, but not the Spiritual. But God began to show me that even the rich of this world are not content. He allowed me to understand that jealousy that is not Godly; is jealousy that is ungodly. It is a huge difference in wanting to be more loving, peaceful, patient, joyful, and genuinely temperate, than to want the world’s riches. The ungodly do not prosper in these things. The Apostle Paul said it best I think, when he said in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
There will be good days and bad days, even after salvation. So I am encouraging you to choose contentment over contents. Listen to Paul again in Colossians 3:1-3:
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Our prospering should be in Spiritual Growth and not in the wealth of this world.