In his book, The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence, Stephen Altrogge deals with the problem of discontentment in the life of the Christian. Discontentment, he says, “is the result of misplaced worship. It’s the result of giving our heart to someone or something that should never have it.” Altrogge gets to the real issue of our longing for more, it is not that we are not living the moment fully, or that we are not grateful for what we already have (because no matter how much we have we always want more, or is it just me?) He touches the heart of the matter when he says that our discontentment is truly a problem of worship. We are idolaters and Altrogge reminds us that “Idolatry is loving anything more than God.”
Idolatry is the real problem of our discontented heart, and idolatry, he says, is insanity and subtle. Our remedy is not enumerating our blessings (even though on chapter 10 he encourages us to count our blessings -literally), Altrogge says,
“The solution is to put off idolatrous desires. In Ephesians 4:22 we are commanded to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires.”
If our problem is one of misplaced worship, then we need by the Spirit of God to draw closer to God and worship Him and only Him. I love how he says it:
“If we want contentment we need to spend time, much time, lingering in the presence of God. We need to go to the place where contentment is found, to regularly drink from the fountain of joy. We need to let our eyes pore over the pages of sacred Scripture and to listen closely as God speaks to our hearts. We need to commune with God by praying to him and by fellowshipping with the people of God. If we’re not consistently spending time in the presence of God, we won’t be content. Period.”
“A contented man says to God, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere”
Altrogge remind us too that, “there’s no shortcut, no easy way out. Contentment is learned.”
This book is one that I absolutely recommend to all who think that the neighbor’s grass is greener, to all who live in the land of “if only”, to all who long for more and never seem to be satisfied. I recommend it to all who want to pursue a grateful heart and want to pursue it for the right reasons and want to start in the right place.
I like how Altrogge included a Stop-Think-Do section at the end of each chapter; which makes it a perfect book to use in a study group. I am planning to read this book with my teenage children, and I am sure they will find it appealing, because Altrogge includes several anecdotes of his life as a homeschooler, which fit perfectly in our home, and will certainly make my children laugh as much as I did.
A complementary copy of this book was provided for review purposes by the publisher.