Paul Tripp

President of Paul Tripp Ministries

Working Your Way Up

Why do we all seem to want more?
Why is it so hard for us to accept less?
Why do we get haunted by bigger and better?
Why is it so difficult to be satisfied?
Why it is so hard to be content?

Maybe it's a better job, maybe it's a more succulent steak, maybe it's a nicer boss, maybe it's a prettier girlfriend, maybe it's a nicer car, maybe it's a more luxurious condo, maybe it's a better vacation than last year, or maybe it is as little as a better cup of coffee than yesterday's, but the spiritual energies of your life can be consumed by working your way up. What do I mean by working your way up? I mean that, in reality, you are living in a state of constant discontent. Yes, you are thankful for the joy of the moment, but you do not have your head down in prayerful thanks. No, your head is up and you eyes are scanning for the next bigger, better, more satisfying thing. When you are discontent, you are always in someway working your way up the ladder of personally satisfiying delights. You're not really thankful for or committed to what you have because in your heart you think that there must be something better out there and so you are on the hunt.

What is the solution to the "working your way up the ladder" hunt all about? It is about IDENTITY and WORSHIP. When I begin to humbly accept who I am as a sinner, when I honestly face the fact the my deepest problem in life exists inside of me and not outside of me, and when I begin to grasp the reality that God sent his Son to free me from my biggest problem - me, then I will quit working my way up. Why? Because I will be so filled with gratitude that the one thing I desperately needed, God freely gave me in his Son, Christ Jesus. What is this one thing? It is the thing in life that I could not do for myself, yet I cannot live without. By an act of his grace, God has freed me from my bondage to me. He has freed me from my addiction to having me at the center of my universe. He has freed me from the ravenous and unsatisfiable appetite of sin, so that I may begin to experience true personal satifaction where it can only be found - in worship of him. He has broken the power of this addiction over me so that I can be increasingly free where I live everyday.

The key to getting off the ladder and experiencing true contentment is not having more or learning to live with less. The key to contentment is worship. It is only when my heart is satified because of what I have been given in Christ and so much more delighted with God's glory than in the possibilty of possessing the next glorious physical thing, that I will leave the hunt.

Where do you struggle with discontent? Where do you tend to reach for the next best thing? What are you telling yourself that you need? Do you daily remind yourself of who you really are? Do you constantly remember your deepest need? Are you increasing satisfied because you have begun to grasp that you have been given everything you need? And have you realized that that "everything" is HIM?



About Paul Tripp

Paul Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is "Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life." Tripp is also professor of pastoral life and care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. Tripp has written many books on Christian living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella, and they have four grown children. For more information, visit

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