Dealing With A Restless, Discontented Spirit

By Bobby Conner

November 21, 2015


I enjoy discovering passages of Scripture tucked away that one seldom hears people speaking about. Here is one such passage:  

For the bed is too short to stretch out on, And the covering so narrow that one cannot wrap himself in it.

                                                                                   —Isaiah 28:20 NKJV

I’ve personally experienced this passage! My wife and I were traveling across Eastern Europe in ministry. In one location where we stayed the night the bed was so short that most of my lower body hung off it, my feet almost dangling to the floor. Needless to say, I was dreadfully uncomfortable, more comfortable on the floor than the bed. I am over six feet tall and the bed was about five feet long. Nevertheless, it turns out I’m not the only one who has faced such an experience. The prophet Isaiah describes exactly this condition:

You will be like the person in the proverb, who tries to sleep in a bed too short to stretch out on, with a blanket too narrow to wrap himself in.                  

                                                                                   Isaiah 28:20 GNT

A colorful and sarcastic metaphor is employed by the Prophet Isaiah to describe the condition in which the people of God find themselves as a result of their failure to fully follow the Lord’s guidance. The bed is too short and the covering too narrow. This speaks of the absolute futility of attempting to be satisfied, peaceful, and comfortable when a person is willfully out of God’s will and way. 

Man’s best-laid plans are disappointing and unsuccessful without God. This is clearly revealed in the saga of mankind attempting to build its own access to heaven, only to discover this is a foolish and futile attempt. You can’t get to heaven without God (see —Genesis 11: 1-9).

When one is directed by the lust of the flesh, one forfeits contentment and personal peace, exchanging the tranquil soul for a troubled mind.  

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

                                                                                  —Romans 8:7-11 NKJV

The carnal person, the person that continues yielding to the desires of the flesh, has no real contentment; their spirit is like a storm-tossed sea. Remember, we are warned, a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (see —James 1:8). Their sinful lifestyle leaves them uncomfortable and unable to rest and find comfort; their soul is in a troubled storm. 

But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
When it cannot rest,
Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

“There is no peace,
Says my God, “for the wicked.”

                                                                  —Isaiah 57:20-21 NKJV

Scripture reminds us that man’s plans without God’s guidance always leads to failure (see —Proverbs 14:12). The too short bed reveals the insufficiency of man’s self-directed way to produce the much needed peace and tranquility of heart and soul that God offers all who trust and obey Him (see —Isaiah 26:3). Truly it is only as we keep firmly focused on Christ that we will obtain and maintain a peaceful soul. Scripture states that great and lasting reward comes to those who seek to know God more deeply and intimately. 

Acquaint yourself with HIM, now and be at peace.
Thereby good shall come to you.

                                                                                  —Job 22:21 WEB

For then you will delight yourself in the almighty, and shall lift up your face to God.

                                                                                  — Job 22:26 WEB 

Never forget, true peace comes from Christ Jesus (see —John 14:27). Genuine peace is one of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit (see —Galatians 5:22). 

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

                                                                                —Romans 14:17 NKJV

Points To Ponder

If you’ve been feeling unusually restless lately, the following may be some of the reasons Perhaps you’re trying to fit into a place you’ve inherited from someone else—a “bed” that is too small for you. There is a dissatisfaction within us when we are not doing what God has called and destined us to do. When we are walking in the will of God we have peace and contentment (see —Philippians 4:11). Maybe you’ve been like the frustrated baby who simply has outgrown his once-perfect crib. The kingdom of God is ever expanding! We must learn and adapt to growth also.  It could be the doctrinal “blanket” that once kept you so snug and cozy is now too narrow to cover your expanding revelatory insights.

You are not alone in your restlessness; however, you can’t stay in that kind of bed…or try to cover yourself with that kind of blanket (see —1 Timothy 6:6). God is stirring up your souls to seek Him in a much deeper manner (see —Jeremiah 29:12-13). It is time to expand our horizons spiritually.

A Downward Pathway 

A restless, discontented spirit is not something to be taken flippantly; that is a plan for disaster and destruction. Never forget there is a high cost for low living! The pleasure of sin brings with it some horrendous consequences (see —Romans 6:23).

King David is a vivid example of the fruit of a restless spirit (see —2 Samuel 11:1-5). As we search for reasons for King David’s discontentment, we soon discover he is out of the place God had prepared for him. Thus, he is dissatisfied and disturbed within his spirit. David is restless and he takes a walk on the palace roof. Little does he know that he has set out on a downward journey that will affect him for the rest of his life.  

It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem 

Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”

                                                                             —2 Samuel 11:1-5 NKJV

The open door to this restless spirit happened when David did not go out to battle; this was his anointed place. It is so important to grasp and understand that if we are not where we are supposed to be then there is no grace to be where we are! Let me say that again: “If we are not where God has told us to be then there is no grace to be where we are!”

David is restless and soon he is on a downward journey. He is bored and restless so he takes a stroll. Notice the downward pathway. First, he is out of the will of God. Second, discontented, he opened himself up to a demonic distraction: he sees a naked woman in a bath. A spirit of lust moves upon his heart and David takes another man’s wife. This story is all too familiar; a discontented spirit leads to an open door for demonic distraction, and then attempts to satisfy the lust of the eye.  A spoiled attempt to cover-up his sexual sin soon leads to the untimely death of a faithful soldier Uriah, a loyal, mighty warrior, whose name speaks of being “a flame and light for God.”  Scripture warns: be sure your sins will find you out. 

How To Defeat A Restless Spirit

Focus your attention on things above heavenly things!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

                                                                                        Philippians 4:6-9 NKJV

Busy yourself with loving and following the Lord Jesus!

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

                                                                                       1Timothy 6:6 NKJV

 “A cheerful heart makes good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

                                                                                        Proverbs 17:22 WEB

Christ Jesus is the Prince of Peace (see —Isaiah 9:6). Yield to Him give Jesus first place in your heart and life. His plans for you are far greater than you could design for yourself (see —Jeremiah 29:11). In a troubled world Christ Jesus is the Solid Rock.