Contentment - Part 2
Last week we spoke briefly on contentment as Paul mentions that he learned to be content in Philippians 4:11. It was not something that comes naturally but in some regards it is a spiritual mystery. But He has God for his teacher, and that Teacher is all-sufficient and thus is content always, past, present, and future. We are not self-sufficient though and also are not content all of the time as our great God is. Paul mentions a key verse in Phil.4:19, "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." There is a for sure thing that we can deposit into our soul bank and know that no one can take that from us. Oh, the precious promises of our God, His greatness, His riches, His wisdom and knowledge that help us be content.
English Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs states,"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition." As Jesus states, "Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Math.18:3). As a child, one can always be content as to what a human father will provide to every need of his. It is a childlike belief and trust in the father that makes that child content. So, according to the scriptures, "As a father has compassion on his children, so our heavenly Father has compassion on those who fear Him”v (Psalm 103:13). It is indeed a work of the Spirit that we can learn to be content. By letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly, the Spirit will guide us into all truth.
A shoe when it is worn may look great on the outside and come across well in a good light; we may be calm and still, but inside it may be pinching some nerves and causing great confusion, bitterness, disturbance and, uneasiness. Life happens and God's will is done, can there be a quietness of spirit? This quietness of spirit is opposed to murmuring, grumbling, and complaining, as the discontented Israelites did many times over. By the power of the Holy Spirit we know we have a Father that will give us exactly what we need, in the exact amount we need it, at the exact time we need it. He has not left us as orphans, but has given us another Helper, One who is just like Jesus. He is always for us and never against us, He will never leave us nor forsake us, by His power He will keep us unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last day.
In Psalm 39:9, we see the Psalmist respond to something that happened to him, though what it was is not said, "I have become mute, I do not open my mouth, because it is You who have done it." This keeping a quiet spirit is not easy as you may have found out already, but by the sanctifying work and grace of the Holy Spirit, we can indeed learn how to be content with the Helper dwelling within us. Burroughs says, "When affliction comes, whatever it is, you do not murmur, though you feel it, though you make your cry to God, though you desire to be delivered, and seek it by all good means, yet you do not murmur or repine, you do not fret or vex yourself, there is not a tumultuousness of spirit in you, not an instability, there are not distracting fears in your hearts, no sinking discouragements, no unworthy shifts, no risings in rebellion against God in any way: This is quietness of spirit under affliction, and that is when the soul is so far able to bear an affliction as to keep quiet under it." Timothy states in 1Tim.6:6, "Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied with contentment.” Whether it is a hard or easy week, whether we are sick or feel well this week, whether we have an abundance or not this week, let's with the help of the Spirit learn more about how to be more content this week!
Elder Randy Slak