Contentment - Part 4
In the past weeks we have seen the great Apostle Paul telling us that he had to learn contentment. If he had to learn it, we must have to learn it too. We have seen that this contentment could be called a spiritual mystery. And we have seen that if we have Christ, we have all; for surely He is our portion. Our cup does indeed runneth over. So as students in Christ's school, we can indeed learn many lessons to teach our soul to be content, so let's see what His words can show us to help us learn to be content. As we will talk about self denial in the paragraphs ahead, not having adequate comfort in this life will not bother the believer, for he rather wonders that he has as much as he has.
Bradford the martyr said, "Whoever has not learned the lesson of the cross, has not learned his ABC in Christianity." To be a scholar you must know the ABC, we must learn the lesson of self denial in order to be a scholar in Christ's school. In Matt.16:24, Christ says, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." Paul had this type of mindset. In Phil.4:12, Paul states, "I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and growing hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need." In verse 13, Paul finishes with this blood bought truth, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Christ says in John 15:5, "if we abide in Him and He in us, we will bear much fruit, but apart from Him we can do nothing." No wonder the world is never content. It does not abide in Him, nor He in them. English Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs says, "Do but consider of what use you are in the world, and if you consider what little need God has of you, and what little use you are, you will not be much discontented, if you have learned this lesson of self denial, though God cuts you short of certain comforts, yet you will say, since I do but little, why should I have much, this thought will bring down a man's spirit as much as anything." Again the Psalmist points out in Psalm 73:25, “Whom do I have in heaven but You, and besides You, I desire nothing on earth." The Psalmist had God as his portion, and he had all!
In Christ's school of self denial, we can become scholars in contentment. With an inheritance that has begun for the believer with the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit, John 14:27, including so much more including the kingdom, Luke 12:32, and knowing that as the Father loved the Son, so He has loved us, not equally but similarly, John 17:23, and knowing that the love of Christ toward us surpasses knowledge, Eph. 3:19, we have everything we need to live with here, and so much more that we will have with Him there. A man who is little in his own eyes knowing that without Him he can do nothing, will account every affliction as little and every mercy as great.
Elder Randy Slak