Christian Contentment

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines “content” as

Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.

Spurgeon said

“If you are not CONTENT with what you have, 
you would not be satisfied if it were doubled!”

A W Pink writes that

Contentment is the product of a heart resting in God…It is the blessed assurance that God does all things well and is, even now, making all things work together for my ultimate good.Thomas Wat

Thomas Watson adds that

Contentment lies within a man, in the heart and the way to be comfortable is not by having our barrels filled, but our minds quieted!

Theodore Epp comments that…

Nowhere does the Bible suggest that we should be content with unsatisfactory conditions. But because of our personal relationship with Christ we can be content in them. As different situations arise and we learn our lessons one after another, we will also find it possible to be content in every situation.

A W Tozer said,

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.” A Puritan sat down to his meal and found that he had only a little bread and some water. His response was to exclaim, “What? All this and Jesus Christ too!

John Owen

The soul that sets up its rest, and makes it its great concernment to walk humbly with God, is brought to His foot, bent to His will, is ready for His disposal; and whatever God does in the world with himself, his, or others, he hath peace and quietness in it. His own will is gone, the will of God is his choice; his great concernment lies not in anything that can perish, that can be lost.

When a man shall see, in the worst state and condition, that his great concernment is safe; that though all is lost, God, who is all, is not lost; that this can never be taken from him;—it fills his heart with delight. Is he in prosperity? he fears not the loss of that which he most values. Is he in adversity? yet he can walk with God still; which is his all. He can therefore glory in tribulations, rejoice in afflictions;—his treasure, his concernment is secure. (from sermon entitled Of Walking Humbly With God)

OTHER QUOTES:

The richest person is the one who is contented with what he has.

Many Christians find it difficult to be content because we typically focus, not on what we do have, but on what we lack!

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.

When you can think of yesterday without regret and tomorrow without fear, you are near contentment.

A Christian is one who does not need to consult his bank balance to see how wealthy he is.

A contented person is one who enjoys the scenery along the detour.

Biblical Contentment, Part X

Sanctified 

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Last night I had the great pleasure of hearing Dr. Hensworth Jonas  preach. His topic in keeping with this years theme was “Faithful Missions in Hostile Times” using John 17:13-19 as his text.  

But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify[a] them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (NKJV)

Pero ahora voy a ti; y hablo esto en el mundo, para que tengan mi gozo cumplido en sí mismos. 14 Yo les he dado tu palabra; y el mundo los aborreció, porque no son del mundo, como tampoco yo soy del mundo. 15 No ruego que los quites del mundo, sino que los guardes del mal. 16 No son del mundo, como tampoco yo soy del mundo. 17 Santifícalos en tu verdad; tu palabra es verdad. 18 Como tú me enviaste al mundo, así yo los he enviado al mundo. 19 Y por ellos yo me santifico a mí mismo, para que también ellos sean santificados en la verdad. (RVR 1960)

 

He focused on v. 18, As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world to make the case that missions is for all believers. He also said we are to make our case with love and compassion but never ever compromising God’s truth. Then he made a very interesting comparison, those who argue against “Christian Beliefs” are in themselves missionaries of their point of view.

He then broke down into three points the force for personal missions found in our text:

The Catalyst for the mission: v. 13-15 we find that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves is the catalyst for missions 

The Commission for the Mission: v. 16-18, self appointed missionaries have no authority. We must be appointed by God and His governing bodies.  He also noted that when we are sanctified by God’s Truth v.17 we are unable to keep the Good News of Christ a private matter.

The Control of the Mission: v. 18-19, “As”… might seem like a simple word but holds much power for it controls how we proceed. You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them. The only way we go is AS Jesus went. Finally Dr. Jonas spoke of the personal “sanctifying” holiness that makes us effective as missionaries. 

It is this last point I would like to explore just a little further as we close out this series today. Personal Holiness (Sanctification) is an ongoing process, that should not discourage but encourage us daily. God is Holy and we are called to be Holy like Him 1 Peter 1:15-16.

This does not mean it will be an easy cheesy task. Hebrews 12:14 tells us we must strive for peace and holiness. Ephesians 4:24 says we must “put on” the new self created in … holiness. Colossians 3:5 tells us we must put to death the old ways the earthly or natural human desires. It is a work that should be recognized by those around us 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

If holiness (sanctification) is important to missions (and I agree it is) I would argue it is more important to our Biblical Contentment. Maybe the greatest missionary for Christ, the Apostle Paul understood Biblical Contentment and Holiness were tied together. Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Is not penned from the hand of a man devoid of holiness nor of a man of malcontent in his surroundings. He new that godliness and contentment were meant to go hand in hand 1 Timothy 6:6-7 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, [a]and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

It was this complete surrender in Christ that made made Paul the man of God he was and Biblically Content Philippians 4:1-20.

 

 

Biblical Contentment, Part II

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Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit. (ESV)

Restitúyeme el gozo de tu salvación,
y sostenme con un espíritu de poder[a](LBLA)

Yesterday we looked at what Biblical Contentment was, the facts that most Americans are not content, the biblical reasons for this and the fact that all true Christians should be content. 

One of the other things pointed out yesterday was the fact that not all “Christians” are content. So today I thought we would take a quick look at how as a Christian to renew that contentment in us. 

Let us look at out main text for today: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, do you remember the unbridled enthusiasm you felt as a new young believer? The was a joy a happiness that is really indescribable to the outside world. Our sin burden has been lift away and we for the first time in our lives feel free. 

I have seen this many time in the confines of a prison when a truly (there are lots of fakers and shakers out there) repents and declares Christ as Lord and Savior he is really set free. The walls, barbed wire, guards all mean nothing they are just part of the background noise as it were for he is now living for Christ. He is perfectly biblically content where he is because  Christ is uphold{ing} me {him} with a willing spirit.

That my friends is the key getting back to basics. Sounds simple, well it is, Christianity is simple, One God, One Savior, One Surrender All, One Salvation, it’s humanity that complicates it. 

Let us as always look at some context here. Psalm 51 is (although some modern scholars try to deny it) a Psalm of David. Most bibles have some heading like (ESV)  “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.”  David had sinned and was very convicted of that sin (the mark of a believer) so he writes this Psalm crying out to God for forgiveness and renewal. A note before I move on To the choirmaster” may seem insignificant but it is not. It tells us this was a public declaration of the Psalm not something David kept just between him and God.

I will skip the first 9 verses where David declares his sinful ways and get to verses 10-11: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right[b] spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  David was not content with what he had so he went after something more than was rightfully his. David understood that the only way to change his sinful ways, to be content again was to renew the right (righteous) spirit in him. He is telling God I need to get back to basics please help me.

Here are the 7 things the Bible teaches us are key basics for everyday Christian life: 

Prayer: Proverbs 16:3 

Study: Psalm 119:11

Fellowship: Hebrews 10:25

Stewardship: 1 Peter 4:10

Worship: 1 Chronicles 16:29

Sharing: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Walking: 1 John 2:6

Starting Monday we will take a closer look at each. 

 

 

 

 

Biblical Contentment

Logos.com

This may seem like a strange verse to begin a look at biblical contentment but I think it captures the essence of what it is not. So first let us look at what it should be.

Contentment is usually considered being “in a state of happiness and satisfaction.¹”  Interestingly in a “2017 Harris Poll Survey of American Happiness, shared exclusively with TIME; only 33% of Americans surveyed said they were happy.²

What makes this number so dismal is the fact that as we have noted in the past depending on who’s poll numbers you use (and that depends on what year 2015 or 2017) between 70% and 75% of Americas self identify as Christians³. The conclusion is simple and unavoidable, many of the Harris Poll participants who responded as unhappy, had to also self identify as Christians.

Haggai 1:6 there are many reasons for this unhappiness in America and it begins with the same problem Israel had as a nation. Yes, we have turned our backs on the Lord and He (in my humble opinion) has lifted His hand of divine providence from this nation. We are more and more going to a two tier or class system of folks, the have and have not’s. We have rich and plentiful fields to plant yet harvest little, we had factories and jobs galore greed sent them overseas. We eat and drink gluttonous like and are never satisfied. Then there are the Have not’s (I am not talking beggars here) who are the working poor of this nation, scraping by paycheck to paycheck hoping to to somehow not get evicted and to have food to feed the kids. 

What is the problem? “In God We Trust” means nothing! Even the so called Christian majority in the country, fail to call upon, depend upon and be content upon the sovereign God of the Universe. 

So what is Biblical Contentment. First we must accept that God is truly in control of all things. Without that you WILL NOT and CAN NOT have contentment in this life. Biblical Contentment is being satisfied with what God has given us materially, spiritually and physically. In other words what we have, do and the path we are on. 

Jesus in His sermon on the mount tells us to be content, Matthew 6:25 (ESV) “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” He continues this thought in verses 32-33 when He describes that true contentment is not found in earthly or human things but in those of heaven. 

One of the greatest testimonies in the Bible of contentment is the Apostle Paul’s in the Book of Philippians 4:10-13:

 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Paul at this time is locked in a Roman prison yet He is content knowing God is sovereign, totally in control of the situation and nothing outside His will is going to happen to him. Paul understood what the write of Hebrews put in ink (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

I could go on but suffice it to say if you self identify as a “Christian” there is NO EXCUSE for you not to also self-identify as Biblically Content.

 

¹ = Contentment 

²= Harris Poll 

³ = Gallup Poll 

The Fruit of the Spirit is Peace

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Image Source

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

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The bible tells us that until Christ (The Price of Peace Isaiah 9:6) returns there will never be peace on earth. That things will continue to grow worse ( 2 Tim 3:13; 2 Tim 4:3-4 ). So how can Paul write that one of the signs of a true believer is an outward appearance of peace? The following article from John Piper’s Desiring God Ministries provides some answers. I hope you find it beneficial – Mike

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The Secret to Peace and Contentment

Article by Jon Bloom; Staff writer, desiringGod.org ¦ MARCH 18, 2016

The secret to Christian peace and contentment is not a gnostic secret. It is not concealed knowledge only revealed to those who achieve higher degrees of holy enlightenment. This secret is hidden in plain sight throughout the Scripture and is available to anyone who is willing to believe it.

The Secret

God has not only gone public with this secret, but he invites us and longs for us to know it. He does not want us to merely know about this secret — not to merely preach it, explain it, enjoy the idea of it, or wish for it — but to know it by experience…

Continued at SOURCE

 

Biblical Contentment in an Age of Dissatisfaction

| July 11, 2018

We are living in an age of discontentment in 21st century America. However, you could argue this should not be so. America is one of the wealthiest countries in the history of the world. We are living in a time where access to information and knowledge is unlimited. In addition, we are the most socially connected generation ever. If 21st century Americans have the money, the knowledge, and the relationships, then why are they so dissatisfied? The problem of discontentment is as old as humanity, and the solution is an ancient one…

Continued at Source: Biblical Contentment in an Age of Dissatisfaction

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 04 & 05 July

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

The excellencies of him – 1 Peter 2:9 (R.V.)

His glorious attributes – Ephesians 1:12 (Weymouth)

Grace is the attribute God delights to honor. – Elisha Coles

The holiness of God is his glory, as his grace is his riches. – Stephen Charnock

PEACE AND QUIETNESS OF SPIRIT

Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother – Psalm 131:2 (R.V.)

Attend upon the Lord without distraction. – 1 Corinthians 7:35

Inward peace can only be espoused to inward purity. – William Secker

Peace is never bought to dear but by sin. – Jeremiah Burroughs

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. The topics are
ENTERING GOD’S KINGDOM and AN ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT TEACHING