Bible Study 5: Godliness with Contentment (Cultivating Contentment - Part 1)

The Lord Our Source (Part One)
Contentment, a child of wisdom, is not for everyone. Not everyone has a heart for it. It is a treasure. It is only available to as many as desire it. These are those who want the best out of life, both on this side of eternity and that which is to come. Contentment, as a treasure, is not left in full view of all (though it truly is). It is a mystery, a secret, for only those who seek it.

Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV) tells us, 
"It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter."
Are you a king? Do you have a noble heart? God sure does not want to put a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, [Proverbs 11:22] nor give that which is holy to dogs. [Matthew 7:6]

The Apostle Paul had to learn it. [Philippians 4:10-13] He did not get a free pass. Neither will we. If we are going to have it, we will have to cultivate it by conscious choice and discipline. There is no other way around it.

The first step (rung) on the discovery ladder of the "Secret of Contentment" is the conviction of who God is, and our disposition (relationship) with Him. This should really be a no brainer, as contentment, in a sense, can be defined around how full we are or not with God.  What is our content? What are we full of? As Jeremiah Burroughs so rightly states,
"A soul that is capable of God can be filled with nothing else but God; nothing but God can fill a soul that is capable of God."
God has made us seek Him. And, in doing so, He has not made it difficult for Himself to be found, "for in Him we live and move and have our being." [Acts 17:28] "Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." [Romans 1:20]

Unfortunately, people rather than seek God, "suppress the truth in unrighteousness." Hence, the prevalence of discontent in our world today, "Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools." [Romans 1:21-22]

People know there is God, That is like a given. Even the supposed atheist does. They are simply exercising the power of their free will. The demons do and tremble. [James 2:19] That there is an Omnipotent (Almighty) God is not up for debate. We all know that. What we all seem to struggle with include,
"What will Omnipotent do for me? Will Omnipotent do what I desire, within my time frame? Will He come through for me? Is He willing?"
A lot of us are not sure. As it were we believe He exists. Our struggle is with whether He is a rewarder. [Hebrews 11:6] We see repeated cases of this in the gospels, as people came to The Lord for healing. [Matthew 8:2; Luke 5:12] Their statement, in one form or the other, was, "we know you able. The question is are you willing?"

Note, in EVERY instance, He was willing. He not only had the power, but He was also willing. He healed every single one that came to him for healing. "EVERY single one, without exception." He not only had the power, but He was also willing.

This was what the Israelites struggled with, in the wilderness? Yes, Jehovah exists. Yes, He is all-powerful. Yes, we have seen His mighty acts in Egypt and so far, but will He always come through, for me? Poor me? Are His acts repeatable, or only one-offs? If He did it yesterday, will He also do it today and tomorrow? Can I bet my life, my destiny on Him? [Psalm 103:7] 

Unfortunately, religion does not necessarily help in this venture. It comes along and simply “make things just as clear as mud.” In trying to help, it “deceives” (blinds) us with dogmas. Dogmas like, “God only gives us our needs, not our wants.” Wow! Really? Just where did that come from. Someone must have sneaked it in through the back door. It is a lie straight out of the very pit of hell. You’ll NEVER find that anywhere in scripture.

God is too big, too gracious, too kind, too honorable, too glorious to merely give His children barely enough, or merely that which they need. That is not glory. That is not grace.

Jesus says,
"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10 b)
So, Jesus who knows the Father took the liberty of opening our eyes to who the Father truly is. He said, “the Father desires to give us good gifts.” [Matthew 7:9-11] I guess the question then is, "what is the definition of 'good gifts?'” Jesus does not leave us in doubt. Luke captures Jesus’ definition of “good gifts.” In Jesus’ mind “good gifts” means "ALL, TO FREELY ENJOY." [1 Timothy 6:17]
"Good Gifts = The Holy Spirit = All = God's Treasury House"
So, He equates it to God giving us His Spirit, Himself, His own very treasury. [Luke 11:11-13, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16] Put in colloquial terms, Jesus said, “How much more will the Father give you Himself if you ask Him.” [Romans 8:32] The Father is FULLY committed to this relationship. He is ours for the asking. Note the prevailing use of the word “ask” in the two passages in Matthew and Luke.

Note 1 Corinthians 2:9. It reads,
"But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”" (NKJV)
We see this differentiating Jonathan from his father Saul. [1 Samuel 14:1-23] And, David from the rest fo the soldiers of Israel, as Goliath made boast against God. [1 Samuel 17] Notice neither had a specific word from the Lord. They each simply believed God for His covenant promise. Notice they did not only know God as a great deliverer. They were willing to bet on it. Are you?

What are you asking of God? What are you placing a demand for? Are you asking? Are you seeking for? Are you placing demands, for that which you want? [Matthew 7:7-8]

Do you have the enlightenment of the “awoken” prodigal son or the “darkened vision” of the elder brother? [Luke 15:11-32] Let us do a quick x-ray of the two mindsets.

The prodigal son, having come to himself, realized the graciousness of his Father. Luke 15:17-19 (TPT) reads,
“Humiliated, the son finally realized what he was doing and he thought, ‘There are many workers at my father’s house who have all the food they want with plenty to spare. They lack nothing. Why am I here dying of hunger, feeding these pigs and eating their slop? I want to go back home to my father’s house, and I’ll say to him, “Father, I was wrong. I have sinned against you. I’ll never be worthy to be called your son. Please, Father, just treat me like one of your employees.”’
A mere servant in our Father’s house is graciously and abundantly cared for and provided for. How much more we the children, in the house? Where did we get this meager provision mindset? Who deceived us? Who hypnotized us? Who has done us this bad? A whole lot of us flaunt our supposed humbled (not humble, but humbled) piety state in public, only to go back, in secret, to complain. 

We are “two-faced.” Our words are stacked against God. [Malachi 3:13-15] We are double-minded. We say, God only gives us what we need, not what we want, yet we chase after those who have their wants met. Who has done us this bad, and is short-circuiting our supply line from God?

When we fail to ask freely of the Father, we are no different from the brother of the prodigal son. He had a corrupt view of the person of his father, our Father. Luke 15:29-30 (TPT) reads,
“The son said, ‘Father, listen! How many years have I been working like a slave for you, performing every duty you’ve asked as a faithful son? And I’ve never once disobeyed you. But you’ve never thrown a party for me because of my faithfulness. Never once have you even given me a goat that I could feast on and celebrate with my friends like he’s doing now. But look at this son of yours! He comes back after wasting your wealth on prostitutes and reckless living, and here you are throwing a great feast to celebrate—for him!’
Note the Father’s response in the next two verses. I want to focus on the first of the two verses. Luke 15:31 (TPT) reads,
“The father said, ‘My son, you are always with me by my side. Everything I have is yours to enjoy.
Wow! I want to focus on the last sentence in this verse. And, really, I want to write it out a thousand and one times. Father said, 
“Everything I have is yours to enjoy.”
Wow! Give me space, now. Give me a place. Please! I want to shout it loud on the mountain top. “EVERYTHING my Father has is MINE.” Hallelujah! And, it is not mine for the ordinary mental accent. “It is mine to FREELY ENJOY.” Wow! Hallelujah! That might just give the religious folks a panic attack. (Someone might want to have a ventilator available)

God wants me to enjoy THIS LIFE. Hallelujah! Not just the life to come. He wants me to enjoy THIS LIFE. ALL THAT THE FATHER HAS IS MINE. AND, IT IS FOR MY ENJOYMENT. Wow! Then, what/who is stopping me? Not God for sure.

Who is stopping me? Maybe the people I move and associate with. Really? Do I have to associate with them? Who is stopping me? Maybe my mindset, my paradigm, the picture that has been sold, and burnt deep down in me. Just maybe. Guess what? The good thing is I don’t have to remain there. I don’t have to remain that way. I can change. I can grow. I can challenge the status quo.

Like the prodigal son, I can come to myself. I can awaken. "I can awake." I can have a rebirth. [Luke 15:17] I can embrace the true picture of who the Father is. My Father. I can wash off the false paintings and embrace the new, the truth, the whole. I can be transformed by the renewing of my mind. [Romans 12:2] I can embrace a new paradigm, a new set of habits, and ways of seeing things. I can throw away the “religious garbage” and embrace God’s truth.

And, why will I not? It is the beginning of my journey to the land of Contentment - the land of great gain; the promised land; the “exceedingly good land;” “a land which flows with milk and honey.” [Number 14:7-9] What am I waiting for? I am so gone. What about you?

Quotes on Contentment:

Below are a few selected quotes on Contentment. The intent is to, hopefully, help solidify its understanding.

“Life is always beautiful when we focus on the greatness of our God.” (Lailah Gifty Akita)

“He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God alone.” (C.S. Lewis)

“The purpose of God and the power of God is available for every man.” (G. Campbell Morgan)

“True contentment is a deep-seated sense of accepting who and where you are at any given moment.” (Julie Rosenberg, MD)

“To be well-schooled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory, and excellence of a Christian.” (Jeremiah Burroughs)

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.” (James C. Collins)

“Your relationship with God is the single most important aspect of your life. If that is not in order, nothing else will be.” (Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God)

Christian contentment is the sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition. – Andrew M. Davis

“Contentment is one of the most distinguishing traits of the godly person because a godly person has his heart focused on God rather than on possessions or position or power.” – Jerry Bridges

“God is love—His will is always best. 2. God is all-knowing—His directions are always right. 3. God is all-powerful—He can enable you to accomplish His will.” (Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God)

“There are far too many people who settle for practicing a sterile religion rather than enjoying a growing, vibrant, personal relationship with the living God.” (Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God)

If we put our trust in our job, our career, it can suddenly change. That’s why it’s so important to put your trust in God. He’s the One that doesn’t change. He’s our source. That’s where we get strength, ideas, creativity, resources, wisdom. God is the giver of all good things. (Joel Osteen)

“Anyone who enters into an intimate relationship with God can see God do exceptional things through his or her life. The outcome does not depend upon a person being unusually gifted, educated, or wealthy. The key is the indwelling presence of God doing unusual things” (Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God)

“I recognize that there are times in God's divine will and infinite wisdom that He chooses not to heal or to protect from harm. It was out of my love relationship with God that I was able to trust Him to walk with me through the situation, regardless of how it turned out.” (Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God)

“Never allow your heart to question God's love. Settle it on the front end of your quest to know Him and experience Him: He loves you. Every dealing He has with you is an expression of His love for you. God would not be God if He expressed Himself in any way other than perfect love! What you believe about God's love for you will be reflected in how you relate to Him. If you really believe God is love, you will also accept that His will is always best.” (Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God)

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