Bible Study 4: Godliness with Contentment (Contentment - Part 2)

What is Contentment? (Part Two)

Contentment is a command [Hebrews 13:5; Exodus 20:17]. Hence, anything other than contentment is sin – missing the mark, standard, or goal set by God [Colossians 3:5; Matthew 5:27-28]. Sin reared its ugly head on creation when the first discontent arose in Lucifer [Isaiah 14:12-15]. He was determined to do his own will, not God’s. Note the five (5) “I wills” in the passage.

Discontent also reared its ugly head in the Garden of Eden. Satan convinced Eve God was holding back [Genesis 3:1-7; Psalm 84:11-12].

Contentment is a mark of maturity, an entering into God’s rest. It should be an everyday lifestyle for Christians, but all too often, we find the only thing filling our cups is fear. Regardless of the cause, fear that controls or limits our life can rob us of all that God has for us. There is only one thing to fear: "faithlessness" (fear) itself. [Hebrews 4:1-11].

Discontentment casts aspersion on God. It questions His goodness, His mercy, and His wisdom. It is marked by fear, worry, a sense of “we can do life better all on our own.” [Matthew 6:24-34; Jude 14-16; Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5-7] It manifests itself in complaints, grumblings, coveting, and the like, revealing the inward condition of our heart. [Philippians 2:3, 14]

Discontentment disqualified the Israelites, who left Egypt, except Caleb and Joshua, from entering the promised land. What about you and me, today? Is it stopping us? The Israelites were so fixated on temporal things they missed God, who dwells in eternity. [Hebrews 3:16-19; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6-11; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18] Unbelief (a lack of vision) gave birth to its natural offspring, discontent.

No wonder Helen Keller says, "The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision." The pathetic nature of such persons is rather much more apparent in our world today, with the astronomic growth of mental illnesses. Help seems to have left us, and we are suddenly discovering how so naked we truly are.

 Contentment is cultivated in the full stream of human interaction
Covetousness, discontent, grumbling, and murmuring are as natural to man as weeds, thistles, thorns are to the soil. We need not sow them. They are a result of the fall. They come naturally. [Genesis 3:17-19] If we want flowers if we want contentment, there must be a garden and all the gardener’s care.

Contentment is one of the flowers of heaven. If we are to have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us of its own accord. We have to want it. We have to court it. We have to cultivate it. It is a child of wisdom. It only gives of its treasure to those who know its value. [Proverbs 8]

Just as "The beginning of wisdom is to desire it." (Solomon Ibn Gabirol) The beginning of Contentment is a desire for it also, and thereby a willingness to pay the requisite price. Contentment is an inner work of grace, by the Holy Spirit, that becomes manifest for the world to see. 

Apostle Paul had to learn it. [Philippians 4:12] Howbeit we will have to, also. It is not a system nor a program. It is a person. The mystery of contentment is Christ, Himself. He is the one who enables us. He is the one who empowers us. [Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:16-17] It is found in pressing on to know Him more and more in every area of our life. [2 Peter 1:3; Philippians 3:10] It is a part of our sanctification process, whereby we grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. [Ephesians 4:13]

Contentment gives us the power of focus and presence. It helps us focus on where we presently are, making the best of the opportunities and strengths. That is enabling, positive, and uplifting.

Discontentment causes us to focus on our weaknesses and threats. We are either in regret about the past or fear of the future. Or, actually, both. Contentment kills such. For, it knows we always have all that we need at every point in time. It knows it is never about what we do not have. It is always about what we are doing with what we have already been endowed at each point and phase of our life.

Contentment gives life. Discontentment gives death. What is your choice? What are you choosing?

Quotes on Contentment:

Below are a few selected quotes on Contentment. The intent is to, hopefully, help solidify its meaning and give you more understanding.

“Be content with what you have, never with what you are.” – Anonymous

“The contented man is never poor, the discontented never rich.” – George Eliot

“Satan loves to fish in the troubled waters of a discontented heart.” – Thomas Watson

“Peace is a fruit of the Spirit, not the byproduct of accumulated wealth.” — Andy Stanley

“Contentment is not an escape from the battle, but rather an abiding peace and confidence in the midst of the battle.” – Warren Wiersbe

“Disappointment is a sticky one because no one can steal contentment, joy, gratitude, or peace – we have to give it away.” – Kristin Armstrong

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

“Contentment is essentially a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefore it is good.” – J. I. Packer

“The very first temptation in the history of mankind was the temptation to be discontent…that is exactly what discontent(ment) is – a questioning of the goodness of God.” – Jerry Bridges

“You say, “If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.” You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“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.” – Jeremiah Burroughs

“As contentment argues much grace, and strong grace, and beautiful grace, so murmuring argues much corruption, and strong corruption, and very vile corruption in your heart” – Jeremiah Burroughs

“Discontentment is an emotion that is capable of dwarfing us spiritually because it is directed against the Lord. If we are discontented with His will for us, then we are not going to grow in faith.” – Vickie Kraft

“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.” – Dalai Lama

“Contentment is about being at ease with whatever situation has been placed in front of you. …It means recognizing that despite it all, you are enough are because your worth is inherent, and the worth of your life is inherent.” – Libby Huber

“Contentment, then, is the product of a heart resting in God. It is the soul’s enjoyment of that peace that passes all understanding. It is the outcome of my will being brought into subjection to the Divine will. It is the blessed assurance that God does all things well, and is, even now, making all things work together for my ultimate good.” – A. W. Pink

Feel free to share your thoughts. Part 3 to follow…

Links to "Godliness with Contentment" Bible Study Series
Bible Study 3: Godliness with Contentment (Contentment - Part 1)
Bible Study 5: Godliness with Contentment (Cultivating Contentment - Part 1)

No comments:

Post a Comment


Adsense Footer

Adsense Code Link