Monday, June 1, 2009

How Can I Know I’ve Learned Contentment?

Adapted from The Art of Divine Contentment, by Thomas Watson, a.d. 1620-1686

1. A contented spirit is a silent spirit. A contented person has no word to say against God. Psalm 39:9; Lam. 3:22-28

Pharaoh—“Who is the Lord?”—in other words: “Why should I suffer all this? Why should I be brought to this low condition?” —“Who is the Lord?” Ex. 5:2

Eli, when told that his house/family would be judged, did not murmur or dispute. He had a gracious heart, “It is the Lord; let Him do what He will with me.” I Sam. 3:18

Aaron's sons had offered up strange fire, and fire from the Lord devoured them. The Bible says, “Aaron held his peace.” Lev. 10:1-2

Jonah said, “I do well to be angry.” He did not display a contented spirit. Jonah 4:9

2. A contented spirit is a cheerful spirit. It is more than patience. Patience is simply submission. Contentment indicates cheerfulness. A contented Christian is more than passive. She does not only bear the cross, but she takes up the cross. She looks upon God as a wise God, and on whatever God does as a necessity to mature her into what He wants. II Cor. 12:10

3. A contented spirit is a thankful spirit. I Thess. 5:18 A gracious heart spies mercy in every condition; therefore she has her heart lifted up to thankfulness. Others will bless God for prosperity, but she blesses Him for affliction! When she is lacking something she wants or even believes she needs, she says to herself: “God sees it as better for me to lack this thing than to have it. He sees it as better for my spiritual health.” Therefore she not only submits but is thankful that God in His sovereignty knows and is doing what is best for her.

4. When a person is content, no condition of life is worth complaining about. Paul learned this. Phil. 4:11-12 “For I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.”

Psalm 78:10-33—The Israelites murmured when they lacked food. When God provided it, they left His way. Maybe God had a reason for allowing their lack?

A contented spirit says, “Let God apply whatever medicine He wants, and let it stay as long as He wants, because I know that, when it has cured the disease and eaten the venom of sin out of my heart, God will take it away.”

A contented Christian, being sweetly captivated under the authority of the Word, desires to be wholly at God’s disposal, and is willing to live in that sphere and climate where God has set him.

5. She who is contented with her condition will not run into sin to get out of trouble or difficulties.

She is willing to wait for God and will not move until God opens the door.

The Israelites did not move until the pillar of cloud and fire moved. Ex. 13:21

It is good to wait on God and not to try to get out of what we consider trouble until we see God’s hand pointing a way out. Lam. 3:26

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