Discontentment is a problem that is as old as the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were discontent; they ached over the forbidden fruit that she didn’t have and were willing to be done with God in order to have it.
What is contentment? In The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 17th century Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs defines content as “that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition” (19).
How can we, by the grace of God, pursue the rare jewel of Christian contentment?
In Philippians 4:12-13, Paul writes, “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 [Christ] who strengthens me.” Jesus himself is the secret of contentment because in Jesus you’ve received mercy that is far weightier than anything you lack. With Jesus as your shepherd, you have all and have no lack (Psalm 23:1). Treasure Jesus.
In Psalm 131, David writes, “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Contentment comes when we keep our eyes low, where Jesus is (Matthew 11:29), rather than lifting them up to compare ourselves with others or to look at what we do not have. Treasure lowliness.
In Colossians 3:5, Paul writes, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…” There is no sweetness of frame in our souls while we treasure sin. When we attack sin with grace, we attack discontentment at its core. Treasure holiness.
Treasure God’s Sovereignty
There is nothing in your life that comes apart from your good Father. Jeremiah Burroughs writes, “The Lord knows how to order things better than I. The Lord sees further than I do; I only see things at present but the Lord sees a great while from now. And how do I know but that had it not been for this affliction, I should have been undone” (36). Treasure God’s sovereignty.
Treasure The Future
The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the eternal weight of glory that awaits all who belong to Jesus (2 Cor. 4:17). Treasure your future, and the afflictions of this life will begin to seem light and momentary compared to the eternal weight of glory that will be yours with Jesus. Treasure the future.
Yours in Christ,