Sunday, August 10, 2008

Contentment in the Kingdom

A couple weeks ago I preached on Contentment in the Kingdom (Heb 13:5-6) at SGCF.  This was a difficult passage as contentment is one of those areas that I often suffer with.  I say “suffer with” because often I do not realize what I am going through is simply an issue with contentment.  If you are like me we often rationalize our disgruntlement as what might be mistakenly labeled as “righteous discontent”.  Now I do think there is a discontent that we are to have that is instilled by God but this is not what I am talking about.  The discontent that God gives is a discontent that helps us see that the world we are in is not all there is.  So there is a little irony in that we are to be content where God has us but there can still be discontent that helps to protect us from being all too easily satisfied with the world’s offerings instead of being content with God’s provision.

The discontent that we are not to have is when we begin to be more focused on our circumstances than God’s hand in them.  For example we may be unhappy with our job and begin to feel God wants us to move on. While this may be true we need to start at asking ourselves if I am content if God would keep me where I am.  So, while God may work in our lives to move us along and there may even come a time that He uses discontentment but I do not think this is the norm.  God desires us to be content in whatever situation we are in (Phil 4:11-12) and it is then that God may move us on.

For me at least this road to contentment starts right where I am. by seeing my situations and circumstances daily as being a result of the sovereign hand of God.  When I see God’s hand in the highs and lows I begin to see that the God that by His grace has called me to be one of His children only has what most glorifies Him and what is best for me.  Finding contentment in a world that thrives on creating discontentment is not easy but in the power of the spirit as a child of God we can be content.

I highly recommend reading Jeremiah Burroughs’ book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.  This is one of those books that if you are not convicted while reading it you need to read it again.  Burroughs not only lets us see what contentment is but helps in revealing how God desires us to move towards contentment.  One of the things we need to realize is that the world sells that contentment comes by adding to our lives.  However to be content in the Kingdom of God often comes by subtraction, by removing from our lives instead of seeing what to add.  Again, I encourage you to read this book as Burroughs, through a great use of scripture, deals with a subject, contentment, many of us struggle with.

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