Contentment and Providence- Part 2
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content
in whatever circumstances I am. NASB
In this brief study I would like to:
1) Show briefly that God is in His
2) Remind us of His great and precious promises to care for us and meet all of our needs, and also that His Providence is loving and always has our highest good in mind, not necessarily our earthly comfort
3) Show briefly that discontentment is a embittering sin which greatly hinders our enjoyment of God and our ability to glorify Him
4) Exhort us to contentment through Philippians 4:11-13
3 ) Show briefly that discontentment is a embittering sin which greatly hinders our enjoyment of God and our ability to glorify Him
Now concerning the fact that discontentment is an embittering sin which greatly hinders our enjoyment of God and our ability to glorify Him, I would like to offer a couple quotes from Thomas Watson, then look at a few scriptures and make a few observations.
Thomas Watson writes…. “Discontent is a fretting humour, which dries the brains, wastes the spirits, corrodes and eats out the comfort of life; discontent makes a man so that he doth not enjoy what he doth possess. A drop or two of vinegar will sour a whole glass of wine. Let a man have the affluence and confluence of worldly comforts, a drop or two of discontent will embitter and poison all.”…. “If there is a blessed life before we come to heaven, it is the contented life. And why not be contented? Why are you angry, and why is your countenance fallen? Man, of all creatures, has the least cause to be discontented. Can you deserve anything from God? Does He owe you anything? What if the scene were to turn and God were to put your under a serious trial? Right now things are fairly for you, you probably deserve much worse for all you complaining…why do you give way to this irrational and hurtful sin of discontent? May the good Lord humble His people for nourishing such a viper in their breast as not only cuts out the bowels of their comfort, but spits venom in the face of God! Oh Christian, if you are overspread with this fretting leprosy, you carry the man of sin about you, for you set your self above God and act as if you were wiser than He, and would sassily prescribe to Him what condition is best for you! Oh this devil of discontent which, whenever it possesses a person makes his heart a little hell!”put you under the blackrod? Whereas He now uses a rod, He might use a scorpion.
Now concerning the fact that discontentment is an embittering sin and that it greatly hinders our enjoyment of God and our ability to glorify Him, consider;
1) Discontentment is a condition of depression or of a downcast and sullen spirit, whereas the Christian is called to always rejoice and be thankful (Phil 4:4, 1 Thes 5:18, Eph 5:20).
2) Discontentment is arrogance. The discontented Christian sets themselves above God who has ordered their circumstances in such a way as He sees best for them. Shall we say of God He has treated us unfairly? If you got what you deserved you would banished to eternal darkness forever! Shall we command the God of Providence and infinite wisdom how He ought to order His world? Do you suppose you have a wiser plan than God? Would not God and His world be better off if you were at the helm? Why then would we complain disrespectfully against God’s wise providence? Shall the clay say to the potter, why did you make me like this? Shall the dog bite the hand that feeds it? (Jonah 4:1-11)
3) Discontentment is ingratitude. It surely sees past any thankfulness for our present condition and would demand of God that He do us right? Shall our sinful heart be more discontented over one loss than thankful for one hundred mercies? Shall God rescue us from sin and death by the sacrifice of His only holy Son just for us to return and grumble that He has not been gracious enough to us? Discontentment forgets its real condition of blessed mercy and cries with lust that it is not happy with the portion of mercy God has given.
4) Discontentment is often accompanied with anger, envy, jealousy, and covetousness, which is idolatry. God will supply all our needs, shall He satisfy our lusts too? So often it is our lust for more that causes us to overlook the manifold blessings God has poured into our laps, and are always and ever thinking that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, only to find it is a bitter and sour field to graze in. This is frequently the source of quarrels and discord in our families and relations, because we are not happy, so no one around us will be happy, and we with malice and a bitter spirit will make sure of it! (James 4:1-3)
5) Discontentment is the motive of grumbling and complaining against the goodness of God. Complaining is the choir song of the wicked and is not fitting for a saint in glory! It is unbecoming for those who have received a thousand mercies more than they deserve to complain that Christ is not enough to satisfy. Are you content to have Christ? Then why do you grumble that God ought to give you something more, as if Christ were not the most valuable jewel in your crown of eternal life. It is for this sin of grumbling that many in
Psalm 106:25-27 – 5 But grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the Lord. 26 Therefore He swore to them, That He would cast them down in the wilderness, 27 And that He would cast their seed among the nations, And scatter them in the lands. NASB
Philippians 2:14-15 – 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, NASB
6) Discontentment is a lack of trust and faith in God and is often accompanied with an anxious and fretful heart. Has God promised that He will never leave us or forsake us and yet we will continually worry that we will not have enough or shall abandon our faith fretting that all will be lost? So we have lost some precious thing or some valuable supply, shall our faith and patience go to? Shall we abandon our faith when God has designed this trial to teach us the very lesson we need to learn? When will we, like Paul, LEARN to be content?
Philippians 4:5-7 – 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NASB
Philippians 4:19 – 19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. NASB
God has promised to meet all of your needs….do you believe Him?
Now all of this is not to say that there is never a time to offer complaint to God. Surely there is, and often enough.
Job 10:1-2 – 1 “I loathe my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; Let me know why Thou dost contend with me. NASB
Psalm 142:1-2 – 142 I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord; I make supplication with my voice to the Lord. 2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. NASB
The issue is that we are not offering complaint because of our lust for more, or offering our complaint with a disrespectful and ungrateful attitude, or that we complain in a proud, embittered or arrogant way before God. It is entirely unbecoming of a rebel sinner who has been saved be the free grace of God to arrogantly tell God He has not been gracious enough.
Rather, when offering complaint to God it should be for relief from hurtful pains of body and soul, at the bitter losses that have come in the fallen world, or of losses that our loved ones are facing. And even then, we come humbly before the God of all grace, seeking His comfort and care, with a broken and contrite spirit, with such God is well pleased and for whom He is disposes to give comfort and rest from our wearying trials. We must realize that we are not entitled to anything but death, therefore the least amount of blessing is sheer grace on God’s part. Beggars cannot be choosers.
If we raise compliant to God about the circumstances of our life, let us be sure to do it seeking consolation and comfort, and never speaking a cross word or in anger against God’s Holy counsel, lest we find ourselves deeper into the pit of suffering. Consider the words of
We must come to that place of humble submission to God where we realize He knows far better what we need than we do ourselves. The circumstances which God has ordered for our life are indeed that which works for our highest good and God’s greatest glory!
Lamentations 3:39-40 – 39 Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer complaint in view of his sins? 40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the Lord. NASB
Isaiah 57:15 – 15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite. NASB
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