10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength’ The Golden Rule wherever you are on the path... Philippians 4
‘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’ The Summit - What is Christian contentment ? Burroughs
What arriving will feels like– Sweet, Inward, Quiet, and Gracious ‘Happiness can be found neither in ourselves nor in external things, but in God and in ourselves as united to him’ Pascal ‘Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles’ Psalm 103: 1-5 ‘Though you have not seen him you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy’ 1 Peter 1:8 ‘...your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory’ Colossians 3:3 & 4
What arriving will look like –...which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition Job: A negative example (esp chapters 38-42) ‘Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? (38:2) ‘Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!’ (40:2) Then Job replied.... ‘Surely I spoke of things I did not understand things to wonderful for me to know’ (42:3)
Jesus: A positive example ‘On reaching the place, he said to them, “pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’ ‘And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground’ Luke 22:40-42 & 44...which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition
The opposition – What opposes Christian contentment ?
The opposition - What opposes Christian contentment ? Lessons from the Ice Cream van
The opposition - What opposes Christian contentment ? Lessons from the Supermarket
Lessons from the hairdresser The opposition - What opposes Christian contentment ?
Lessons from the holiday brochure The opposition - What opposes Christian contentment ?
Lessons from Hollywood The opposition - What opposes Christian contentment ?
Lessons from Technology The opposition - What opposes Christian contentment ?
Lessons from the Gym The opposition - What opposes Christian contentment ?
Don’t waste you time chasing the end of the Rainbow The opposition - What opposes Christian contentment ?
Strategies for change - Possible symptoms of a discontented heart Envy Joylessness Murmuring Busyness Tomorrow-ism Triviality Volatility Consistent problems Loneliness Material saturation
Strategies for change – The Ecclesiastes Treatment - Learning to constantly expose the rainbow chasing in your heart “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” 1:2 I devoted myself to study all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men!.....a chasing after the wind 1:13 Come now I will test you with pleasure 2:1 I undertook great projects.......I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 2:42:9 There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with wealth. 4:8 Whoever loves money never has money enough. 5:10 here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 12:13
Psalm 73 – A before and after Psalm Strategies for change - Re-finding your heavenly centre of gravity
Strategies for change – Finding a Posture of Self Denial not Self Affirmation ‘A discontented heart is troubled because he has no more comfort, but a self denying man rather wonders that he has as much as he has’ Burroughs ‘He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever want to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it’ Mark 8:33 - 35
Strategies for change – Learning to seek the Good in ALL things ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ Romans 8:28
Strategies for change – Learn to claim today (as a good day) and leave tomorrow for tomorrow Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14 ‘Give us today our daily bread’ Matt 6:11 Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself’ Matt 6:34 ‘This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it’ Psalm 118: 24
Strategies for change Learning to love discontentment ‘Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come’ 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Strategies for change – Applying it to relationships, jobs, houses, possessions.... 1.It is where my mind goes in neutral. It is what I day dream about.... (try Ecclesiastes) 2.If I just wasn’t a Christian this issue would be sorted (Try Psalm 73)...... 3.This is my basic right (Try self denial from Mark 8) 4.God is mean (Try Romans 8:28) 5.When it happens then I will be truly content (Try James / Matt) 6.Everything’s rubbish (try 2 Corinthians 5)
Conclusion: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart’ Psalm 37:4 ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’ 1 Tim 6:6 ‘A soul that is capable of God can be filled with nothing else but God; nothing but God can fill a soul that is capable of God’ Burroughs