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The Ancient Problem of Discontentment

The Historical Downside of Discontentment

Discontentment is an issue as outdated as time. God had created Adam and Eve in excellent relationship with himself and one another. They lived in a lovely world, free to eat from any tree besides one.

However they needed exactly what they didnt have.

The Uncommon Jewel of Christian Contentment

Jeremiah Burroughs

Banner of Reality. 232 pp.

Burroughs writings, some revealed earlier than and others after his dying, have been quite a few, howeverThe Uncommon Jewel of Christian Contentmentis without doubt one of the most beneficial of all of them. Its writer was a lot involved to advertise (1) peace amongst believers of assorted “persuasions” (2) peace and contentment within the hearts of particular person believers throughout what he describes as “sad and sinking times.”The Uncommon Jewelconcentrates upon this second goal. It’s marked by sanity, readability, aptness of illustration, and heat of enchantment to the guts. Burroughs presses his lesson dwelling with all of the fervor and cogency of a real and trustworthy minister of God.

Puritan author Jeremiah Burroughs (15991646) thought contentment was missing in his personal day, too. In his glorious ebook The Uncommon Jewel of Christian Contentment, he defines contentment as that candy, inward, quiet, gracious body of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s sensible and fatherly disposal in each situation (19).

For Burroughs, discontentment strikes proper on the coronary heart of Gods character. Once we query our circumstances, we doubt his knowledge and energy. Quite the opposite, the content material individual will have the ability to say:

The Lord is aware of how one can order issues higher than I. The Lord sees additional than I do; I solely see issues at current however the Lord sees an ideal whereas from now. And the way do I do know however that had it not been for this affliction, I ought to have been undone. (36)

Seen on this mild, the world hasn’t modified a lot for the reason that 17th century. Certain, our tradition and know-how and comforts are vastly completely different, however the identical sins lurk our hearts. Burroughs doesnt depart us with out hope, nonetheless. Greater than merely diagnosing discontentment, he instructs us how one can struggle it. Listed here are 4 methods.

1. Hate Sin

The best way of contentment is so as to add one other burden, that’s, to labor to load and burden your coronary heart together with your sin; the heavier the burden of your sin is to your coronary heart, the lighter will the burden of your affliction be to your coronary heart, and so that you shall come to be content material. (47)

Contentment is greater than trying on the brilliant aspect. We shouldnt search simply to make ourselves joyful within the state of affairs have been in. If thats our basis, what’ll occur when God brings even severer struggling?

As a substitute, Burroughs reveals we should assault discontentment at its root. We expel it from our hearts by transferring our focus away from our struggling. Once we view our sin as the best evil on the planet, nearly any struggling we face will pale compared.

2. Look Forward

A godly man within the midst of the waves and storms that he meets with can see the glory of heaven earlier than him and so contents himself. One drop of the sweetness of heaven is sufficient to remove all of the sourness and bitterness of all of the afflictions on the planet. (84)

Weren’t lengthy on this world. If all our vitality is spent fretting about our life right here, what vitality will stay to ponder the life to come back?

There are few issues Ive discovered as useful to my pursuit of contentment as meditating on eternity. Any hardship right here is bearable once we know, with the apostle Paul, that this mild momentary affliction is making ready for us an everlasting weight of glory past all comparability (2 Cor. 4:17).

3. Embrace Humility

A person who’s little in his personal eyes will account each affliction as little, and each mercy as nice. (89)

Discontentment springs from unmet expectations. We expect we deserve a straightforward life, with comforts and luxuries, so we turn into discontent when as a substitute we face illness and hardship. But if we soberly look at ourselves in mild of Scripture, we’ll see we deserve nothing however condemnation from God.

Such humility permits his grace to flood our hearts. We will rejoice within the items he’s given us, reasonably than dwelling on what we predict he’s withheld.

4. Depend on the Phrase

Oh, the Phrase holds forth a means stuffed with consolation and peace to the folks of God even on this world. You could reside joyful lives within the midst of all of the storms and tempests on the planet. (227)

How can we grumble when we now have grand guarantees like these?

  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will provide you with relaxation. Take my yoke upon you, and study from me, for I’m mild and lowly in coronary heart, and you will see that relaxation on your souls. For my yoke is straightforward, and my burden is mild. (Matt. 11:2830)
  • And we all know that for many who love God all issues work collectively for good, for many who are known as in response to his objective. (Rom. 8:28)
  • Due to this fact, if anybody is in Christ, he’s a brand new creation. The outdated has handed away; behold, the brand new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17)
  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In keeping with his nice mercy, he has prompted us to be born once more to a dwelling hope by means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the lifeless, to an inheritance that’s imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. (1 Pet. 1:34)

Commonly immersing ourselves within the Bible permits us to see and grasp these guarantees, and draw energy from seeing how faithfully God has saved his phrase prior to now. Theyre our anchor within the fiercest tempest.

Fashionable Downside

Though discontentment is timeless, there are distinctive methods it manifests in our period. You would possibly suppose our fashionable world makes contentment simpler, as we now have better riches and comforts than ever earlier than in historical past. However we even have way more selections. We always really feel like there should be one thing higher on the market, if solely we will discover it. Our hearts are stressed and hungry.

Too typically we Christians undertake the worlds requirements. We really feel entitled to what everybody round us hascomforts, cash, freedoms. However we belong to Jesus Christ; shouldn’t we count on struggling, hardships, and persecution as he did? He gave up all his rights for us; ought to we be entitled to higher?

How one can Learn This Guide Nicely

Puritan books are goldmines of knowledge. Once you put within the effort to learn them slowly and prayerfully, the rewards are nice. Youll in all probability discover it useful to take notes or spotlight vital quotes as you learn The Uncommon Jewel. The language will take some getting used to, so dont count on to complete it in a day. Take into account even assembly to debate it over a number of weeks with a couple of pals.

For all the advantages of mining the Puritans, you too can strive panning for gold. I sometimes pull one among my Puritan paperbacks off the shelf and re-read a bit at random. Theres all the time lots to chew and pray over.

Together with Burroughs, lets create a greater imaginative and prescient than the grumbling and self-pity of this world. Lets alter our eyes to the radiant great thing about contentment:

There is no such thing as a work which God has madethe solar, moon, stars and all of the worldin which a lot of the glory of God seems as in a person who lives quietly within the midst of adversity. (12223)

Amen.

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