Right this moment’s Western tradition has distinctive temptations created by the abundance of shopper items accessible to just about everybody. We’re bombarded by temptation to pursue materials wealth and profession success as an finish in itself, or not less than as a method to get the stuff that makes folks within the advertisements appear so blissful. The constant message of the world is that happiness is discovered in additional, higher, and newer experiences and items which are simply across the nook if we work a bit of tougher.
Many Christians must extricate themselves from this sort of considering.
However in addition they want another imaginative and prescient to the one supplied by the world. What we run to once we flee temptation is simply as essential as what we’re fleeing from. As Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:22: “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.” In different phrases, get away from temptation, however chase after biblical advantage. The trustworthy Christian life is a name to maneuver away from materialism and greed towards a lifetime of joyous contentment in Christ.
In two new books we see contrasting approaches to discovering contentment.
Energy of Christian Contentment
In Andrew Davis’s e-book The Energy of Christian Contentment: Discovering Deeper, Richer Christ-Centered Pleasure [learn an excerpt], he provides a constructive imaginative and prescient of pursuing pleasure in Christ. The Energy of Christian Contentment provides a biblical theology of contentment. It makes use of Puritan sources, mentioned in modern phrases, to argue for pursuing Christ-centered pleasure on this life. Davis builds on the traditional e-book The Uncommon Jewel of Christian Contentment, by Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs, to assist at this time’s Christians discover the satisfaction Burroughs preached 4 centuries in the past.
For Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church Durham and TGC Council member, contentment isn’t discovered primarily in rejecting lesser items, however in turning into disciplined to pursue the larger good discovered within the gospel. What’s left behind is forgotten in pursuit of a much more helpful prize.
The Energy of Christian Contentment explores the problem in 4 sections. First, Davis outlines the character of contentment, counting on the instructing of Burroughs and the apostle Paul. It turns into clear why true contentment is so fascinating. Second, Davis outlines sensible steps to pursue contentment. Right here we get a extra exact definition, a dialogue of God’s windfall, a extremely sensible part on shifting towards the behavior of contentment, and an evidence of how Christ’s life and work level us towards contentment. Third, Davis deepens his clarification of the worth of contentment. He expounds on discovering satisfaction in Christ in numerous circumstances, in addition to coping with the issue of a complaining coronary heart. Fourth, Davis outlines the significance of preserving contentment. There stays no query that complacency and Christian contentment are distinct and that sensible steps are mandatory to guard our pleasure in Christ.
Very similar to Davis’s earlier quantity, An Infinite Journey [interview], this e-book supplies each a theoretical framework and in addition sensible strategies for pursuing Christlikeness. Davis explains why the pursuit of fabric comforts and worldly success will fail, however the bulk of his efforts level us towards a well-defined kind for the Christian life.
Much less Is Extra
In his current e-book, Much less of Extra: Pursuing Non secular Abundance in a World of By no means Sufficient, Chris Nye urges readers to keep away from materials temptations and acknowledge their vacancy. Nye—a pastor, author, and instructor dwelling within the San Francisco Bay Space—critiques the perpetual striving of his neighbors in Silicon Valley, who’re swamped in distress whereas they pursue objectives that won’t fulfill. Nye’s e-book is relevant past his native geography, however it’ll show most hanging to city careerists who’ve begun to comprehend that their newest pay increase received’t ship happiness.
Much less of Extra is split into three sections. Within the first, Nye reveals us why we needs to be dissatisfied with materials affluence. The culturally accepted objectives of well being, wealth, and happiness, that are important to capitalism, are inflicting widespread distress. Within the second, he works by means of attributes of our tradition which are unholy and unhealthy—like isolation, a scarcity of relaxation, concern for fame, and a scarcity of generosity. Nye’s evaluation is overwhelmingly destructive, and he sees few potentialities for gospel pleasure in our harried tradition. The third part provides assist for dwelling in such a bleak actuality. Nye’s message is basically ascetic, requiring self-denial as the primary means to realize his proposed virtues. There’s name to gospel renunciation of worldly objectives, however little clear steerage on different objectives to undertake—apart from to put maintain of summary virtues like generosity, tempo, connection, and obscurity.
The trustworthy Christian life is a name to maneuver away from materialism and greed and towards a lifetime of joyous contentment in Christ.
Nye rightly criticizes a lot of the materialism in our tradition. Nevertheless, Much less of Extra provides little concrete steerage on obtain the summary items, how they higher embody the gospel, and in what methods pursuing these alternate options advances the mission of God. In brief, the e-book provides critique with little in the best way of options.
Pursue Contentment in Christ
Each volumes are properly written and attention-grabbing studying. Nye’s e-book might shock a contented careerist out of his materialist focus or assist diagnose the malaise of the depressing commuter. Davis’s e-book is spiritually worthwhile as a result of it directs the reader towards Christian contentment.
Paul urged Timothy towards satisfaction in his materials situation: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). In that specific context, Paul was urging Timothy to not pervert his doctrine to herald more cash. If bringing glory to Christ is our foremost aim, then there is no such thing as a sacrifice too nice for us to make and no consolation so tempting it may possibly draw us away. We should pursue contentment in Christ, not within the metrics of this world.
Chris Nye. Much less of Extra: Pursuing Non secular Abundance in a World of By no means Sufficient. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2019. 192 pp. $14.99.
Andrew M. Davis. The Energy of Christian Contentment: Discovering Deeper, Richer Christ-Centered Pleasure. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2019. 224 pp. $15.99.