CONTENTMENT

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” — Philippians 4:11.

“I HAVE learned.” The Apostle doth not say, “I have heard, that in every estate I should be content,” but, “I have learned.” It is not enough for Christians to hear their duty, but they must learn their duty. It is one thing to hear, and another thing to learn; as it is one thing to eat, and another thing to digest food. Christians bear much, but, it is to be feared, learn little.

If your estate be small, yet God can bless a little. It is not how much money we have, but how much blessing. He that often curses the bags of gold, can bless the meal in the barrel, and the oil in the cruse. What if thou hast not the full flesh-pots? yet thou hast a promise, I will “bless her provision” (Ps. 132:15), and then a little goes a great way. Be content, that thou hast the dew of a blessing distilled: a dinner of green herbs, where love is, is sweet; I may add, where the love of God is. Another may have more estate than you, but more care; more riches, less rest; more revenues, but withal more occasions of expense: he has a greater inheritance, yet perhaps God doth not give him “power to eat thereof” (Ecc. 6:2); he holds more, but enjoys less; in a word, thou hast less gold then he, perhaps less guilt.

Discontent keeps a man from enjoying what he doth possess. A drop or two of vinegar will sour a whole glass of wine. Comfort depends upon contentment. It is not trouble that troubles, but discontent; it is not the water without the ship, but the water that gets within the leak which sinks it; it is not outward afflictions that can make the life of a Christian sad; a contented mind would sail above these waters; but when there is a leak of discontent open, and trouble gets into the heart, then it is disquieted and sinks.

The discontented person thinks everything he doth for God too much, and everything God doth for him too little.

There are no sins God’s people are more subject to than unbelief and impatience; they are ready, either to faint through unbelief, or to fret through impatience. When men fly out against God by discontent and impatience, it is a sign they do not believe “that all things work together for good, to them that love God.” Discontent is an ungrateful sin, because we have more mercies than afflictions; and it is an irrational sin, because afflictions work for good. Discontent is a sin which puts us upon sin. “Fret not thyself to do evil” (Ps. 37:8). He that frets will be ready to do evil: fretting Jonah was sinning (Jonah 4:9). The devil blows the coals of passion and discontent, and then warms himself at the fire.

“All things work together for good to them that love God.” Shall we be discontented at that which works for our good? If one friend should throw a bag of money at another, and in throwing it, should graze his head, he would not be troubled much, seeing by this means he had got a bag of money. So the Lord may bruise us by afflictions, but it is to enrich us; these afflictions work for us a weight of glory; and shall we be discontented?

Immoderate care takes the heart off from better things; and usually while we are thinking how we shall do to live, we forget how to die. We may sooner by our care add a furlong to our grief, than a foot to our comfort.

Remember thou art to be here but a day; thou hast but a short way to go, and what need a long provision for a short way? If a traveller has but enough to bring him to his journey’s end, he desires no more.

How hard it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven! (Luke 18:24). His golden weights keep him from ascending up the hill of God. Be content then with a little; if you have but enough to pay for your passage to heaven, it sufficeth.

Humility is like the lead to the net, which keeps the soul down when it is rising through passion; and contentment is like the cork, which keeps the heart up when it is sinking through discouragement.

Is not many a man contented to suffer reproach for maintaining his lust? and shall not we for maintaining the truth? Some glory in that which is their shame (Phil. 3:19); and shall we be ashamed of that which is our glory?

What need he complain of the world’s emptiness that has God’s fulness? “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance,” says David (Ps. 16:5); then let the lines fall where they will, in a sick bed, or prison, I will say, “The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”

“The God which fed me all my life long to this day” (Gen. 48:15). Hath not God provided liberally for you. Thou never feedest, but mercy carves for thee; thou never goest to bed, but mercy draws the curtains, and sets a guard of angels about thee.

“The Lord is good to all” (Ps. 145:9). Sweet dewdrops are on the thistle, as well as on the rose. God’s mercy is free. To set up merit is to destroy mercy. Nothing can deserve mercy, nor force it. We may force God to punish us, but not to love us. “I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4). Every link in the chain of salvation is wrought and interwoven with free grace. Election is free. “He has chosen us in Him . . . according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5). Justification is free, “Being justified freely by His grace” (Rom. 3:24). Salvation is free, “According to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Say not then, I am unworthy; for mercy is free. If God should show mercy to such only as are worthy, He would show none at all. . . . God’s mercy is an overflowing mercy; it is infinite: “Plenteous in mercy” (Ps. 86:5). “Rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4). “Multitude of Thy tender mercies” (Ps. 51:1). The vial of wrath drops, but the fountain of mercy runs. . . . God has morning mercies, His mercies “are new every morning” (Lam. 3:23). He has night mercies, “In the night His song shall be with me” (Ps. 42:8). God’s mercy is eternal, “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 103:17). As His mercy is overflowing so it is everflowing.

Doth God give us a Christ, and will He deny us a crust? If God doth not give us what we crave, He will give us what we need.

Prosperity often deafens the ear against God. “I spake to thee in thy prosperity, but thou saidst, I will not hear” (Jer. 22:21). Soft pleasures harden the heart. Prosperity has its honey, and also its sting. Anxious care is the evil spirit that haunts the rich man; when his chests are full of money, his heart is full of care. Sunshine is pleasant, but sometimes it scorches. The spreading of a full table may be the spreading of a snare. Many have been sunk to hell with golden weights. “They that will be rich fall into many hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition” (1 Tim. 6:9). The world’s golden sands are quicksands. What if we have less food we have less snare; if less dignity, less danger. As we lack the rich provisions of the world, so we lack the temptations. To give us Christ is more than if God had given us all the world. He can make more worlds, but He has no more Christs to bestow. If you have but daily bread enough to suffice nature, be content. Consider it is not having abundance that always makes life comfortable. A staff may help the traveller, but a bundle of staves will be a burden to him. The world is but a great inn. If God give you sufficient to pay for your charges in your inn, you may be content, you shall have enough when you come to your own country.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Ps. 56:3). Faith cures the trembling in heart; it gets above fear as oil swims above the water. To trust in God makes Him to be a God to us. God will turn all evils to our good (Rom. 8:28). Joseph’s imprisonment was a means for his advancement. Out of the bitterest drug He will distil His glory and our salvation. In short, He will be our guide to death, our comfort in death, and our reward after death. “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 144:15).

 

(Thomas Watson , death: July 28, 1686, rector of St. Stephens, Walbrook, England)

Quote……J.B. Stoney

“It is true that in the mind of the Father we are always over Jordan.  But though
here in the wilderness, the joys of heaven are ours…like the grapes of Eschol—
*****

(Numbers 13: 17-25)reality of being over is not known until by faith we accept it as having died and risen with Christ; and that therefore heaven is our position, we know it to be our place, and that this side is not our place, and we know that it is not.)

*****

The more you are with the Lord in spirit on the other side, the less disappointed you will be here, for when you are there you import new joys and new hopes into this old world, from an entirely new one, and you therefore in every way surpass the inhabitants of this judged world.  May this be more and more your happy song.”

*****

J.B. Stoney

IN CHRIST ALONE……A Song

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fear’s are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here, in the love of Christ, I stand.
*****
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save
‘Til on that cross, as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin, on him, was laid
Here, in the death of Christ, I live
*****
There in the ground, his body lay
Light of the world, by darkness, slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave, he rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
*****
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from his hand
‘Til he returns or calls me home
Here, in the power of Christ, I stand
*****
(Keith & Kristyn Getty)

GOD HOLDS US IN HIS EVERLASTING ARMS……Poem by Robert Fear on Isaiah 40

He hath fixed the set proportions of the oceans and the land
According to the details of His plan;
He hath “measured out the waters in the hollow of his hand”
And meted out the heavens with His span.”
He controls th’ unconquered orbit of “the light that rules the day”
And guides the myriad worlds that shine at night;
And brings forth the host of heaven by their numbers to display
The uncontested brilliance of His might!
But although His arm is power to the infinite expanse,
That same unerring arm is in control
To determine and to govern my every circumstance—
To claim complete submission in my soul!
Yes!  And though He counts the nations as “the dust upon the scale”
And soars above their triumphs and alarms,
He remembers all about us—that our frame of dust is frail,
And holds us in His “everlasting arms.”
(R.G. Fear:  Composed en route to France for the Invasion of Europe,
June 15th, 1945)
(Golden Nuggets are published by Saville Stree Distribution, Venture,
Princes Esplanade, Walton–on–the Naze, CO14 8QD , UK)

A POEM……Dorothea Day

Out of the light that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole
   I thank the God I know to be
For Christ is the conqueror of my soul
Since His the sway of circumstance
   I would not wince nor cry aloud
Under the rule which men call chance
   My head with joy is humbly bowed
Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him!  And His the aid,
   Despite the menace of the years,
Keep, and shall keep me, unafraid
I have no fear, though strait the gate,
He cleared my punishment from the scroll
   Christ is the master of my fate
   Christ is the master of my soul

CHRISTIAN LIFE

“Sometimes our Christian life and love are divided between
the two Adams.  It may be 60-40 in favor of the last Adam,
still it is shared.  But the Lord Jesus paid it all, gave His all,
deserves our all, requires all, because He is our ALL.
Ours is to be total separation–death to the old, life in the New.”
(Hungry Heart #7, pg.24)

The growing believer will be inconsistent but never carnal. 

Vern Peterman  taught that we “put off the old man” at salvation.
(Eph.4:22).  C.A. Coates spoke of the “path of faith.”  If
we learn to depend on the Lord (walk by faith) we are growing
and being conformed to the image of Christ.  We agree it takes
much time and we marvel at the Lord’s patience with us. 
The Scofield headings are helpful,
I think in this chapter 4:

“Because the truth taught is commended by the life.” (2Cor.4:1)

“Because not self but Christ Jesus as Lord is preached.” (2 Cor. 4:2)
***************************************************************************************
I hope sharing some quotes here are welcome and benefit.
These are random quotes by Arno Gaebelein on 2 Cor.4.

“The old man has to be kept constantly in the place of death, self
must be judged and broken to pieces, that the light may shine forth.”
(he referenced the ancients who had their pitchers broken so that the
light could shine through.)

“The power is manifested through the earthen vessels in trial and
affliction.  But God’s gracious power is manifested in all these
earthly and trying circumstances.”
“”Always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus
(made like Him, in that the man as such was reduced to nothing), in order      
that the life of Jesus, which death could not touch, which has triumphed
over death, should be manifested in his body, mortal as it was.  The
more the natural man was annihilated [annulled], the more was it evident
that a power was there which was not of man.  This was the principle,
but it was morally realized in the heart by faith.  Thus death wrought in
the apostle; what was merely of man, of nature and natural life,
disappeared, in order that life in Christ, developing itself in him on the
part of God and by His power, should work in the Corinthians by
his means.  [Paul] followed the Lord in all this and knew the fellowship
of His sufferings.  But through it the people of God were helped,
comforted and blessed.  In this sense life worked in them through the
self-sacrifice of the apostle.  And what sustains in all this?  It is faith.
And faith reckons on God who raiseth the death.”

To remain in our “crucified position”….our abiding position….how
restful to follow His leading.  There is less and less striving to “be”
like Christ….and trusting the Holy Spirit to produce His life in us.
Red flags go up when we hear that “pressing, striving to obey”
because we know that message is calling for “self” effort. 
And we need the message of His sufficiency and our resting in it.

“THE MISSION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”……H.A. Ironside

“Oh the peace of full surrender!
    All my joy to do His will!
Mine to trust His faithful promise;
    His the promise to fulfil
Oh the glory and the rapture
    Thus to dwell with Christ the Lord;
New delight and wisdom gaining
    From the study of His Word.
Pleasure’s songs no more entice me,
    Nor the bugle note of Fame;
Sweeter far the holy music
    Of my dear Redeemer’s name.
Oh the glory and the rapture—
    Earthly burdens pass away!
Stormy winter turns to summer;
    Lonely darkness into day.”
(excerpt from H.A. Ironside’s “The Mission of the Holy Spirit”)