The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11
"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11
"Highlights" from Chapter 13 How a Christian May Know Whether He Hath Learned This Divine Art...
1st.Character: A contented spirit is a silent spirit.
"I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for You are the one who has done this." Psalm 39:9
"Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him." Lam.3:28
There is a sinful silence; when God is dishonoured, His truth wounded, and men hold their peace, this silence is loud sin; and there is a holy silence, when the soul sits down quiet and content with its condition.
2nd.Character: A contented spirit is a cheerful spirit.
Contentment denotes more than patience; for patience only denotes submission, contentment denotes cheerfulness.
Contentment looks upon God as a wise God; and whatever He does, though it be not willingly, yet sensibly, it is in order to a cure.
Contentment not only submits to God's dealings, but rejoices in them; he does not only say, "just is the Lord" but "good is the Lord".
3rd.Character: A contented spirit is a thankful spirit.
Thankfulness is a degree above cheerfulness.
Some will bless God for prosperity, while the contented Christian will bless Him for affliction..."in everything give thanks." 1Thes.5:18
A contented Christian in the greatest of straits hath his heart enlarged and dilated with thankfulness; he often contemplates God's love in election; he sees that he is a monument of mercy, therefore desires to be a pattern of praise.
4th.Character: No condition comes amiss to him; "in whatever state I am in."
Paul knew how to manage every state; if he were in prosperity, he knew how to be thankful; if in adversity, he knew how to be patient; he was neither lifted up with the one, nor cast down with the other. A contented Christian doth not choose his cross, but leaves God to choose for him; he is content both for the kind and the duration.
5th.Character: The contented Christian will not turn to sin in order to rid himself of his troubles.
With reverence, the contented Christian says, God hath cast me into this condition; and though it be sad, and troublesome, yet I will not stir, till God fetch me out.
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