Contentment: “A Gracious Frame of Heart”, Part 2

Welcome back to the second course of some savory fare (because I’m the waiter, and not The Chef) on the topic of CONTENTMENT based upon, “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”, by English Puritan preacher Jeremiah Burroughs.

As we touched upon last week, and as the title of the book points out, contentment is not only a rare jewel to be sought after and treasured in and of itself, it is also very RARE indeed to find in the hearts of humankind. Why is this so?

It’s a “three-against-one battle”: The Christian is pitted against the world, the flesh (residual sin, the old man), and the devil in the war between Christian contentment and its opposites—dissatisfaction, defeat, misery, anxiety, worry, covetousness, grumbling, doubt, despair, and more.

The Training Table is set to address these three issues (world, flesh, devil) in three parts… as we sup together… victorious in the battle but in need of a daily reminder of what The Redeemer has done to secure our contentedness—and our readiness to put on the amour of God.

What is it about THE WORLD that battles against our heart’s deepest desires for the rare jewel of Christian contentment?

“Any gracious heart, being transformed and enlarged to be capable of God, can then be satisfactorily filled by nothing in the world; it must be filled by God himself.” (Jeremiah Burroughs—emphasis added)

To what extent are we so satisfied by the things of this world that we must necessarily (logically, competitively) be DIS-satisfied with God’s promised, providential care of every aspect of our lives? The competition is fierce, is it not?

In the journey of growing our contentedness, please consider this: “Daily, we should consider, in all our wants and inclinations to discontent, the greatness of the mercies that we have in Christ, and the meanness of the things we lack.” (Jeremiah Burroughs—emphasis added)

Make a list. Check it twice. Be God and self-aware!

It’s Not Easy or Fun… Walking in Fear on a Tightrope Everyday!
Please closely consider this: In the everyday life, the measure of satisfaction (or contentment) with most every interaction we may have with any human being or circumstance is this:

“To what extent are MY ANXIETIES OF YESTERDAY and/or MY WORRIES OF TOMORROW mollified, quelled, suppressed, subdued, or satisfied by the interaction?”

This “heartset” (necessarily) crowds out any attention we can pay to the present: The only moment God has given us to live!

Is it not telling that a word and a potential obsession noted above is the word “MY”? Discontentment is about placing my faith and trust in ME, OTHER MEN, and the WORLD, rather than GOD.

I would respectfully submit that, due to “the battle royale” that the WORLD (“everything under the sun” that does not include God, The Book of Ecclesiastes) is engaged in against our heart’s contentment, there are none of us who live each day fully engaged in the day, in the present, only in the moment God has given us to glorify Himself and bless others: IN THE ETERNAL NOW.

Because God dearly loves our heart, the Bible is replete with exhortations such as, “TODAY, if only you would hear His voice, ‘Do not harden your hearts…’” (Psalm 95:7-8). The deafening noise of this world will not only make us oblivious to God’s will for our lives, but, over time, will enslave our sense and sensibilities to the things of this world.

If we insist on living IN the world and OF the world (John 15, 17), we will never be contented. On the contrary, the world’s paradigm of being a “meritocracy on steroids”—and encouraging all people to work out their own salvation, identity, and material success—promotes a spirit of DISCONTENTEDNESS in order that “the machinery of worth” can function at all.

Beloved of God, this is absolutely a killer for the human heart: The emotions involved in discontentedness will eventually compromise the entire body (“Deadly Emotions”, Dr. Don Colbert).

This is why the Psalmist (as should we) ponders, and celebrates, and divides his loyalties each and every day… In the beginning, middle, and end of the day:

“Whom have I in heaven but you, oh God? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever” (Psalm 73: 25-26).

“There lies a key mystery and paradox of contentment.  A truly contented man, though he is the most contented man in the world, is also the most dissatisfied man in the world: That is, those things that will satisfy the world will never satisfy him, but because he is God-contented, he can offer a dissatisfied world the same deep peace in which he abides” (Jeremiah Burroughs).

Be a Quiet Heart, a Comfort to a Noisy and Hurting World
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).

“Let us have faith and labor to get our hearts mortified to the world, dead to the world, and alive to Christ” (Jeremiah Burroughs),


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