To be contented with one’s lot is a thing to be desired “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (v.11)
To be contented with one’s self is a thing to be dreaded “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” (Lk.13:1,12 )
Our lot is that which God has been pleased to chose for us “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (I.Cor.12;8,9)
Our self is that character or disposition which is being daily built up by our co-operation with God’s grace “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (I.Cor.15:10)
It was Paul’s sense of need which aroused the desire for, and therefore secured the possession of spiritual growth.
To be contented with one’s own spiritual state is to prevent the possibility of spiritual progress.
All progress springs out of a sense of insufficiency “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt.5:3)
The contrast between Divine discontent and divine content is paralleled by the “Thou shalt not covet ” and the “Covet earnestly the best gifts”
Contentment is a rare and precious Christian grace.
It is rare and difficult of attainment, because. Out side events are frequently against us. Our own hearts are unhealthily restless. We live to much in dependence on this world and its destiny “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” (Heb.11:8)
Contentment is most desirable. For with out it the most favorable circumstances can minister little pleasure, and with it the hardest poverty can produce little distress “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” (Tit.3:3)
The importance question in regard to our happiness is not, what things do we possess? But, what kind of thoughts and feeling do we experience.
Contentment is essential in every condition of life. It is not only the virtue of the poor and the consolation of the disappointed. Rich and prospers people are too often also discontented people.
It is harder for same to know how to abound than to know how to suffer want.
Life is in truth a checkered stage. Every hour we pass from one condition or to another.
We change in mind and body, and in circumstance. We alternate between friendship and mourning, prosperity and adversity, sunshine and tempest
Wealth brings the thirst for more wealth. Pleasure blind. Prosperity wearies.
It is a grand attainment to be able to pass up and down the whole range of social change and to be content in every stage up from abasement to abundance and down again from fullness to need “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom.8:35,39)
The secret of contentment is to be learned from Christ. Christ gives us strength to bear all our circumstances. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (I.Cor.13:7
There is a secret. Some have not yet found it out. It is well worth seeking. To be fully understood, it must be learned as a long, difficult, painful lesson “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Rom.15:4)
The apostle Paul could speak of his contentment because he could also say “I do all things in him that strengtheneth me.” (Phil.3:14)
Christ enable us to live in faith. Paul could not but believe that even now all things are order wisely and kindly by his heavenly Father, that they are working together for good not yet seen, working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, we learn to bear the present mystery of trail in hope of the future revelation of blessedness “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (II.Cor 4:17)
hrist leads us to live in the spiritual, he is the real secret “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts,” (I.Cor.14:1)
External circumstances are constantly changing. At best they will not satisfy the soul’s deep hunger “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” (Lk.15:17)While we live in them we are necessarily often disappointed and discontented.
In the inter world of spiritual things we must find our best experience, and when this opens up to the higher world of Divine and heavenly things we have a source of unfailing “They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.” (Isa.49:10)