The Quality of Contentment

I’m almost finished reading The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment – though I did count it in my 2014 total and included in my top five favorite books.

Burroughs, a seventeenth century Puritan, develops multiple avenues for developing contentment. After expounding on his specific and deep definition of what contentment is, he then moves on to develop ways we can grow in contentment during our lifetimes – because growing in contentment is part of growing in maturity and grace in Christ and it is not an end-point we will attain during this life. It is a grace we can always be growing in – and will always be given opportunities to grow in.

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Contentment: Resignation, Submission, or Desire

One of the explanations for how to grow into contentment struck me. Again, it comes back to our definitions. What is contentment? Is it merely “making due” or “yielding desire”? This can be a starting point, but Christian contentment is so much more: It is wanting what God wants, and that includes wanting His providential work in our lives.

A gracious heart is contented by the melting of his will and desires into God’s will and desires; by this means he gets contentment.

He gets contentment not by giving up desire altogether, but by changing it from his selfish desires to a desire of God Himself, and by extension, whatever God has determined to do to bring Himself glory in this world.

He comes to have his desires satisfied though he does not obtain the thing that he desired before; still he comes to be satisfied with this, because he makes his will to be at one with God’s will.

And this goes beyond submission – a putting under of my own will in service to God’s – it is a whole change so that my desire is not under God’s, my desire is to be God’s desire.

But a gracious heart will say, ‘O what God would have, I would have too; I will not only yield to it, but I would have it too.’

Can I say I would rather have whatever God has determined to send me, regardless of what circumstances that involves, trusting God will use it for my good and His glory? God give me the grace to do so.

You must make God’s providential will and his operative will your will as well as God’s will, and in this way you must come to contentment.

Update: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment is currently on sale as a 9c Kindle book.

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Get more great quotes & recommendations at ladydusk’s Wednesday with Words!

5 Responses

  1. ladydusk
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    I’m reading your first quote as “melting of his will” The idea that as our will and desires subordinate and eventually become patterned after the Lord’s is a very desirous state. One that takes time. I need to remember to take time and not go now. Thanks, Mystie.

  2. Anna
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    I’m interested in what you think of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. I can’t remember seeing Laughing Gas before, though I’ve listened to several of Wodehouse’s books – looks fun, and I could use some cheering up right now.

    • Mystie Winckler
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      Wodehouse is always good for a laugh – Laughing Gas is very unexpected. I think it’ll get a post. :)

      I’m about halfway through Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; I’m not sure I’m the best reviewer for it, because I tend to overdose on the productivity/self-improvement/time-management genre. There’s nothing new here, but the information is targeted at average moms instead of 9-5 climb-the-corporate-ladder types or entrepreneurs like most of the genre.

  3. Karen
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    I just ordered “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” using your link. Thanks for the recommendation! After your posts about it, I’m definitely intrigued.
    I hadn’t heard of Laughing Gas either, but I’ll watch for it now. Wodehouse has grown on me over the past couple of years.

  4. Betty dickerson
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    I love the Rare Jewel book. I still need to finish it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Liberal Arts Tradition and Crystal’s book.