Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain

Godliness with contentment is great gain! – 1 Timothy 6:6

True godliness produces and strengthens contentment; and contentment is the calm sunshine of a man’s life. We do not mean sitting down in idleness, feeling at home in filth, or indulging in negligence; this would be a disgrace to any creature, especially a professing Christian! But contentment is connected with honest industry, general purity, and a concern for the honor of God.

True contentment springs from acknowledging and eyeing God’s providence, whose “tender mercies are over all His works.” It is a bowing to His will as the infinitely wise and invariably good; believing the promises He has given; expecting the provision He has made; and feeling satisfied to share in the common lot with His people.

Contented Christians prize spiritual blessings before temporal, and live sensible of their demerit and desert. They know that everything short of Hell is a favor and that the glories of Heaven will more than make amends for all the toils and privations of this world’s wilderness pilgrimage. They do not expect to find rest below, or a paradise in the desert of this world. They are persuaded, “that all things work together for good, to those who love God, and are the called according to His purpose.”

Pride is slain, and humility flourishes; for pride is the parent of discontent, ingratitude, peevishness, rebellion against God, and many other evils. While humility produces contentment, patience, gratitude, submission to the will of God, and many other virtues.

The godly who are contented are rich for they have a good fortune! They have inward peace and satisfaction of mind which are better than gold! They are filled with gratitude and thankfulness to God which are better than a large estate! They have love to God and delight in Him which are preferable to a splendid mansion! They have a joyful anticipation of eternal glory, of being acknowledged as the sons of God, and fellow-heirs of Jesus which is to be esteemed above all the titles and honors of this perishing world!

They contentedly live in the enjoyment of what they now have realizing that their glorious portion is yet to come! Their aspirations are on the same level as their earthly condition hence, they are strangers to fretfulness, murmuring, and the constant vexations which most men experience. They prove that, “Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.”

Reader, are you a godly person? Are you acquainted with God as your God, your Friend, your Father? Are you contented with your place, portion, and prospect in this perishing world! If so, you have a good fortune!

-James Smith

How Prayer Leads to Contentment

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. – James 5:13

Humility, faith, repentance, heavenly-mindedness, and self-denial are the heart-quieting graces, and prayer is the heart-quieting duty. He that has not learned to pray, will not learn to be content. There must be a good striving with God in prayer, or there will be a striving against discontent. Are you afflicted? Pray (James 5:13). Do you meet with crosses? Pray. Does your estate decay, your family die, or is the body consumed by pain and sickness? Pray. The best way to be content in every state is to pray in every state. We study this hard lesson best upon our knees.

Prayer furthers contentment:

1. By giving vent to the mind under trouble. Full vessels are app to burst! Prayer is the best vent. We can go to God and pour out our hearts before him, and a heart ready to break is now greatly relieved. Hannah prayed, and wasn’t sad anymore (1 Samuel 1:18).

2. By obtaining grace and strength from God that enables contentment. He that stills the sea when it rages can also still the soul in all its passions and discontent. The calming of an inward storm is a thing that is in every way as marvelous as Christ calming the storm (Matthew 8:24-27). Paul was content ‘through Christ who strengthen him!’ This was a supernatural quietness of his mind.

If you desire to be content in every condition, then go to God often and beg for it from him. Say, ‘Lord, I am beside myself, and have a discontented heart that is ready upon every cross to fret against you. This is my burden: I cannot get the victory over my passion, I cannot bring myself to a calm, submissive frame. Blessed God, do help me through the power of your grace to have a contented mind in me! Oh, do but pray thus, and in due time God will give you what you pray for!

-Thomas Jacombe – Voices from the Past Vol. 2 – P. 287

We Are Not Fit to Make Our Own Choice

I am not fit to be my own chooser; God shall choose for me! I desire nothing but what God sees fit to give me.” – Thomas Jacombe

This quote is a soul-searching statement about contentment. So much of our turmoil of soul stems from believing our situation should be something other than what it is. Our dismay is often the result of thinking that we are facing something that is not beneficial to our souls. However, is God not sovereign, and is he not good?

We are not fit to be our own chooser. If we were to choose our lot in life, in our sinfulness, we would destroy ourselves. We would always choose pleasure and success, and, in the process, ruin our souls. Like the picture of Dorian Grey, our souls would decay in the sugary sweetness of earthly delights, while the world would look on in wonder at our picture perfect life.

At first, our choice for pleasure would be accompanied by our claim that we desire to magnify the goodness of the Lord, but as our souls began to deteriorate, we would lose the ability to choose otherwise. More and more earthly pleasure and success would be required to keep us satisfied.

Praise God, he chooses for us. Whatever hardships we face, the hand of our God ordains it. Whether we encounter sickness, poverty, famine, pestilence, or the weapons of our enemies, he is good in all he does. He is the keeper of our souls, and through it all he is holding the rot at bay.

We are called to fight against all of these hardships when they hit and not wallow in them, but our success or failure in these battles is also his decision, and all his ways are perfect.

If we understand that his choosing is better than ours, as the troubles of our day present themselves, we will not be dismayed or moved to despair. Instead, we will know that what we are facing this day is the best thing we could face for our spiritual well-being. Any other situation would be detrimental to our spiritual health, and God will not allow that to happen.

We will trust the hand of God in all things. We will fight with a strength not our own, and leave the results to Him. For we will desire nothing but what God sees suitable to give us.

-D. Eaton

Thoughts on Contentment – William Plummer

Are you ambitious for the things of this world_

When we become lifted up with pride, and think we deserve something good at God’s hands–it is impossible to satisfy us. But with the humble is wisdom, quietness, gentleness, and contentment. He who expects nothing, because he deserves nothing, is sure to be satisfied with the treatment he receives at God’s hands.

The proud man is like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. He is turbulent and fiery. He alienates friends; he makes enemies. He has much trouble and sorrow–where the humble man passes quietly along. Pride and contentment do not go together. Neither do contentment and carnal ambition.

“Do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not!” (Jeremiah 45:5)

Our actual needs are not many; but the ambitious create a thousand desires and demands, which are hard, if not impossible to meet.

He who is carnally ambitious, will not be content with whatever he gains, because each elevation widens his horizon, and gives him a view of something else which he greatly longs for. And so he is tossed from vanity to vanity–a stranger to solid peace.

Are you ambitious for the things of this world?
Then you are your own tormentor!

-William Plummer

The Pain of Discontentment

We have hearts that long after fulfillment, but far too often we seek that fulfillment in things that fail to deliver. As we long for them we find that our hearts begin to ache. If the desire is strong enough and what we want is out of our reach, it can even lead to depression and anxiety. What is it about desiring things in this way that causes this kind of heartache?

It all seems to stem from the fact that when we want something we cannot have, a gloom begins to cover all the other wonderful blessings the Lord has already given us. As our flesh longs after these things, we hear the sirens singing to us, telling us that we need this in order to be complete.  The problem is, that is not the only song that is sung.  It always travels with another tiding that declares, all these other blessings you already have are not enough; they will always leave you empty.

This is why we can find ourselves surrounded by a multitude of blessings asking, “why am I so miserable?”  If you find yourself in this position, ask yourself what it is that is promising you fulfillment and causing to despise what you already have?  If it is not of God, remember what William Plummer once said, “Are you ambitious for the things of this world? Then you are your own tormentor!”

This leaves us asking how to end this self-torture. Removing desires that war against our soul is no easy task. The only way this can be done is by turning our minds away from the things of the world and setting them on things above where Christ is seated (Col. 3:1).  In other words, we need to set our minds on Christ, the only One who can deliver what He has promised.  This will be a lifelong war and we may lose some battles, but it is one of the primary fronts in the fight of faith.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. – 1 Timothy 6:6

-D. Eaton