Would you say you’re content, discontent, or pretty content?
Maybe, like me, you’d say your pretty content or even content most of the time.
I reconsidered my self-evaluation after I read a chapter by Thomas Watson in his book, The Art of Divine Contentment, written in the 1600’s. Once again, I’ve found a book that speaks to today’s Christian as much it did 300-400 years ago!
I’m busy writing a newsletter and working on some of my first stretch videos this week so I’m keeping this short and sweet!
Would you want to check out Watson’s book? You can click here and read a more in-depth description of each characteristic in the eleventh chapter.
So…How CAN we know that we have learned the lesson of contentment? Following are some characteristics taken from Watson’s book by which you will know it. I have found them helpful in evaluating where I’ve learned to be content…AND where I need to pray for growth.
- “A Contented spirit is silent when under afflictions. There is a sinful silence—when God is dishonored, his truth wounded, and men hold their peace, this silence is a loud sin. And there is a holy silence—when the soul sits down quiet and content with its condition.
- A contented spirit is a CHEERFUL spirit. Contentment is something more than patience; for patience denotes only submission, contentment denotes cheerfulness. A contented Christian is more than passive; he does not only bear the cross—but takes up the cross. (Mat. 6:24) He looks upon God as a wise God; and whatever he does, it is in order to a cure. Hence the contented Christian is cheerful, and with the apostle, “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.” (2 Cor. 12:10) He does not only submit to God’s dealings—but rejoices in them!
- A contented spirit is a THANKFUL spirit. This is a degree above cheerfulness; “in everything giving thanks.” (1 Th. 5:18) A gracious heart spies mercy in every condition, therefore has his heart pitched up to thankfulness.
- He who is content, no condition comes amiss to him; so it is in the text, “in whatever condition I am.” A Christian should be content in any and every situation; either to lack or abound.
- He who is contented with his condition—to rid himself out of trouble, will not turn himself into sin. I deny not but a Christian may lawfully seek to change his condition: so far as God’s providence goes before, he may follow. But when men will not follow providence but run before it, as he who said, “this evil is of the Lord, why should I wait any longer. (2 Ki. 6:33) If God does not open the door of his providence, they will break it open—and wind themselves out of affliction by sin; bringing their souls into trouble! This is far from holy contentment, this is unbelief broken into rebellion.”
Do you find these helpful? Do you have any characteristics to add to Watson’s?
Next week, I’ll share Thomas Watson’s rules on contentment. I like to think of them more as practices of contentment!
I’m linking up with these awesome bloggers this week!