Thursday, April 10, 2014

How Paul Learned Contentment

Recently I finished reading Spiritual Depression: It's Causes & Cures by Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones. You'll hear more in my May Reading List post, but I wanted to share this particular part. He was talking about Philippians 4:11 where Paul says "for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content" and how Paul learned this contentment. Dr. Lloyd-Jones suggests that he reasoned it out like this: (see pg. 284-285)

  1. Conditions are always changing, therefore I must obviously not be dependent upon conditions.
  2. What matters supremely and vitally is my soul and my relationship to God – that is the first thing.
  3. God is concerned about me as my Father, and nothing happens to me apart from God. Even the very hairs of my head are all numbered. I must never forget that.
  4. God’s will and God’s ways are a great mystery, but I know that whatever He wills or permits is of necessity for my good.
  5. Every situation in life is the unfolding of some manifestation of God’s love and goodness. Therefore my business is to look for this peculiar manifestation of God’s goodness and kindness and be prepared for surprises and blessings because ‘His ways are not my ways, neither His thoughts my thoughts’. What, for example is the great lesson that Paul learned in the matter of the thorn in the flesh? It is that: ‘When I am weak then I am strong’. Paul was taught through physical weakness this manifestation of God’s grace.
  6. I must regard circumstances and conditions, not in and of themselves therefore, but as a part of God’s dealings with me in the work of perfecting my soul and bringing me to final perfection.
  7. Whatever my conditions may be at this present moment they are only temporary, they are only passing, and they can never rob me of the joy and the glory that ultimately await me with Christ. 

Definitely some great reminders there! May we learn contentment as Paul did - looking to Christ and not being led or controlled by our circumstances.

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