Contentment is a great subject to occupy our minds and hearts at the end of this year 2015, and the December issue of Tabletalk directs us to this very matter with its theme “Contentment.”
One of the featured articles is the one linked below, penned by Melissa Kruger, wife and mother married to Dr. Michael Kruger, president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC.
She lays out a wonderful summary of what it means to find contentment in this age of greed, covetousness, and discontent.
Here is part of what she says in her introduction:
…Culture may view contentment as something we gain through relationships, wealth, power, and privilege, but the Bible sets forth very different qualifications for contentment. Biblical contentment unfolds from the Spirit’s work in a believer’s heart, mind, life, and hope. These four qualifications set an eternal foundation for unwavering contentment that holds steady through life’s seasons and storms.
From there she gives those four (4) foundations “for unwavering contentment,” the first of which is this (the most important one!):
A Trusting Heart
The cornerstone of contentment is a heart that trusts the Lord. Jeremiah 17:7–8 confidently asserts:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.
This passage, alongside similar imagery in Psalm 1, presents a lovely picture of contentment. The tree’s ability to flourish is independent of circumstances because it has an enduring source from which to drink. Whatever season may come, the tree is always bearing fruit.
On the eve of His death, Jesus furthered this imagery when He taught His disciples: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Just like the tree, we possess an everlasting source from which to find nourishment. We abide in Jesus by spending time in the Word, seeking Him in prayer, and walking in obedience to His commands (John 15:7–11). Jesus is our fount, providing the strength, refreshment, and encouragement we need to withstand any and every circumstance we may face, while still bearing the fruit of contentment.
Apart from Christ, we are dry branches, parched and thirsty, always craving more. Jeremiah 17:5 warns, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert and shall not see any good come.” It is impossible to have biblical contentment apart from abiding in Christ.
By trusting in Jesus, we do not have to fear either abundance or hardship. When dificulties and trials come, His strength is sufficient. When joys and pleasures come, His grace enables us to rejoice in the Giver of all good things. A heart that trusts in God can joyfully proclaim with Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
To read the rest, visit the link below. To read another fine article on this subject, “Our New Affection” by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, visit the Ligonier link provided with the title.