Thursday, November 15, 2007

Burroughs--What is Contentment?

Today we will be looking at Burroughs' description of contentment (page 2). This description will serve as a thesis for the entire book. Burroughs will spend 13 chapters expounding upon this description and giving principles on how to attain it. Burroughs offers the following description:
"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.
The first thing we see is that contentment is a sweet inward heart thing. It is as the Psalmist said, "Truly my soul waits on God" (62:1) or again "My soul, wait only on God (62:5). Burroughs notes that "many may sit silently, refraining from discontented expressions, yet inwardly they are bursting with discontent".

Therefore we see that it is vitally important that our hearts be content inwardly. Because God hears our inward heart. What a great analogy Burroughs then employs by saying, "A shoe may be smooth and neat outside, while inside it pinches the flesh." Oh, how many souls are outwardly "content" yet inwardly they are discomforted and grumbling against the Lord? I know that sometimes due to my position in the ministry I can outwardly look contented yet inwardly my heart is turbulent. How much must our great God despise our murmuring hearts?

Certainly our battle for contentment will be an inward battle. Often times we can easily fake the outside; only occasionally, when pressed beyond control, do we display our inward unrest. Therefore, "there is certainly more to it than can be attained by common gifts and the ordinary power of rason, which often bridle nature. It is a business of the heart." As Burroughs will show us this will take the power of the Christ and His gospel to bring us to contentment.

What are your comments? Has anything struck you in this section? I especially like Burroughs analogy of the shoe; polished on the outside and pinching on the inside. Have you ever felt that way? Do you ever feel like a polished shoe on the outside all the while inwardly your heart is discontented?

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