The first point that Burroughs draws out of his definition of contentment is that it is an "inward heart thing." It is not a mere outward conformity but a quiet of the soul. As Burroughs says, "many may sit silently, refraining from discontened expressions, yet inwardly they are bursting with discontent". If we are to truly have contentment then it must be inward and not merely outward. To drive home this point we are given a fitting analogy: "A shoe may be smooth and neat outside, while inside it pinches the flesh".
Some are unable to hide the raging sea within. Others are able to hide it. Both are in the same state--discontentment. Therefore, the goal of contentment is not to merely clothe the outward turbulences, but to calm the war within. This will require a work of God. As Burroughs says, "If the attainment of true contentment were as easy as keeping quiet outwardly, it would not need much learning...It is a business of the heart".
Admonishment: Worry about the inside of your shoe as much as the polish on the outside.
For Your Consideration: Only through a firm grip on the gospel will we be bold enough to display (as well as deal with) that which is on the inside. May the gospel have roots deep enough in our lives to cause us to be bold sinners and not polished hypocrites.
Continue to our discussion of section 2, Chapter 1 of The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment