Monday, April 14, 2008

What quietness of heart is, and is not, opposed to

Simply saying that a contented soul is "quiet of the heart" might cause confusion. Some may actually attain this but because of confusion may think they do not. Others, perhaps by their naturally quiet disposition, may think this is their lot but indeed it is not. Therefore Burroughs gives three things that a quiet of the heart is not opposed to:
  1. To a due sense of affliction. Simply ignoring problems and dusting them under a rug as if they do not exist, is not true contentment. Burroughs is saying that we ought to "be sensible of what we suffer". In fact if we are to truly be content we must know what it is we suffer. "Indeed, there would be no true contentment if you were not apprehensive and sensible of your afflictions, when God is angry".
  2. To making in an orderly manner our moan and complaint to God, and to our friends. Some believe that in order to be content we must constantly shut our mouths to our affliction. Burroughs encourages us to take our complaint to God and to discuss matters with our friends.
  3. To all lawful seeking for help in different circumstances, nor to endeavoring simply to be delivered out of present afflictions by the use of lawful means. Some believe that seeking a way out of suffering and affliction is in itself unholy. Burroughs would disagree. As he would later say, "God is thus far mercifully indulgent to our weakness, and he will not take it ill at our hands if by earnest and importunate prayer we seek him for deliverance until we know his good pleasure in the matter. His advice is simple, seek the will of God and be melted up into that.

Our author then gives eight things that the quiet of the heart is opposed to:

  1. Murmuring and repining at the hand of God
  2. Vexing and fretting
  3. Tumultuousness of spirit (confused and distracted thoughts)
  4. An unsettled and unstable spirit, distracted from our duty
  5. Distracting, heart-consuming cares
  6. Sinking discouragements
  7. Sinful shiftings and shirkings to get relief and help
  8. Desperate risings of the heart against God by way of rebellion

Admonishment: Cast all your cares upon God, doing so in faith.

For Your Consideration: I love Burroughs honesty here. He realizes that we have struggles and even gives sympathy to those that are predisposed to "melancholy". He seems to understand that suffering is going to happen and we are foolish to pretend that it is not happening when we find ourselves in its grips. Yet, Burroughs does not sway to the other extreme of giving too much undue focus on the problem itself. He seems to say acknowledge the suffering, take it to God, but do so with a heart of faith. Do not get distracted or start repining and rebelling against God. Take your troubles to him in faith.

The Jewel:

"Indeed, if his people stand in need of miracles to bring about their deliverance, miracles fall as easily from God's hands as to give his people daily bread...God would have us to depend on him though we do not see how the thing may be brought about; otherwise we do not show a quiet spirit." (p24)

Continue on to our discussion of section 3, Chapter 1 in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...