(Thomas Watson, “The Art of Divine Contentment“)
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content–whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” Philippians 4:11-12
Paul knew how to manage in every state–he learned to be content whatever his circumstances.
If he was in prosperity, he knew how to be thankful.
If he was in adversity, he knew how to be patient.
He was neither lifted up with prosperity–nor cast down with adversity.
A Christian should be content in any and every situation. Many are contented in some conditions–but not in every condition. They can be content in a wealthy state. When they have the streams of milk and honey–now they are content. But if the wind turns and is against them–now they are discontented. While they have a silver crutch to lean upon–they are contented; but if God breaks this crutch–now they are discontented.
Many would be content with their affliction–if God would allow them to pick and choose. They could better endure sickness–than poverty; or bear loss of estate–than loss of children. If they might have a cross of their own choosing, they would be content.
But a contented Christian does not desire to choose his cross–but leaves God to choose for him. He is content both for the kind of the afflictions, and the duration of the afflictions, which God gives him. A contented man says, “Let God apply whatever medicine He pleases, and let it lie on as long as He desires. I know when it has done its cure, and eaten the venom of sin out of my heart–that God will take it away.”
A contented Christian, being sweetly captivated under the authority of the Word, desires to be wholly at God’s disposal, and cheerfully lives in whatever circumstances that God has placed him in. “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) He does not only submit to God’s dealings, but rejoices in them!
I will be concluding a series on the Book of Acts this coming Sunday, Lord willing. In my preparation, I have actually been writing some notes to address the issue of carrying the cross. You are so correct, brother, that many want to follow the way of Christ as long as they get to choose their own cross. Many would be happy if the worst they endure is a bed of roses.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Remember the story of the man who was given a cross to carry through life? It was heavy and hard, and every now and then he found someone that was willing to shorten it some. By the time he got to the end of his life, and needed to “cross over” to heaven, he realized the only way to get over was to lay his cross down and bridge the gap. Because he had shortened his cross so much it was no longer long enough to get across and he ended up going to hell because of it. God gives us a cross to bear that is specifically made just for us. No one cross is the same. If we continue to look for relief from our crosses, then this life will end up being the only heaven we ever know.