This week, the following quote from Burroughs resonated with me: "Note this: In active obedience, we worship God by doing what pleases God; but by passive obedience, we do as well worship God by being pleased with what God does." Over the past few weeks, we have been discussing the mortification of sin; I know that for myself, a grave source of losing the battle to sin comes from a discontented heart. When I begin to grow discontent in the circumstances of my life, I find myself more easily succumbing to temptation. Why is this so? I believe it is due to the fact that, as Burroughs points out, contentment is an act of worship. The contented heart looks to God, whether in "good times" or "bad times." Just as our acts of giving, hearing the preaching of the Word, prayer, and singing are acts of active worship which center upon looking to Christ, so is our contentment a passive act of worship which centers upon looking to Christ. Remember that mortification of sin is only possible by looking to Christ, setting our minds on the things that are above. This is impossible in a heart that is not content. Do you find yourself struggling with sin? Perhaps it is because you are in some measure discontent. By its very nature, discontent takes our eyes away from Christ and places them on the things of this world. Our lives are to center around the worship of our God; and this is not just for a few hours during corporate worship on the Lord's Day. Our private life, our family life, and our public life is to be devoted to the worship of God. We cannot do that if we are discontented. As we learned last week, self-denial is the first lesson to learn contentment. We must see who we are before God in order to be content. We must see that we are nothing, and that we deserve nothing. Only then will we truly be able to rest in Christ. Those were some of my thoughts. What thoughts did y'all have from this week's reading?
This week, I'd like to consider the following quote from Burroughs: "This is the first lesson that Christ teaches any soul: self-denial, which brings contentment, which brings down and softens a man’s heart." I have also been reading a book by Thomas Manton entitled "A Treatise on Self-Denial," and I cannot help but to think, firstly, of the first chapter of 1 Corinthians. The apostle Paul, in laying forth the necessity of preaching only Christ and him crucified, tells us that God turns the wisdom of the world on its head in order to destroy any boasting ability in men. How true is this in regards to contentment. The world would have us believe that contentment is the product of self-fulfillment. Let me but fill my desires, and I shall be content. I simply need more "me time" to turn my mood around. But as Burroughs rightly points out, the root of discontentment is actually self-fulfillment. We are discontent in this world because we consider ourselves as more than we are, and believe that our desires are required to be met. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. As Burroughs said, we are in fact worse than nothing; we are not simply devoid of any goodness, but we are filled with sin. The first lesson of contentment is self-denial. It is easy to be content when we realize that our life is not about us. When we cast aside the desires and aspirations we have for ourselves and instead devote ourselves to the will of God like a sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), it is no large thing to be content in the direst of circumstances. It is simple to say that, and to know it doctrinally. But applying it is the battle. Are you discontent in your marriage? With your kids? With your job? With your finances? It is because you are not denying yourself. Let us strive to put on this mindset, which the Lord Jesus had (Phil. 2)! What were some of your thoughts on our reading this week?