By Elizabeth Prata
There’s a lot of discontent out there. I’m speaking both of the Christian world, and in the secular world. We know pagans are always discontent, their sins make them like restless waves washing up mire, as Isaiah says.
Even in the Christian world, though, there is discontent amongst those calling themselves Christians. Just scroll on any of your choice of Christian media and you will see grumbling, people acting vexed, peevishness, and so on.
I decided to start a little series on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, the social media I’m on most, called ‘Little Things’. Just a sentence expressing something I’m content with, or charms me. Like picking a good coffee mug for the day, or fluffy white clouds against a blue sky. My hope is that focusing on these things will make me more grateful of the little things that we often overlook, and thus increase my contentment. I also hope that my timeline becomes an oasis for anyone else seeking solace and peace from the trolling tumults occurring on our screens.
I also went back to a Puritan book called “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs. It is a spectacular book, one for the ages. I want to do everything I can to avoid getting weary in the well-doing, and to remain content no matter what is happening in Christendom or in the Gentile world. Burroughs wrote:
What contentment is opposed to: (says Burroughs, excerpted)
1. It is opposed to murmuring and grumbling at the hand of God, as the discontented Israelites often did. If we cannot bear this either in our children or servants, much less can God bear it in us.
2. To vexing and fretting, which is a degree beyond murmuring.
3. Peevishness – easily irritated by unimportant things.
4. To tumultuousness of spirit, when the thoughts run distractingly and work in a confused manner, so that the affections are like the unruly multitude in the Acts, who did not know for what purpose they had come together. The Lord expects you to be silent under His rod, and, as was said in Acts 19:36, “Ye ought to be quiet and to do nothing rashly.”
5. It is opposed to an unsettled and unstable spirit, whereby the heart is distracted from the present duty that God requires in our several relationships—towards God, others, and ourselves. We should prize duty more highly than to be distracted by every trivial occasion.
6. It ends with desperate risings of the heart against God by way of rebellion. Burroughs’ book is available as a Puritan Paperback at Reformation heritage Books, or at Amazon or other booksellers, or free download at Mt. Zion Chapel Library here: https://www.chapellibrary.org/pdf/books/rjoc.pdf
So, you see the progression of discontent. It begins with errant thoughts, of course, as all sin does. But once it’s ready to come out the mouth it begins as murmuring, then louder as grumbling, and on up the scale till it’s open rebellion.
We must actively squash discontent where it appears.
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