Contentment and the Promises of God (Burroughs)

True contentment is one of the greatest spiritual virtues. A Christian who is content is not one you’ll find grumbling or complaining. A Christian who is content will not have the bitterness of heart that comes from jealousy and envy. If you are a follower of Jesus who is content you will not be running the exhausting rat race of trying to keep up with your neighbor attempting to match his or her possessions. The list goes on. True contentment is a great blessing!

Speaking of contentment, one way to grow in contentment is to remember and own the promises of God. Jeremiah Burroughs (d. 1646) wrote about this in his well known book on the topic, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. In the fourth chapter Burroughs said that Christians are heirs of God and therefore have claim to his promises. This truth brings about contentment. Think about God’s great promises to his people: I will be with you, I will forgive you, I will not leave you, I will strengthen you, I will raise you up on the last day, etc. When we think about those promises, it gives us contentment. If we have these great promises from our great God, what more could we need?

Therefore when you look into the book of God and find any promise there, you may make it your own; just as an heir who rides over a lot of fields and meadows says, ‘This meadow is my inheritance, and this corn field is my inheritance,’ and then he set a fine house and says, ‘This fine house is my inheritance.’ He looks at them with a different eye from a stranger who rides over those fields. A carnal heart reads the promises, and reads them merely as stories, not that he has any great interest in them. But every time a godly man reads the Scriptures (remember this when you are reading the Scripture) and there meets with a promise, he ought to lay his hand upon it and say, ‘This is part of my inheritance, it is mine, and I am to live upon it.’ This will make you content; it is a mysterious way of getting contentment. And there are several other promises that bring contentment (Psalm 34:10; 37:6; Isaiah 58:10)….

Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, p. 83.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

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