Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Learning to be Content

Learning to be content by Martyn Lloyd-Jones*

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

"Paul had come to learn this great truth by working out a great argument. Let me give you some of the steps of the argument which you can work out for yourself. I think that the apostle's logic was something like this. He said to himself:

1. Conditions are always changing, therefore I must obviously not be dependent upon conditions.

2. What matters supremely and vitally is my soul and my relationship to God--that is the first thing.

3. God is concerned about me as my Father, and nothing happens to me apart from God. Even the very hairs of my head are all numbered. I must never forget that.

4. God's will and God's ways are a great mystery, but I know that whatever He wills or permits is of necessity for my good.

5. Every situation in life is the unfolding of some manifestation of God's love and goodness. Therefore my business is to look for this peculiar manifestation of God's goodness and kindness and to be prepared for surprises and blessings because 'His ways are not my ways, neither His thoughts my thoughts'. What, for example, is the great lesson that Paul learned in the matter of the thorn in the flesh? It is that: 'When I am weak then am I strong'. Paul was taught through physical weakness this manifestation of God's grace.

6. I must regard circumstances and conditions, not in and of themselves therefore, but as a part of God's dealings with me in the work of perfecting my soul and bringing me to final perfection.

7. Whatever my conditions may be at this present moment, they are only temporary, they are only passing, and they can never rob me of the joy and the glory that ultimateloy await me with Christ.

*From the chapter, "Learning to be Content" from the book Spiritual Depression - Its Causes and Cure by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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