Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Doctrine of Contentment: Part 2; The four types of testing that strengthen our contentment.
Friday, December 17, 2004
PHI 4:11 Not because I am speaking with reference to poverty or lack; for I have learned in whatever circumstances I am to be content.
Point 1. Definition.
a. Autarkes, contentment – from Aeschylus = sufficient for oneself, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support; to be independent of external circumstances.
In the spiritual realm, autarkes means to be spiritually self-sustained and to become sufficient enough to be in need of no one else.
Point 2. Godliness or Living the Spiritual Life That God Has Provided is a Means of Great Profit When Accompanied by Contentment.
“Contentment” = perfect happiness, begun in spiritual self-esteem, continued in spiritual autonomy, and completed in spiritual maturity.
1. People testing
2. Thought testing
3. System testing
4. Disaster testing
Satan is the first creature guilty of arrogance, ISA 14:14.
His original sin of arrogance is amplified in EZE 28:17 – he was corrupted by his wisdom.
Arrogance is a high-minded self-respect totally apart from reality.
It is high esteem of oneself from some imagined or real superiority.
Arrogance is synonymous with vanity, which is empty pride in regard to one’s person, attainments, or possessions coupled with an excessive desire to be noticed, a lust for attention, lust for approval or praise from others.
1CO 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise.
ISA 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And clever in their own sight!
ROM 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;
Spiritual self-esteem is vulnerable to arrogance without providential preventative suffering, which God graciously provides.
People testing, Thought testing, System testing, Disaster testing
“On behalf of Christ” – the glorification of our Lord demands that the believer in spiritual self-esteem put muscle on that status, pass providential preventative suffering so he might advance to spiritual autonomy, thus increasing his perfect happiness.
“Strong when weak” = the utilization of divine power for momentum in the spiritual life that God has provided for the Church-age believer.
To be “weak” means you must make maximum use of divine power, the basis for blessing in the midst of testing.
Providential preventative suffering brings you to the point where you realize life and the devil are bigger than you, and you will not be able to solve your problems on your own.
To the extent that you have illusions about your so-called strong points, you are depriving yourself of the blessings of grace.
a. In personal love or admiration, the object of your love often controls your life or provides for you unhappiness, unless you have attained spiritual self-esteem, spiritual independence, or spiritual maturity.
b. In personal hatred or animosity, the object of your antagonism or irritation often has control of your life or happiness, unless you have advanced to spiritual adulthood.
You are supposed to have personal control of your life, a personal sense of destiny, self-confidence from metabolized doctrine, contentment, and therefore, poise and command of self.
EPH 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
PRO 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
PSA 119:63 I am a companion of all those who respect Thee, And of those who keep Thy precepts.
MAL 3:16 Then those who respected the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who respect the Lord and who esteem His name.
The solution to people testing is found in the combination of personal love for God and impersonal love for all mankind.
“Sound judgment” = thinking in terms of sanity for the purpose of being rational without illusion.
At some time in life, you may be promoted to some area totally beyond your ability, and in arrogance you may accept this new position.
To be “rational without illusion” means to have no illusions about yourself.
A system is an organization composed of people under the command of other people functioning under a policy which is designed to fulfill a specific objective.
Some systems are good and some are bad, however, the issue is not whether they are good or bad, the issue is –
do you enter into the system or an organization with the perfect happiness and contentment from God?
1CO 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
The characteristics of a system –
1. The authority may give unfair and unjust treatment, as from management, the boss, supervisor, senior officer, coach, professor, government bureaucrat, husband, parents, etc.
2. The policy may be unreasonable, or may conflict with normal living or with your own personal norms and standards, or it may be a stupid though still enforceable policy.
3. The objectives may be unreasonable or even impossible because of lack of ability in the personnel trying to fulfill them.
The greatest enemy to any organization is arrogance in its personnel.
A second enemy is incapability; a third is laziness.
Other enemies include distraction from wrong priorities and ignorance.
Before the believer reaches spiritual maturity and has +H plus real contentment, there will be some major disasters in the life.
PSA 57:1 Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in Thee; And in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, until destruction passes by.
1. Personal disaster testing is designed as suffering for blessing for acceleration of momentum, or warning of cosmic involvement, in which case divine discipline becomes involved.
2. Historical disaster, collective disaster, or national disaster testing is related to the bad decisions of others in which you are involved by association.
1. Pain – physical or mental pain and anguish.
2. Crime – where you are the victim.
3. Persecution (not paranoia).
4. Privation – hunger, thirst, exposure, fatigue.
5. Loss of loved ones, property, success, money, etc.
6. Disease and handicaps.
a. Violence, crime, terrorism, dope, murder.
c. Weather disaster includes heat, cold, storm, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes.
d. Cycles of discipline.
In this test, there is always the temptation to take the easy route of money, security, fame, and lose forever the conveyance of escrow blessing.
There is always the disaster that will make you prosperous if you rely on the power of God to pull you through.
JER 17:17 “Thou art my refuge in the day of disaster.”
JOB 5:19 From one disaster after another he delivers you; no matter what the calamity, the evil can’t touch you.
PSA 86:13 You’ve always been great toward me – what love! You snatched me from the brink of disaster!