Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries

The Doctrine of Contentment. Part 3. How to handle the seemingly boring mundane things in life.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

PHI 4:11 Not because I am speaking with reference to poverty or lack; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

Predicate nominative adjective – autarkes = self-sufficient contentment.
When a predicate nominative follows a verb in the sentence under Greek structure it has the same value or grammatical weight as the subject.

Paul is saying – “I am nothing myself without this contentment.”

The Doctrine of Contentment.
Point 1. Definition.

a. Autarkes, contentment = sufficient for oneself, strong enough or possessing enough inner strength to need no aid or support; to be independent of external circumstances.
b. Autarkes = to be contented with one’s niche, with one’s means, even though little.
c. To be strong enough or possessing enough strength to need no aid or support from others.

“To be satisfied and contented with your wages,” LUK 3:14, with food and clothing; 1TI 6:8, with “such things as you have,”
HEB 13:5.

It is used negatively of Diotrephes, who in 3Jo 10, “was not content,” and therefore he sowed division.

Point 2. Godliness or Living the Spiritual Life That God Has Provided is a Means of Great Profit When Accompanied by Contentment.

This is a means of great profit because it is the beginning of the development of true contentment and the resultant inner happiness, becoming occupied with Christ, and having personal love for God.

Having perfect happiness, God then gives us the ultimate in suffering for blessing – evidence testing, and this is how “godliness is a means of great profit.”

“Contentment” = perfect happiness, begun in spiritual self-esteem, continued in spiritual autonomy, and completed in spiritual maturity.

Being content with food and shelter means that if you are content with the basic things and you develop perfect happiness, then God can trust you with the most magnificent things in life, as packaged in your escrow blessings for time.

2CO 12:10 Therefore I am well content [the beginning of perfect happiness] with weaknesses [providential preventative suffering]: in insults or slanders [people testing], with distresses or pressures [thought testing] with persecutions [system testing], with difficulties or stresses [disaster testing] on behalf of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Providential preventative suffering is undeserved suffering brought to us by permission of God to protect us from becoming arrogant and thinking more highly of ourselves than what we ought to.

The purpose of providential preventative suffering is to learn obedience, self-discipline, and enforced and genuine humility through the application of the contentment you possess.

Point 3. The Challenge to Contentment is Boredom.

Many things we do in life are monotonous, wearisome, exhausting and tiresome, and seem to be a waste of time.

As a result of looking at the things you do habitually as being monotonous, life has no meaning, no purpose and no significance because you lack contentment in your life.

ECC 3:9-10 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

ECC 1:3-5 What’s there to show for a lifetime of work, a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone? One generation goes its way, the next one arrives, but nothing changes – it’s business as usual for old planet earth. The sun comes up and the sun goes down, then does it again, and again – the same old round.

ECC 1:8 Everything’s boring, utterly boring – no one can find any meaning in it. Boring to the eye, boring to the ear.

MAT 10:42 “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward.”

There comes a time in every believer’s life of going through dryness or dullness in the spiritual life.

This low point of dullness or monotony will not of itself take us away from the plan of God unless we allow it to be properly exploited by the kingdom of darkness.

It has to do with a physiological need that the individual has a difficult time identifying, and then through satanic deception, it turns into all sorts of things.

This was a low point in David’s life, he stayed back when he should have gone forward.

David’s real problems began by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Even though he is a mature believer, as high as you can go, he fell into a state of degeneracy.

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.
1CO 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

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
GAL 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
1CO 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

This is another indication of David’s spiritual status, he is sleeping during the day time while his soldiers are out fighting the war.

It started out by tempting him at a low point and it ended up with his son dying, his daughter being raped, his son being murdered and the Absalom revolution.

Satan and the kingdom of darkness know that believers have a body, soul and spirit and that it is the spirit part of man that can get in touch with the spiritual world and eternal things.

They understand that while our spirit can be directed to eternal things, our bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change and basically affected by earthly things.

As long as we live on this earth, periods of emotional and physical highs will alternate with periods of apathy or calmness and passivity about certain things.

To live on the dull edge is really to become a slave to life.

Are you allowing someone or something to enslave you so that you live and you will die not really knowing who you are?

I get up each morning, dust off my wits,
Pick up the paper and read the O’bits.
If my name is missing, I know I’m not dead,
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed!

HEB 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

PSA 92:12-14 The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green,

Our attitude is one of over-protection.

1. To get what you want.
2. To enjoy it.
Only the wisest of mankind, achieve the second.

1. “I’m waiting until I get the things I’ve always wanted, then I’ll be happy.”
LUK 12:15 And He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

2. “I’m waiting until I meet the person who will fulfill my life.”
PSA 118:8-9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord Than to trust in man.It is better to take refuge in the Lord Than to trust in princes.

3. “I’m waiting until I have achieved my goals and realized my dreams.”
Goals and dreams, as great as they may be and as much as they keep us plugging in the valley, will never bring satisfaction.

We spend so much longer climbing than we do enjoying the view when we reach it.
MAT 16:26 “For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

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