Summary: This message continues the series on spiritual disciplines. Here we discuss the discipline of simplicity or contentment.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Simplicity” The Path to Contentment
Every Christian serious about a deeper walk with God and greater impact in our world must incorporate spiritual exercises as a way of life. These disciplines diminish the things that block our relationship with God and develop the tings that blossom our relationship with God.
Silence and Solitude
We need deeper connection. Solitude and silence diminishes pride and develops relationship which brings deeper connection.
We need greater obedience. Submission diminishes rebellion and develops respect which results in greater obedience.
We need a pure and contrite heart before God. Confession diminishes denial and develops humility which results in purity.
Scripture – Faith - Prayer
We need trust. These three disciplines diminish self-reliance and develop dependence
We need to worship God. Thanksgiving and celebration diminishes negative complaining and develops a grateful, rejoicing heart – a heart of worship.
Sacrifice & Service
We need and eternal focus and purpose. Sacrifice and service diminishes selfishness and develops selflessness which results in fruitfulness. Sacrifice has to do with the intentional denial of present desires to focus on the desires of someone else. Sacrifice willingly offers something valued highly for the sake of someone valued more highly.
Such sacrifice involves a number of things we value highly.
We need to release control of our families. Dedication to God diminishes worry and control and develops inner peace.
We need to redeem the time; make efficient use of our time. A dedicated Sabbath – time dedicated exclusively to God – diminishes business and develops effectiveness.
We need to maintain a proper attitude toward money. Regular giving diminishes selfishness and develops generosity which prevents loving money over God and others.
That brings us up to the next area of sacrifice
This next discipline is a major key to our quality of life on this earth. This disciplines helps cultivate a state of mind that (or maybe it is the result of this state of mind) that the whole world longs for but rarely finds. Many have given their fortunes in search of it. Others have sacrificed their life’s to achieve it. It is a central pursuit of most all of the world’s religions. It is the theme of our constitution; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am talking about contentment.
Contentment is a feeling of calm satisfaction, a freedom from care or worry, a sense of pleasure.
Most people do not have a clue where true contentment is found. Paul told the Philippians he had learned the secret of being content in any circumstance.
Contentment is a state of mind not a state of affairs.
Contentment has little to do with external circumstances.
Contentment is not the result of denying reality but seeing reality from an eternal perspective,
Contentment can never be found through fleshly pursuit; the flesh is NEVER satisfied.
Solomon tried everything. Ecclesiastes 2:9-11
Contentment is not the same as complacency.
If contentment is a calm satisfaction, discontent is a restless dissatisfaction or disappointment.
Such discontent becomes the core of nearly every social ill today.
Jesus warned of such discontent.
Then Jesus 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." Luke 12:15
Satan planted thoughts of discontent in Eve and persuaded her to disobey God. Paul agonized over the fact that he still succeeds today.
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3
Contentment is a state of mind. It is the feeling of satisfaction and peace based on a settled trust in the person and purpose of God. He is enough! The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.
Discontent breeds in every area of our life. It invades our thinking about ourselves, others, our jobs, our friends, our church family, our own family, our actions, our work. Any time we depend on some circumstance, person or action to fill up the empty feeling in our life we will always be disappointed. Any time we expect to achieve here on earth what can only be realized at the return of Christ we will be disappointed, discontent and disillusioned. Discontent fosters any number of other poisonous weeds that choke out our life. Grumbling, worry, bitterness, selfish ambition, greed, restlessness, fatigue, perfectionism, impatience, anger, control, ingratitude, addictions, spending problems, jealousy, envy, lying, stealing.