Summary: This message focuses on contentment a result of pursuing simplicity in our life.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
“Simplicity” The Path to Contentment
Those who long for a deeper connection with God and an increased capacity to live life on a higher plane must engage in the things that facilitate such a life. Scripture identities particular habits, exercises, practices, disciplines designed to exercise and develop the soul. Each discipline increases our spiritual capacity just like physical exercise enables us to run further, work longer and enjoy activity to a higher degree. One such discipline is a life style of sacrifice which willingly offers something we value highly for the sake of someone or something valued more highly. The incorporation of this discipline in my daily life diminishes the pull of selfishness and develops selflessness which conditions the soul for deeper relationship with God and more effective service. Would I give $100 now for $1000 return later? Would I give up carbohydrates now for clean arteries later? The list goes on. If we could only catch a clear glimpse of the connection between today’s discipline and its affect on the eternal, we might more readily forgo today’s pleasure; we would enthusiastically sacrifice time, money, possessions, pleasure, power today for tomorrow’s eternal benefits. The difference between blessing and bondage lies in who controls who. Sacrifice and abstinence enable us to break the control the pursuit of these things so easily seize over our life. God created us to enjoy Him.
God created us to delight in His presence and in what He has provided for us. Early on, Satan stirred discontent in Eve with both God and the environment He provided for them and urged Eve to seek satisfaction and pleasure independent from God’s ways. Today people continue to seek satisfaction from anything but God and what He provides. They seek contentment but from all the wrong sources.
The principle of Contentment
Contentment is a feeling of calm satisfaction, a freedom from care or worry, a sense of pleasure. Proper thinking promotes that pleasurable feeling.
CONTENTMENT. The noun ‘contentment’ occurs only once in (1 Tim. 6:6), but its Greek equivalent autarkeia appears also in 2 Cor. 9:8 as ‘enough’; the adjective autarkes in Phil. 4:11 and the verb arkeo in Lk. 3:14; 1 Tim. 6:8; Heb. 13:5; 3 Jn. 10; see also 2 Cor. 12:9, ‘is sufficient’. autarkeia denotes freedom from reliance upon others, whether other persons or other things; hence the satisfaction of one’s needs (2 Cor. 9:8) or the control of one’s desires (1 Tim. 6:6, 8). It is not a passive acceptance of the status quo, but the positive assurance that God has supplied one’s needs, and the consequent release from unnecessary desire. The Christian can be ‘self-contained’ because he has been satisfied by the grace of God (2 Cor. 12:9). The Christian spirit of contentment follows the fundamental commandment of Ex. 20:17 against covetousness, the precept of Pr. 15:17; 17:1, the exhortations of the prophets against avarice (e.g. Mi. 2:2) and supremely the example and teaching of Jesus, who rebuked the discontent which grasps at material possessions to the neglect of God (Luke 12:13–21) and who commended such confidence in our Father in heaven as will dispel all anxiety concerning physical supplies (Mt. 6:25–32). In the Old Testament the phrase ‘be content’ (from Hebrew. ya’al indicates pleasure or willingness to do a certain action, usually one which has been requested by another person, e.g. Ex. 2:21; Jdg. 17:11; 2 Ki. 5:23. J.C.C.
Most people live with continual discontent which would be a feeling of agitated dissatisfaction, bondage to care and worry, a sense of displeasure.
Discontent with myself, with God, with the church, with work, with family, with my environment, with my health, with people. That 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. James (3:14-16) says that bitter jealousy and selfish ambition are worldly, fleshly and demonic traits resulting in disorder and every evil thing. We expect that a change in our circumstances will bring about the contentment and satisfaction we so long to experience.
Contentment is not circumstantial it is contemplational.
Contentment is a state of mind not a state of affairs.
The feeling of contentment comes from right thinking; adopting an eternal perspective.
Jesus warned about the greed that arises when we think life revolves around our possessions.
"Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. Isaiah 55:1-2