We tend to think being "stressed out" is a normal state of affairs, and that contentment means sitting back and just bottling things up. For the Christian, however, contentment is something we must apply, work at, and make our own in every circumstance, because anxiety and frustration are not neutral behaviors.
It is certainly easier to go with our natural impulses when times are very hard or even just "annoying," but contentment is an important part of our Christian life. Even the apostle Paul had to "learn" contentment. So we shouldn't wonder why we're still in spiritual kindergarten—repeating the same lessons over and over again—if we haven't given ourselves to study contentment. Thankfully, every test God gives on contentment is open book (even the pop quizzes!).
In Learning Contentment, Nancy Wilson looks to the Bible and Puritans like Jeremiah Burroughs, Samuel Rutherford, Thomas Watson, and Charles Spurgeon to help us develop the practical, spiritual strength and the perspective that comes from contentment's deep satisfaction with the will of God. This encouraging little book follows after Nancy Wilson's Virtuous: A Study for Ladies of Every Age. Learning Contentment includes concise explanations, application questions and assignments that will involve and challenge everyone, and lots of biblical wisdom for individuals and groups.
From the Book:
"We often think contentment is something that happens to us, rather than something that we take pains to learn. We assume that if we are not naturally disposed to be that way, then it’s fine to have a fiery temper or a sharp tongue. We make excuses for our behavior. After all, we tell ourselves, our parents had anger issues. So we accept the fact that we will have them too. And it’s easier to just go with our natural impulses and get 'stressed out' by all the drama in our lives. But this is false: Each of us can learn contentment, and each of us should learn contentment. It is an important part of our Christian life. It is not optional.
This requires work. We are going to have to give ourselves to our lessons and study contentment. We have to pay attention. Otherwise, there’s not much hope of gaining contentment. We can learn it, but not without spiritual and mental attentiveness. Even the apostle Paul said he learned contentment, so there’s no reason to suppose that we can get it without any learning."
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