Friday, September 25, 2009

respectable sins: discontentment

this is the third sin that jerry bridges addresses in his book, respectable sins, discontentment. he begins with this disclaimer:
"before we get into this chapter, i want to acknowledge that that there is a place for legitimate discontentment. all of us should to some degree, be discontent with our spiritual growth. if we are not, we will stop growing. there is also what we might call a prophetic discontentment with injustice and other evils in society that is coupled with a desire to see positive change. the subject of this chapter is a sinful discontentment that negatively affects our relationship with god" (71).
Bridges says that discontentment often arises from ongoing and unchanging circumstances that we can do nothing about. he lists a few examples:
  • an unfulfilling or low-paying job
  • singleness
  • inability to bear children
  • an unhappy marriage
  • physical disabilities
  • continual poor health
he goes on to say that even if it is not one of these that he listed there are others and sometimes even when things are going great, there is something small over which we will become discontent.
"whatever your circumstances, and however difficult they may be, the truth is that they are ordained by God for you as part of his overall plan for your life. God does nothing, or allows nothing without a purpose. and his purposes, however mysterious ans inscrutable they may be to us, as always for his glory an our ultimate good"(74).
when we are discontent or craving something else, it shows a lack of trust in god. we do not trust him or his plan. we think something else would be better. and if we could just get that something else then life would be better and i sometimes i think i could love god better. but the truth is, i wouldn't. i may be content for a short time, but once that wore off, i would chase something else. see discontentment shows that i am looking to my circumstances or things here to satisfy me and make me happy. but god's blessings were never meant to satisfy us. only he will satisfy us!

bridges ends the chapter by telling us that a proper response is not resigning and saying, "fine god, whatever." but rather in truly accepting his plan as best.
"acceptance means that you accept your circumstances from God, trusting that he unerringly knows what is best for you and that in his love, he purposes that which is best"(75).
do you see how discontentment is sin? god's children should not be discontent, because they know the one who is true and who provides! if we as his children find ourselves discontent, we are either looking for happiness and satisfaction in something here, which will always leave us discontent. or we do not truly believe that he is good and that his steadfast love endures forever (psalm 118).

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