My wife told me a couple days ago that she set this quote from Jeremiah Burroughs book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment as her screensaver:
“Here lies the bottom and root of all contentment, when there is an evenness and proportion between our hearts and our circumstances.”
It’s in the portion of the book discussing how the Christian comes to contentment not by way of addition but by subtraction–that is, by reducing their desires for the world markets to their selfish nature–that I posted a couple weeks ago. That has had a profound impact on my thinking and understanding. In fact, that’s what my mind immediately turned to a couple of nights ago as my wife and kids were heading back to our hotel from SeaWorld in San Antonio on our summer vacation. How often we forget to be thankful for the good things God has given us and how quickly our sinful nature desires for the things it does not have!
I asked everybody, “What was your favorite thing we did?” and almost immediately the responses turned to things they didn’t get to do or wanted to do next time… the ride we didn’t ride, the show we didn’t see, the toy in the gift shop we didn’t buy, etc. We quickly turned the conversation back toward the things we enjoyed the most, but it certainly caught my attention how quickly and easily we move from gratitude in attitude to a plateful of ungrateful. Was this not Satan’s entry point to sin in the Garden of Eden?
I pray that as a family we can take that passage to heart and live it out in our lives–that we be ever thankful for what we have been given instead of focusing on what we haven’t been. I think far too often we focus on the things we don’t have or didn’t get, but this is what the world teaches us and is also the ministry of the devil. “Oh, sure you have all of this other stuff here in this garden–but yet you still cannot enjoy this delicious piece of fruit? Why can’t you? Why wouldn’t God want you to have the desires of your heart, hmmm? What a pity. It is SO delightful.” We should flee like Joseph when that fruit is presented! Or like, Jesus, be so grounded in the Word that we will be armed and ready when the temptations come.
Part of the inspiration for this post also came from Tim Challies post yesterday, “The Shape of Temptation”. He summarized the five basic tactics Satan uses to lure someone into temptation as he gleaned them from Bruce Waltke’s book, Old Testament Theology. You should really check it out. It is definitely worth the read.
Peace & Blessings~