Thursday, November 22, 2007

content in all circumstances? not me.

From my facebook profile this morning:
"Jean Williams is miserable...her computer has died AGAIN! Aaargh! 10:26"
"Jean Williams is happy...her computer has been fixed by her wonderful brother! YAY! 11:48"

From the apostle Paul's declaration in Phil. 4:10-12 ...
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.

... as rephrased by Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Spiritual Depression (pp.280, 285) which I read only yesterday:
"I am in control. I am master of the situation, I am not mastered by the situation, I am free, I am at liberty, I do not depend for my happiness upon what is happening to me. My life, my happiness, my joy and my experience are independent of the things that are going on round about me, and even of the things that may be happening to me...
"[Paul] had learned to find his pleasure and his satisfaction in Christ and always in Christ...
"Christian people, can you say that, do you know that state?"

I think that would be a no.

Yesterday I was on top of the world after a wonderful meeting with my kids' school principal, in which I discussed doing some writing, editing, and maybe even some special interest teaching, at the school in the years to come.

This morning I was in the depths of despair, after a 5:15 wakeup, lots of baby brother baiting and tantrums from Thomas, and a computer which was dead in the water...again!

Ok, so I've got a long way to go before I'm as godly as the apostle Paul. No surprises there.

Thankfully Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that contentment is something Paul struggled to learn, and which we can learn too.

I'll keep you posted.

Just to clarify (and to reassure myself!) Martyn Lloyd-Jones would never argue that Christians should be immune to circumstances. They feel happiness, grief, joy, sorrow, and that's perfectly appropriate. But they have an abiding inner joy in Christ, independent of feelings of happiness, which never really disappears, whatever their mood or circumstances.

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