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Content (842) (autarkes from autos = reflexive pronoun = self + arkeo = be sufficient, suffice) means literally "sufficient to self" (self-sufficient and competent) and so to be independent of external circumstances and independent of all people. One secular writer used autarkes in reference to a country that supplied itself and had no need of imports. True contentment comes only from our Lord, and enables believers to be satisfied and at ease in the midst of any problem. Autarkes therefore describes the man who needs nothing externally to be satisfied in life for all he needs is within. the believer who has Christ dwelling within. See Related Resource: Multiple Quotes and Illustrations Related to Contentment Wiersbe adds that... The word “content” actually means “contained.” It is a description of the man whose resources are within him so that he does not have to depend on substitutes without. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor) Asaph expresses a similar thought asking... Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:25-26) Dwight Pentecost wisely explains that... Air and water are two entirely different elements or spheres, and it is impossible to have a vessel filled with air and water at the same time. One that is filled with air must have the air displaced in order to be filled with water. Similarly, if a man’s life is given over to the pursuit of material things, that life cannot then be filled with Jesus Christ. Until that love for material things is displaced, that life cannot and will not be filled with Jesus Christ. When a man gives himself to the pursuit of all that is involved in this world and makes its position and its material things his goal and his standard and the center of his life, he will not find the satisfaction that comes from making Jesus Christ the center of his life. To be content is the opposite of to be covetous, to be greedy, to be worldly, to be materialistic... The reason material things can never make a man content is that a man is never able to get enough of them to satisfy him... Someone once asked John D. Rockefeller how much money is enough. He thought a moment and said, “Just a little more than one has.” The world’s wealthiest man has yet to say, “I have enough to be satisfied.” (Pentecost, J. D. The Joy of Living: A Study of Philippians. Kregel Publications) Jesus warned Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. (Luke 12:15) We can never accumulate enough "things" if "things" are what we crave. Jesus implies one can easily fall into this deceptive trap. So "Beware"! Material things give no lasting satisfaction. It is only in what Jesus provides that can we can find genuine satisfaction and contentment. Barclay adds that in order to achieve content, the Stoics abolished all desires and eliminated all emotions. Love was rooted out of life and caring was forbidden. As T. R. Glover said, “The Stoics made of the heart a desert, and called it a peace.” We see at once the difference between the Stoics and Paul. The Stoic said, “I will learn to be content by a deliberate act of my own will.” Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ Who infuses His strength into me.” For the Stoic, contentment was a human achievement; for Paul it was a divine gift. The Stoic was self-sufficient; but Paul was God-sufficient. Stoicism failed because it was inhuman; Christianity succeeded because it was rooted in the divine. Paul could face anything, because in every situation he had Christ. The man who walks with Christ can cope with anything. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press) Autarkes is found only here in the NT but was a secular word used by the Stoic philosophers to describe one of their favorite doctrines that a man by exerting the power of his own will (mind power or what today we might say "grit your teeth and bear it") should be sufficient to himself for all things and should be enabled thereby to resist the shock of whatever circumstances or conditions he might experience. It expressed the Stoic concept of the wise man as being sufficient in himself, wanting nothing and possessing everything. Paul adapts this well known pagan word and gives it a Christocentric meaning explaining that he is "self-sufficient" but is not a result of the power exerted by his old self (his flesh) but through the power of the new self indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, His source of strength. Succinctly stated Paul is self-sufficient because he is Spirit dependent and Savior-supplied. Are you trying to live the "Christian" life in your power? Take Christ out of "Christian" and the word that's left ("ian") doesn't even make sense. Have you like Paul learned to be content in Christ? Please don't become disappointed if you have not achieved the level of maturity Paul expresses. Remember that even the great apostle had to learn this wonderful truth. So don't expect it to come either naturally or instantaneously. Use the circumstances God allows to learn this truth. Paul’s independence was not Stoic independence, but dependence upon Christ. He found his sufficiency in Christ. He was independent of circumstances because he was dependent upon Christ. One of the secrets of contentment is to have a mind satisfied with whatever Providence allots. A prayer you may have heard in church is "Lord, give us minds always contented with our present condition.” Have you ever prayed like that before? Eadie adds that The contentment which the apostle universally and uniformly possessed, sprang not from indifference, apathy, or desperation. It was not sullen submission to his fate, not the death of hope within him. He felt what want was, and keenly felt it, and therefore he gladly accepted of relief, and rejoiced in all such manifestations of Christian sympathy. Nor was he self-sufficient in the ordinary or the common sense of the term. It was no egotistic delusion that upheld him, nor did he ever invoke the storm to show that he could brave it. But his mind calmly bowed to the will of God in every condition in which he was placed. For that wondrous equanimity and cheerfulness which far excelled the stolid and stubborn endurance ascribed to heathen stoicism, gave him the mastery over circumstances. He felt the evil, but surmounted it—a purer triumph than with a petrified heart to be unconscious of it. (The Epistle to the Philippians) Although autarkes is found only here in the NT, there are several instructive uses of related words. For example in the midst of a "thorny" trial (see 2Cor 12:7, 8 for context), Paul is prays for relief and here is Jesus' reply... My grace is sufficient (arkeo) (Christ's infinite grace always suffices. The Amplified says " [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]) for you, for (see term of explanation) power ( = inherent power to accomplish a task, power from the Spirit of Christ as we humbly yield - see James 4:) is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2Cor 12:9-note) Surely this thorny trial was a lesson in the Christ's class of "Contentment 101". Writing in the context of "cheerful giving" Paul reminds the Corinthians that God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency (autarkeia used in classical Greek in a philosophical sense for "a perfect condition of life, in which no aid or support is needed". Amplified adds "possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation") in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed (2Co 9:8) Paul reminded Timothy of what was really valuable in life writing that godliness actually is a means of great gain (a source of immense profit) , when accompanied by contentment (autarkeia). (1Ti 6:6-note) The writer of Hebrews exhorts the saints of all ages to Let your character (conduct, manner of life, behavior) be free from the love of money (Amplified adds [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions]) , being content (arkeo) with what you have, for (explains now how the former attitude is possible) He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU (there are 5 negatives in the Greek underlining the absolute impossibility of this ever happening) (see note Hebrews 13:5) This verse once again emphasizes the close relationship of a Christian's contentment with intimacy with Christ and his confidence in Christ's sufficiency. A T Robertson adds that Paul is contented with his lot and he learned that lesson long ago. Paul is teaching here that he had learned how to be independent of external circumstances. He had come to the point of realizing JESUS was ALL he had and that JESUS was ALL he NEEDED! In whatever circumstances I am - C H Spurgeon makes the point that the little word whatever (herewith in his version) is very important explaining that the idea is that... There is nothing in hunger, or thirst, or nakedness, or peril, to invite our contentment. If we are content under such circumstances, it must be from higher motives than our condition itself affords. Hunger is a sharp thorn when in the hands of stern necessity. But hunger may be voluntarily endured for many an hour when conscience makes a man willing to fast. Reproach may have a bitter fang, but it can be bravely endured, when I am animated by a sense of the justice of my cause. Now Paul counted that all the ills which befell him were just incident to the service of his Lord. So for the love he bear to the name of Jesus, the hardships of servitude or self-mortification sat lightly on his shoulders, and were brooked cheerily by his heart. There is yet a third reason why Paul was content, I will illustrate it. Many an old veteran takes great pleasure in recounting the dangers and sufferings of his past life. He looks back with more than contentment, oftentimes with self-gratulation, upon the terrible dangers and distresses of his heroic career. Yet the smile that lights his eye, and the pride that sits on his lofty wrinkled brow as he recounts his stories, were not there when he was in he midst of the scenes he is now describing. It is only since the dangers are past, the fears have subsided, and the issue is complete, that his enthusiasm has been kindled to a flame. But Paul stood on vantage ground here. "In all these things," said he, "we are more than conquerors." Witness his voyage toward Rome. When the ship in which he sailed was caught and driven before a tempestuous wind; when darkness veiled the skies; when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared; when hope failed every heart;—he alone bore up with manly courage. And why? The angel of God stood by him, and said, Fear not. His faith was predestined, and as such, he had as much peaceful contentment in his breast while the tribulation lasted as when it had closed. (Contentment) Theodore Epp makes a good point that writing... Nowhere does the Bible suggest that we should be content with unsatisfactory conditions. But because of our personal relationship with Christ we can be content in them. As different situations arise and we learn our lessons one after another, we will also find it possible to be content in every situation. Contentment is one of those concepts that is easier to define than to experience. This is probably because the tendency is to seek contentment in possessions rather than in a person. We assume that contentment comes from having things, but it is possible to have deep contentment without things. So often we think contentment would be ours if we were promoted to the next higher position or if we were able to buy that object we think we need so much or if we could be accepted in a certain circle of friends. But as we advance in these areas, we discover that contentment is elusive because we are seeking it in the wrong places and in the wrong way. Contentment does not depend on what we have; it depends on who we are. It is a spiritual attainment, not something that results from purchasing power. As someone has said, "Contentment is a state of heart rather than a statement of account." Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Ti 6:6-note). (Devotional) Clarke adds that what Paul is saying is that "I am so satisfied with the wise providence and goodness of God, that I know whatever He determines is the best; and therefore I am perfectly contented that He should govern the world in that way which seems best to His godly wisdom. How true is the proverb, A contented mind is a continual feast! What do we get by murmuring and complaining?" Calvin comments "Whatever my condition may be, I am satisfied with it. "Why? because saints know that they thus please God. Hence they do not measure sufficiency by abundance, but by the will of God, which they judge of by what takes place, for they are persuaded that their affairs are regulated by his providence and good pleasure." Spurgeon gives us an excellent metaphor to help understand Paul's teaching -- "These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow apace.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, “I have learned ... to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave—a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning , or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content." (Morning and evening: Feb 16 AM). Contentment from Easton's Bible Dictionary A state of mind in which one's desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be (1 Timothy 6:6-note; 2Cor9:8). It is opposed to envy (James 3:16), avarice (Hebrews 13:5), ambition (Proverbs 13:10), anxiety (Matthew 6:25 6:34), and repining (1 Corinthians 10:10). It arises from the inward disposition, and is the offspring of humility, and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude and benignity of divine providence (Psalms 96:1,2; 145), the greatness of the divine promises (2 Peter 1:4), and our own unworthiness (Genesis 32:10); as well as from the view the gospel opens up to us of rest and peace hereafter (Romans 5:2). Spurgeon in Morning and Evening writes the following devotional related to Philippians 4:11... These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow apace.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, “I have learned ... to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave—a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content. Dwight Pentecost poignantly applies the teaching in this passage writing... Child of God, if there is a restlessness in your heart, if you long for that rest, satisfaction, and contentment which Paul testifies he has found, on the authority of Scripture I can say that is to be found only in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ must be the center of life. Jesus Christ must be the goal of life. Jesus Christ must be the fullness of life. He must be all in all. Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, was asked on one occasion, “Who is the wealthiest man?” He replied, “He that is content with least, for contentment is natures’ well.” “To live is Christ,” and “I am content.” (Ibid) ><> ><> ><> A friend in Pennsylvania wrote, "One of my father's old cows gives good milk, but she sure can be dumb! She has a whole field in which to feed, yet no grass seems quite as tasty as those patches outside her own pasture. I often see her stretching her head through the fence, while right behind her is everything she needs—excellent grazing land, beautiful shade trees, a cool, refreshing stream of water, and even a big chunk of salt. What more could she want?" Many people are like that old cow. They think the "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." They are constantly grasping, coveting, and seeking to obtain what doesn't belong to them. If you are a Christian, the greatest blessings in life are already yours. Heaven is your home, and God is your Father. He has promised never to leave you (Heb. 13:5), and He will supply your every need (Phil. 4:19). How green the grass is on your side of the fence! —R. W. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) Most people aren't content with their lot -- even when they get a lot. ><> ><> ><> GODLY CONTENTMENT - Contentment is never the result of multiplying riches, increas­ing pleasures, or gaining fame. All these only incite discontent, for when one obtains them, he finds he still is not satisfied. Con­tentment does not depend upon things on the outside, but results from conditions on the inside! Paul had suffered more for the sake of Christ than probably anyone else (2 Cor. 11:23-28); yet this is the man who says, "I am content." The apostle was able to interpret all the experiences of life in terms of God's will for his eternal good (Rom. 8:28). Paul did not come to this happy philosophy of life in a moment. He says, "I have learned . . . to be content." Aspiring to be what we are not, or grasping after riches which elude us, is not the way to happiness. We must rather do our very best with God's help to accomplish our life's task with the talents and opportunities He presents. In his famous lecture on "Clocks and Watches," Dr. Joseph Parker related the following story: A little watch, delicately strung, was dissatisfied with its restricted sphere of influence in a lady's pocket. It envied the position of Big Ben, the great tower clock. One day as it passed with her ladyship over London's Westminster Bridge, the tiny watch exclaimed, "I wish I could go up there! I could then serve multitudes, instead of just one individual." "You shall have your opportunity, small watch," she said. The lecturer then dramatically described how the pocket timepiece was drawn up the side of the mammoth tower by a slender thread. When it reached the top, it was completely lost to view. In his dramatic way, Dr. Parker concluded his lecture by exclaiming, "Its elevation had become its annihilation!" Pray that you too may not lose the small influence you now have for Christ by coveting something larger for which you are not equipped, and which God constantly refuses you in His love. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) O for the peace of perfect trust My loving God in Thee; Unwavering faith that never doubts Thou choosest best for me. —Anon. Discontent makes rich men poor, While contentment makes poor men rich ><> ><> ><> BAD AND GOOD OF POVERTY - The young man I visited in jail had been arrested for armed robbery. He was bitter as he spoke of the inner-city school from which he had dropped out because he felt unsafe. He asked, "Why couldn't I have gone to a better school? Why didn't someone help me to learn a trade?" He said he committed the robbery because he was sick and tired of having so little while others had so much. I felt sorry for him. Poverty has a down side. It can place people in a position where they are tempted to commit crimes. Like the writer of Proverbs 30, I would never ask God to send me poverty. Yet Jesus said, "Blessed are you poor" (Luke 6:20). I grew up in the 1930s during the Great Depression. My family seldom ate meat, and we wore second hand clothing. Yet we were happy. We were supremely thankful for small favors. We enjoyed simple pleasures. We appreciated one another. We valued our spiritual riches. I'm not saying that we should desire poverty, but we can be hankful for it. We can learn lessons through it that we could earn in no other way. Let's be like the apostle Paul who said that he had learned to be content, no matter what his situation (Phil. 4:11). -- Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) Lord, help me not to set my heart On things that pass away; Make me content with what I have And help me stay that way. --Sper Those who are content are never poor; those who are discontent are never rich ><> ><> ><> Contentment by William Cowper Fierce passions discompose the mind, As tempests vex the sea; But calm content and peace we find, When, Lord, we turn to Thee. In vain by reason and by rule We try to bend the will; For none but in the Saviour's school Can learn the heavenly skill. Since at His feet my soul has sate, His gracious words to hear, Contented with my present state, I cast on Him my care. "Art thou a sinner, soul?" He said, "Then how canst thou complain! How light thy troubles here, if weigh'd With everlasting pain! "If thou of murmuring wouldst be cured, Compare thy griefs with mine; Think what my love for thee endured, And thou wilt not repine. "'Tis I appoint thy daily lot, And I do all things well; Thou soon shalt leave this wretched spot, And rise with me to dwell. "In life my grace shall strength supply, Proportion'd to thy day; At death thou [still] shalt find me nigh, To wipe thy tears away." Thus I, who once my wretched days In vain repinings spent, Taught in my Saviour's school of grace, Have learnt to be content. ><> ><> ><> A NEW PERSPECTIVE - A Jewish man in Hungary went to his rabbi and complained, “Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?” The rabbi answered, “Take your goat into the room with you.” The man was incredulous, but the rabbi insisted, “Do as I say and come back in a week.” A week later the man returned looking more distraught than before. “We can’t stand it,” he told the rabbi. “The goat is filthy.” The rabbi said, “Go home and let the goat out, and come back in a week.” A week later the man returned, radiant, exclaiming, “Life is beautiful. We enjoy every minute of it now that there’s no goat- only the nine of us.” (Reader's Digest [12/81].) Contentment is more a matter of our perspective than of our circumstances, isn’t it! ><> ><> ><> ILLUSTRATIONS OF BIBLE TRUTH by Harry A. Ironside - SATISFACTION IN CHRIST - I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Phil. 4:11) CHRIST is enough to satisfy the hearts of all who confide in Him and who leave everything in His hands. Such need never be cast down by seeming misfortunes. A Christian asked another how he was getting along. Dolefully his friend replied, "Oh, fairly well, under the circumstances." "I am sorry," exclaimed the other, "that you are under the circumstances. The LORD would have us living above all circumstances, where He Himself can satisfy our hearts and meet our every need for time and eternity." Philippians 4:12 I know (1SRAI) how to get along with humble means (PPN) , and I also know (1SRAI) how to live in prosperity (PAN) in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret (1SRPI) of being filled (PPN) and going hungry (PAN) both of having abundance (PAN) and suffering need (PPN) (NASB: Lockman) Greek: oida (1SRAI) kai tapeinousthai, (PPN) oida (1SRAI) kai perisseuein; (PAN) en panti kai en pasin memuemai (1SRPI) kai chortazesthai (PPN) kai peinan, (PAN) kai perisseuein (PAN) kai hustereisthai. (PPN) Amplified: I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. (Amplified Bible - Lockman) Barclay: I know both how to live in the humblest circumstances, and how to have far more than enough. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of being hungry, of having more than enough and of having less than enough. KJV: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Lightfoot: I know how to bear humiliation, and I know also how to bear abundance. Under all circumstances and in every case, in plenty and in hunger, in abundance and in want, I have been initiated in the never-failing mystery, I possess the true secret of life. NLT: I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. (NLT - Tyndale House) Phillips: I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either poverty or plenty. (Phillips: Touchstone) Weymouth: I know both how to live in humble circumstances and how to live amid abundance. I am fully initiated into all the mysteries both of fulness and of hunger, of abundance and of want. Wuest: I know in fact how to discipline myself in lowly circumstances. I know in fact how to conduct myself when I have more than enough. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret, both to be satiated and to be hungry, and to have more than enough and to lack. (Eerdmans) Young's Literal: I have known both to be abased, and I have known to abound; in everything and in all things I have been initiated, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I KNOW HOW TO GET ALONG WITH HUMBLE MEANS AND I ALSO KNOW HOW TO LIVE IN PROSPERITY: oida (1SRAI) kai tapeinousthai (PPN) oida (1SRAI) kai perisseuein (PAN): (1Cor 4:9, 10, 11, 12, 13; 2 Co 6:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 10:1,10; 11:7,27; 12:7, 8, 9, 10) (Macarthur on Php 4:10-12 Secret of Contentment) "I have experienced times of need and times of abundance" (NET) "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything" (TLB) "I know how to live modestly, and I know how to live luxuriously too" (NJB) "I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance" (AMP) I know how to be abased (KJV) - Spurgeon writes... Notice first, that the apostle said he knew how to be abased. A wonderful knowledge this. When all men honour us, then we may very well be content; but when the finger of scorn is pointed, at us, when our character is held in ill repute, and men hiss us by the wayside, it requires much gospel knowledge to be able to endure that with patience and with cheerfulness. When we are increasing, and growing in rank, and honour, and human esteem, it is easy work to be contented; but when we have to say with John the Baptist, "I must decrease," or when we see some other servant advanced to our place, and another man bearing the palm we all had longed to hold, it is not easy to sit still, and without an envious feeling cry with Moses, "Would to God that all the Lord's servants were prophets." To hear another man praised at your own expense, to find your own virtues made as a foil to set forth the superior excellence of some new rival—this, I say, is beyond human nature, to be able to bear it with joy and thankfulness, and to bless God. There must be something noble in the heart of the man who is able to lay all his honours down as willingly as he took them up, when he can as cheerfully submit himself to Christ to humble him, as to lift him up and seat him upon a throne. And yet, my brethren, we have not any one of us learned what the apostle knew, if we are not as ready to glorify Christ by shame, by ignominy and by reproach, as by honour and by esteem among men. We must be ready to give up everything for him. We must be willing to go downwards, in order that Christ's name may ascend upwards, and be the better known and glorified among men. "I know how to be abased," says the apostle... ...I have to counsel the POOR. "I have learned," says the apostle, "in whatever state I am, therewith to be content." A very large number of my present congregation belong to those who labour hard, and who, perhaps, without any unkindly reflection, may be put down in this catalogue of the poor. They have enough—barely enough, and sometimes they are even reduced to straitness. Now remember, my dear friends, you who are poor, there are two sorts of poor people in the world. There are the Lord's poor, and there are the devil's poor. As for the devil's poor: they become pauperized by their own idleness, their own vice, their own extravagance. I have nothing to say to them to-night. There is another class, the Lord's poor. They are poor through trying providences, poor, but industrious,—labouring to find all things honest in the sight of all men, but yet they still continue through an inscrutable providence to be numbered with the poor and needy. You will excuse me, brothers and sisters, in exhorting you to be contented; and yet why should I ask excuse, since it is but a part of my office to stir you up to everything that is pure and lovely, and of good report? I beseech you, in your humble sphere, cultivate contentment. Be not idle. Seek, if you can, by superior skill, steady perseverance, and temperate thriftiness, to raise your position. Be not so extravagant as to live entirely without care or carefulness; for he that provideth not for his own household with careful fore-thought, is worse than a heathen man and a publican; but at the same time, be contented; and where God has placed you, strive to adorn that position, be thankful to him, and bless his name. And shall I give you some reasons for so doing? Remember, that if you are poor in this world so was your Lord. A Christian is a believer who hath fellowship with Christ; but a poor Christian hath in his poverty a special vein of fellowship with Christ opened up to him. Your Master wore a peasant's garb, and spoke a peasant's brogue. His companions were the toiling fishermen. He was not one who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. He knew what it was to be hungry and thirsty, nay, he was poorer than you, for he had not where to lay his head. Let this console you. Why should a disciple be above his Master, or a servant above his Lord? In your poverty, moreover, you are capable of communion with Christ. You can say, "Was Christ poor? Now can I sympathize with him in his poverty. Was he weary, and did he sit thus on the well? I am weary too, and I can have fellowship with Christ in that sweat which he wiped from his brow." Some of you brethren cannot go the length you can; it were wrong of them to attempt to do it, for voluntary poverty is voluntary wickedness. But inasmuch as God hath made you poor, you have a facility for walking with Christ, where others cannot. You can go with him through all the depths of care and woe, and follow him almost into the wilderness of temptation, when you are in your straits and difficulties for lack of bread. Let this always cheer and comfort you, and make you happy in your poverty, because your Lord and Master is able to sympathize as well as to succour. Permit me to remind you again, that you should be contented, because otherwise you will belie your own prayers. You kneel down in the morning, and you say, "Thy will be done!" Suppose you get up and want your own will, and rebel against the dispensation of your heavenly Father, have you not made yourself out to be a hypocrite? The language of your prayer is at variance with the feeling of your heart. Let it always be sufficient for you to think that you are where God put you. Have you not heard the story of the heroic boy on board the burning ship? When his father told him to stand in a certain part of the vessel, he would not move till his father bade him, but stood still when the ship was on fire. Though warned of his danger he held his ground. Until his father told him to move, there would he stay. The ship was blown up, and he perished in his fidelity. And shall a child be more faithful to an earthly parent than we are to our Father, who is in heaven? He has ordered everything for our good, and can he be forgetful of us? Let us believe that whatever he appoints is best; let us choose rather his will than our own. If there were two places, one a place of poverty, and another a place of riches and honour, if I could have my choice, it should be my privilege to say, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." Another reflection suggests itself. If you are poor you should be well content with your position, because, depend upon it, it is the fittest for you. Unerring wisdom cast your lot. If you were rich, you would not have so much grace as you have now. Perhaps God knew, that did he not make you poor, he would never get you to heaven at all; and so he has kept you where you are, that he may conduct you thither. Suppose there is a ship of large tonnage to be brought up a river, and in one part of the river there is a shallow, should some one ask, "Why does the captain steer his vessel through the deep part of the channel?" His answer would be, "Because I should not get it into harbour at all if I did not take it by this course." So, it may be, you would remain aground and suffer shipwreck, if your Divine Captain did not always make you trace the deepest part of the water, and make you go where the current ran with the greatest speed. Some plants die if they are too much exposed; it may be that you are planted in some sheltered part of the garden where you do not get so much sun as you would like, but you are put there as a plant of his own righteous planting, that you may bring forth fruit unto perfection. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, God would have put you there. You are put by him in the most suitable place, and if you had had the picking of your lot half-an-hour afterwards, you would have come back and said, "Lord, choose for me, for I have not chosen the best after all." You have heard, perhaps, the old fable in Aesop, of the men that complained to Jupiter, of their burdens, and the god in anger bade them every one get rid of his burden, and take the one he would like best. They all came and proposed to do so. There was a man who had a lame leg, and he thought he could do better if he had a blind eye; the man who had a blind eye thought he could do better if he had to bear poverty and not blindness, while the man who was poor thought poverty the worst of ills; he would not mind taking the sickness of the rich man if he could but have his riches. So they all made a change. But the fable saith that within an hour they were all back again, asking that they might have their own burdens, they found the original burdens so much lighter than the one that was taken by their own selection. So would you find it. Then be content; you cannot better your lot. Take up your cross; you could not have a better trial than you have got; it is the best for you; it sifts you the most; it will do you the most good, and prove the most effective means of making you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. And surely, my dear brethren, if I need to add another argument why you should be content, it were this: whatever your trouble, it is not for long; you may have no estate on earth, but you have a large one in heaven, and perhaps that estate in heaven will be all the larger by reason of the poverty you have had to endure here below. You may have scarcely a house to cover your head, but you have a mansion in heaven,—a house not made with hands. Your head may often lie without a pillow, but it shall one day wear a crown. Your hands may be blistered with toil, but they shall sweep the strings of golden harps. You may have to go home often to dinner of herbs, but there you shall eat bread in the kingdom of God, and sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The way may be rough, but it cannot be long, So we'll smooth it with hope and cheer it with song Yet a little while, the painful conflict will be over. Courage, comrades, courage,—glittering robes for conquerors. Courage, my brother, courage, thou mayest sooner become rich than thou dreamest of; perhaps there is e'en now, but a step between thee and thine inheritance. Thou mayest go home, peradventure, shivering in the cold March wind; but ere morning dawneth thou mayest be in thy Master's bosom. Bear up with thy lot then, bear up with it. Let not the child of a king, who has an estate beyond the stars, murmur as others. You are not so poor after all, as they are who have no hope; though you may seem poor, you are rich. Do not let your poor neighbours see you disconsolate, but let them see in you that holy calmness, that sweet resignation, that gracious submission, which makes the poor man more glorious than he that wears a coronet, and lifts the son of the soil up from his rustic habitation, and sets him among the princes of the blood-royal of heaven. Be happy, brethren, be satisfied and content. God will have you to learn, in whatever state you may be, therewith to be content. (Contentment) I know (1492) (eido, oida - eido is used only in the perfect tense = oida) literally means perception by sight (perceive, see) as in Mt 2:2 where the wise men "saw His star". The meaning of eido is somewhat difficult to convey but in general this type of "knowing" is distinguished from ginosko (and epiginosko, epignosis), the other major NT word for knowing, because ginosko refers to knowledge obtained by experience or "experiential knowledge" whereas eido often refers to more intuitive knowledge, although the distinction is not always crystal clear. Eido (oida) then is not so much by experience as an intuitive insight that is "drilled into your heart". In spiritual terms, eido is that perception, that being aware of, that understanding, that intuitive knowledge that only the Holy Spirit of God can give. It is an absolute knowledge, a knowledge that is without a doubt. Oida describes absolute, positive, beyond a peradventure of a doubt, knowledge. Oida suggests fullness of knowledge, rather than progress in knowledge, which is expressed by ginosko, a distinction illustrated in John 8:55, (Jesus said "you have not come to know {ginosko} Him, but I know {oida} Him). Here Jesus says in essence "I know God perfectly (oida)". In John 13:7 Jesus addresses Peter (Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize {oida} now, but you shall understand {ginosko} hereafter.") Know (oida) then carries the idea of having the "know how" , the knowledge or skill necessary to accomplish a desired goal. Every Christian needs to know himself or herself well, so as to understand their weaknesses and evil propensities and, thereby, know how to possess or “gain mastery over” their own vessel. Ro 6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

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