Sunday Considerations: By Contentment

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By contentment we come to give God the worship that is due to him. It is a special part of the divine worship that we owe to God, to be content in a Christian way, as has been shown to you. I say it is a special part of the divine worship that the creature owes to the infinite Creator, in that I tender the respect that is due from me to the Creator. The word that the Greeks have that signifies, ‘to worship’ is the same as to come and crouch before someone, as if a dog should come crouching to you, and be willing to lie down at your feet. So the creature in the apprehension of its own baseness, and the infinite excellence that is in God above it, when it comes to worship God, comes and crouches to this God, and lies down at the feet of God:then the creature worships God. When you see a dog come crouching to you, and by holding your hand over him, you can make him lie down at your feet, then consider, thus should you do before the Lord:you should come crouching to him, and lie down at his feet, even on your backs or bellies, to lie down in the dust before him so as to be willing that he should do with you what he will. Just as sometimes you may turn a dog this way or that way, up and down, with your hand, and there he lies before you, according to your showing him with your hand; so when the creature shall come and lie down thus before the Lord, then a creature worships God and tenders the worship that is due to him. Now in what disposition of heart do we thus crouch to God more than when we have this state of contentment in all the conditions that God disposes us to? This is crouching to God’s disposal, to be like the poor woman of Canaan, who when Christ said, ‘It is not fit to give children’s meat to dogs’, said ‘The dogs have crumbs’, I am a dog I confess, but let me have only a crumb. And so when the soul shall be in such a disposition as to lie down and say, ‘Lord, I am but as a dog, yet let me have a crumb’, then it highly honors God. It may be that some of you have not your table spread as others have, but God gives you crumbs; now, says the poor woman, dogs have crumbs, and when you can find your hearts thus submitting to God, to be but as a dog, and can be contented and bless God for any crumb, I say this is a great worship of God.

You worship God more by this than when you come to hear a sermon, or spend half an hour, or an hour, in prayer, or when you come to receive a sacrament. These are the acts of God’s worship, but they are only external acts of worship, to hear and pray and receive sacraments. But this is the soul’s worship, to subject itself thus to God. You who often will worship God by hearing, and praying, and receiving sacraments, and yet afterwards will be froward and discontented- know that God does not regard such worship, he will have the soul’s worship, in this subjecting of the soul unto God. Note this, I beseech you:in active obedience we worship God by doing what pleases God, but by passive obedience we do as well worship God by being pleased with what God does. now when I perform a duty, I worship God, I do what pleases God; why should I not as well worship God when I am pleased with what God does? As it was said of Christ’s obedience:Christ was active in his passive obedience, and passive in his active obedience; so the saints are passive in their active obedience, they are first passive in the reception of grace, and then active. And when they come to passive obedience, they are active, they put forth grace in active obedience. When they performed actions to God, then the soul says:’Oh! that I could do what pleases God!’ When they come to suffer any cross:’Oh, that what God does might please me!’ I labor to do what pleases God, and I labor that what God does shall please me:here is a Christian indeed, who shall endeavor both these. It is but one side of a Christian to endeavor to do what pleases God; you must as well endeavor to be pleased with what God does, and so you will come to be a complete Christian when you can do both, and that is the first thing in the excellence of this grace of contentment.1

  1. Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. Chapter 7: The Excellence of Contentment, Olive Tree Bible Software. | Amazon
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The above article was posted on March 23, 2013 by Mark Lamprecht.
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