Thursday, May 07, 2009


John MacArthur has just concluded a series on contentment adapted from John’s book Anxiety Attacked.

Philippians 4:11-12,

1. Confidence in God’s Providence

Paul was content because he had confidence in the providence of God. That confidence, however, never led him to a fatalistic “It doesn’t matter what I do” attitude. The example of Paul’s life throughout the New Testament is this: Work as hard as you can and be content that God is in control of the results.

Contentment in a Consumer Culture

2. Satisfaction with Little

  • Phil. 4:11–12

To protect yourself, pay careful attention to whenever you attach the word need to something in your thoughts or speech. Edit any use of it that goes beyond life’s bare essentials. Paul did, and you can too. Thankfully regard any surplus as a blessing from God. You will be satisfied with little when you refuse to depend on luxuries the world redefines as needs.

3. Detachment from Circumstances

  • Phil. 4:11

  • Col. 3:2

  • 2 Cor. 4:17–18; 11:23–33

4. Being Sustained by Divine Power

  • Phil. 4:13

  • Eph. 3:20

You’ll learn contentment when you’ve stood in the valley of the shadow of death, when you’ve been at the brink, when you can’t resolve your problems, when you can’t eliminate the conflict, when you can’t change your work environment, when you’re unable to fight the disease that’s wracking your body. That’s when you’ll turn to God and find the strength to get through the situation.

To add an important qualifier, however, if you’ve been living a life of sin and you’re now at the bottom of the pit where sin has led you, don’t expect the Lord to step in, put on a dazzling display of His power, and make you feel content. What He’s more apt to do is add chastening to the pain that your circumstances have naturally produced. There’s no quick fix for a sinful pattern of living. Just like health is the result of right living in the physical dimension, so is power from God the result of being obedient in the spiritual dimension.

Contentment Comes from Giving
5. Contentment Comes from Selflessness and Sacrificial Giving
  • Paul prayed for the Philippians to have a different perspective. (Phil. 1:9; 2:3; 4:14–19).
  • Proverbs 11:24–25; 19:17:
  • Luke 6:38
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6
  • Prov. 3:9–10
  • Matt. 6:33–34
From the Conclusion:
Attack anxiety in your life by applying what you have learned about contentment. Be confident in God’s sovereign providence, and don’t allow your circumstances to trouble you. Instead of giving in to panic, cling to the promise of Romans 8:28: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” Regard that verse as a spiritual lifeline for the rest of your life.

Also, buck the tide of our materialistic, selfish society by being satisfied with little and more concerned about the spiritual welfare of others than your material needs. Be obedient to God’s Word and confident in His power to meet all your needs. May our Lord keep all these principles in the forefront of our minds that we might be content—and free from anxiety!

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