Contending With "Contentment"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ktn4eg, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
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    I'm trying to minister to a person who apparently has a very elementary grasp of Biblical truths.

    He's come from an environment that seems to have left him with lots of baggage that he struggles with and has problems over rejecting what's apparently been ground into his mind over a couple decades.

    We were discussing Paul's outlook on life as he expressed to the original audience of Philippians when we came across Paul's statement in 4:11 where he mentioned that whatever state he was in, he was content.

    Right away this person came up with the notion that therefore he didn't have to study or work to improve his knowledge and/or skills at his daily job, or any other aspect of his life. According to him, if he did so, that'd only prove to God that he wasn't content with the state in which he found himself to be!!

    I was kind of caught off guard at that remark because to me that isn't at all what this verse is trying to teach us.

    How do you explain something such as this to an apparent "babe in Christ" whose grasp of Biblical truths is, at best, extremely elementary without going into some heavy theological or philosophic discourse?

    I'd appreciate any suggestions you folks out there in BB Land can offer.
     
  2. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    This contentment Paul is speaking of isn't the laid-back kind of satisfaction when one happy just to stay where he or she is - financially, spiritually, emotionally, physially, or otherwise.

    This idea that "we have arrived" isn't Biblical. The Bible tells us to strive and work.

    The context of what Paul is saying in the very next sentence is that he can do "all things through Christ who strengthens him" and in the previous few words that he had to "learn" this mindset of content even in the bad times as well as the good.

    Paul isn't advocating a stagnant idleness.

    In fact, in many places, he and others taught just the opposite.

    • "Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear." Philippians 2:12
    • "Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
    • "There is much we have to say about this matter, but it is hard to explain to you, because you are so slow to understand. There has been enough time for you to be teachers — yet you still need someone to teach you the first lessons of God's message. Instead of eating solid food, you still have to drink milk. Anyone who has to drink milk is still a child, without any experience in the matter of right and wrong. Solid food, on the other hand, is for adults, who have trained and used their tastes to know the difference between good and evil" Hebrews 5:11-14.
    • "Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And we will do this, if God permits." Hebrews 6:1-3
    • "We struggle and work hard because we have placed our hope in the living God" 1 Timothy 4:10
    • "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2
     
  3. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
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    Thanks, Scarlett. Your approach seems reasonable enough to me.

    As I said in my OP, this fellow does have a lot of baggage to overcome. Personally I sort of wonder just how much he really believes in what he tried to tell me.

    Could be just a cover.....Trying to justify either his inability or his unwillingnes to apply himself.

    Anyway, I appreciate your input.

    Glad I can always depend on Scarlett to bail me out!!! :smilewinkgrin:

    (BTW, since you show Louisiana as your location, do you know off hand where I can get ahold of any of those "Hooked On Cajun Phonics" software programs I used to see advertised on late night/early morning TV???)
     
    #3 ktn4eg, Jun 29, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2012
  4. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    Wow! I've not heard of the Cajun Phonics programs.

    Of course, I've heard it in real life from a few. Aaiiiieeeeeeeeeeee! :laugh:
     
  5. ktn4eg

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    Too bad you didn't find "Hooked On Cajun Phonics." I guess that it must have just sold out due to the demand.

    When I worked for BellSouth / AT&T, I often would have to call some of those people on the phone, especially during times when there was a cut in one or more fiber optic cables. Had some "interesting" conversations.

    What was even more interesting was monitoring conference calls between Cajuns in Lousiana and Hispanics from down in the Miami FL area---three different accents all at once!
     
  6. Amy.G

    Amy.G
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    Philippians 4:12-13 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. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

    Paul is speaking here as a man who has been in and out of prison, beaten, starved, tortured, and yet is content in whatever circumstance he is in. How many of us can say the same thing? I'm not content in my misery, I can tell you that. Oh, to have the faith of Paul!
    He is not talking about being a stagnant Christian, unwilling to learn of God.


    Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
     
  7. preacher4truth

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    I'd have the friend check this out:

    "Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

    Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

    I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

    Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

    however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained."
    - Philippians 3:12-16

    It seems highly doubtful these days that a person would listen and change his or her views no matter what, they simply will argue their way out of it to be 'right'.

    'A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still'.
     

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