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The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/study-guide-the-rare-jewel-of-christian-contentment-2-pages-31-40/

Study Questions, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

pp. 41-51



The theologian George Eldon Ladd discussed the kingdom of God in terms of “already/not yet”.[1] There are aspects of “the age to come” (to use the language of Hebrews 6:5) which we currently possess; and there are many things which are not yet true. We are redeemed, and yet we still must live in the world under condemnation. We are to be in, but not of, the world. We have been adopted, but our adoption is not yet complete (Romans 8:23). Even though Jeremiah Burroughs did not know Ladd’s phrase, he did use the idea. We are currently in a state of anticipation.


  1. Does contentment with affliction mean that I do not experience the affliction as painful? (p. 41)


  1. Read Romans 5:1-5 & James 1:2-4. What is the basis for joy in the midst of trials? Does either passage state that the trial is no trial? Think of it like this: Take the word “sufferings” or “trials” and replace that with something you find enjoyable. Does it make sense to say that we rejoice in our eating fudge because eating fudge produces endurance?


  1. What is the first element of the paradox or “mystery” given by Burroughs? (42)



  1. In what way is a Christian always content?


  1. In what way is a Christian never content?



  1. What is it true that a Christian “cannot be satisfied with the enjoyment of all the world” (42).


  1. Does a Christian have less or more capacity to enjoy? (42)



  1. How much does a Christian need to be content in this world? (42-43).


  1. What is the only thing that can “fill” a Christian? (43).



  1. If you were given all things you could want, all “outward” aspects of peace, would you be content? Will a Christian be content with money, friends & peace? What would be missing?


  1. What does it mean to “have God himself”?



  1. Is this true of you? In what ways do you find yourself content without God?


  1. What does Peter mean that contentment requires “subtraction”? (45)



  1. What is the “root of contentment”? 46.


  1. Bottom of page 45: What does the Lord do to one’s heart to make it capable of contentment?



  1. Top of page 46: We must subtract from what?


  1. How does this process of “subtraction” differ from a merely human process of being “resigned” to whatever you have?



  1. What must a Christian “add” to become content?


  1. Why would one “labor to load and burden your heart with your sin”?



  1. What is one’s normal procedure to feel better when in a trial (48)?


  1. On page 48 he gives an example of how to rid a marriage of trouble. Explain it.



  1. Do you think Burroughs’ advice for solving marriage troubles would work? Why or why not?


  1. Have you ever tried such a means of resolving a conflict?



  1. Does contentment come from removing the circumstance/affliction? (49)


  1. What does he mean by “changing the affliction” (49)?



  1. How can one get riches out of poverty?


  1. How can getting what one desires be a cause for injury?



  1. Have you ever received something you desired which ended up hurting you?


  1. The meaning of an event depends upon its context. For example, a young man falls ill and dies a painful death at a young age. Now say that the young man is an actor whose character falls ill and dies. The first is a tragedy; the second a delightful movie. Ask yourself, what is the “real” ultimate circumstance in which the events of your life takes place. When you feel discontent at something in your life, are you thinking of it terms of eternity or in terms of your next few weeks?



  1. Read Romans 8:18-39. What is the context in which our life takes place? Pay attention to Romans 8:28 and answer, in what does everything work together for good?



[1] “G. E. Ladd remarks that justification itself is eschatological, in that the final acquittal does not take place until the Day of the Lord. But the Age to Come “has reached back into the present evil age to bring its soteric blessings to men.” A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), p. 441-42.)” Ashland Theological Journal 22 (1990).