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The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment week 6
Study Guide, Chapter 4
- An “outward want” means something which we lack from outside of ourselves. Restatement the following sentence in your own words: “he is able to make up all his outward wants of creature comforts from what he finds in himself.”
- Burroughs writes, “this may seem strange.” What is the paradox and difficulty with Burroughs’ statement?
- Does this mean that a man who has God no longer needs to eat? Matthew 44:1-4; Deuteronomy 8:1-3.
- Does this mean that one who has God no longer needs a family? Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 18:28-30.
- How did Jesus continue steadfast as he went through the cross? Hebrews 12:2.
- Read Hebrews 11:13-16: How have the saints of God continued through this world, even when they lacked all outward contentments?
- On the bottom of page 74, Burroughs gives two pictures of those who lack the outward “creature comfort” and yet had contentment. Think through these examples and the Scriptural examples above: What is it that actually gives contentment?
- Luke 17:21 is a notoriously difficult text: Burroughs makes that plain in his discussion of the text on page 75. Yet, even though the full expression of Jesus’ statement is difficult to understand, Burroughs does state there is something true which can be known concerning Jesus’ words: What is it?
- What must come to my soul before I can go to heaven?
- A white stone and new name are mentioned in Revelation 12:17. The words “no one knows except the one who receives it” refers to the intimacy of the relationship with Christ. Why does Burroughs compare knowledge of the kingdom to knowledge of the white stone.
- Why is it “miserable” to depend upon the creature for contentment?
- Burroughs quotes James 1:4: Why is the one who is able to endure (the old KJV had ‘patience’) able to be content? How does endurance/patience demonstrate one has an “inheritance”?
- Burroughs gives an example of a happy and an unhappy home. How does this relate to contentment?
- Pascal wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” How does this relate to Burroughs’ discussion of contentment?
- There is a common idea in our culture that we can find “peace” or “God” “within.” How does Burroughs’ discussion of the Kingdom differ from the modern New Age idea of god-within?
- Explain the image of a vessel filled with fluid and another empty.
- On page 78, Burroughs writes that a certain type of person will be able to understand what he means. What is the characteristic of the person who will understand Burroughs?
- Do you think he is correct? Do you know this from experience? Have you seen this to be true at times and untrue at other times?
- Burroughs next states there is a supply of all things from “the covenant”. All of God’s dealings with human beings are in the scope of a covenant. God has no duty to care for us, yet God has made covenants with human beings. Under the Mosaic or “Old” Covenant, God dealt with Israel. Since Christ, we are under the New Covenant. It is in and through God’s covenantal dealings with humanity that we know God are blessed by God.
- Burroughs gives an example of a home which was secure but now the plague has come to it (in the 17th Century, people did not know how the plague was spread; but when it came, it was routinely fatal, contagious and untreatable. For the plague to come was the worst imaginable state. In 1665, the plague swept through London, killing 8,000 per week. Only a fire which destroyed much of the city stopped the plague.
- How does God’s everlasting covenant give rest despite the disorder of this world?
- On the bottom of page 79, Burroughs speaks about the instability of all things. We don’t feel the danger of this world with the same immediacy of Burroughs or even most people in the world. However, we do see some evidence of this concern in the child’s prayer, Now I lay me down to sleep/I pray the Lord my soul to keep./If I should die before I wake,/I pray the Lord my soul to take. Do you think that we are really as secure as we feel ourselves to be?
- Burroughs speaks of how God’s Covenant provides insurance for all our loss. (Modern insurance had only recently been developed in England at the time of Burroughs’ writing.) In a world where everything can be lost at any time, and everything will be lost eventually (you will die and lose everything you currently own, Ecclesiastes 2:18-19), how does God’s Covenant provide insurance?
- On the bottom of page 80, Burroughs explains how a man with a new nature should responds when loss and trouble come: what is it?
- Burroughs explains that when we face trials, we should turn to the Scripture and find the promise(s) which God has given for one in our position. Take a current trial, then search and find a promise which matches your trial.
- Do you come to God with your trials to seek ease and contentment?
- “If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life. You’ll always be a little too tired, a little too busy. But if, like Jesus, you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray.” Paul E. Miller (2011-09-21). A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World with Bonus Content (p. 49). Navpress. Kindle Edition.