In his book, Spiritual Depression, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones discusses how Paul exhorts Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6. He tells him, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Lloyd-Jones goes on to explain what Paul, now an old man, is trying to communicate. “The affirmation made by the apostle is that he has arrived at a state in which he can say quite honestly and truthfully that he is independent of his position, his circumstances, his surroundings and of everything that is happening to him…There is nothing like it, he says in effect, if you have that [contentment] you have everything.” (pages 277-278).
Jeremiah Burroughs, in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment defines contentment “as that sweet inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” (page 19).
While it is perfectly natural to have desires, motivations, and even longings, we must never forget that “the unchangeable factors in our lives ought to teach us that true contentment can only come from God-and that we must seek it in Him alone.” (Disciplines of a Godly Woman, page 80). Our beings will never be satisfied with anything, or anyone but God. He alone is sufficient.
The following poem, written by an anonymous author, known only as a “Poor Methodist Woman” captures the simplicity and elegance of a soul that is content in Christ.
The grace of God in the face of Christ is found in the gospel. Let us not be found murmuring or complaining against the loving providences of God. Rather, let us be found, like this woman, in that sweet frame of spirit, whose quiet trust, is a beautiful act of worship unto the Lord.
I do not know
when I have had happier times
in my soul
than when I have been sitting at work,
with nothing before me
but a candle and a white cloth,
and hearing no sound
but that of my own breath;
with God in my soul
and heaven in my eye.
I rejoice in being exactly what I am
-a creature capable of loving God,
and who, as long as God lives,
must be happy.
I get up
and look a while out the window.
I gaze at the moon and stars,
the work of an Almighty Hand.
I think of the grandeur of the universe
and then sit down
and think myself
one of the happiest
beings in it.