Jeremiah Burroughs gives his final suggestions on how to be content, found in chapter 13 of The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.
1. Fill your soul with grace
All the tricks and tools won’t do you any good if you don’t get a grip on your heart. Let grace be the ballast in your boat.
2. Keep a loose grip on the world
At some point, whatever you’re involved with will bring you some trouble and thorns. Choose carefully what you’re involved with.
3. Be sure this is where you’re supposed to be
When you know you are where God has called you, you can be quiet and content even when you meet with trouble.
4. Play fair
Whatever your work is, go by the rules. Be ethical. Seek to serve, not to be served. Stay within God’s boundaries, and you’ll remain under his protection. And sleep better at night.
5. Live by faith
Never forget God’s promise that all things work for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Exercise your faith.
6. Think spiritually
Meditate on things above (Colossians 3:1). Go higher. Talk more with God. Rise above the snakes that crawl below.
7. Be realistic
Don’t expect all the world’s material blessings to fall at your doorstep. Don’t promise yourself different things than God promises you.
8. Die to the world - daily
If your heart is dead to the world, you won’t be tossed about by its upheavals. Let your happiness come from outside the world.
9. Don’t dwell on heartaches
Dwell instead on things that comfort you. Thank God often for his mercies.
10. Reframe the past in God’s favor
“Make a good interpretation of God’s ways toward you.” There are many interpretations you can put on an event. Choose the truthful one, the one that shows God’s glory. Love thinks no evil.
11. Don’t depend on others’ interpretations
For example: Do you think your wealth is small because you measure it by America’s yardstick? “Oh, do not let your happiness depend on the fancies of other men.”
12. Don’t get too comfortable with comforts.
When you have comforts, enjoy them, but don’t become dependent upon them. If they are then one day removed, you won’t fall apart.
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Burroughs concludes with this:
Here is a necessary lesson for a Christian, that Paul said, he had learned in all estates therewith to be content. Oh, do not be content with yourselves till you have learned this lesson of Christian contentment, and have obtained some better skill in it than heretofore.
I pray for better skill in it than heretofore. I thank God for lending Jeremiah Burroughs to us to provide clarity of vision for our lack, and for explaining how to use God’s tools to work towards progress in it.
If there is ever a # 2 book I will now recommend on contentment (# 1 is the Bible), this one is it. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment is a cut above. Read it; weep over it; be changed by it.