Answer “yes” or “no” to ...

...the following questions: 1. Are You Grumbling about the Present? 2. Are You Bitter about the Past? 3. Are You Worrying about the Future?

If your answers are “yes” then you are suffering from discontentment. Everyone has endured hard days. Some have endured harder than others, but all have felt the sting of sin and pain that our fallen world provides. Many people live under the cloud of their past experiences and become increasingly bitter. Over time we revisit and analyze the situations from the perspective of a victim, only to feed our bitterness. We cannot be content in the present when we are nursing bitterness about the past. We are essentially saying that God has got it all wrong.

How do we counsel ourselves?

1. Remember the doctrine of Providence. Providence basically means that God is at work to bring about all things that come to pass. He is involved in the details; he upholds and governs all things. This means that whatever happened, is happening, or will happen comes with divine sanction. If we are discontent then we must remember the comforting doctrine of God’s providence.

2. Remember the goodness of God. To be discontent is to question the goodness of God. Let’s remember that things are not “good” because we say they are good. Things are “good” because they are consistent with who God is and what he says is good. He is the arbitrator of goodness. We can diagnose and counsel much of our personal issues if we would interpret our circumstances in light of God’s character rather than interpreting God’s character in light of our circumstances. He is good.

3. Remember the cross. The ultimate medicine that we have for our souls is the cross. The cross reminds us what we deserve. We do not deserve mercy but we get it. God intervened in our perennial party of selfishness and nailed our sin to the cross. The cross reminds us that Jesus got what we deserve and we get what Jesus deserved. It is hard to complain and grumble when you remember that you deserve hell.

If we are to learn contentment then we have to be able to spot discontentment. If we are grumbling, bitter, or worrying then we can be sure that we are discontent. We need to run back to the God of the Word and the Word of God to be reminded of the truth.

Pastor Robert Chew