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                        "FAITH IS THE VICTORY!"

                        In Overcoming Discontent


1. I trust that as we are making our way through this series that the 
   value of faith in Jesus is becoming ever more apparent...
   a. In overcoming sin
   b. In overcoming anxiety, boredom, depression, and despair
   -- I.e., "Faith Is The Victory!" in overcoming the world with its
      many ills - cf. 1 Jn 5:4-5

2. Another ailment that afflicts many people is "discontent"...
   a. It appears to be closely related to "boredom"
   b. Just as "anxiety" and "despair" are closely linked

3. In my study on the subject of "discontent", I found what seems to be
   conflicting views...
   a. Some describe discontent as evil:  "A man's discontent is his 
      worst evil." (George Herbert, 1593-1633)
   b. Others speak of it as something good:  
      1) "Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a 
         nation." (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)
      2) "Restlessness and discontent are the necessities of progress."
         (Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931)
      3) "Show me a thoroughly satisfied man - and I will show you a 
         failure." (Edison)

[Is it wrong to be "discontent"?  Or is it necessary for progress?  The
problem may be one of semantics, so let's start with seeking to 
understand exactly what it is we are talking about...]


      1. According to the American Heritage dictionary:  Absence of 
         contentment; dissatisfaction;  a restless longing for better
      2. There appears to be two different kinds of "discontent"...
         a. "There are two kinds of discontent in this world: the 
            discontent that works, and the discontent that wrings its 
            hands. The first gets what it wants, and the second loses
            what it has." (Gordon Graham)
         b. It is the discontent that "wrings its hands" that we are 
            discussing in this lesson
            1) It is the absence of contentment as a result of 
            2) It is that dissatisfaction which is often accompanied by
               grumbling and complaining

      1. It affects our relationship with God!
         a. When we are discontent because of covetousness, we become
            idolaters! - cf. Ep 5:3-5; Co 3:5
         b. When we are discontent because of dissatisfaction with what
            we have, are we not being ungrateful for what God has given
            1) "Whenever you find yourself disposed to uneasiness or 
               murmuring at anything that is the effect of God's 
               providence, look upon yourself as denying either the 
               wisdom or goodness of God." (William Law, 1686-1761)
            2) "Complaining about our lot in life might seem quite 
               innocent in itself, but God takes it personally." (Erwin
               W. Lutzer)
      2. It hurts ourselves!
         a. Contentment is a virtue that is highly praised and valued:
            1) "He is richest who is content with the least."
            2) "He who is content can never be ruined." (Chinese 
            3) "The contented man is never poor, the discontented never
               rich." (Unknown)
            4) "...godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1 Ti
         b. But discontentment hurts those who possess it:
            1) "Those who want much are always much in need." (Horace,
               65-8 B.C.)
            2) "It is not the man who has too little, but the man who
               craves more, who is poor." (Seneca, 4 B.C.-65 A.D.)
         -- We only make ourselves unhappy by being discontent
      3. Those discontented also hurt others!
         a. When we are discontent, we become grumblers and complainers
            1) Affecting our friends, families, and brethren
            2) Ruining not only our own selves, but those closest to us
         b. Nothing destroys a friendship and congregation quicker than
            the grumbling and murmuring of those discontent
            1) "Grumbling is the death of love." (Marlene Dietrich)
            2) Which may be why such complaining is condemned in the 
               Scriptures - 1 Co 10:10; Ph 2:14-15

[So much unhappiness is the result of discontent in our own lives.  If 
we wish to overcome discontent, we must look to the One who helps us 
overcome the world...]


      1. Through His teachings...
         a. By telling us what is truly important in life
            1) Not material abundance - Lk 12:13-15
            2) But being rich toward God! - Lk 12:16-21
         b. By telling us to lay up our treasure in heaven
            1) For earthly treasures will decay or be stolen - Mt 6:19
            2) Whereas treasures in heaven are safely guarded - Mt 6:
               20; cf. 1 Pe 1:4
            -- Thus ensuring that our hearts are set upon that which 
               cannot be destroyed - Mt 6:21
      2. Through His promises...
         a. Promising to always be with us - Mt 28:20; cf. He 13:5-6
         b. Promising God's providential care - Mt 6:30-33; 7:7-11;

      1. Even as Paul was content - cf. Ph 4:11-13
         a. It was something he learned as a disciple of Christ!
         b. It was something he had through the power of Christ!
      2. It has been said that "Contentment is the power to get out of
         any situation all there is in it."
         a. Paul had certainly made the best of his imprisonment! - cf.
            Ph 1:12-14
         b. He saw how his circumstances enhanced that which was truly
            important - the spread of the gospel!
      3. It has also been said that "Contentment is not the fulfillment
         of what you want, but the realization of how much you already
         a. If anyone realized how blessed he was, it was the apostle 
         b. For he served his God who could supply all one's needs! 
            - cf. Ph 4:19
         c. Even when he knew his life was near its end - cf. 2 Ti 4:18


1. "All the world lives in two tents--content and discontent."
   a. Which "tent" do you live in?
   b. Paul, as a disciple of Jesus, lived in a constant state of 
   c. A contentment learned and enjoyed through his relationship with
      God through Jesus Christ

2. He encourages us to follow his example, if we desire to have the 
   same relationship with God - cf. Ph 4:9
   a. To learn of his "ways in Christ" which he taught in every church 
      - 1 Co 4:16-17
   b. Such "ways" certainly included those taught by our Lord Himself!
If we desire to overcome discontent, then let's be inspired by the 
example of Paul who wrote:

   "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,
   but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the 
   flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave
   Himself for me. (Ga 2:20)

When one can truly say they "live by faith in the Son of God", then 
"Faith Is The Victory!" in overcoming discontent!
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