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The Power of Christian Contentment: Finding Deeper, Richer Christ-Centered Joy

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It may surprise modern Christians that our current problems with discontentedness are anything but new. In 1643, Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs wrote a work titled "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment" that has as much resonance in our day as it did in his. Now pastor and author Andrew M. Davis helps contemporary Christians rediscover the remarkable truths found in It may surprise modern Christians that our current problems with discontentedness are anything but new. In 1643, Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs wrote a work titled "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment" that has as much resonance in our day as it did in his. Now pastor and author Andrew M. Davis helps contemporary Christians rediscover the remarkable truths found in this largely forgotten work. With powerful new illustrations and a keen sense of all that makes modern Christians restless, Davis challenges readers to confront the sources of discontent in their lives and embrace Paul's teaching on contentment in all circumstances. He gives special attention to maintaining contentment through poverty and prosperity, as well as in our marriages, and offers tips on teaching children how to be content in an age of smartphones and social media.


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It may surprise modern Christians that our current problems with discontentedness are anything but new. In 1643, Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs wrote a work titled "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment" that has as much resonance in our day as it did in his. Now pastor and author Andrew M. Davis helps contemporary Christians rediscover the remarkable truths found in It may surprise modern Christians that our current problems with discontentedness are anything but new. In 1643, Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs wrote a work titled "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment" that has as much resonance in our day as it did in his. Now pastor and author Andrew M. Davis helps contemporary Christians rediscover the remarkable truths found in this largely forgotten work. With powerful new illustrations and a keen sense of all that makes modern Christians restless, Davis challenges readers to confront the sources of discontent in their lives and embrace Paul's teaching on contentment in all circumstances. He gives special attention to maintaining contentment through poverty and prosperity, as well as in our marriages, and offers tips on teaching children how to be content in an age of smartphones and social media.

30 review for The Power of Christian Contentment: Finding Deeper, Richer Christ-Centered Joy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs was first published in 1648. It is an amazing book but very hard to get through. I know. I've tried. Davis has essentially taken Burroughs' thoughts and interpreted them for our generation. He has done an excellent job, producing a very readable and very convicting book. Davis's thesis for this book, he writes, is that Christian contentment “is finding delight in God's wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it.” The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs was first published in 1648. It is an amazing book but very hard to get through. I know. I've tried. Davis has essentially taken Burroughs' thoughts and interpreted them for our generation. He has done an excellent job, producing a very readable and very convicting book. Davis's thesis for this book, he writes, is that Christian contentment “is finding delight in God's wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it.” (153/2754) Contentment is the mark of a fully mature Christian, he says. Why strive toward contentment? First of all, we are commanded to do so. (Heb. 13:5) And, says Davis, we will be more joyful, God will receive more glory, and we will be an inspiration to others. Davis helps us understand how we learn contentment - and it is something that can be learned. It is not a spiritual gift that comes with salvation. Paul learned the secret of it and so can we. (Phil. 4:12) It is a work of grace through faith, Davis says. There is a mystery to it though, having complete satisfaction in the world while having dissatisfaction with the world. I really like how Davis explains contentment as a mindset, a way of looking at everything, recognizing God's sovereignty over all of our lives. It includes the good times and the painful ones. Maintaining contentment in painful times is difficult and Davis provides a practical strategy for doing so. Part of that strategy: “We must conquer the natural desire for a painless life if we are going to grow in contentment ...” (1217/2754) Davis adds an area of contentment Burroughs did not consider, being content in prosperity. I found this book to be a very practical and convicting one. Davis's comments on gratitude and complaining cut to the heart. Perhaps that is because contentment is a heart issue. And it is hard. “Christian contentment will not come easily. You will need to focus your soul on it, moment after moment, for the rest of your life.” (2218/2754) I high recommend this book to Christians ready to obey the command to be content and follow the examples of Paul and Christ. You will receive very good teaching and practical strategy for doing so. As Davis says, it is worth pursuing this rarest of jewels. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary:  A biblical study of Christian contentment, exploring in what it consists, how it may be found and learned, the great value of contentment, and how contentment is sustained in one's life. It seems that a characteristic of the modern condition is restlessness--a relentless dissatisfaction with one's circumstances. More is better, or in the words of a cell phone carrier's ad a few years ago, bigger is better. We never have "enough." Contentment seems like a strange idea and yet for generati Summary:  A biblical study of Christian contentment, exploring in what it consists, how it may be found and learned, the great value of contentment, and how contentment is sustained in one's life. It seems that a characteristic of the modern condition is restlessness--a relentless dissatisfaction with one's circumstances. More is better, or in the words of a cell phone carrier's ad a few years ago, bigger is better. We never have "enough." Contentment seems like a strange idea and yet for generations of Christians, one of the marks of the depth of one's relationship with Christ was contentment. In 1643, a Puritan pastor, Jeremiah Burroughs penned what became a Puritan classic, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. In this book, Andrew M. Davis draws upon both scripture and this classic in a contemporary exploration of this classic Christian quality. After reflecting on our contemporary discontents and the profound contentment that the apostle found in Christ, a contentment that brought him strength in weakness, Davis reminds us that contentment is commanded (Hebrews 13:5) and draws upon Burroughs for a definition of contentment: "Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition." He parses out this definition word by word, noting the mindset, and our submission to God's decisions. He then proceeds to show how contentment is rooted in a trust in the providence of God. He describes the "mysterious mindset" of contentment that is both completely satisfied in the world while completely dissatisfied with it, a paradoxical mindset that can embrace suffering with joy. In our quest to find and learn contentment, he directs us to the teaching of Jesus: his example, God-centeredness, atonement, resurrection, the access he has won for us, his presence, his demands,, the worth of the kingdom, and the defeat of our fear and anxiety. Contentment is of great value. It fits us to worship more excellently, is central to all the fruit of the Spirit, prepares us to receive grace, prepares us to serve, enables us to resist temptation and comforts us with our unseen hope. By contrast (and this was a challenging chapter), Davis explores the evil and excuses of a complaining heart. The excuses are particularly convicting: "I'm just venting"; "God has abandoned me"; "You don't know..."; "I never expected this"; "You've never experienced what I'm going through"; "I don't deserve this"; and "I admit I'm complaining...but I can't help myself." He explores the contours of contentment in suffering and how we find contentment in suffering by asking for wisdom, resting in God's goodness, expecting suffering, acknowledging our limited perspective, accepting that suffering can sanctify, anticipating our eternal glory, and sharing hope. He then shares a Puritan example, Sarah Edwards, and two contemporary ones. In the following chapter, he discusses what may be even more difficult, to be content in seasons of prosperity. He challenges our lack of generosity without calling us to asceticism, but rather commending the enjoyment of goods and knowing when to say "enough" and to realize the fleeting nature of wealth. His final section is devoted to staying content. He draws an important distinction between contentment and complacency. Contentment can be zealous for God's kingdom and is not complacent about hell. The last chapter talks about very practical practices to protect our contentment. What is striking to me in all this is that contentment is not attained by a passive "chilling out" but by the active pursuit of Christ and the active forsaking of things that undermine our contentment. Contentment is not about having all the conditions of our lives just right. Paul is content in any and all circumstances because he "can do all things through Christ." Contentment is far from settling for less. It is realizing that in Christ, we already have everything that matters, something that makes us bold and passionate for the things of God, because we have nothing either to fear or lose. This is so different from all the positive thinking, best-life-now books on the market. These feed on discontentment rather than lead us to true contentment. My biggest beef with them is that their vision is too small. Davis offers us the expansive vision of a provident God who meets us in both plenty and want, offering us the sufficiency of the work of Christ, and our ultimate hope of glory. As Burroughs says, this is the jewel, worth exchanging everything else to obtain. ________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becky Pliego

    This was such a great read. The author did a great job in pulling out the biblical principles that Jeremiah Burroughs wrote about in his book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and laid them out in an engaging, practical way for today's readers. Really good book. I had never heard of this author before reading his book, and I am not even sure how I heard of this book... maybe I read about it on Tim Challies' blog? This was such a great read. The author did a great job in pulling out the biblical principles that Jeremiah Burroughs wrote about in his book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and laid them out in an engaging, practical way for today's readers. Really good book. I had never heard of this author before reading his book, and I am not even sure how I heard of this book... maybe I read about it on Tim Challies' blog?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angie Fehl

    Inspired by the religious text The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment written by Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs in 1643 (published posthumously), Andrew Davis rolls out this new book as a platform to share his own thoughts on the subject of overall life contentment. An NC pastor and theology professor himself, Andrew Davis references portions of Burroughs' text to illustrate how the struggle with discontentment is still very much alive in present day, afflicting Christians and non-Christians Inspired by the religious text The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment written by Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs in 1643 (published posthumously), Andrew Davis rolls out this new book as a platform to share his own thoughts on the subject of overall life contentment. An NC pastor and theology professor himself, Andrew Davis references portions of Burroughs' text to illustrate how the struggle with discontentment is still very much alive in present day, afflicting Christians and non-Christians alike. Davis points out how even with all the modern advancements in technology, science, medicine, arts and literature, all of it... humans collectively still seem to struggle to find satisfaction with their lives. Some might argue that if anything we might be more miserable than ever. There's a noticeable hike in various mental illness diagnoses. Advances in technology (especially when it comes to smartphones) has made us more immediately aware of daily stories of suffering all over the world. So many out there struggle with anxiety surrounding the feeling that their life lacks true meaning or purpose. So what can we do about it? Davis offers a number of pointers on how to approach and tackle general discontentment in one's life. Just a few: Develop an appreciation for quiet, slow moments. Don't feel the need to fill every silence. Intentionally "seek out avenues of service that are thankless." Offer help to the disabled, elderly, sick or dying. Offer comfort to the bereaved. If you come into an unexpected financial windfall, "share more than ever" Limit internet time. Instead, seek out books on the subject of contentment to keep you motivated / inspired. Remember, this is a lifetime process. In a nutshell, Davis' stance on the subject of contentment boils down to 1) living a life that is not financially or otherwise materialistically driven 2) developing a cheerful demeanor, or at least a generally positive mindset in the face of struggle or disappointment 3) acceptance of the concept "His ways are not our ways", allowing things to happen on God's time, trusting his methods. A couple of his points I didn't entirely agree on: "Christian contentment is not rebellious." -- I don't know, I personally think a little rebellion can be a healthy thing sometimes. I know plenty of happy rebels. Hehe. "Christian contentment is not a stoic acceptance of hardships in the world, as though we are denying that we are in pain or that anything could be done about it." --- Okay, well I'd argue that a certain level of contentment CAN come from "stoic acceptance". Also, acceptance ≠ denial. Not necessarily. When it comes to supporting texts to back up his talking points, Davis does pull primarily from the Bible itself, namely from the story of Paul. However, he also uses select passages from classics such as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, and Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. Davis's choices for biblical text support are well thought out, but I had hoped to see a stronger presence of more tangible, modern examples of people who had successfully discovered and maintained lifelong contentment in the face of persistent strife. Modern examples are offered within this text, but they are few and far between and not as impactful as I was hoping for. Though he makes some fair points, and adds in some interesting historical tidbits along the way, the overall reading experience of the text was a bit of a chore. Some of Davis' metaphors landed somewhat awkwardly and the writing style was, for the most part, awfully dry. There's definitely a heavy academic tone. In fact, much of this book read more like a college paper than a nonfiction book by someone with years of experience in the field. In the first chapter he even uses the exact words "my thesis is _________, my goal is ______________". So the reading of this work most certainly has its educational opportunities, but for the average reader I suspect it'll come off a bit of a bore, at least in parts. FTC DISCLAIMER: Baker Books kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Linebarger

    I’ve long been a fan of the life changing book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, by Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs. This book, by Andrew Davis, is a modern day look at Burroughs’ work, with insight, encouragement, and great ways to implement this into your own life. While I try to read Burroughs’ book every year or so, I will add this book to that same schedule. Excellent reading for all Christians!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristopher Schaal

    Contentment is one of those topics that doesn't get nearly enough airtime in the church, but it is so important! This book covers the topic well and is filled with fascinating illustrations and examples. It is a reworking of Jeremiah Borroughs's Puritan classic, "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment." I kind of liked Burroughs better, but I would recommend this book over Burroughs to most people for the sake of readability and its modern-day applications. Contentment is one of those topics that doesn't get nearly enough airtime in the church, but it is so important! This book covers the topic well and is filled with fascinating illustrations and examples. It is a reworking of Jeremiah Borroughs's Puritan classic, "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment." I kind of liked Burroughs better, but I would recommend this book over Burroughs to most people for the sake of readability and its modern-day applications.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    "My thesis for this book is that Christian contentment is finding delight in God's wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it." Building off of Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs' 1643 work The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Dr Andrew Davis, author and pastor, brings front and center the important place that contentment needs to be in a Christian's life and faith. The Power of Christian Contentment is a deep and meaty book which reminds this reviewer of a word not often "My thesis for this book is that Christian contentment is finding delight in God's wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it." Building off of Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs' 1643 work The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Dr Andrew Davis, author and pastor, brings front and center the important place that contentment needs to be in a Christian's life and faith. The Power of Christian Contentment is a deep and meaty book which reminds this reviewer of a word not often heard in the Church anymore - the deeper life. The focus on the power of Christian contentment is spot on for Davis does an very good job expounding on how and why the power of Christian contentment must be at work in the lives of believers today, especially in a culture in which dis-contentment plays on our heart strings...and our souls. Organized into four sections, The Secret of Contentment, How to Find Contentment, The Value of Contentment, and Keeping Content, Davis systematically shows how the lack of contentment in the Christian faith and church, ie, the people of God, affects everything from the personal aspect of the faith to the fulfillment of the Great Commission and Great Commandment. This is a rich book. It is a book not just for the mind but for the soul. It caused this reviewer to often pause and reflect, and, pray as he read it. Written and rooted in the Reformed tradition, this book should and will speak to all Christians, even those of a different theological bent. It is a book for personal, and corporate, reading and study. A well and deeply written book, The Power of Christian Contentment is an important book for the deepening of one's faith in Christ. I liked this book and gave it a four-star rating on Goodreads. Note: I received a copy of this book from the Baker Book Bloggers program in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    I recently finished reading The Power of Christian Contentment ~ Finding Deeper, Richer Christ-Centered Joy by Andrew Davis. This is one of those books I would recommend that we all need to read, no matter where you are in your faith walk. I really think this book is one of those books to visit often and I plan to reread this again soon. This book gave me much to ponder on and also a better view of being content in all things, as we Christians should and also why. Andrew shares the teachings fro I recently finished reading The Power of Christian Contentment ~ Finding Deeper, Richer Christ-Centered Joy by Andrew Davis. This is one of those books I would recommend that we all need to read, no matter where you are in your faith walk. I really think this book is one of those books to visit often and I plan to reread this again soon. This book gave me much to ponder on and also a better view of being content in all things, as we Christians should and also why. Andrew shares the teachings from Scripture and also pulled information from the book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment that was wrote by Jeremiah Burroughs in 1648. “The reason that we should be consistently displaying Christian contentment so that, in the end, God will be glorified in our daily lives, we will be more joyful, we will be sources of inspiration, and those watching us will seek the Savior, through whom alone they can have this same supernatural contentment.” Through this book and from Scripture, Andrew shares what the secret is of being content, how we find it, what we learn through Jesus’s life on earth, what God has to say through Scripture, how valuable contentment is in our suffering, why we should live content, how to live content and with joy, when we don’t how it affects us, and what the consequences can be living in discontentment. One of things (of many), Andrews shares in order for us Christians to be content, we must know Jesus Christ as our Lord, fully trust Him, and let Him teach us. It is when we are trusting and delighting in God’s plan for our lives, being humble, and allowing Him to direct us, that we can begin to learn to be content know matter the circumstances. Yes, contentment is something that you can learn! He teaches us through the example of the Apostle Paul’s life. So there is hope, always hope! As I read this, I felt guilty for the times I didn’t trust or have complained about things. Thankful though that I have learned from those times and God is still working on growing me in my faith. Many times we think we know what is best, try to take things in our own hands, but when we trust in the sovereignty and grace from God, we can learn to be content. “Most of our restless discontent is nothing more than rebellion.” Through Christ we have all we need, but yes it does take work. We face an internal battle as Christians living in this world. That is so why we need the Jesus! “Christian contentment is a work of ongoing salvation by grace through faith. It is not a natural temper or demeanor…neither can it be attained by willpower or by turning over a new leaf or resolution. In the end, Christian contentment is a miracle of sovereign grace working together with a regenerate soul. God will get the glory, and we will get the joy.” Some of my highlights from the book and there are many: Many Christians live such discontent lives that they are never asked by any of the similarly discontent unbelievers surrounding them to give a reason for the hope that they have. It is possible to learn it as Paul did, to reach the level of sanctification where we are actually content in any an every circumstances. If we embrace that we have within our relationship with Christ everything we need for peace and joy at every single moment of our brief span here on earth, imagine how free we would be, in all our relationships, from self-serving clinginess or desperation. A bitter person is usually suffering from unforgiveness. Submission involves gladly recognizing God’s fatherly authority to make these kinds of decisions concerning His children. There’s a wise and loving Father behind every experience you walk through in life, every person you chance to meet, every bruise or cut you receive, every paycheck you earn, every flat tire you endure, every missed connecting flight, every possession that slips out of your pocket. Without God’s providence, it would be impossible to find this contentment in any and every circumstance. The combination of complete satisfaction in the world and complete dissatisfaction with the world is a mystery of contentment. We miss many of those good works by being filled with our own selfish focus, not to mention any feelings of discontent. There is no greater example and instructor of contentment than Jesus Christ. In Him alone can we find a consistent delight in God’s wise plan for our lives and humbly follow that plan day after day. Content people are quiet under God’s hand, completely satisfied with the simple blessing God has chosen for them. All of us underestimate how much evil complaining reveals in our hearts. We have spent much of our lives complaining about our surroundings… We don’t think it matters if we voice our frustrations on a regular basis. But actually Scripture teaches the truth: complaining reveals much corruption in the soul. Nothing earthly is secure. All things that we see with our eyes are temporary. Be ready, for anything to be taken from you, and resolve that you will praise the Lord no matter what happens. Old wicked habits die through starvation, and new godly habits grow through obedience. So when the trial starts and your heart is being assaulted by doubts and fears, that is the time to come to God and ask for wisdom.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marcie Mowers

    *I was offered a copy of the book The Power of Christian Contentment by Andrew Davis in exchange for my review* There were several takeaways from this book that I need to work through. First, that contentment is learned. We have to make the choice to be content, and that comes with time and circumstances. Second, if we live with the idea that nothing has meaning, it may be harder to find contentment in everyday life. Whether you believe it’s the Universe or God or fate, knowing that there is a pur *I was offered a copy of the book The Power of Christian Contentment by Andrew Davis in exchange for my review* There were several takeaways from this book that I need to work through. First, that contentment is learned. We have to make the choice to be content, and that comes with time and circumstances. Second, if we live with the idea that nothing has meaning, it may be harder to find contentment in everyday life. Whether you believe it’s the Universe or God or fate, knowing that there is a purpose keeps us ready to pick ourselves up and prepare for the next thing. Davis writes: We must see the hand of the Almighty God in everything that happens in order to submit freely to it and delight in it. There is a purpose, intention, plan (pg. 56). Every moment is purposeful, and nothing is wasted (pg. 65). I don’t know about you, but I can’t live thinking everything is random. The crazy of life has to have some kind of meaning, or what’s the point? I also love this quote: Hope is like a buoyant cork that refuses to stay submerged no matter how many times someone shoves it beneath the surface (pg. 107). Davis is obviously coming from a Calvinist point of view, as there are references sprinkled throughout the book about pre-destination and God’s “deciding” that we the readers would become Christians. This clearly points to the idea that some of us would not be “chosen”, pointing to a God who creates everyone but just doesn’t like some of us as much as others. There was also an “us versus them” bent that bothered me as well as gross generalizations about Christians in general. Many Christians in the prosperous West live their lives in self-indulgent luxury and slothful ease….(pg. 180). Davis also points out how much was given to the Southern Baptist Mission fund in 2014 compared to the total number of churches that gave. #Judgey. I found Davis’ writing dry; I would have been much more interested in this book had he shared personal stories of how he grew contentment in himself and came to find his own sense of peace with his circumstances. I’m sure some will read this and be thoroughly convicted, ready to delve into the works of The Apostle Paul to see how he learned to be content. I absolutely agree with Davis when he ends the book with the thought that contentment is a “lifetime work”. It isn’t easy to wake up every day with a song in your heart when you know you have to face work and traffic and kids and bills and dishes and life. It may be work to get this right, but that’s okay.

  10. 5 out of 5

    J.K. Turner

    My Rating - Put it on your list Level - Quick, Easy Summary The book is broken into four parts - The Secret of Contentment, How to Find Contentment, The Value of Contentment, and Keeping Content. Each section is contains two to four chapters, for a total of 12. The two chapters of part one, set out the foundation of the book. He refers to The Rare Jewel of  Christian Contentment, a collection of sermons by Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs. In the second chapter, he points to Paul and all he suffer My Rating - Put it on your list Level - Quick, Easy Summary The book is broken into four parts - The Secret of Contentment, How to Find Contentment, The Value of Contentment, and Keeping Content. Each section is contains two to four chapters, for a total of 12. The two chapters of part one, set out the foundation of the book. He refers to The Rare Jewel of  Christian Contentment, a collection of sermons by Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs. In the second chapter, he points to Paul and all he suffered, and to the well known verses in Philippians 4, where Paul states that he has learned to be content in all situations. Davis refers back to The Rare Jewel and Paul's writings throughout the rest of his book. My Thoughts I think overall this is a pretty good book. I'm always hesitant to recommend a book that seems to just expand on another book (other than the Bible). The cynical side of me would say skip this book read Rare Jewels instead, especially because you can find it for free online. That said it is written by a Puritan and (at least the copy I found) isn't updated English. In addition, Burroughs could not have imagined the power, let alone prosperity Christians find themselves in today, so an update is needed. The strength of the book, and probably worth the read on it's own, is Chapter 10, Contentment in Prosperity. This is the main issue with the American Church today, and he has a good bit of stats and convicting challenges in this chapter. I'm not big into marking up my books, but I had to make notes on a few pages on this chapter.  I think he makes an important call to Christians. Usually, the call to contentment is in a time of less, but he points out the 'abundance' we currently have, and yet we are still not content (on the whole), so we seem to be doing something wrong. This chapter, along with the commentary on a Paul and the distillation of the classic, Rare Jewels, this is a book to put on your list. If you are specifically interested/concerned with contentment, this is probably (outside of Paul) you best bet to get started. Davis is a strong writer that goes deep, but keeps it accessible to a wider audience. * I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review More reviews - MondayMorningTheologian.com

  11. 4 out of 5

    Philip Mcduffie

    Andy Davis uses Jeremiah Burrough's definition of contentment: "Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition" (40-41). And Andy Davis sees biblical warrant for us to pursue this contentment every day of our lives. He says, "It is the duty of all Christians to strive after contentment every single day for the rest of their lives on earth. We owe this to Christ. A convicting Andy Davis uses Jeremiah Burrough's definition of contentment: "Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition" (40-41). And Andy Davis sees biblical warrant for us to pursue this contentment every day of our lives. He says, "It is the duty of all Christians to strive after contentment every single day for the rest of their lives on earth. We owe this to Christ. A convicting question stands over all our moments of complaining discontent: Has Christ, crucified and resurrected on your behalf, done enough to make you content today. . .or must he do a little more" (40). However, if we are going to pursue Christian contentment, then we are going to have to learn it the same way the Apostle Paul learned it (Phil. 4:11-13). Paul learned to live on God alone in the midst of suffering and prosperity. Andy Davis then teaches us a great deal about God so that we might learn how to live in Him alone. The most breathtaking chapters are the ones on God's providence, the evils and excuses of a complaining heart, contentment in suffering, and contentment in prosperity. With that said, here is a quote from the chapter on the evils and excuses of a complaining hear: "All of us underestimate how much evil complaining reveals in our hearts. We have spend much of our lives complaining about our surroundings-too hot, too cold, too loud, too soft, too spicy, too bland. We don't think it matters if we voice our frustrations on a regular basis. But actually Scripture teaches the truth: complaining reveals much corruption in the soul" (111). This book will help you fight for contentment in Christ in any and every circumstance!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lou

    Contentment in God is a Biblical theme. Andrew Davis 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” (The Power of Christian Contentment, Baker Books 2019, pp. 40-41). He maintains that “Christian contentment is a mindset produced by the sovereign grace of God in Christ, characterized by sweetness (not bitterness or sourness), genuineness from the heart (not acting or hypocr Contentment in God is a Biblical theme. Andrew Davis 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” (The Power of Christian Contentment, Baker Books 2019, pp. 40-41). He maintains that “Christian contentment is a mindset produced by the sovereign grace of God in Christ, characterized by sweetness (not bitterness or sourness), genuineness from the heart (not acting or hypocrisy), and quietness (not murmuring or contentiousness) (p. 45). Davis is right not to downplay the ease with which people can murmur, grumble or complain about hardships, nor the fact that achieving Christian contentment daily is a hard-fought battle. But his contention is that though both Christians and nonChristians face the same trials, God wants Christians to shine like lights in the darkness of the world’s suffering by the way they handle the sorrows of life. He says: “It is no stretch to say that the Lord may orchestrate amazingly challenging circumstances for you and your family for the primary purpose of giving your supernatural hope and Christian contentment a platform. As despairing lost people look on and see a buoyant peace and joy that is not based on favorable earthly circumstances but rather on faith in Christ, they will ask “you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (I Pet. 3:15) p.25. In other words, demonstrate your trust in God’s Providence. Christian contentment certainly is countercultural in our discontented world today, but Davis’ book provides both admonitions and practical helps in the on-going battle Christians face to hold onto God and contentment “in any and all situations.” 5 stars M.L. Codman-Wilson Ph.D. 5/31/19

  13. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    #GoodReadsGiveAway Andrew M. Davis, pastor of First Baptist, Durham, North Carolina, lays out his thesis at the end of chapter one which reads: "My thesis for this book is that Christian contentment is finding delight in God's wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it." With this in mind Pastor Davis states "my goal is that we will more consistently display Christian contentment so that, in the end, God will be glorified in our daily lives..." These definitions and directio #GoodReadsGiveAway Andrew M. Davis, pastor of First Baptist, Durham, North Carolina, lays out his thesis at the end of chapter one which reads: "My thesis for this book is that Christian contentment is finding delight in God's wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it." With this in mind Pastor Davis states "my goal is that we will more consistently display Christian contentment so that, in the end, God will be glorified in our daily lives..." These definitions and directions are very necessary in laying the groundwork for this work. Based on these ideas Pastor Davis places the animation and activity of contentment within the volitional life of the believer. It calls on each faithful Christian to actively seek out God's plan. My guess is that if you agree with this framework then you will find this book enlightening and encouraging. I, however, would place the center of Christian contentment not in God's plan for me, but in God's plan for all of creation. For me, Christian contentment grows from God's activity in the world through his Son, Jesus for the salvation and redemption of the world of which believers are one part. I'm sure that those readers who hold to (or hold sympathy for) Baptist tenets will find much to engage them in this text.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Jones

    This book is one that can and always will be relevant. It focuses on being content in all situations which is spoken about frequently in The Bible. Andrew M. Davis has separated this book into four parts: The Secret of Contentment, How to Find Contentment, The Value of Contentment, and Keeping Content. With inspiration from Biblical truths and Jeremiah Burroughs' The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Andrew M. Davis brings forth a fresh look on an essential subject. I really enjoyed reading th This book is one that can and always will be relevant. It focuses on being content in all situations which is spoken about frequently in The Bible. Andrew M. Davis has separated this book into four parts: The Secret of Contentment, How to Find Contentment, The Value of Contentment, and Keeping Content. With inspiration from Biblical truths and Jeremiah Burroughs' The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Andrew M. Davis brings forth a fresh look on an essential subject. I really enjoyed reading this and it was an eye-opening and inspiring read for me. This is a book that I can see myself coming back to and finding a new piece of treasured information each time I read it. I think the subject of contentment is one that everyone (including myself) needs to improve on at times. When we learn to be content and let God lead the way, we can fully discover that "Christ-centered joy." Thank you so much to BakerBooks and the author for the chance to read and review this book!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This book was decent, had some good anecdotes (Sarah Edwards’ letter to her daughter, for example) and provided some solid perspective on our temporary circumstances; however, there was nothing that significantly stuck with me outside those few things. You can probably read the first and last (practical application!) chapters and walk away with the gist of the book. 2 nit-picky things: 1) In the chapter on contentment and God’s providence, I think Davis could have done more to address the human r This book was decent, had some good anecdotes (Sarah Edwards’ letter to her daughter, for example) and provided some solid perspective on our temporary circumstances; however, there was nothing that significantly stuck with me outside those few things. You can probably read the first and last (practical application!) chapters and walk away with the gist of the book. 2 nit-picky things: 1) In the chapter on contentment and God’s providence, I think Davis could have done more to address the human responsibility/role in God’s providence. While not the point of the book, the way Davis discusses it, it almost seemed like we’re just robots in this game of life. 2) It sounded like he had a bit of an axe to grind when it comes to tithing and financially supporting missions. While I don’t disagree with his points, it came off as a little whiny. Maybe I expected (hoped for?) too much or was unable to focus enough on it. I’ll keep it on my shelf and may revisit it down the road. Maybe...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lizette Vega

    If I could, I would give this book 10 stars. Really, everyone needs to drop everything and buy a copy of this book. This work is now on the top of my list to re-read and then pass a copy a long to a friend--not as a lend and return, but as a gift for them to keep. It is a valuable resource for Biblical counselors as well. Davis does a thorough job in establishing what Christian contentment is, how it is reflected in the Bible, and every possible avenue that might threaten a believer's hope for t If I could, I would give this book 10 stars. Really, everyone needs to drop everything and buy a copy of this book. This work is now on the top of my list to re-read and then pass a copy a long to a friend--not as a lend and return, but as a gift for them to keep. It is a valuable resource for Biblical counselors as well. Davis does a thorough job in establishing what Christian contentment is, how it is reflected in the Bible, and every possible avenue that might threaten a believer's hope for the future. The lesson I learned: Christian contentment, according to Davis, is a supernatural gift that the Holy Spirit provides to us to teach us to submit to God's will for our lives. I truly feel like I have grown after reading this work. Do yourself a favor and read this book next.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel :)

    This book is powerful. I believe the ideas in here can change a person’s life. Contentment in this age is rare and needed. This book is so different from “self-help” and “self-improvement.” Christian contentment cannot be attained by trying really hard. It’s not simply acting happy while you are actually miserable. It is “finding delight is God’s wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it,” and this book unpacks that. This book is filled with scripture. It is clearly Bible- This book is powerful. I believe the ideas in here can change a person’s life. Contentment in this age is rare and needed. This book is so different from “self-help” and “self-improvement.” Christian contentment cannot be attained by trying really hard. It’s not simply acting happy while you are actually miserable. It is “finding delight is God’s wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it,” and this book unpacks that. This book is filled with scripture. It is clearly Bible-based. This book made me realize that God has placed me in every situation I encounter, and I can use every moment of each day to fulfill the good works he has planned for me. Jesus died for me, who am I to complain against him?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julie Chaddock

    I thought their was good things to take away from this book, but I think the author took things a little too far. We should strive for contentment, but I felt as if he was saying we should never complain, always have blessed thoughts...even with our spouse and close friends. I want my friends and husband to be honest to me about how they are feeling. I don’t like fake people. I feel I have helped others with my honesty. Life is hard sometimes and we can be honest about that. Should we complain a I thought their was good things to take away from this book, but I think the author took things a little too far. We should strive for contentment, but I felt as if he was saying we should never complain, always have blessed thoughts...even with our spouse and close friends. I want my friends and husband to be honest to me about how they are feeling. I don’t like fake people. I feel I have helped others with my honesty. Life is hard sometimes and we can be honest about that. Should we complain and grumble to every person we meet no, can we be upset and grumpy sometimes? Yes! I liked a lot of his point just felt he took it too far.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Walker

    Drawing heavily from the 17th century book “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”, by Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs, author Andrew Davis touches on a subject that is almost never mentioned: contentment. He covers this topic in 12 chapters such as: “A Rare Jewel in a Discontented World”, “Contentment in Suffering”, “Contentment in Prosperity”, and “Contentment and Providence.” Although I disagree with the author’s views about predestination, I would still highly recommend this book. I recei Drawing heavily from the 17th century book “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”, by Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs, author Andrew Davis touches on a subject that is almost never mentioned: contentment. He covers this topic in 12 chapters such as: “A Rare Jewel in a Discontented World”, “Contentment in Suffering”, “Contentment in Prosperity”, and “Contentment and Providence.” Although I disagree with the author’s views about predestination, I would still highly recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Saxon

    Davis sets out to modernize "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment" by Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs. I rarely appreciate such attempts, finding the original Puritans much better than their modern interpreters. In this case, though, Davis does a great job. The Puritan theology is rich, and Davis makes apropos connections to modern life. Reading the book right before the Corona outbreak was providential for me. Contentment with God and His sovereignty is indeed a rare jewel and crucial for maintai Davis sets out to modernize "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment" by Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs. I rarely appreciate such attempts, finding the original Puritans much better than their modern interpreters. In this case, though, Davis does a great job. The Puritan theology is rich, and Davis makes apropos connections to modern life. Reading the book right before the Corona outbreak was providential for me. Contentment with God and His sovereignty is indeed a rare jewel and crucial for maintaining Christ-likeness while under pressure.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adam Joyner

    So far this book has been my favorite read for 2021. Contentment tends to be a topic we avoid in Christianity, and yet Davis does a great job of tying in the Puritan Burroughs thoughts to a modern day audience. This is a must read for every Christian desiring to not only obey to God's choices for their life but also find delight in them. I will leave this review with a convicting quote found in chapter 3. "Has Christ, crucified and resurrected on your behalf, done enough to make you content today So far this book has been my favorite read for 2021. Contentment tends to be a topic we avoid in Christianity, and yet Davis does a great job of tying in the Puritan Burroughs thoughts to a modern day audience. This is a must read for every Christian desiring to not only obey to God's choices for their life but also find delight in them. I will leave this review with a convicting quote found in chapter 3. "Has Christ, crucified and resurrected on your behalf, done enough to make you content today . . . or must he do a little more?"

  22. 4 out of 5

    victoria

    This book was sharp writing with that also had a powerful tool in continual Christian contentment is finding delight in God’s wise plan for our life and humbly allowing him to direct in to you. All you need to do is to focus your soul on it, with the moment and attain to do it. This book will offer you all the skills that you need for it. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Baker Books Bloggers for this review”.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Don Geiter

    I enjoyed this book as a supplement to my morning study and devotion. I especially appreciate this book as Davis’ modern take to the compilation of Burroughs’ Puritan sermons on Christian contentment. A straight dive in to Burroughs’ works would be too much if a challenge for me. Davis does a great job preparing and presenting the pillars of contentment and provides not only comprehensive biblical support but also practical steps we can embark on to “learn the secret of being content.”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Noah West

    I would thoroughly recommend this book to any Christian in any season of life. It covers both contentment in suffering as well as contentment in prosperity. So, there is much for every Christian to be found in this gem of a book. Five out of five stars for me without a doubt. Read my full review at the link below: https://www.thecology.net/blog/book-r... I would thoroughly recommend this book to any Christian in any season of life. It covers both contentment in suffering as well as contentment in prosperity. So, there is much for every Christian to be found in this gem of a book. Five out of five stars for me without a doubt. Read my full review at the link below: https://www.thecology.net/blog/book-r...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Drew Bennett

    Jeremiah Burroughs' book on contentment is great. Bought this because of my love for that book and also the concept. I've thought of this kind of book to reintroduce other lesser known but necessary works. So, three stars for those two things. But the book fell flat for me. After 2-3 chapters I skimmed the rest and decided to read Burroughs again instead. Jeremiah Burroughs' book on contentment is great. Bought this because of my love for that book and also the concept. I've thought of this kind of book to reintroduce other lesser known but necessary works. So, three stars for those two things. But the book fell flat for me. After 2-3 chapters I skimmed the rest and decided to read Burroughs again instead.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Morgan

    Wonderful book that defines and gives practical knowledge to understanding and growing in Christian contentment. Davis consistently refers to Scripture and Jeremiah Burrough's book "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment". This book was an easier read, convicting, and helpful in encouraging our eyes heavenward during our small time on earth no matter our circumstances. Wonderful book that defines and gives practical knowledge to understanding and growing in Christian contentment. Davis consistently refers to Scripture and Jeremiah Burrough's book "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment". This book was an easier read, convicting, and helpful in encouraging our eyes heavenward during our small time on earth no matter our circumstances.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Will Abrams

    Unlike most other Christian books I read today in its boldness, simplicity, and necessity. With Davis' message of contentment I feel challenged and encouraged at once. Looking forward to putting these principles into practice. Unlike most other Christian books I read today in its boldness, simplicity, and necessity. With Davis' message of contentment I feel challenged and encouraged at once. Looking forward to putting these principles into practice.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    "He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God alone." - CS Lewis "We become more content not by adding to our possessions and pleasures but by subtracting from our desires until they equal what our loving heavenly father chooses to provide." "He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God alone." - CS Lewis "We become more content not by adding to our possessions and pleasures but by subtracting from our desires until they equal what our loving heavenly father chooses to provide."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Sparks

    # 14 of 2019 http://laurensparks.net/2019/05/so-mu... # 14 of 2019 http://laurensparks.net/2019/05/so-mu...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michele Morin

    Secrets have a way of grabbing our attention, particularly if the secret comes with a promise of something good. If I claimed to know the secret location of a buried treasure or to possess the secret for permanent and effortless weight loss, the world would beat a path to my door. Paul claimed to know a secret of even greater value: “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content . . .” (Philippians 4:12 CSB) In 1643, Jeremiah Burroughs unearthed Paul’s secret in great detai Secrets have a way of grabbing our attention, particularly if the secret comes with a promise of something good. If I claimed to know the secret location of a buried treasure or to possess the secret for permanent and effortless weight loss, the world would beat a path to my door. Paul claimed to know a secret of even greater value: “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content . . .” (Philippians 4:12 CSB) In 1643, Jeremiah Burroughs unearthed Paul’s secret in great detail in The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment. Pastor and author Andrew M. Davis revisits the classic work, providing updated illustrations and a fresh look at Burrough’s wise counsel: “To be well schooled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory and excellence of a Christian.” (40) The Power of Christian Contentment begins by documenting Paul’s credentials for his claim, reminding readers that, while Paul tested the limits of extreme discipleship, contentment was not something he was born with or that came to him on the Damascus Road. A Secret to Be Learned Christian contentment is a secret to be learned. When Paul wrote about contentment, he used a Greek word whose simplest translation is “self-sufficient.” He wanted to communicate his freedom from dependence on any created thing, and this is crucial because, while believers are not invited to share God’s incommunicable attribute of self-existence, there is a sense in which, at least spiritually, our contentment in Christ is a dim shadow of God’s self-existence (or “aseity”). As usual, C.S. Lewis says it succinctly and distinctly: “He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God alone.” (33) Contentment Defined If contentment is a secret to be learned, it is important to define what Paul meant. Davis unpacks Burroughs’s very thorough description: “Christian contentment is the sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” (40) It is imperative to note that contentment does NOT excuse complacency, nor does it mean putting up with injustice or passively accepting circumstances that should be changed and set to rights. Paul set the example by speaking out against injustice and held the magistrate’s officers’ feet to the fire when he and Silas were mistreated in Philippi. What is the Secret? Fortunately, Paul was not stingy with his secret, for he was quick to reveal his Source of contentment: “I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:12-13) Contentment comes from valuing Christ above all other possessions and relationships, above all other sources of strength and encouragement. It is a supernatural weapon in the trusting believer’s arsenal. Since God has commanded us to be content, he has also provided the means. The Miracle of Subtraction When I read Burroughs’s work several years ago, this wisdom stuck like a burr: “Contentment comes, not so much by way of addition, as by way of subtraction.” Rather than adding to our possessions in hope that the pile will one day satisfy, biblical contentment carves down our desires until they “equal what our loving heavenly Father chooses to provide.” (70) This, to me, seems to be the most difficult and yet most indispensable understanding of what it means to delight in the Lord without making an idol of his gifts. Finding contentment in prosperity can be as challenging as finding contentment in suffering, and there is never a season of life in which we’re not tempted to complain–and then to make excuses for it. Davis offers boots-on-the-ground advice for combating a spirit of entitlement which includes: studying the lives of biblical and historical figures who persevered with a spirit of contentment; learning about the persecuted church; becoming sacrificially involved in missions; fasting periodically from comforts that have become idols; getting involved in volunteer activities that are hidden and thankless; giving freely and extravagantly from your wealth; praying fervently for growth in contentment and setting the example for your family; reading deeply and widely from resources about seeking pleasure in God alone; practicing vigilance in your entertainment and social media exposure. Discontentment is an insidious evil, easy to overlook and hard to uproot. A mindset that views every single circumstance as a gift from God’s good hand is a frame of mind and heart that requires supernatural help and continual vigilance. By grace, growth in Christian contentment will lead to a deeper fulfillment in the following life and a richer experience of gospel truth. Many thanks to Baker Books for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

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