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The Greener Grass Conspiracy, Chapter 1 Print E-mail
The Greener Grass Conspiracy

I. Introduction:

 Anybody here ever play the ‘if only’ game?  I figure we all have at some point.  For me personally, I played the ‘if only I had a wife’ game for all of my college days (and beyond).  I struggled so much with being single and, if I am honest, found very little contentment in those days.  What version of the ‘if only’ game did you play/struggle with?  What version are you still playing/struggling with? 

II.  A couple of passages to consider:

 A.  Mark 7:21-23 According to Jesus’ words here, what is the real reason why we are not content?  Is the problem really our circumstances?  Even though we often blame our circumstances (single, bad job, bad marriage, bad kids, bad house, etc.), our circumstances are not the real problem.  Rather, Jesus tells us that our hearts are the source of our problem.  Our hearts desire all the wrong things.  As the Calvin quote points out: our hearts are perpetual idol factories.  They simply move from one desire to the next, constantly looking for the next ‘best thing.’  Yet, they are never satisfied, or at least not satisfied for long (p. 18).  Consider James 4:1-3.  Our desires war within us and produce discontentment.  So then, how can we fight against such discontentment?

 B.  Philippians 4:11-12  Paul tells us that he has learned the secret of facing plenty and huger, abundance and need.  For Paul, the issue is not that we need a change in circumstances.  He knew the worst of circumstances.  As Alrogge notes: “The difficulties faced by Paul make my life look like a Boy Scout campout” (p. 19).  Likewise, he knew how to face plenty as well.  Thus, the issue for Paul was not what type of circumstances he was facing.  Rather, Paul’s focus was somewhere else.  He knew how to find contentment in spite of his circumstances.  Altrogge goes on to note the passage that we read last week, namely 1 Timothy 6:6, where Paul says: Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment.  Paul was correcting the false teachers who were using the gospel as a means to get rich quick (the ‘health/wealth’ gospel is not new).  Paul’s point is that with the gospel we have our spiritual needs met and when we can learn to be content with that and the meeting of our essential physical needs (food and clothing) then we will have great gain.

III.  Conclusion:

 Yet, as Altrogge points out, all of this leads to one important question: “What is the secret to contentment?” (p.20).  Paul says that godliness and contentment means great gain, but how do we have contentment?  How do we overcome the conspiracy?  We begin by valuing contentment and seeing that it is worth the battle, but we must move on to the battle itself, which is where the book will go from here.  May God allow us to see the value of contentment as we continue to understand how to fight for it in our own lives.  Amen.  

All discussions in this series reference The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 December 2012 )

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