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Contentment: A Godly Woman's Adornment (On-The-Go Devotionals) Paperback – March 17, 2008
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"Skillful devotionals for those who face the challenge to 'fit it all in.' Biblically rigorous and deeply perceptive. Godly insights from a godly sister."
—Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, counselor; speaker; author, Found in Him
"A ready resource for keeping our thinking focused on God himself. The devotionals helped me understand my fear or discontent and our Heavenly Father's provision."
—Barbara Hughes, author, Disciplines of a Godly Woman; coauthor, Disciplines of a Godly Family
"Lydia Brownback calls Christian women to lift their eyes upward and find security, rest, and peace in a sovereign God whose promises never fail!"
—Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author; radio host, Revive Our Hearts
About the Author
Lydia Brownback (MAR, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as a senior editor at Crossway in Wheaton, Illinois, and an author and speaker at women’s conferences around the world. Lydia previously served as writer in residence for Alistair Begg and as producer of the Bible Study Hour radio program with James Montgomery Boice.
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Top Customer Reviews
Happiness is something we all want. In America, it is elevated to a birthright. Most people believe that if they just change this or have that, they will be happy. We may be discontent with any number of things, our circumstances, our abilities, our level of prosperity, to name a few. Brownback addresses several avenues in which women seek to find contentment: marriage, children, career, food, pornography, alcohol, sex, television. We go about it in different ways, but we all eventually come to the same realization: This isn't satisfying me; I'm still discontent and unhappy. Brownback explains this is because we have sought happiness in an idol. Brownback's devotionals are written to help women confront idolatry in its various manifestations and to inspire women to place every ounce of their hope in Christ. God has designed us to find happiness, joy, and our deepest delight in Him. He loves us so much that we won't be content until we learn to find it in Him alone.
Our circumstances change; good times come and go. But God never changes. He promises to never forsake His children. Brownback writes that all we have is right now. Whether we find ourselves in plenty or in hunger, God has promised to provide all we need for right now because He offers us Himself. Brownback writes, "Whatever we're longing for but lack is an area in which God will reveal himself to be adequate for us." As we learn to apply this truth and fellowship with Christ, Biblical happiness can be realized. "Reduced to its simplest equation, holiness equals happiness. Godliness, or holiness, is what we have been designed for, and if we are believers, it is our destiny. We are being conformed to Christ, who is himself perfect holiness. Therefore, the more like Christ we become, the holier we become, and we find ourselves increasingly happy."
As in Trust, the first on-the-go book, Brownback uses several people from scripture as positive and negative examples of biblical contentment. The most insightful negative example for me is her use of the Israelites roaming through the wilderness. Their circumstances skewed their perspective of their past. Rather than believe God, they believed "the lie of nostalgia." I also appreciated her use of Paul as an example of how to learn contentment in any circumstance and how to experience God's sufficient grace in Christ Jesus. "Holding that perspective is what enables Paul to be utterly content with mere food and clothing, and it is why he said that the same happiness is available for all believers. Happiness, not the fleeting kind -- the occasional good day -- but the bound-out-of-bed-glad-to-be-alive kind, comes from running toward where God is ultimately taking us. The real source of all our unhappiness is due to the fact that we are running elsewhere. If we would just run in the right direction -- toward Christ and his ways, toward the kingdom of God -- we would find the happiness we are so desperately seeking, because that is the only place where it is to be found."
I am not sure I can express how helpful this devotional is proving to be to me. I have read it twice and plan to start again tomorrow. It is not so much that what Brownback has written is "new" to me. Most of what she's written, I knew already from a much longer book. But I need to be reminded every single day that not only is Jesus the means to my happiness, He is the end. He is everything. Brownback's little paperback is an excellent tool for helping me remember that "God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him." I very happily recommend this book to you.
In the introduction and in the last chapter of the book she says that contentment and happiness are one and the same if we interpret them Biblically. She doesn't give a basis for this claim and I cannot find one in Scripture. This may not seem like such a big deal, but when the whole book is about contentment, it is important to define it accurately and I cannot account for why she makes such a claim. The word happiness isn't used in the KJV, but the word happy is used a couple of times and Vine' s translates it as "blessed, happy." It's from a word meaning large. It is most often translated blessed as in the Beatitudes. The word contentment is defined by Vine's as "satisfaction with what one has" and is once translated contentment (1 Timothy 6:6) and once translated sufficiency (2 Corinthians 9:8). I don't see how the words can be said to have the same meaning or that they are used interchangeably in the Bible. Happiness is a much stronger emotion involving great blessing, contentment involves recognizing that one has enough. Food and clothing are cause for contentment (I Tim. 6); inheriting the earth and seeing God are cause for happiness (Mt. 5).
Her main point is that neither happiness nor contentment can be found in things, but must be found in Christ and that is very true. But if we lose the meaning of words, we lose the foundation for everything in the Bible. If people can give whatever meanings they want to words, the Bible will end up meaning everything, or, more accurately, nothing. I'm not so much concerned about her treatment of contentment as I am her treatment of the Word of God.
She does something even worse with Scripture in the chapter titled Satisfaction Guaranteed where she says that when Jesus says "blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness", he really meant we should hunger and thirst for himself, for Christ. The problem with this is that if he had meant that, he could very easily have said that but he didn't. It seems reasonable to assume that he said what he meant. Strong's says that the word used here means "equity of character or action" and comes from a word meaning justice. Vines says that as it is used here in Matthew 5 it is speaking "of whatever is right or just in itself, whatever conforms to the revealed will of God." Lydia Brownback said that it wouldn't be very appealing if we thought he was talking about a list of do's and don'ts and so she gives it her own meaning. But Psalm 119 makes it very clear that the Christian does loves God's law and hungers and thirsts for it. This shouldn't be as surprising or as unthinkable as she makes it out to be. Yes, we should desire Christ, and there are places that speak of that, but this verse is speaking of desiring righteousness, to be righteous and to live in accordance with the law. That's how Christ lived and a true love for Christ as he really is should love the way he lived and want to live like him.
Though most of the book is fine and even helpful, I am disturbed that in places she jettisons the obvious and clear meaning of God's Word for a meaning that evidently fits in better with what she wants to believe. This is something we all are guilty of sometimes but that doesn't make it any the less dangerous. We should be both willing to see it in ourselves and willing to point it out in others because the cost of molding God's word to suit our own ideas is way too high.