*LEADERS STUDY GUIDE 11.01.2020
WISE LIVING FROM PROVERBS:
November—The Wisdom of Contentment and Gratitude
OPENING QUESTION: “Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.” (Pro. 27:20)
What is the point of this proverb?
What is the wise path?
What is the way of feeding contentment?
How much will be enough?
Note: The eyes of man (men and women, mankind) are likewise never satisfied…never truly content. The eyes can’t ever take in enough, the human heart can never have enough…to become full…satiated. The eyes are always looking, looking…always seeing what we don’t have, could have, want to have. A job. A vacation. A bank account. Money…more money. The eyes are no more likely to become full and satisfied than the grave is.
Objective: Our objective is to realize the fact that we are all prone to discontentment. We combat discontentment by first having a true knowledge and honest understanding of our condition and then repent of discontentment and all that it says about how we view God and his provision in our lives.
LESSON DISCUSSION 1: FIRST UNDERSTANDING: WHAT IS COVETING AND DISCONTENT.
Read the following passages:
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Ex. 20:17)
- And Jesus said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15).
- Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Col. 3:5)
Q1: What exactly does covet mean, and how is it related to discontent?
Q2: What is the difference between unhealthy/healthy discontent?
How do I discern unhealthy versus healthy discontent?
Note: Terry offered us the following questions to help decern: 1. Is this something I should desire, or it is clearly outside the realm of God’s will? To have someone else’s spouse, for instance…no, God does that want that. There are some things we might want that, without question, we should not want. 2. Could I reasonable hope to obtain this through morally right planning, and am I willing to take steps to move towards this desire. So, is there a path of righteous wisdom to obtain what I want…yes or no? Then am I willing to take steps…or just sit around and complain and covet? Has this thing I desire taken over, or does it threaten to take over my mind, heart, life? Is my heart moving in love for God and others, or away from it? For the most part, we are aware, if we are honest, of whether what we desire and how we are desiring it is appropriate or not. Healthy discontent moves us to hearts and actions that lead to us becoming more and more like Christ.
Q3: So, are you discontent with your discontentment? (this is a good thing!)
Ex. 20:17, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
1 Tim. 6:6–8, “Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
Heb. 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”’
Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else guard your heart, it is the wellspring of life.”
Proverbs 30:15-16, “The leech has two daughters: give, give!” There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say “enough!” Sheol and a barren womb, a land that is not saturated with water, and fire that does not say “enough!”
LESSON DISCUSSION 2: Repentance
Q1: What is repentance, and why is repentance important?
Answer: It begins with seeing our sin, then agreeing with God about our sin, then it’s doing an about-face and going his way. It is so important because of our ongoing need for restored fellowship with God.
Q2: What exactly are we repenting of when we ask God to forgive us for our coveting or ingratitude?
Answer: We are repenting of our words…our complaining, ungrateful, selfish words, our words that betray wrong values…speaking most of the things that matter the least. We could be repenting of our actions, our spending, our overworking, our foolish interactions with other unwise and inappropriate people, married people trying to catch the eye, or the heart of someone other than their spouse. And at the heart level, we are repenting of our demanding hearts.
Application: Do you want to move in the direction of joy and contentment…let’s being with repentance.