1 Tim 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain,”
Godliness with contentment is great gain. As opposed to the message of the world which is often telling me that I should never be content with my current economic position, social status, or even my monogamous relationship. The wisdom of this world is that I should always be looking for the better deal for myself, no matter the cost to anyone else, but the wisdom of God is that I should seek first the Kingdom, and be content with what the Lord has provided. I can always trust in the Lord to provide for my basic needs, He has never failed me, even when I fail Him. Psalm 37:16 tells us that, “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.” What it comes down to for me is that I cannot seek after God and seek after the things of this world. The Lord jealously and righteously demands my full attention, and as a slave to Christ, bought with His precious blood, I have no choice but to seek after Him. Anything else would be perilous to say the least. Paul tells us in Phil 4:12-13 “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” It is through strength in Christ that we walk in this world, not through our own abilities. As a practical application I want to memorize a verse that will be useful in reminding me to be content in what the Lord has provided. I chose Proverbs 15:16 “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.”
It is easy to say I am content with the money I have when I have food to eat. It is easy to say I am content with work when I am healthy and things are going easy, but what about when trials arise? When there seems absolutely nothing to be content with? 2 Corinthians 12:10 reads, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” In Philippians 4:11, Paul again writes on what it looks like to be content, both when “having abundance and when suffering need.” The verses preceding shed a lot of light on how I can go about changing my mindset from wanting, feeling insufficiently provided for, discontented, and selfish. Verse 8 reads, “finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” When I feel discontented it is because I am dwelling on the lack, on what I think is missing, what I used to have or see others with. It is an attitude issue, looking to God thinking He has not given me enough or in the way I would like it, when in reality He gives and gave abundantly on the cross. My mindset needs to change from dwelling on the things of God because He is always honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise. Inside of trials and inside of plenty. I Timothy actually says contentment is of great gain, meaning it is good in the present and future, for me and for others and as a testimony of my faith. I can offer up thanksgiving to God today and tomorrow, in abundance and in suffering, because there is always God’s promise of life to come and an eternity with Him. When I am content, especially when things are looking bleak to the outside world, it provides a great testimony. The American life managed to do away with contentment and trade it for consumerism. Being able to dwell on Christ instead of circumstances is a light that will remind the world that there is more to what we have on earth.
The one thing I can find myself longing for these days is teaching, I am not yet discontent with not teaching, but if I begin to dwell on or wish for the things God is telling me to wait for I can be reminded of I Timothy. I am going to memorize I Timothy 4:17 “…do not to be conceited … do not fix [my] hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies [me] with all things to enjoy.” I have all reasons to be joyful and to give thanksgiving to God, but memorizing this verse will help me redirect my thoughts on all God has given me and how He has provided.