27 Thursday Nov 2014
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
It’s a strange juxtaposition in which we believers find ourselves. We are filled with Spirit of God Himself, bringing heaven down to earth and all the godly riches available to us with such a glorious gift, and yet at the same time we are still on this earth, saddled with these fleshly bodies, so prone to temptation, walking among earthly riches, seeing, smelling, contemplating, desiring…
The flesh and the spirit are at war.
But Paul reminds us that while godliness is good, godliness with contentment is greater. It is gain.
Holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, but they can be especially rough on some who have suffered a loss of some kind. The days when seemingly everyone else is rejoicing can be a magnifier for those losses or unfulfilled expectations.
But a magnifying glass only magnifies that on which we are solely focused. And when we focus the magnifying glass on the world and its temptations, even on those things that aren’t necessarily bad, but God has simply, in His wisdom and grace and mercy, not given them to us, then our focus becomes lust and envy. Discontentment.
Contentment means we have moved the magnifying glass to focus on our Lord and Savior. We’re focused on Christ and God’s Spirit working in our lives, even through those losses, and have found we have all we need, and even more, to live an abundant life right here and right now.
In Philippians 4:11-12 Paul declared “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
And what is that secret to being content?
He doesn’t leave us wondering; in the next breath he tells us “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
No matter what our circumstances, and we are all in some kind of circumstances–don’t let the enemy tell you that everyone else’s life is perfect and yours isn’t—Jesus Christ gives us strength, not just to endure, but to thrive, to be spiritually well-fed and well-clothed, to have all our physical needs met, to the glory of His Name, the magnification of His goodness and faithfulness.
In the world there is always something more to want, something more to chase after. Just like we can stuff ourselves silly on Thanksgiving only to be hungry again two hours later, the world will never satisfy. But the overflowing, never-ending, unceasing treasure of God will satisfy the soul because that’s what we’re created for.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8
The same word that is “contentment” in 1 Timothy 6:6 is used as “sufficiency” here in 2 Corinthians.
Contentment–magnifying Christ in our hearts and minds–knowing He is sufficient to work through those difficult or even impossible situations, watching Him move every mound of dirt until our mountain is thrown into the sea, will bring us a satisfaction that no amount of earthly riches ever will. Contentment takes us off the sidelines of dismay and gives us a realization for the eternal treasures that are ours in the Lord, giving us the strength that frees us to carry on, faithfully doing the good work He has carved out for us to do.