‘But godliness with contentment is great gain.‘ [1 Timothy 6:6 NIV]
In my last post, Christianity and the Thou Shall Nots, we talked a bit about godliness. I would like to share a few more thoughts on 1 Timothy 6:6, particularly on the contentment part of the verse.
I don’t have a definite definition for what contentment is but I believe that contentment is what makes a person delight in what God has blessed him/her with, however much that is.
Contentment reflects an awareness of what you have (too many of us have such a tunnel vision kind of fixation on what we don’t have) and a recognition that all you have, you received [1 Corinthians 4:7b NIV]. This understanding therefore prompts you to acknowledge the One from whom you received what you have been given with an attitude that honours both the Giver and His gift(s). Contentment is not a response to an “it could be worse” mentality; it’s a response that reflects a grateful heart that acknowledges the fact that God knows and gives to each of His own exactly what He knows they need, when they need it.
The truth is that contentment really is not about how much you have; you can have a whole lot and be discontent and bitter about what you don’t have and you can have very little and rejoice in the fact that you have something at all.
Godliness with contentment…
As I shared in my last post, there’s a tendency to look at what others [some of whom are ungodly] are getting or gaining and think you’re failing or missing out on something grand. Nothing can be gained that makes an ungodly life worth it; there’s so much more to lose than there is to gain.
Very often, the basis for comparing ourselves with those who seem to be doing well is what they have— material possessions— that we don’t have. The gifts of God to us are so much more than these. Don’t compare yourself to others, especially regarding possessions and earthly, material things— it’s probably one of the quickest ways to discontentment and bitterness.
Blessing is so much more than money and worldly possessions. Like Jesus says in Luke 12:15 NIV, life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. To name a few of them, blessings include:
● “the peace of God that passes all understanding” — Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
● deliverance and protection [from unseen battles] — Genesis 35:5 NIV (They were not pursued because “the terror of God fell on the towns around them…” Isn’t this something! I bet they didn’t even realize how real the threat of being attacked was.)
● provision from sources we didn’t even know exist: Deut. 8:3 NIV
Godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN!
GREAT GAIN because:
1 — Ultimately, we can’t keep any of the things we gain outside of our walk with God [grand mansions, sleek cars, academic knowledge, excellent portfolios, etc.] for we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. [1 Timothy 6:7 NIV]
Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
2 — Those things that we chase out of discontentment are traps and temptations that destroy.
 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. [1 Timothy 6:9-10 NIV]
So… where should our pursuit of godliness begin?
It begins right where we are. Sometimes, we feel that we need to get our affairs in order before we can turn to God but all this does is take us farther away from Him. Getting Him involved is how to get those affairs in order. Start from exactly where you are. He wants you to come as you are. He will make you into who He wants you to be.
You have a choice to make. Will you choose godliness and contentment with it?
— Invite God into your life [whether it’s for the first time or whether you need to re-invite Him because you invited Him before and then ignored Him].
— for grace to be godly… AND to remain in Christ.
— for a heart that is content and is full of gratitude because you actually see what God does for you, and not what you want that you don’t have.