walk in the word
So your life isn’t perfect.
Welcome to the world this side of heaven. Still, your life could be better. It doesn’t have to be the way it is right now. I know one improvement that can affect every single area of your life.
You can be content with what God has given you.
Content? You may say, didn’t we just agree that life could be better? Yes! A better life begins with being content with what God has given you. Trust me on this one. Godly contentment is like oxygen—it breathes life back into you.
Here’s a definition: Contentment is a satisfaction with God’s sufficient provision. You are satisfied with what God has entrusted to you. You don’t need anything else. You can say without fear or resentment, “I have enough.” Talk about cutting across the grain of our culture that continually pushes you to want more, more, more!
God’s Word says that contentment has a partner. Paul said, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6, NKJV). Like salt and pepper, like Dallas and Fort Worth, like my wife and me—they are meant to be together. Godliness deals with who I am; contentment deals with what I have. Godliness is being unsatisfied with my character formation in God, and contentment is being satisfied with what I possess in God. We must never be content with the former, only with the latter. Together, they add up to great gain.
Please notice that Paul is not condemning desire for gain. Deep within each of us is a hunger for improvement. Did you know that? Down in the secret places of who you are, God has given you a desire to make your life better. Isn’t that good news? Your life doesn’t have to be perfect, but it can definitely improve. That desire to improve is not only normal, it is God-given!
But often that desire for gain causes many people to desire wrong things. Face it, we’re bent. We’re rarely satisfied with what we have.
Abraham Lincoln was walking with his boys one day as they argued and cried and made a public scene. A curious man approached and said, “What is wrong with your boys, to make them carry on like this?” Lincoln replied, “The same thing that is wrong with the whole world. I have only three walnuts, and both lads want two.” The desire for gain is not wrong, but because of our sinful hearts, it often causes us to desire wrongly.
Yes, godliness with contentment is great gain. That is an equation as absolute and unalterable as 2 + 2 = 4. It’s a winning formula.
So how do we get there? In 1 Timothy 6, Paul gives three steps that break the pattern of covetous thinking and lead to contentment.
Paul said that “those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare” (verse 9). The word snare can also be translated trap. Money traps people. Do you want to serve God, but can’t sell your big house? Trapped! Do you want to spend more time with your family, but find yourself working sixty hours a week in order to keep your job? Trapped! Do you spend a lot of money on clothing and cars in order to keep up with your neighbors? Trapped! When your whole objective in life is to get rich, you are . . . trapped.
You’ve heard it before—contentment is a choice. When you choose contentment repeatedly, you create a lifestyle. Don’t expect to become contented overnight. You don’t wake up in the morning and say, “Wow, I think I got contentment last night. It just happened. This is so cool….” No; contentment begins with a choice. And then another choice. And then another. It happens moment by moment. So do I need to ask you the obvious question or have you figured it out?
Will you chose to say today, ‘with God, I have enough’?
When you can say ‘yes’, you’ll find your capacity to enjoy ordinary pleasures increase. Simple stuff will make you happy. Like a nice walk with a member of your family. A loving conversation or a good meal without racing to your next appointment. A quiet, grateful, reflective moment on God’s goodness. When you are content with all God has given you and done for you, you aren’t missing out on one thing the world has to offer. Not one thing! Don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise. When you enjoy the blessings of godly contentment . . . you are richer than 99% of the world!
Your life may not be perfect, but with God you have enough. Choose to live like it today.
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