In case you have not picked up on this by now, I am one who “experiences” the things I write about. I go through the tests, trials, frustrations, then the recovery, cleansing, and healing by God so I can teach those willing to hear the truth that God has taught me. My experience with contentment is that I am very content when I am filled with the joy of the Lord.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:10-13 (NASB)
I heard a rhetorical question in an interview with R.C. Sproul several years ago. He wondered aloud why so many liberal theologians entered “the ministry” when all they were about was denying the veracity of Sacred Scripture and, therefore, the deity of Christ. I remember pondering this as I thought of all those liberals who professed to be Christians using their “ministries” to effect social change. I also thought of those in their very public ministries perverting the Grace of God in order to become rich. Paul describes both groups of people succinctly in 1 Timothy 6:3-5.
3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 1 Timothy 6:3-5 (NASB)
In this post, I deeply desire to focus on the opposite of this. I tire of continually pointing out the false and why it is so. Let us look at true contentment, its proper focus, and what it brings to each Christian who obtains it.
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NASB)
6 Ἔστιν δὲ πορισμὸς μέγας ἡ εὐσέβεια μετὰ αὐταρκείας·
7 οὐδὲν γὰρ εἰσηνέγκαμεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον,
ὅτι οὐδὲ ἐξενεγκεῖν τι δυνάμεθα· 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NA28)
6 But godliness with contentedness is a means of gain great;
7 for we brought nothing into into the world,
so we are not able to bring to take anything out either; 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
The word translated in v6 as “godliness” is εὐσέβεια. This word describes godliness or the whole of true religion, so named because piety toward God is the foundation and principal part of it. Oh, there are plenty of religiosity and Churchianity substitutes for this out there, but their focus is on seeking a form of piety that replaces εὐσέβεια with a devotion to being religious or a member of a certain church or the follower of a certain preacher. There is often a very fine line for Christians here in which a man of God is used by Him to preach the truth and this draws believers to follow him, but then the focus becomes the preacher instead of the true shepherd of our souls. The crossing of this fine line also cancels out our true contentment for this only comes from true godliness or holiness, which is only devoted to the Lord, never a religious system or a preacher or a denomination. What is this true contentment?
8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 1 Timothy 6:8 (NASB)
8 ἔχοντες δὲ διατροφὰς καὶ σκεπάσματα,
τούτοις ἀρκεσθησόμεθα. 1 Timothy 6:8 (NA28)
The word content in 1 Timothy 6:8 is the Greek word ἀρκεσθησόμεθα, which literally means ‘it will be enough.’ My brethren, this contentment is not something that is natural for us. As Paul stated in Philippians 4:10-13 (at the top of this post), being content in every circumstance comes only to those strengthened by God to do so. This is supernatural.