But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:6-8.)

Life is full of pleasures and troubles. These can give us grief or joy. The difference between how we live with our troubles and pleasures is what Paul calls the “secret of being content.”

The talks I am summarising detail God’s faithfulness and the responses we must make to live a life of Godliness in Christ. We need to be content. (nice word isn’t it?)

Reasons for discontent:
– Focus on what we don’t have. Satan’s successful strategy with Eve (Genesis 3:1-6), was that he managed to shift her focus from everything she *could* enjoy to the one thing *forbidden* her by God.
– things happen to disturb our peace; trouble or misfortune.

Godliness and contentment are so clearly linked. Numbers of scriptures speak of this either explicitly or implicitly: 1 Timothy 6:8, Luke 3:14, Philippians 4:11-13, Deuteronomy 31:6, Proverbs 19:23.

Our contentment does not see us untouched by troubles, but untouched by faithlessness and its attendant griefs of uncertainty, hopelessness and hardened independence toward God that can result when our peaceful existence is shattered.

Contentment is not an attitude we conjure up with self-effort, but rather the outworking of a living relationship with the loving God whose mind and ways are revealed to his children. The notes detail hymns, prayers and bible verses which speak of the reality of contentment (even during difficult times) when one has an understanding of God’s nature and his promises. They give examples to encourage us to stand against the pressures of the world and the flesh which would speak to us of discontent; Hebrews 13:4-6 speak of sex, money and contentment, Philippians 4:11-12 mentions varying circumstances which test us, Luke 3:14 records John the Baptist’s advice to the soldiers that they “produce fruits in keeping with repentance” (3:7-8), and they not “extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay”, 1 Timothy 6:6-10 reminds us that God is sovereign and that we are frail. See the notes for more detail.

Application:

1.    Contentment is not simply a disposition that we are born with.  Paul tells us that he learned it through circumstances (Philippians 4:12), but this learning was not isolated from –
i.    practiced rejoicing in the Lord (4:4);
ii.    prayer and thanksgiving (4:5-7);
iii.    a mind focussed or what is good, true, pure and right (4:8-9);
iv.    a life lived in consistent obedience (4:9).

2.    Since contentment and godliness go together (1 Timothy 6:6), we will need to be Bible readers who pray if our contentment is to grow.

3.    Learned and practiced contentment will keep us from overspending covetousness, pride and greed.

4.    The implications for us in raising children and in our example to each other in the church are significant.

Summaries all in one place

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