Father, help me live so Your name and teaching are attractive to me. Guard me from empty arguments about religion. Instead, help me grow in godliness. Give me grace to labor for eternal treasures today! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read 1 Timothy 6
In all our relationships, we should love and serve so that both God’s name and the gospel are protected from disgrace. God wants us to treat all our Christian brothers and sisters with the same honor Christ extends to us. By relating well to those in our lives, particularly our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will avoid straying from godly principles.
Paul has three main objectives in this letter, and he concludes by reiterating them. Broadly, these objectives are:
- To encourage Christians in the church to live gospel-shaped lives with godly, loving, and sincere relationships;
- To encourage Christians in the church to protect the integrity of doctrine in every way;
- To praise and worship God.
One way the teaching of the church can be compromised is through men and women who illegitimately thrust themselves forward as teachers over God’s people. We should all beware when church teachers believe that following Christ can bring them advantages in this life. Following Jesus does give great advantages in this life, but only insofar as we are already content with the possessions (little or much) and position (little or much) Jesus grants to us (5:6).
So, let us learn contentment, even if this means we have only food, clothing, and shelter. For Christ is our gain, and we are content to have Him. Due to a lack of contentment, Paul said, many people have pursued an increase in wealth, but this is a way of “ruin and destruction.” By longing for wealth, many Christians have been shackled with temptations and “pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Those whom God has blessed with wealth can pursue Christ single-mindedly by not becoming proud and by not trusting in their wealth. After all, any wealth we have is given from God, and He gives it not so we would trust in riches but so we would enjoy it with thankfulness and generously share with others. Even the rich are only truly wealthy when they have an abundance of good works!
GUARD THE GOSPEL
A 2-minute talk on Why We Must Guard the Gospel!
© One Minute Apologist. http://www.oneminuteapologist.com. Used by permission.
Paul says there is a better way than pursuing riches. But it requires us to flee our longings after wealth and, instead, absorb ourselves with pursuing godliness, righteousness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. This occurs by God’s good grace in our lives. The great gain of Christ is available to everyone who pursues Him without distraction. Beautifully, there is nothing to lose when we devote ourselves with all solemnity, sternness, sobriety, and steadfastness to pursue single-minded devotion to Christ until He comes again!
1 Timothy 6:11
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
- Paul told us that godliness is gain, but godliness with contentment is great gain. Now, pause and read Philippians 4:11. There, Paul said that by God’s grace he learned to be content! This is extremely encouraging because it means with God’s help we can do something about our contentment problem.
What is an area in your heart where you’re experiencing discontent? A missionary named Ella served the Pygmies in Africa for more than 50 years. She said, “Their living conditions were extremely primitive in the scorching heat and the humidity of the African bush.” Ella’s own daughter, Mimi, wondered how her mother had managed to live such a life and yet never complained.
Mimi discovered the answer in her mother’s diary where Ella laid out her prescription for contentment:
- Never allow yourself to complain, even about the weather.
- Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or place.
- Never compare your lot with another’s.
- Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
- Never dwell on tomorrow—remember that tomorrow is God’s, not ours.
After reading Ella’s list, write your own list. What would you need to stop doing to better live a life of contentment?