Choosing Gratitude Day 23 — Godliness with Contentment

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 1 Timothy 6:3-5

Contentment and gratitude are far more than just an attitude that “would be nice. . .but _______” Entitlement, discontent are breeding grounds for conceit, envy, slander, dissension, suspicion, friction.

In other words, breeding grounds for relationship killers. I can’t be content if I am convinced that God is mad at me, or if I have to avoid certain people because our relationship is strained.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

If my sin urges me to run away from God in shame and anger instead of running to Him for mercy and forgiveness, then I prove I don’t understand the gospel.

If I think I can be “right with God” but I can leave a trail of fractured relationships, then I don’t understand the gospel.

God is not a “cosmic vending machine” where I can bargain with Him for what I want. The mere thought of negotiation with the God of the universe is an example of one who is “puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. . .” I can’t have an attitude of “I will be content if/when _______” That’s not contentment, it’s entitlement. It’s sin.

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:9-10

This is a very grave warning that the apostle is giving. There is so much more at stake than just an unsettled feeling or an “I wish” discomfort.

Discontent, ingratitude, entitlement, can actually lead to much heartache — destroyed relationships, sinful addiction, shipwrecked faith.

One reason to be content with what God provides, to avoid entitlement like the plague it is, maybe the only reason I need —

God knows what is best for me. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows what will cause me pain as well as what will help me flourish in godliness.

C.S. Lewis called it a “severe mercy”

As much as I may wish it were not true, here’s the fact —

I am so much more dependent on God since I have been chronically severely ill. I can’t depend on my own strength. The sad truth is that when I was “well” I didn’t seek after God; I had my own resources and could go my own way without feeling much consequence. Yuck.

I asked God several years ago to not let me “go my own way” anymore. “Whatever it takes, I want to be near You. If I must be on a short leash, then help me embrace that as Your mercy in my life.”

God is faithful. He has healed my heart. He has freed me from fears of abandonment and condemnation. He is teaching me how to be content, and has given me a love and acceptance to give to others.

If I really stop to think about it, that is “great gain.”

And I am so grateful.

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