The following is an excerpt from Lord, Change My Attitude Before It’s Too Late Bible Study, an updated study from James MacDonald uses examples from the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt to show that attitudes can affect our walk with God. Find more information at lifeway.com.
Contentment: Satisfied With What God Provides
“Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment” (1 Tim. 6:6, NASB).
Contentment has a partner. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Godliness keeps you pressing on, growing in your walk with Christ. It’s refusing to be OK with where you are. Contentment, on the other hand, is being satisfied with what you have. Godliness isn’t content with who you are; contentment is being satisfied with what you have, satisfied with what God has provided.
Too often, however, we think we need to supplement the satisfaction equation with and. We think godliness and something else will make me content. Do any of the following additions show up in your thinking?
Godliness + prosperity = great gain. All I need is just more and bigger and better, and then I’ll be content.
Contrary to a lot of errant, warped teaching in recent decades, Jesus didn’t die so that you can be healthy and wealthy. Sadly, people by the thousands have bought into this heretical propaganda.
Everyone wishes it were true that godliness plus prosperity equals great gain, but it’s not. It’s a false equation drawn from greed and self-centeredness, not from God’s Word.
Godliness + poverty = great gain. People overreact, and the pendulum swings wide the other way:
“So contentment has nothing to do with having money? I guess I shouldn’t have any money. I’ll renounce it all. I’ve taken a vow of poverty. Having possessions is wrong. Godliness plus poverty must equal contentment.” That incorrect equation isn’t taught in Scripture.
Godliness + power + influence = great gain. Some people say, “If it’s not money, it must be power and influence.” That kind of thinking has produced a generation of control freaks. Everything has to be perfect—your home, your yard, your spouse, your kids, your schedule, your income. Everything is in order. If you’re a godly person and control your own little kingdom and make everything perfect, you’ll have great gain. Wrong answer. Godliness plus control plus power plus influence doesn’t equal gain.
Godliness + family harmony = great gain. Some people would die for this one. Though I’m all for promoting biblical principles of family living, you’re never going to have a perfect family; one of your kids will make sure of that. You’ll also never have a perfect marriage. Don’t put all your eggs in that basket. Obey God’s Word, but don’t set yourself up for a lot of hurt by thinking, If I could just be a godly person and pour everything I have into my family, then I would have great gain.
Godliness + ministry success = great gain. Some people think if you pour yourself into ministry, that will deliver great gain. Wrong answer. Here’s one the Lord has to teach every great-hearted servant in vocational or lay ministry: happiness isn’t found in successful ministry. A lot of good things happen when God’s people serve Him and one another, but great gain comes only from godliness plus contentment.
Excerpted from James MacDonald, Lord, Change My Attitude Before It’s Too Late Bible Study. © 2016 LifeWay Press. Used by permission.