“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” – 1 Timothy 6.6
Lately as I think on my selfish tendencies the words of a Bible study leader still sound in my ears: God saved you. Think about that for a moment. Is that enough?
And all too often contentment is fleeting because we want more. This sounds ludicrously ungrateful in light of what Jesus has done for believers–he died on the cross for them so that they could be righteous in God’s eyes, adopted into his family, able to call him “Father.” This father created all things, from the ground beneath our feet to the enormous titanosaurs that once roamed the earth (which, regardless of where the discovery leads, was still an incredibly large dinosaur).
Yet we all have certain expectations. If God loves me then he’ll give me… a beautiful wife, a loving husband, a satisfying job, a bunch of friends, good grades in school, children or siblings who grow up to be strong Christians, financial security. The list goes on and on.
And our desires seem like such vitally important things for a loving God to give us that we don’t even notice when these dreams begin to eclipse God and become new idols. “All I ask is…” we say, forgetting what God has already done for us. This robs us of contentment, so that instead of spending our lives in unceasing praise of what God has done, we pass our days fretting about what we still want God to do.
While there is nothing wrong with asking God for things (he is our father, after all!), we need to make sure we don’t fall into the trap of equating answered prayers with the amount of love God has for us.
He sent his Son to die on our behalf! What further proof do we need of God’s love for us? In our prayers we must never act as if “sure, God saved me, but I also expect…” Regardless of what happens, God saved us, and that should be enough. It is enough. Even if he takes away everything else and never answers a single one of our requests, he still saved us. Is that enough?
I for one need to think less about me–my holiness, my obedience, my victories, my struggles, my dreams–and gain a healthier focus on who God is and what he has done for his people in Christ. There, I believe, is the secret to contentment.