The Secret to Godliness and Contentment.

Last week we learned what the church looks like when Jesus is not enough. The next few verses in 1 Timothy 6 describe life when Christ is our all in all. In contrast to unbelieving false teachers, believers who rest on Christ's sufficiency are able to be content.


Our Greatest Aspiration (1 Timothy 6:6)

This passage is often applied to the subjects of money and contentment, but the main subject is found at the beginning of verse 6: godliness. Issues of money and contentment are easy when a person is truly godly.

Those who have been born again are able to become more like God because they are in Jesus Christ. This happens over time through the work of the Holy Spirit. False teachers cannot be godly because they don't know Christ!

Our Greatest Satisfaction (1 Timothy 6:6)

"Contentment" is a word Paul borrowed from the culture and philosophy of his day. It means complete self-sufficiency. This is what our culture would preach: to look inside yourself for the power to achieve success. Yet our sufficiency is found in Christ. The wording is clear: Godliness comes first, and contentment comes only from Jesus.

Our Greatest Realization (1 Timothy 6:7)

Most people in this world are living for temporary things. If we have been born again, the reason we live is eternal. Our task on earth is to make creative use of our material resources for eternal purposes (Luke 16:9). In the original language, verse 7 emphasizes the word "nothing." The things we own are useless unless we use them to reach others and help them grow in Christ.

Our Greatest Simplification (1 Timothy 6:8)

The believer who has Christ as the focus of their theology will learn to be thankful when God simply meets their needs. In light of Christ's sufficiency, the American dream has no value. Everything we have finds meaning when we use it to introduce people to Christ's sufficiency.

Does this sound like pragmatism? Not all pragmatism is ungodly if our priorities are in order. Remember the beginning of this section: if we first pursue godliness, we will not use our resources in an ungodly way.

Five Truths that Help Maintain a Contented Heart*
  1. Recognize that the Lord owns everything. What we have is not ours but His.
  2. Maintain a thankful heart. Be grateful even if you have a little.
  3. Learn to distinguish between wants and needs.
  4. Spend less than you make. This allows you to invest in eternal purposes.
  5. Worship the Lord with integrity. Make sacrificial giving a way of life.

*taken from John MacArthur's Commentary on 1 Timothy

Application Points

  • Where do you find your satisfaction? How can you be content and satisfied just with the person of Jesus Christ?
  • Think about the material resources God has blessed you with. How can you creatively use what you have for eternal purposes?
  • Is godliness your primary goal? What would your life look like if it was? Take steps to live simply with the goal to be godly.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Hebrews 1:3 – Christ is the image of God.
  • 1 John 3:1-3, Philippians 3:12-21, 2 Peter 3:18 – The Christian continues to grow in Christ-likeness.
  • Philippians 4:11-13 – Paul could be content with everything and nothing because Jesus is enough.
  • Psalm 37:25 – God is faithful to provide the needs of His righteous ones.
  • Ecclesiastes 5:10 – The opposite of contentment.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 – We have an eternal influence.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Jesus Is All the World To Me"

Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall:
when I am sad, to Him I go; no other one can cheer me so;
when I am sad, He makes me glad; He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, my friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings, and He gives them o'er and o'er:
He sends the sunshine and the rain, He sends the harvest's golden grain;
sunshine and rain, harvest of grain; He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, and true to Him I'll be;
oh, how could I this friend deny when He's so true to me?
Following Him, I know I'm right, He watches o'er me day and night;
Following Him, by day and night; He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better friend;
I trust Him now, I'll trust Him when Life's fleeting days shall end:
beautiful life with such a friend, beautiful life that has no end;
eternal life, eternal joy; He's my friend.

Quotes to Ponder

The poorest man I know is the man who has nothing but money.

— John D. Rockefeller