The Secret to Godliness and Contentment, Part 2.

We have been studying through the three sections of 1 Timothy 6:3-10. Professing believers who teach falsehood in the church display their unbelief by their lifestyle. Those who believe Jesus is enough find security and contentment through godliness. Next, Paul addresses believers who are tempted to walk away from the faith. The outcome of their testing is largely dependent on who in the church influences them, unless they are already grounded in Christ and who He is. Paul challenges such believers directly because they are at great risk. The end of falsehood is temporary ruin and possibly eternal destruction.

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Consider Your Current Plans

The word "want" in 1 Timothy 6:9 indicates not an impulsive desire but premeditated planning to reach a goal. The verse describes those who pursue riches in a careful and methodical way. The desire for riches can ensnare a person of any class. One does not have to be wealthy or poor to be greedy.

The love of money causes a steady progression through "temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires." Those caught up in it, as the false teachers in 1 Timothy 6:3-5, are constantly falling into distraction and misuse the Scriptures to get what they want. Endless disciplined plans to become wealthy displace normal spiritual pursuits, opening the door for temptation to live for temporary rather than eternal things. When Christians get distracted from the mission of all God has for them, their desire to pursue a certain lifestyle dominates them. In time, this desire brings harm to themselves and their family.

Instead, the believer's eyes should be set on a better kingdom. We are displaced citizens of Heaven. A life of just making enough to get by, spending time with God and family, and having an eternal influence on those around us may seem mundane and purposeless. But there is a lot of eternal nobility in the simplicity of obedience. A life centered around earning money to pay off bills and live the American dream, while merely being connected to a church, is really the most boring way to live.

Consider Your Ultimate Place

A life spent in the pursuit of money is unpredictable and unstable. Methodical plans soon turn to disorder when someone moves away from the Gospel and the whole truth of the Bible. When a person is distracted, they are more open to listen to falsehood. The end of this process is being "pierced ... with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:10). The Greek word for "pierced" vividly pictures being impaled.

This decline is deceptive. Worship and fellowship don't immediately disappear from a person's life, but they are slowly eroded by the pursuit of temporary things. Work ethic can mask a long process of not living governed by the Spirit. Once a person "has it all" and has paid for it, they end up with nothing. Their life has had no eternal value in the end.

Imagine instead planning all your life around the pursuit of eternal influence. Even time outside regular worship and serving opportunities can be scheduled to make progress for eternal purposes. The aim of not only the church but every Christian should be to love Jesus and help others know Him.

Application Points

  • We are all busy with a lot of good things. But why do you live? Why do you do what you do?
  • How much time are you spending in your Bible? Are worship and learning God's Word your priorities?
  • Do you have spiritual goals? Are you planning to have an eternal influence? Do eternal pursuits trump your temporary goals?
  • Pray about your eternal purpose. Ask God why you are here. Why has He saved you? Ask Him to keep you focused on His mission for your life.
  • Who are you learning from? Are you following someone whose heart is set on temporary things or things with eternal value?
  • Picture yourself standing before Jesus at the end of your life. What will He be interested in? Will He ask how successful you were in temporary things, or whether you were faithful to the Word and in service? He is interested in whether your heart longs for eternal value.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 2 Peter 2:1-3 – The destruction that can be caused by false teachers.
  • Matthew 6:20 – Our priority should be eternal.
  • Colossians 4:2-6 – Praying for wisdom to have an eternal influence.
  • 2 Timothy 4:10 – Demas was distracted and walked away from the faith.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Be Thou My Vision"

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.