There's a battle before you.
Every day we wake up to new enemies seeking to steal our joy, steal our attention away from God. To focus on Jesus, keep the faith, find contentment, stay positive, and love others—all of this require a tremendous amount of work. It's no easy feat, and yet, we're called to not give up.
For today's blog post, I'm sharing an uplifting devotional from 1 Timothy 6. Perhaps you're familiar with this popular set of verses from Paul, encouraging believers to fight the good fight of faith and endure, despite all odds.
A Call to Live Differently
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. " ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-11
The book of 1 Timothy is one of three pastoral letters written by the apostle Paul. He wrote these letters in hopes of providing counsel and inspiration to those who would continue his ministry work after he passed. In this context specifically, Paul is writing to Timothy, the leader of a growing church in Ephesus.
This church needed guidance, as it was being led by false leaders spreading corruption. With this in mind, Paul's intent is clear: to outline proper church leadership as well as an edifying Christian lifestyle. We can now dial into the passage in question.
As a believer, you are called to live differently than the cultural norm, LiF sister.
It doesn't take long to realize what reigns in our world—money, lawlessness, envy, all the things! Standing in stark contrast to these elements is the Gospel. When the world promotes living for ourselves, Jesus calls us to die to ourselves. When the world tells us we'll only be happy with more and more material things, Jesus tells us our soul will only find true contentment in a relationship with Him.
Don't be deceived and don't be surprised by the pulls of our world. These temptations are nothing new. With Paul's context, we know the pull of money and power has been there since the beginning. However, we can take heart knowing faithful believers have fought and conquered these temptations over the years, through the help of the Holy Spirit, and it's possible for you, too.
True Contentment Found in Godliness
Protecting your peace, and even protecting your contentment, is the true battle at play before you.
This is something Paul wanted to make abundantly clear here to the church-goers in 62 A.D. and wants to make it clear to you now. You must fight to be content in Jesus, and it is something you should be mindful of each moment of the day. Again, you are in a battle over your very soul.
"Godliness with contentment is great gain." What is godliness? It's certainly not a means to material wealth or "the good life." Godliness is living in step with Jesus, seeking His will for our lives. It is in this sacred, beautiful relationship that we find true contentment. Not from the things of this world, but in Jesus Himself.
As mentioned in the Enduring Word Bible commentary, the word used for contentment is autarkeia, meaning self-sufficiency. "They meant a frame of mind which was completely independent of all outward things, and which carried the secret of happiness within itself. Contentment never comes from the possession of external things.”
An Eternal Perspective
"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." ~ 1 Timothy 6:12
Yes, you must fight every single day to make Jesus your focus, to find complete contentment in Him alone. Paul issues this final charge to listeners, calling us to keep eternity in mind when living out our daily lives.
When we understand where our home really is, in heaven worshipping Jesus, then the things of this world won't hold as much power over us. In this way, a heavenly mindset is truly the key to living in obedience to Christ, to fighting the good fight of faith.
We can look at this passage and find comfort. You are not alone in this fight!
Paul confirms our suspicions here—living as Christians in this world won't be easy. It will require a very obedient, focused effort.
But when we come together in fellowship to remind each other of these truths and encourage each other in our daily battles, that's when things change for the better. That's when living life abiding in Christ becomes a little bit easier.
I hope you can end this devotional with a newfound sense of hope and encouragement. If you've been feeling bogged down by the weight of the world and its many pulls, you're not alone. I'm here to tell you that life in the Spirit won't be easy, but it is possible, and it will be so much richer with Jesus by your side.
Here are a few more takeaways at a glance:
- You're called to live differently than the norm, and that's okay! Rejoice in this calling, that Jesus has saved you from the footholds of sin, and is continuing to lead you from temptations to an abundant, content life.
- You don't need to be surprised by the temptations of our world—money, material things, power, etc. These have always been there, and now that we've acknowledged them, we can repent and ask God to grant us victory over these things specifically.
- While the pulls of this world are great, true rest and contentment for our souls can only be found in fellowship with Jesus. That's it. There's no substitution for the joy and purpose found in abiding in Christ and furthering His kingdom.
- In order to fight the good fight of faith and live in accordance to His will, we must keep a heavenly perspective. In other words, know where you're headed. You are heaven-bound, called to worship Jesus and enjoy Him forever. Let this influence your daily mindset.
A Reminder of Your Heavenly Calling
Where can our hope be found? In Jesus alone. Here at Love in Faith, we understand just how strong the temptations can be to let the world dictate our hope. In fact, that's why we created our faith-based apparel—to remind ourselves (and each other) of what truly matters, where our home really is. If you haven't already, I encourage you to check out our Christian t-shirts and accessories, featuring inspirational messages of hope and love, meant to put a smile on your face.