A life worth living is a life of contentment
Is life worth living? This question has been asked countless times through the years, and it is sad that many have answered no. When they are not satisfied with what they have, they would say life is not worth living. They would turn to drugs and alcohol to comfort themselves. Gambling and cheating are part of their greed to get rich all the time.
1 Timothy 6:6 says: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Hebrews 13:5 writes: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as we have.” Philippians 4:11 states: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.” We may become so dependent on material things that without them, we may find it difficult to live. There is nothing wrong to have a car, a comfortable house, enjoy delicacy or fine clothing. However, if these do not come to us, we still can live without them.
Jonathan Goforth was a pioneer missionary to China. Three times he and his wife lost all their supplies and belongings. The first was fire, the second was caused by floods and the third time was by the Boxer Rebellion in China. These calamities left them destitute in a foreign land. Drying his wife’s tears, he said with that indomitable courage which characterizes men of spiritual maturity, “Well my dear, they were just material things. Life is more than all these material things. Cheer up, we will get along somehow. God will not desert us.” In Christ we have all things even though our material things are destroyed.
Have you experience disappointment, defeat or failure? What do you do when you are humbled by life’s circumstances? Pour out your heart to the Lord and in the process, you will find peace and contentment. Life’s circumstances change and sometimes we feel crushed. Yet we can find contentment knowing that Christ has promised never to leave or forsake us. We can trust Him fully. Contentment is found in Christ alone.
Esau and Jacob are reported as saying, “I have enough” [Genesis 33:9,11]. The Hebrew words are different. Actually, Esau said, “I have much” whereas Jacob said, “I have everything.” Jacob is satisfied in all the things he has. Contentment is not found in the much that you have, but in being satisfied with everything you have.
A life worth living is a life like Christ
God wants us to resemble like Jesus in word, attitude and action. Paul says, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” [1 Timothy 6:11]
Righteousness. It means being right in our relationships with men. Moffatt translates the word as “integrity,” But sinful men have established their own ‘righteousness’. They prefer to be broadminded and would like to call sin ‘an unfortunate mistake’. They label pornography as modern art. By God’s grace, the Christian does righteously because he has been made righteous by Jesus Christ. The Christian lives according to the righteousness of God.
Godliness. Goodness is not godliness. Being good does not mean godly. A person can be good without being godly. It is dangerous to assume that just because his conduct is above reproach, he is right with God. A person who is morally right might not rely upon God. How important it is that we continually check ourselves to make sure we have not substituted our goodness for godliness. Godliness is a virtue that comes only through Christ in us and relying on Him by prayer and His Word. A godly person is Christ-centred and lives in godly fear.
Love. Love is like salt. Just imagine if salt is withheld from your meal, you do not enjoy it at all. To have sweet Christian fellowship, there must be the love for one another. God is love, he who has God in him is able to love one another even to the extent of loving our enemies. Being kind to an enemy is not only helping him, but also ourselves. And when we violate Christ’s teaching on love, we are the ones who suffer the most. A Chinese proverb – A fire kindled against an enemy often burns you more than him.
Patience. Persistence towards your God given task will pay great dividends. God’s word promises that “we shall reap, if we faint not.” Some missionaries have spent their entire lives in India proclaiming the gospel with almost no visible fruit. But their successors reaped a great harvest. We need to have patience in the Lord’s work if we want to see results.
Meekness. A gracious and willingly spirit to turn good for evil. A good illustration is shown of a man who threw a rock at a stray dog to chase it away. However, he broke its leg. Instead of running off, the dog came limping up to him and licked the hand that had thrown the rock. That is meekness.
The apostle’s advice to follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness are all made possible through Christ. Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me.” Our gifts and abilities come to us by God’s grace and are to be used by faith, in love and service for Christ – not for personal recognition. May God grant us the ability to embrace with enthusiasm the supporting roles to which He calls us. The ultimate goal is His glory and not our own.