Lord, Change My Attitude Before It’s Too Late – Week 6 Contentment Part 2

July 24, 2004

 I.  We Need to Develop An Understanding of Contentment

A.  Defining contentment

Contentment = a satisfaction with God’s sufficient provision.

- It’s being happy/joyful with whatever God supplies – the key is the whatever [not what we want, but what He wants us to have]

B.  Contentment has a partner: Godliness

[refer to 1 Timothy 6:6-12 – READ the passage again!]

- we always need to grow to be more Christlike – don’t get satisfied w/that part of your life

> it’s the what we have part that we struggle with!

- Here’s a formula that may help you to remember this concept:

Godliness + Contentment = Great Success!

(i.e. success in God’s eyes (glorifying God and enjoying Him forever!)

Quote:  “We must never be content with who we are, only with what we have.”

- one of the points we spent a lot of time on last week . . .

C.  Our substitutes won’t work! ]

- We answered two questions:

1.  What other substitutes do we tend to put into the equation of success?

2.  Why won’t that substitute work (glorify God) in the long run?

Example:  Godliness + POPULARITY (approval of man) = success OR . . .

1) Godliness + Prosperity = Great Gain [WRONG]

  • Luke 12:15 "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

2)  Godliness + Power or Influence = Great Gain [WRONG]

Read Matt. 20:25-28 – Gentiles ‘lord it over’ – but it’s not going to be this way w/you!

- But the issue is, HOW DO YOU CHANGE AND GROW IN THIS AREA?

Q:  What principles has God given us that will help us to please Him in this area?

- Let’s pick it up where we left off and consider . . .

II.  Three Steps That Break The Pattern Of Covetous Thinking And Lead To Contentment

A.  Step #1: Look to eternity

  •  1 Timothy 6:7  “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either”

- Don’t build your life around things that pass away with time!

- Think about how long it would take for a tornado to suck up your house and leave nothing but the foundation!

  • Ken Collier, friend of mine told me when Laurie was in her car accident:  “It’s just a thing; don’t cry over anything that can’t cry over you!”  [good advice!]

Point:  * Our God is ETERNAL – He is the One to Whom we should look for contentment and satisfaction – He will never pass away with time!

- one day, all that God has created will be destroyed by fire:

  • 2 Peter 3:7 But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

- But God will live on forever – as will the souls of men

Input: What does a person who has an “eternal” view of life look like – vs. a person who’s mind is set on temporal things?

[various answers]

B.  Step #2: Let enough be enough

  • 1 Timothy 6:8  “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”

“When we expect to be satisfied with the basics, God will often surprise us with treats.”

Input: Any examples you can give of that in your life of God’s special blessings?

-Think of the persecuted church around the world – they don’t have a building, land, resources like we do!

ILL: Megah Singh – church planter in India – met during my doctoral program – he is training Chinese pastors who are coming across the border with nothing but the clothes on their back sometimes!

- You need to ask some questions:

  • Am I really content with what God has provided or is covetousness controlling me?
  • What will it take to say, ‘enough is enough’?

C.  Step #3: Learn from examples (positive and negative)

- We think we have to learn everything on our own.

-  Why can’t we learn from other people (i.e. that wealth, things, possessions don’t satisfy)?

-  Think about these examples:

  • John D. Rockefeller- “I have made millions, but they have brought me no happiness.”
  • Cornelius Vanderbilt- “The care of millions is too great a load. There is no pleasure in it.”
  • Henry Ford- “I was happier as a boy working in a mechanic’s shop, though we had nothing.”

Input: What biblical examples can you give of men/women who modeled a life of contentment with what God had given them?

[various answers – but Joseph, Daniel, the 3 Hebrew boys, Esther, Hannah (mother of Samuel), Paul, Jesus!!] – Note: Psalm 73 (esp. v. 25!)  WOW

- Choices have consequences, so we need to ask . . .

III.  What’s going to happen if you don’t live this way? – Look carefully at 1 Tim. 6:9

A.  Temptation and a snare (trap)

1 Timothy 6:9  “But those who want to get rich fall (i.e. want = settled desire born of reason— the point being that you choose what you want to choose!)into temptation and a snare (trap).”

- the temptation is to sin and neglect other biblical responsibilities – the trap is to think that what you GET will satisfy you rather than what you ARE in Christ and seeking to glorify God!

** IMPORTANT:  That is the BAIT Satan has used for over 6,000 years – you will be as god, knowing good and evil – you’ll really be satisfied then

- remember, he is a liar, and the father of LIES! (John 8:44)

- compared to God who is the COVENANT KEEPING GOD of Israel!

- The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write to Timothy:

  • 1 Timothy 6:10  “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.”

-The problem is the love of money.

-Loving money is not the root of evil but a root of evil.

B.  Paul presents two ugly pictures

1.  “Some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith.”

- i.e. the slowing left THE faith – i.e. the embodiment of truth!

2.  “. . . and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (NKJV)

Q:  How ugly is the picture of a person stabbing themselves?

Point:  Sin is never logical . . .and choices have consequences!

- We need to say what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11  “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (he was writing from prison!)

- How could he say this? – READ Phil. 3:7-14 – what a text – a foundation for contentment – KNOWING GOD – [knowing = ginosko – i.e. knowledge based on personal experience! 1sthand knowledge!