Tuesday, February 27, 2018


“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

One of the most desired and yet elusive goals in life is this matter of contentment. Truly, contentment is one of great treasures of life and he who has contentment is truly rich. The word Paul uses here in 1 Timothy 6:6 for contentment is “autarkeia.” This was one of the great watchwords of the Stoic philosophers of Greece. By “autarkeia” they meant a complete “self-sufficiency.” they meant a frame of mind that was completely independent of all outward things and which carried the secret of happiness within itself. He who had “autarkeia” (contentment) needed nothing else. The thought being that true contentment never comes from the possession of external things (material wealth) but from an inward attitude in life. A Greek philosopher named Epicurus was asked for the secret to happiness and reportedly replied, “add not to a man’s possessions but take away from his desires.” It is not what a man possesses but what truly possesses him that produces contentment.

God has provided all that man needs to be happy. Yet, God brought us into the world without any possessions. Thus, possessions cannot be the root of happiness. They are transitory. “There are no pockets in a shroud” and “you can’t take it with you.” “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7). All we can take to God is ourselves and the history of the lives we have lived whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).

It is not that Christianity pleads for poverty. There is no special virtue for poverty. There is no special virtue in being poor or in having a constant struggle to make ends meet. In this same sixth chapter in fact, Paul speaks of Christians who are rich and does not condemn them for their wealth. He does warn about trusting in “uncertain riches” and encourages them to be “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). It is not sinful to be rich nor righteous to be poor. But we must realize that it is never in the power of things to bring lasting happiness. Paul pleads instead for concentration upon the spiritual things which are permanent. For contentment can only come when we escape the servitude of things. “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Contentment will be ours when we find that our wealth is in the love and fellowship of God which has been made possible through Jesus Christ. Truly, having God we have all things.

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare.... For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Again, money in itself is neither good nor bad; but the love of it – the “desire to be rich” – leads to evil and “many foolish and harmful lusts.” With money a man may selfishly serve his own desires or answer the needs of a fellow human being. With money a man may facilitate the path of wrongdoing or he can make it easier for someone else to serve God. No, money is not in itself an evil, but it is a great responsibility. It is a powerful tool that may be used for good or evil, and it brings with it special dangers if it is loved. If it is loved: 1) It tends to be a desire which is never satisfied (Ecclesiastes 5:10). 2) It makes for a life founded upon an illusion that security is found in possessions (Luke 12:16-21). 3) It tends to make us selfish and proud (Luke 16:19f). 4) It promises security but tends to produce anxiety (Ecclesiastes 5:12). 5) It may even lead to dishonesty (Proverbs 30:9).

To seek to be independent of financial reliance upon others and prudently provide for the future is a Christian duty (Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:10), but to make the love of money the driving force of life cannot ever be anything other than the most perilous of sins and will rob us of the “great gain” – the contentment that is found only in Christ.

Article written by: Phil Arnold (Deceased)

Friday, February 9, 2018

What Are We Concerned About?

Where is our heart today? Or, perhaps, the question should be “What are we concerned about today?” Are we more concerned about our clothes, car, or home than our neighbors’ souls, our children’s souls, or our own soul? Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The all important question, therefore, is, “Where is my treasure?” Jesus in essence declared; “Don't set your heart on worldly materialism; instead, let your interest be in that which lasts forever.” In Jesus’ time, just as in ours, great stress was laid on personal apparel. Jesus was showing that we should not be anxious about something the moths will eventually eat. He said in Matthew 6:28-30, “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

We should never put undue value on clothing, or on any other material or worldly thing. Jesus emphasized that we shouldn’t worry about earthly things. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Are we out chasing the advertisers’ concept of the great American dream? Or, are we laying up treasure in heaven?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Fear of God

In 1 Peter 2:17 we read, "Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king." Peter says we are to fear God. Now what does that mean? First, it means to revere God, to stand in awe of Him and to respect Him. Secondly, it involves an anxious dread of displeasing Him. 

Both aspects of fearing God play significant roles in our being devoted to the Lord. David exclaimed,"Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him."(Psalms 33:8). It takes this kind of reverence to serve God acceptably. We must humble ourselves under God's mighty hand. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). His ability to speak the stars and universes into existence as recorded in Genesis 1:14 & 15 boggles the mind. 

The awe and respect we have for God leads us to dread displeasing Him for we know that one day we'll stand in judgment before the One whom He has appointed. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says,"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." 

Paul said, as he was convicting all men of sin, "There is no fear of God before their eyes."(Romans 3:18). This is certainly true of many in our time. 

How about you? Do you fear God? Do you have a wholesome dread of displeasing Him? Hebrews 12:28-29 says, "...Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."