There’s the circumstance that surrounds us. And then there’s our response to that circumstance. Two different things. Same reality.
Sometimes our circumstances seem to crush us. They’re unfair and unjust. It’s easy to think all that matters is getting OUT of those circumstances. Maybe it’s hard for us to really get a grasp on this. After all, we’re not slaves. We’re not fleeing our country to save our lives. We’re not imprisoned for our faith or threatened with death unless we renounce our faith. Most of us aren’t facing the death threat of cancer, heart disease, or Alzheimer’s. But even if we don’t face these life crushers, we all face our own difficulties that are hard for us to bear. Not able to find an escape route, what do we do?
We look deeper. We consider what is even more important than our comfort and happiness. Beyond our circumstance, we look at the core of our faith that reveals who we really are.
– Even in the middle of the circumstances that frustrate us.
Paul’s writing in 1 Timothy 6 reminds us that whatever enslaves us we should be full of respect. Why? “So that God’s name…may not be slandered.” (V1) Our testimony in times of bondage is what matters. It gives purpose to our suffering.
Whatever enslaves us, we should remain faithful to living our lives according to God’s truth, not just the path that is easy. Everyone else has an opinion of you and maybe even a plan for you. They are eager to draw you into have unhealthy “controversies and quarrels…that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” (V 4-5)
What matters is that we listen to God’s plan for our life. His plan is that you and I will be content – in every situation. We think of contentment as settling for less than we want. He intends us to find that contentment in everything we already have. I don’t think this is easy – but it’s true.
We come into this world with nothing and leave this world with nothing. Why in the world are we so obsessed with gaining more of what we cannot keep?! Our great desires for “more” causes us to wander from our true faith and pierces us with many griefs. (V 10)
What is our alternative?
“Flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. (V 11-12) Refuse to be arrogant, putting your faith in “more.” Instead let’s live generously, willing to share – not only our wealth, but also our time, our energies, and our sincere interest in others. Let’s create margins in our life so there is room for others. This is how we “lay up treasures” that last forever. This is how we really “take hold of the life that is truly life.” (V 17-19)
If we’re too busy for others, we’re too busy for God’s best for us.
There’s no end to the “godless chatter” that fills our ears and ideas that pose as knowledge but ultimately are foolery. Let’s guard our hearts today, including all God has already taught us, all he has provided, and all he has promised.
Even in the middle of the circumstances that frustrate you, let your life be marked by grace today and enjoy the blessing of being content in all God is.