1 Timothy 6:6-10(NKJV) 6Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9But 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. 10For 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.
Yesterday we came to some conclusion from 3 John verses 1 and 2. The apostle John, now an old man, speaking to a beloved son in the faith desires that he prosper in all things and be in health. Since this is the Bible we can conclude that the Holy Spirit agrees with John. Since God is no respecter of persons, we can conclude that the Lord wants us to prosper and be in health as well. It is the will of God for believers to prosper.
We also learn that there is a condition to our prosperity. It must be “as our soul prospers.” Prosperity that does not flow from a prosperous soul will bring ruin and not blessing. In our study of walking in the spirit, we looked extensively at the soul. The things we studied then would apply to what we are talking about now. The process of renewing the mind will lead to prosperity of the soul. Remember this verse from the book of Joshua?
Joshua 1:8(NKJV) 8This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Meditation in the word leads to the renewing of the mind and renewing of the mind leads to prosperity of the soul. We see here that prosperity of the soul is directly connected to physical prosperity and success. You cannot have one without the other.
Another theme running through everything I am teaching this year involves the days we live in. They are trying times. I believe that sin in the world has brought things to a head in our day. The world cannot continue in the direction it has been going and God is about to change that direction. The conditions we see are a result of the process. Possibly the most pressing area facing everyone today is the economy.
It is impossible to watch a news broadcast with time being spent on the worldwide economic crisis. The whole world is looking for a solution because the whole world is at risk. In this environment of fear people are increasingly aware that the problems we face have no easy solutions. It is becoming increasingly suspect that there are any solutions at all. The world wants to know what can be done.
I would like to submit that there is really only one solution. We need the Lord. In this day the church has the opportunity to rise up as an answer to the most pressing question of our day. The Bible reveals that there is another economic system that can be accessed which is not affected by the world’s economy. That system operates by different rules than the world economy. It is the economic system of the Kingdom of God.
This system works on the basis of giving and receiving not getting or controling. The engine that runs it is the love of God not greed. It is not regulated by governments at all. It is regulated by the Word of God. The economic reserves are defined, not by treasuries on earth but by “His riches in glory.” (Phil. 4:19)
This economy is healthy and strong. There are no downturns. The return rate of investment in the economy of the Kingdom of God is one hundredfold. That means every investment will return one hundred times what you put in. Anyone who learns how to effectively operate in this economy will never lack for any good thing. This economy does not produce have not’s, there are only haves.
The only viable answer to the economic woes of our world is the economy of the Kingdom of God, and only the church of Jesus Christ is qualified to access it. This is a tremendous opportunity for us. We have the answer the world is looking for. The only question is, do we know how to access this economy ourselves? If we learn how, I believe the world will come to us for answers.
This brings us back to soul prosperity. If we do not learn how to prosper in our soul we cannot access the economy of the Kingdom of God. If we cannot access it for our own needs we will not be able to access it to meet the needs of others. We must learn to prosper for many reasons. God wants to bless us as his children certainly, but we also need to learn these lessons for our community. We hold the only key to financial rescue for them as well.
Today’s scripture begins to define prosperity of the soul as it relates to financial prosperity. In the verses prior to this section, Paul is warning Timothy about those who think “gain is Godliness.” In Paul’s day, as in ours, there were those who taught that salvation was the route to gaining wealth. Their focus had become distorted so that the prosperity guaranteed by the covenant of Abraham became the goal of their spirituality and not just one of the benefits. Paul tells Timothy to flee from these people.
The first thing Paul tells Timothy he must cultivate in order to keep his life in balance is “godliness with contentment.” I believe we cannot successfully access the economy of the Kingdom of God without developing this kind of contentment.
What does Paul mean by this. First let me say what he does not mean. He is not talking about complacency. It is not godly contentment to say, “That’s just the way it is. There is nothing I can do about it.” There most certainly is something we can do about our financial situation. We can become active in the financial principles of the Kingdom. We can actively believe God for our needs met according to his Word. We can resist the devil and the spirit of poverty until we see financial breakthrough.
What does “godliness with contentment” mean? We will look at this in more detail tomorrow, but right now let me put it to you this way. If I am going to access the financial system of the Kingdom of God, I must first be content in the knowledge that I will never possess anything greater than my relationship with the Lord. I am a child of God. Everything else is secondary. If I can remember that, I will be on my way to soul prosperity and with it access to the financial realm governed by the Kingdom of God.