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The Great Gain of Godliness

The flood of vanity into our lives has antiquated the love of godliness. Consequently, contentment in one’s soul is fleeting. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon passionately pursued his desires and pleasures. “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them, and did not withhold my heart from any pleasure.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10). In the end, Solomon realized it was madness and folly. “I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived this is grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:17) There is no footing in self-seeking. “We burn with desire to find a firm footing; an ultimate, lasting base on which to build a tower rising into infinity, but our whole foundation collapses and the earth opens up into the depth of the abyss.” Blaise Pascal. The search for contentment or meaning is hopeless in the kingdom of darkness. In his work, Inferno, Dante comes across the gate of hell during his travels and he sees etched above the entrance of the underworld, “…abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Many have entered into the gate of hell mentally and have abandoned all hope. There is no contentment on the broad road of ungodliness and it is folly to believe that there is.

The apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy gives him a profound truth. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” The disciple is content with the life of godliness. He has no reservations of coming into conformity and obedience to God’s word. It is his blessing. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His way.” (Psalm 119:1-3). A great gain in embracing godliness is a healthy countenance and a sound mind. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) Mental illness has no ground with a sound mind. The sound mind implanted by God Himself is one of the graces given to the disciple. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:3). Godliness with contentment is a great weapon against mental illness.

Another great gain of godliness is the wisdom of getting under the training of faithful men of God who by experience know the way of God. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, “But you, O man of God, flee these things (the love of money, a root of all kinds of evil) and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (I Timothy 6:11-12) Many have faltered because of failing to pursue discipleship. Subsequently, having abandoned godliness, they have forfeited great gain.

Godliness with contentment is able to weather the turbulent storms of life. The work by J.H. Alexander, More Than Notion, is described by D. M. Lloyd Jones recommending the work to the congregation at Westminster Chapel as “extracts out of the lives of various people who came in varied ways to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, at one and the same time, convicting and encouraging.” The last line of a poem in the beginning of the book by Joseph Hart reads, “True religion is more than notion, something must be known and felt.”

One family that particularly stands out in the book is the Reverend William Gilpin, M.A., his wife and nine children, three sons and six daughters. One of the daughters records a time she never forgot as a child. “It was a gloomy time in the history of England. Napoleon was spread-eagled over Europe, winning battle after battle. Martello towers were being built along the South coast and fears of invasion were real. Frances, one of the Gilpin daughters, never forgot that time, and years later records, during the years 1804 to 1806, when a national calamity threatened our country, “I can truly say that God was my Refuge. The 118th Psalm and the latter part of the 8th of Romans were on this occasion so applied to my heart that I found real support and comfort from them whenever the fear of an invasion came into my mind, which was very, very often”. (She was between 10 and 12 years old.)

Godliness with contentment sustained a young girl in crisis. It is available to all the saints. A truth that is sure. Have you tried contentment with the things of this world?  Consider this admonition by the Apostle Paul; “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” I Timothy 6:6

Where the grace blows,