Unbelievers are, by nature, preoccupied with these three things: possessions, position, and power (Matt. 6:32; Luke 12:30). That’s why the so called “Health and Wealth Gospel” is so attractive to many, especially to unbelievers and false believers, simply because it feeds on their natural desire for these earthly things.
As Christians, it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome our greedy natures and to open our eyes in order to see that in Christ we have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). It is the Spirit of God sent by Christ to dwell in us who shows us that positionally we are already seated “with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).
The apostle Paul therefore prays for the believers in Ephesus that God the Father, “out of his glorious riches… may strengthen [them] with power through his Spirit in [their] inner being, so that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:16-17a).
We Christians are the most favored people on this whole planet. God has promised that He “will meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). In that sense, we ought to be the most grateful and contented people in the world.
No wonder author Jerry Bridges could confidently claim and write that “[c]ontentment is one of the most distinguishing traits of the godly person, because a godly person has his heart focused on God rather than on possessions or position or power. As William Hendriksen has observed so well, ‘The truly godly person is not interested in becoming rich. He possesses inner resources which furnish riches far beyond that which earth can offer’….
“The contented person experiences the sufficiency of God’s ‘provisions’ for his needs and the sufficiency of God’s ‘grace’ for his circumstances. He believes God will indeed meet all his material needs and that He will work in all his circumstances for his good. That is why Paul could say, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’ [1 Tim. 6:6]. The godly person has found what the greedy or envious or discontented person always searches for but never finds. He has found satisfaction and rest in his soul.
“The idea of contentment in the Bible is most often associated with possessions or money, but there are other areas of life in which we need to be content. After possessions, probably the most common need is to learn contentment with our place in society or in the body of Christ. Still a third area that demands our practice of contentment is the providence of God in such varied circumstances as physical limitations and afflictions, privations, unpleasant neighbors or living situations, trials, and even persecutions. These circumstances often cause the natural man to murmur and complain and to question the goodness of God in his life” (Jerry Bridges, “The Practice of Godliness” [NavPress, 1996], 85-86).
Fellow children of God, since we are now new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), we ought to be characterized with godly contentment. For you and I are the ones who have been graciously granted with eyes to see and ears to hear heavenly things and are able to count earthly goods and privileges as nothing compared to the glorious riches which we now possess in Christ.