But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Timothy 6:6-7
Every commercial we see on our television screen has the goal in mind of causing us to become discontent until – we buy their product. Though we may not have worried much about, the style of our clothing, the brand of our car, or how comfortable our pillow is, marketing firms are out to change that in 30 seconds. Watching five minutes of advertisements might be enough to keep us up half the night wondering if our neighbors have noticed that the white shirts our kids wore to school yesterday were a little grey!
But having all the resources of this world at our fingertips will never make us content. No pile of money is high enough to assure a happy retirement. No detergent, toothpaste, car or dating service will ever deliver on the promise of real contentment. At the beginning when God created Adam and Eve they were content. They had neither clothing, transportation, nor possessions, and yet they walked in the cool of the day with God. Their only goals were to care for the garden and to obey God. As we fold up the weeks and months of this past year and put them away in our memories why not end this year with contentment? Not everything has gone our way. Not every bill has been paid, every obstacle overcome. Yet Jesus offers to walk side with us from this year to next. Whatever we have, or whatever we go through He promises always to be with us. What unimaginable wealth to simply know that I am His and for all eternity He is mine!
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 ESV
Terror attacks, earthquakes and endless wars dominate our daily headlines. Sometimes family conflicts and crises make it seem as if our world is closing in around us. In his day, the apostle John had seen Jesus crucified, his own brother executed by King Herod and a crowd of ‘religious people’ stone his friend Stephen to death in the middle of the day. John and been in prison with Peter and was arrested again by the Roman authorities then sent to a penal colony on the Island of Patmos.
Interestingly, when John talks about freedom from fear he doesn’t mention a strong army to come to our defense. He doesn’t talk about the confidence of having good legal representation to defend us or powerful friends in places of influence who will stand up for our rights. John tells us that the best defense against any kind of fear is love! John knew that fear is completely stripped of power in the face of God’s love. That love of God as witnessed in the life of Jesus Christ is strong enough to handcuff our fears and put them under arrest. God’s perfect love is so powerful that no army, no terroristic threat and no human enemy can defeat. And the best news of all is that this perfect love is available to anyone who is ready to receive it. We can’t earn His love and we don’t need to wait to figure it out. With arms opened wide on the cross God’s love receives thieves, forgives crucifiers and blesses fearful disciples. His amazing, unending and perfect love overcomes the world and casts out every fear!