1 TIMOTHY 6:4-8
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
If you thought I was harsh with that last quote, just look what Paul says here. He shows no mercy on these false teachers, calling them men of corrupt minds, and destitute of truth. He tells us to withdraw ourselves from them because they think that gain is godliness. One has to wonder how people who serve our loving God could get this way. How could they one day be preaching the glorious truth of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection and then the next be teaching false doctrines designed to please the flesh? How could they turn from the truth of servanthood and start teaching mastery and dominion? How could they come to the place where they believe demanding from God is what the Bible intends?
Paul gives us the answer to these questions and many more in the first three words of verse 4. “He is proud.” Pride is at the root of all false teaching and deception. Pride instills in the individual the idea that they can do no wrong, teach no wrong, believe no wrong, and think no wrong. They believe their way is the only way and they stand by it no matter what the evidence dictates. I have had my bouts with pride through the years and have come to a point where I can usually identify it and bring it into subjection. You will never get rid of it, but you can control it to a certain extent. You also need someone to help you see it when you don’t. For me, that would be my wife. That accountability is priceless to me because I never want to get to that overly prideful state again. Do you have someone in your life who will point out when pride begins to rise up within you? If you don’t, please make that happen.
My pride manifested itself often with the words “I know.” I used these two words constantly to indicate you don’t need to tell me anything because I know everything. This was especially true when it came to Bible truths. It would be hard to teach me anything because I was the teacher and my ideas were much better than yours when it came to interpretation. So, when you start to show me something you had noticed, I would say “I know” in an inquisitive, excited fashion. This remained true after having my gross sin exposed back in 2003. At that time a Pastor took me under his wings and prayed me back to righteousness only to have me fall into the same trap again. When I got caught again in 2008 and lost my job and almost my marriage. That same pastor found me a place where I could be helped. I remember distinctly walking toward the front of the church as he said to me “Pete, you’ve got to take care of this or it will ruin you.” I said back to him in a low voice “I know.” He quickly said “No, you don’t know. If you did you never would have started up again in the first place.” He was exactly right and I realized I did not know! If you find yourself saying “I know”: a lot, perhaps you know nothing as I did. Ask God to search your heart!
Paul says these false teachers have corrupt minds and are destitute of the truth. The word corrupt is a very strong Greek word which means to be thoroughly degenerate, or wasted away by the decaying influence of moral impurity. How evident that is in the church today. Divorce and adultery are almost the norm even in our churches as they are in society. We see Pastors addicted to pornography at a high level, and others taking advantage of their congregation. We see churches rising up that profess to be preaching salvation message only top say that practicing gay people are Ok with God and will go to heaven. We see sin ignored for the most part because grace covers all sin. The decaying morals fill the church and the false teachers just preach on without addressing the truth. That word destitute in the Greek means to keep away from and this is exactly what they do. They keep away from the truth in order to please those who are listening. This can build very big churches! They even suppose that gain is godliness. That because God is blessing them financially and materially, they are godly people. They feel saved because they have all this stuff God ahs allowed them to have. Paul says we should stay away from these false teachers and followers. You can easily be lured into their version of the truth if you are not careful.
Are you content with what God has allowed you to have at this very moment? Are you walking in righteousness every day? If you are accomplishing both of these two things Paul says you are having great gains in your walk with the Lord. Not because you have a lot of stuff and money, not because you have fame, or power, or lots of friends. You see, it’s all about Him. Walking with Him. Finding our peace, joy and hope in Him. Being content in Him is the greatest place we can find ourselves. Saying “God, you have me here and I am walking with you, and that is all that matters. I am content.” If you can say that, God bless you! This is the closing thought of Paul in this portion.
Contentment had reached into Pauls’ heart. In Philippians 4:11, Paul says that he has learned to be content in all situations in life. Paul knew suffering and pain more than any of us most likely. He knew what is was like to be rejected, put down, mocked, betrayed, and disliked yet he was content. Her had found peace with God and that was wall that mattered to him. The trappings of this world were not his concern. Only Jesus crucified. Only the cross. Only Jesus! Let us all get this same mindset.