Earlier this year I was taking part in a regular yoga practice at a nearby yoga studio. One of the things I appreciated the most about practicing in this class setting was that all the teachers focused on the theme of acceptance. Yoga, they said, was the discipline of practicing the physical asanas with the body that we had that day, not the one we hoped to have in the future or wished we had now. Accepting where we were physically and being grateful for what our bodies were capable of, instead of comparing ourselves to another yoga student or to our "ideal" self is at the heart of what these teachers believed yoga to be. Since I am a follower of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I do not hold with the spiritual path of yoga to lead us into divine truth and peace. I do however look to see the seeds of God's truth that have been claimed and distorted through the lens of this world.
As Christians we should be always striving to die to our sin nature and to allow the work of the Holy spirit in our lives as we seek to have the mind of Christ. But in my daily life I find myself often being distracted from this true goal to those of temporal value. How much of my time do I spend wishing I were a better housekeeper? Or how about the time I spend imagining what certain other people would think about the state of my house? I am often trying to see my house through the eyes of my house guests. I may be perfectly content with the state of my home until someone stops by or is planning to come over. Then every imperfection of my home stands out to me with neon brilliance.
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." 1 Timothy 6-8
That is not very much, just food and clothing. I have a house, lots of food, tons of clothes, more then one vehicle, a cell phone, a computer, dishes, dessert food, chocolate, coffee, ten flavors of tea, organic free range eggs, designer hair care products...well you get the idea. Having such abundance doesn't keep me from focusing on the things I don't have, or from wishing the things I had were different. The very next verse says...
"But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." I Timothy 6:9-10
There is no gentle, understanding words here to allow room for sin. Discontent is SIN and it draws me away from the true focus of the surrendered life in Christ.
"But thou, O man of god, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love patience, meekness." 1 Timothy 6:11
Acceptance and contentment come from the same root. To accept things as they are and to be thankful for the gifts that I am already the recipient of will lead to an attitude of contentment. If I am content with what I have been given, I will have more energy to focus on personal godliness. Just as in yoga class I was focusing on being thankful for my body and not comparing it, I should be thankful for my home and God's many provisions for our family, and not comparing them. "But godliness with contentment is great gain." To attempt godliness without contentment would be truly unprofitable. Why look to worldly goods when I am offered great gain?