Day 9

Fighting For What Matters

from the reading plan

1 Timothy 6:3-21, Ephesians 1:3-14

BY Diana Stone

Text: 1 Timothy 6:3-21, Ephesians 1:3-14

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
– 1 Timothy 6:6-7, HCSB

I was 20 when I traveled across the world for the first time on a mission trip to India. What I saw in the month I lived there changed my life forever— the poverty, the sickness, the hollow worship of false idols. I came home torn apart over how little this developing country had while, in America, our norm was choosing from 50 varieties of cereal. My heart wasn’t stirred by the desolate state of so many lost souls, it was stirred by the disparity between the material items I had and they didn’t. I couldn’t understand how sharing Jesus mattered if they would still starve to death.

Eleven years later in 2014, I traveled to Zimbabwe, Africa, on a vision trip with a child sponsorship organization. I saw up close the critical need for maternal and infant health interventions, both those accomplished and those yet to be. One in ten children in the community die before their 5th birthday. Clean births and skilled doctors are desperately needed.

I better prepared myself this time for things I might see and how I might feel when I returned home. What I didn’t prepare for was standing in the midst of a Sunday service, three churches gathered under a large tree to welcome us, everyone singing and dancing with joy. At that moment a feeling that had been with me the entire trip took firm hold of my soul: Jesus was everywhere here. Among devastating poverty, great sorrow and heartbreaking stories—Jesus was right there.

The Holy Spirit’s presence in that place was so overwhelming I began to cry.

I felt so, so sad… sad for us.

I can’t remember the last time I’d ever felt such an incredible sense of peace and hope. I nearly envied them, their love for Jesus and the way they seemed to radiate the Gospel. It seemed so simple for them. Why wasn’t it the same for me?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of needing “more” in our everyday lives. Keeping up with our neighbors, and even the strangers we follow online, leaves us looking around with discontented eyes and unhappy hearts. We are urged to do, to be, to strive for the next thing that seems to promise, “This will be it. This will be happiness.” Yet it never is. The Illustrated Bible Survey says it this way: “Thus, it is the burden of excess that humans can not handle. All that life offers eludes any sense of meaning and purpose without God.”

This passage in 1 Timothy isn’t about comparing our material blessings with someone else and feeling guilt for what we or they do or don’t have. Oh, no, the Gospel is much richer than that.

Paul is calling us to our own fight for faith. We don’t often recognize our battles in this life that offers instant gratification at every turn. We are constantly being lured away from recognizing our need for a Savior because we’ve grown comfortable with the lie that our needs can be met with earthly comforts. Our lives may look vastly different from those of our faith family around the world, but our desperation for the grace of Jesus is the same.

Friends, we must keep fighting for what matters. Like my dancing brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe, let’s turn from the false security of our comforts and “take hold of that which is truly life”—life found only in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (v19, ESV).

We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
– Ephesians 1:7-8, HCSB


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Post Comments (64)

64 thoughts on "Fighting For What Matters"

  1. Sarabeth says:

    Very beautiful devotion. Thank you for your words of “calling us to our own fight for faith”. It is very different than others around the globe, but still very real. God calls us to be good stewards of what he has in trusted us. I usually fail miserably, but God’s grace continues to try to teach me the lesson. Having the focus on Him instead of the daily “needs” is what is important. I need to remember this. HE is life. And in Him I have everything I need.

  2. Antimony says:

    1 T6:7-8 “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content”. One thing I’m planning to do this summer is simplify. I have so much STUFF. I want to get to the point that I have basics. And I use the “extra” money on more important things. Disgusted by my constant thirst for more and newer things. Doesn’t fill the emptiness of my life anyways. Just makes it worse. Oh, it’s fun to shop and buy stuff. But then I get it home and I’m overwhelmed by guilt for spending money on more STUFF.

  3. Rexshell says:

    Needed this!!! I’ve been doing browsing online stores a lot as if I need more clothes. My closet and dressers can nearly contain the clothes and shoes I have and there are people out there who go without shoes or with 1 pair of shoes for life and are content. Personally I pray to be content with what I have and the life I have in general. I mean it’s good to dream of a “better life”, but when that cloud your contentment with what God has currently blessed you with, it can be bad. I’m so grateful for this app and this community. The two have been wonderful vessels of blessings in the form of spiritual growth in my life since I’ve joined. Thanks for listening to me blab on ladies :)

  4. Macie says:

    I am completely blown away at this moment. I just met the Lord here today. I have been perfectly on time with each day of this study, but yesterday I fell off the wagon a bit. My plan of resolve was to double up today. Well, That was my intention sitting down this morning, but I am so overwhelmed right now with Day 9 that I can’t go on to Day 10. As I began reading the text for Day 9 the Lord immediately began reminding me about a trip to India that I made in 2012 as a 22 year old. When I read the first sentence of the devotion I could not believe my eyes. I had to pause for about 5 minutes, as a felt the Holy Spirit just sweep me up. The beautiful thing about all do this is that He has been encouraging me to follow him into a two-year journey overseas for mission work. I have had a hard time accepting this. But this morning the Lord made it clear.

  5. jjfro says:

    "Our lives may look vastly different from those of our faith family around the world, but our desperation for the grace of Jesus is the same."

    And sometimes we have no idea how desperate we are. Lord, may I understand my need for You every day, so that gratitude will bubble up in response.

    Contentment usually sneaks in behind gratitude…

  6. stinav96 says:

    Father, give me fewer things and more Jesus! In Jesus' Name.

  7. Bri says:

    Such a beautiful reminder, this morning. I am 17 years old and just got back from a trip to Haiti a couple weeks ago. I had similar heart wrenching experiences. But also the inspiring joy of how truly they worship and how genuinely they love. I know I am being called to full time ministry on the mission field, which I praise God for, but it is also terrifying. So thankful for the reminder that the riches of this world will never compare to the riches of the Lord and the grace which He lavishes upon me, which will be sufficient in any circumstance, in any country, in any lifestyle. Prayers would be so appreciated as I continue to seek what He has for me.

    1. Sonya C. says:

      Bri, are not the Haitian people lovely. My brother, Will McGinniss founder of the Hands and Feet Project serve the Haiti people daily. Haitian Christians get it. They love back with so little! It is difficult to do that in America with so much abundance and with all the distractions. Praying to keep God first today and everyday! You go girl! May God use you with MIGHT!!

  8. Serena says:

    This is so wonderful and reminds me so much of why I love missions! When I returned from my last trip to Nicaragua this is exactly how I felt. I didn't feel guilty or compare our materials, but rather I was envious of how in love with Jesus my new friends were. I want so bad to have that, but the distractions here are hard to overcome daily. I love our Jesus, I love that we each get to have a relationship with him and I love that we are all connected despite cultural differences or language barriers!

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