Last Sunday during the morning class when we were doing the readings it was mentioned that Achan, the man who caused great trouble for Israel when he took certain treasures from Jericho, acted upon the things of the world. That is, his sin followed the pattern given to us by John in 1 John 2:16,

"For all that is in the world,

the lust of the flesh,

and the lust of the eyes,

and the pride of life,

is not of the Father, but is of the world."

Since the foundation of the world these three things have been the hallmark of sin. When Eve was tempted of the serpent she fell to these three things (Gen. 3:6).

She saw that the tree was good for food = lust of the flesh

She saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes = lust of the eyes

She saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise = pride of life

Jesus on the other hand successfully rebuked these same temptations in the wilderness (Luke 4).

Turn these stones to bread = lust of the flesh

Look at all these kingdoms that can be yours = lust of the eyes

Cast thyself down from this pinnacle and you won’t get hurt = pride of life

Jesus had withstood the same test that had caused Adam and Eve to fail. Our Lord Jesus has shown us the path to overcoming sin in our lives and I think the major components of this are through faith and contentment. If we could somehow boil down the essence of those things that cause us to disobey, I believe it would be disbelief and discontentment.

You see, faith is the beginning of our walk in Christ and contentment is the thing learned by faith to put away vanities and lusts. These two elements combined in the disciple’s life help us to overcome the desires of our flesh. Our goal should be to overcome the fleshly desires by replacing them with a desire for Godly pursuits. It is no good to constantly allow dangerous thoughts and then think it is all right if we can cut them off just in time before we sin. We would be better to fill our minds with the spirit so that the thinking of the flesh can find no room. We must crowd out and drown the carnal mind. If we fill our minds with fleshly things, it is inevitable that we will become numb to sin but if we fill our minds with spiritual things our hearts are pricked by the slightest sins.

This morning I wanted to talk about the roots of sin. If we are going to battle the devil, then we have to understand where it gets its power from. Sin is like a weed. It will keep popping up if you don’t pull it up with the roots. There are two verses that I could find that talk about the roots of sin and evil. The first one is in Romans 14:23,

“. . . whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

and the second is in 1 Timothy 6:10,

“For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

The love of money is covetousness which as we will see in the context is the opposite of contentment. So, faith and contentment are two major qualities that must go together in a battle against sin. Faith alone is not good enough. We can know and believe the things of God, but covetousness will lead us astray. Contentment is not good enough because we can be content in disobeying God not knowing his commands. The two must be partners in overcoming sin.


Faith is the beginning of our walk in Christ. Often in the lists of virtues given in scripture faith comes first as if it was the first steppingstone to discipleship.

(1 Cor 13:13) "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

(2 Pet 1:5) "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge," and so on . . .

Faith is given these simple definitions.

(Rom 10:17) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

(Heb 11:1) "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Faith comes by hearing, studying and reading the word of God. It’s the knowledge that we have gained of God and his promises that we believe to be true. It’s the thing that has transformed our minds so that we see the world in a completely different way than when we walked according to our own lusts. Faith is not blind. We have seen plenty from the beauty of creation to fulfilled prophecy to know that God is true. Our faith causes us to realize that God is real and that he has a purpose.

How can we sin if we keep in mind that God is always there, night and day, 24 hours working in our lives to make us into the sons and daughters he wants us to be? Sin most often comes because we struggle against the things that God is trying to teach us. Our flesh goes into automatic mode and wishes to take the easy path. It is only our faith in God, that he is there, which can keep us in the straight and narrow. It makes me wonder how often Jesus has looked upon us from heaven and thought, “O you of little faith. Why do you doubt? Don’t worry about these earthly things but put your treasure in me.”

Faith then must produce a contentment within us which realizes that God is always there for our good. Hebrews 13:5-6 puts it most beautifully,

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee . {6} So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

The key here is the quote, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. This is said a couple times throughout the Bible but one of the more interesting ones is from Deut. 31:6,

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (and again in v. 8)

(Josh 1:5) "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

The exhortation was for Joshua who was to face the gigantic task of subduing and destroying all the Canaanites. Three times Joshua is encouraged with these words, twice by Moses and the last time by God himself. Joshua didn’t have all the answers about how they were going to overcome, but he had this promise of God. We too, brothers and sisters, have this promise of God that he will never leave or forsake us. We don’t have all the answers, but we must believe that it will be God who goes out to fight our battles if we hand it over to him.


Hebrews 13:5 also tells us that we should take this promise to heart so that we can be content in our lives. It says to “let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.” Bro. Carter in his book on Hebrews explains what this word conversation means,

“Your ‘conversation’ --- your turn of mind (R.V. margin) --- suggests our own idiom. Do not let your thoughts revolve round the idea of gaining possessions; let not temporal gains be the center of your thought. That is a wrong center; those ideas belong to the margin: there is a place for them, but it is not a central one.” (pg. 175).

Covetousness then is one of the greatest dangers to our contentment and our ability to battle sin. “Thou shalt not covet” may be the last of the ten commandments but it is certainly not the least. The word covetous here in Hebrews literally means ‘the love of silver’. A similar expression is used by Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10,

(1 Tim 6:10) "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."

This “love of money” though is the basis of our capitalist society. Wealth is a measure of success. Whether it’s the booming economy of the Silicon Valley or the busy trading of the stock market in New York we can so easily get swallowed up in this “love of money.” It’s always good to stress, brothers and sisters, that it is the love of money, not money itself that is the problem. There is nothing wrong with having money. This disease of covetousness can affect poor and rich alike.

God’s calling is clear. Be content with the things that you have. If we find ourselves stretching and fretting about financial gain, then it’s time to step back and reexamine our lives. Going back to 1 Timothy 6:6-8 we see how wonderfully this is brought out,

"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."

He is the ideal, isn’t it? How many of us would be content with simple food and shelter? Not many of us I suppose (myself included) but there is basically nothing else needed for survival. These are the only things that God has promised us as Jesus says in Matthew 6:31-33,

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? {32} (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. {33} But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you ."

Beyond this nothing else is promised. All the things that we have are Gods in the first place and we have no rights to say this is mine or I built this with my own hands. Basically, our breath, our very existence we owe to God so we have to realize that all we have is a gift from Him.

It is when we learn godliness and contentment that we can have great gain. We tend to think that if we can get certain things, if we can just win the lottery, that everything will be all right. Some of the most miserable people in the world are the richest people in the world. With riches comes an extra temptation as Paul says in 1 Tim. 6:9,

"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."

So wouldn’t it be better to pray not for riches nor for poverty but for contentment with the things that we have. That’s a prayer that was given in the Proverbs 30:7-9 by Agur,

"Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: {8} Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches ; feed me with food convenient for me:(“give me only me daily bread”, NIV) {9} Lest I be full, and deny thee,and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." 

Sure, we pray for things so that we may not be poor. There is nothing wrong with this when done with the right motive but... how many of us pray not to become rich? Some are bound to say, “Don’t you know how much I could do for the truth if I won the lottery?” “Do you know how much we could do for God if we made a lot of money at the stock market?” This is the lure of easy money. The answer is that there is too great a danger in being rich. Forget it. Be content. God will provide. If by some means God gives you wealth, then be content with it. But let it be known that God would rather you spent your time seeking after his kingdom and his righteousness. So, the lesson is to work hard, do good work but be content with the things that have been given you.

Prayer then is at the root of finding contentment. Paul says this in Philippians 4:6-7,

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. {7} And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

The exhortation is to be anxious about nothing by opening every aspect of your life to the heavenly Father. The releasing of all our worries over to God in prayer is what will establish our heart in contentment and peace. This is the hard part tough, isn’t it? We pray about the problems in our lives but then we get up and still worry about it. Why is that? Paul explains to us that it is a learned trait.

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. {12} I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. {13} I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

It is not something that comes naturally. As we go through life, things are given to us and taken away. We learn not to depend on these things but to only depend on God. It is our faith in Christ that through prayer we may gather the strength and wisdom to feel content in whatsoever state we find ourselves in. Whether we abound or suffer, whether we are rich or poor, whether we are full or hungry we have contentment, true happiness in the Lord.

The word for contentment was one that the Greek Stoic philosophers used quite a bit. It was their highest ideal in life to find self-contentment. When Paul was in Athens he ran into this philosophy of Stoicism (Acts 17:18). We know today that when someone is described as stoic that they are one who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain. The stoics of Paul’s day believed that you could not go against fate so you might as well accept it and not be affected from it by showing any emotions or desires. They sought to do this by self-will. The Stoics believed that by eliminating all desires and emotions they could become self-sufficient and content.

Paul’s method of finding contentment was extremely different in that it relied not on self but on Christ.

(Phil 4:13) "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

This verse is popular with a lot of people and often read by itself. Have we realized though that in the context Paul is talking about contentment? That the ability to do all things in Christ is through contentment. This is essentially the power in Christ that we can endure all things by being content in him which is established by faith and prayer.

Paul learned these things and so must we. One of the struggles for Paul to find contentment is found in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 where the word “sufficient” is also the word for “content”.

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.{8}For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. {9} And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. {10} Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities (I am content, ESV), in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

There we have it. The only thing we really should be satisfied with is God’s grace. What more do we really need? God’s grace makes sure that we have food and raiment not only in physical means but also in spiritual ways. We have and are being given spiritual food day by day. We have Christ who is our bread of life. We partake of him this morning. His teachings give us nourishment. God’s grace also gives us raiment, literally a covering, the robe of righteousness to replace our filthy rags, to cover our sins. He has given us a covering of shelter that we might find ourselves in the very house of God that we might find shelter in the day of wrath.


Hopefully you’ve seen this morning a progression of thought throughout this exhortation. We’ve considered sin as a weed. We must pull it up with the roots to get rid of it in our lives. The roots of sin are our own desires and the only way to subdue our lusts is to replace them with something else. For me the replacement is faith and contentment through Christ. Faith is the essential building block in our discipleship. It comes from knowledge, the change of thinking that allows the thoughts and desires of God into our lives. With the cultivation of faith then must come contentment. Without contentment we will find ourselves blown about by every adverse circumstance or dulled in the acceptance of our fullness. We have to pray for contentment, and we have to learn the lessons. This is how we can do all things through Christ. Finally, we have seen the chief thing that should cap our contentment and that is God’s grace. He has given us a free gift in his Son. As we partake of the bread and wine, let us have faith in him and find comfort to endure all things.