21. Autarkeias

In order to defeat the desires or wild lusts that reign in our life, we should have a sense of sufficiency. In its original text, autarkeias is the term which has the suitable meaning to sufficiency. This word, as can be found in 1 Timothy 6:6, means self satisfaction, contentedness, and also means a competence. In the King James Version Bible, it was translated as contentment (But godliness with contentment is great gain). Autarkeias represents a heart attitude that feels suffice with materials that someone owns, hence in the Today’s English Version Bible, the verse is translated as satisfied with what he has. This truth should be frequently expressed so that we can grab the deep understanding within it. It is intended that we can put it on in our life so that we can continue our accompaniment with God in a better way, because without contentment we cannot build a harmonic relationship with God.  Without contentment, someone cannot walk together with God.  Discontent is a rhythm owned by almost everyone so that it can be matched with the world’s desire.

Today’s world is strongly driven to the spirit of materialism. Man has become consumerist and had a consumptive lifestyle. Various product advertisements – from cosmetic, food, apparel, to vehicle – are so lure that they raise the interest of many people to acquire everything that is offered by this world. This condition makes many people lose their capability in distinguishing “needs” from “desire.” Not all things we desire are the things we need, for needs are very different from desire. When someone can no longer differentiate between needs – things that he needs to support his life – from desire, his life is ruined.  God wants that we are content, hence it is written in 1 Timothy 6:8, “But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that”. This verse means the important thing is someone can live his life. With this respect, Lord Jesus taught us to say in the Lord’s Prayer: “give us today our daily bread”.

Contentment is a relative thing. Contentment for someone may be different from the other. However, someone can test whether something he desires is really his needs or it supports his greed, pride or something to raise his dignity. If someone is suffice with a motorcycle, then he should be satisfied with it, however, if a car is really needed then there is nothing wrong with it. Do not attempt to own a car for the sake of pride or raising someone’s prestige, just because nowadays in the wicked man’s perspective, driving a car is more prestigious than riding a motorcycle only. If someone is suffice with a van or minibus, then he should be satisfied with it, do not want a sedan just because of the price or pride. The same thing applies with home or living place. If someone is suffice with a 100-metersquare house, then he should not force himself to have a 200-metersquare house. If his children have grown up and need several more rooms, then it is fine to have a bigger house. However, it is greed if the only drive is pride. In the Bible, greed is frequently categorized as a cardinal sin.

Why is greed called as a cardinal sin? Because in the Bible it equals to idolatry (Colossians 3:5, and greed which is idolatry). This idolatry word comes from the Greek language eidololatreia, which is the combination of eidolo (which means idol) and latreia (which means serving). Idol is a worship to an object other than God. Thus, this is spiritual adultery.  God is against this thing since His first law of Decalogue says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

 

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