“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
In this last chapter of Hebrews, the writer gives a catalogue of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and attitudes for those who are followers of Jesus. This verse deals with contentment.
“Covetousness” means “loving money” or “being greedy” of the material blessings of others. Rather loving money and craving to have what others have, Christians should look internally and be content with the material blessings they have. This verse doesn’t condemn initiative, but it condemns envy because of the blessings of others.
God’s people are to be satisfied and have an inner peace with their station in life because material blessings are not priorities—rather it is the spiritual blessings that bring contentment and provide a lasting peace.
Third in a series on Romans 15:1-3
“For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me’ ” (Romans 15:3).
Bringing Jesus into the equation seems especially strong as Paul tries to convince His fellow Christians that giving up some liberties for the benefit of others is a small price to pay in comparison to what Jesus both gave up by leaving Heaven and suffered for all mankind by coming to the earth. He bore the burden of the reproaches of all of our sins.
The quotation is from Psalm 69:9 and is intended to allow the supreme sacrifice of Jesus to stand tall in convincing His fellows to get over themselves and be willing to follow this principle of sacrificing relatively minor inconveniences for the spiritual good of others
No example could have been given that would have been any more dramatic or convincing than this one. Pondering Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself in contrast to what Paul is teaching us to do should bring us to our knees in shame: the two are not even comparable.
For the Good of Others
Second in a series on Romans 15:1-3
“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification” (Romans 15:2).
Paul here sets up a contrast with what he has already taught. Instead of pleasing ourselves by exercising our liberties as a child of God, we should rather yield to our neighbor’s understanding in order not to lead him into sin.
And this behavior is exhibited for the long-term spiritual good of our neighbor. The “edification” mentioned is, of course, for the benefit of the neighbor himself but also for the edification of all those who observe such caring behavior.
Paul is teaching not only a method of behaving but also a method of thinking. When any person shapes his thinking to the point that he can set aside his personal desire for the benefit of a fellow, he or she has reached a degree of spiritual maturity.
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