Peyton Reed is a sophomore at the University of Alabama. He is from Madison, AL and is majoring in computer science.

In our world today, there are qualities that people associate with Christianity and its believers. We are expected to be kind, faithful, and passionate for Christ. Evil actions and thoughts are supposed to have no place in our lives. Consequently, God commands us to carry ourselves in a way that if sin were to be factor in our life, it would be an anomaly in our own perception and in the eyes of others. While writing to Timothy, Paul says,

“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

(1 Timothy 6:13)

To put it simply, Christians are to live above reproach. Thankfully for us, God tells us just how to do that. In the concluding parts of Romans 12, Paul writes about the true marks of a Christian. He explains what separates Christians from the world by defining the characteristics of a disciple. He instructs for love to be genuine and to hate what is evil. Those traits are mentioned immediately which gestures toward the importance that we live in such a manner. Throughout the rest of the of the chapter Paul discusses topics such as proactiveness, being rejoiceful, and how to live peaceably with others.

            Specifically, in verse 12 Paul writes, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” When considering how to live a life above reproach, I believe it is impossible to ignore this verse. The central idea that comes from verse 12 is that we are to be content. Paul writes about true contentment in 1 Timothy 6:6-10 when he says,

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”

If we are living in a way that is constantly seeking for more, the path we walk down is in direct conflict with God’s will and leads only to destruction. Paul chooses money as something to represent what we often reach for instead of God, but the desires can and will be different for every person. Whether it’s a job, a college degree, a relationship, or popularity, we love to convince ourselves that something is missing from our lives, but we must realize that the presence of God in our life means we are missing nothing. Then to truly be content, it is imperative to place value on what is right in front of us. Paul does exactly this when he mentions how he will be content with simply food and clothing. To any human, having food and clothing is the bare minimum so Paul encourages Timothy to be pleased with just that. Look around at what surrounds you. There’s a university you attend that prepares you for the rest of your life. There’s a job that provides for yourself and your family. There are friends that share the same faith as you. There’s a building that you worship in. To put it into perspective, compare our basics to Paul’s basics. If we don’t live with true contentment, then our ability to live a life free from sin will be greatly reduced. We can twist the temptations any way we want but a strong relationship with God is the only option to living above reproach.

            When we reflect on contentment, we always think of our relationship with material possessions. Let’s consider the question of are we content in our spiritual lives? Most people who are discontent in a worldly sense are then content spiritually. Being content spiritually is the mindset of a lukewarm Christian. How can we shift our discontentment to our spiritual lives and be content in a materialistic perspective? After all, being discontent with our spiritual life is how we incite an earnest desire for a rich relationship with God.