In my quiet time, I’ve been reading Paul’s letters in the New Testament from the Message translation. Sometimes the words I find there take my breath away.
This morning was one of those times. I read 1 Timothy 6:6: “A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”
The Bible I’m reading from is actually a parallel translation so I can look immediately at the text from the NIV and see the more familiar, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” I understand those words, but something really connected with me when I thought about that “rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”
I’ve been reading and praying a lot lately about my identity in Christ. Like a lot of busy, professional American women, I have lots of identities. I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, an employee, a writer, a friend, a not-terrible alto. I’ve defined myself with jobs and service and degrees. I have parts of my heart — of me — that I don’t trust with just anyone.
But God invites me to be myself. And not just the broken version that Satan likes to pull out and wave in front of me. God invites me to be my best self. To be the version of me that He created me to be. And He offers me His strength to get there, but He loves me anyway.
He loves us, as the old saying goes, “warts and all.” He offers His power to change, but He doesn’t expect us to change before He will love us. I don’t have to lose those pounds or that habit to earn His love. Romans 5:8 says that “God showed us His love in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
He’s done the hard work. We only need to accept His love and forgiveness through Jesus so that we can be in a full, loving relationship with Him, the One who will never leave us, who won’t forget about us.
That sounds like wealth to me.