But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Tim. 6:6-8)These three verses give us a very sweet formula for living: godliness + contentment.
The contentment is provided by God, who also provides our food and clothing. “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:31-33).
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). That is religion that is godly. However, being godly is not the same as being religious. Most religion (including Christian religion) is a matter of observance of form. It is easy to be religious.
If someone is godly, he is known to the world as a religious man. The reverse is not true. Religious people are not considered godly; they are considered hypocrites. Many religious people are not godly. Here is a description of religious people in the last days: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Godliness is provided by God. It is not tied to form. It is recognized by the fruit of the Spirit and care for others, whether they are good or bad.