Money — The Most Powerful Material Possession — How Do We Fight It?
“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 pangs” — 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV).
“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” — Proverbs 3:9–10 (ESV).
Money is one of the most precious gifts God has given us. We use it to buy necessities for our daily lives. Food, water, shelter, clothing. We consume so much of it to fulfill these needs. However, we rarely realize that God, in his amazing grace, has blessed us with this gift. We come to expect it. We constantly expect to have it to spend on our needs and wants. That leads to my next point.
Americans also consume so much of their money on wants that pile up. For someone like me, this can range from video games to the apparel of my favorite sports teams. Not only does our checkbook take a hit from our wants, but so do we. We become so devoured in what we want that it becomes routine. Before we know it, we are in debt.
Being a Christian and a shopaholic simply will not mix. Jesus said it best himself in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” We cannot love Jesus and money at the same time. We cannot serve God while we spend hundreds of dollars monthly. That is impossible. We spend so much time spending money, and yet we forget the God who provided it. Money itself becomes God, which is very dangerous.
William Holland, a Christian author and chaplain, talks about how much Christians are consumed with money. He spoke of how much Christians think gambling and lotteries are a sin, but they do not realize they are sinning for not paying bills and wasting money on wants.
“I agree that someone who cannot afford to pay their bills yet wastes money on daily lottery tickets needs more than financial help.” Holland goes on to say that instead of praying to have more money, Christians should pray that God would instruct them in how to budget it.
“I am not knocking money, Holland said. “In fact, I need it and it can do a lot of good. But in the hands of those who pay no heed to God’s instructions, it can become like a blind man operating a wrecking ball. Instead of wealth being used as an instrument to help the poor and finance God’s ministries, it can actually use us by capturing our mind and possessing our soul if we are not careful.”
Holland makes a very good point. While we do need money to fulfill our daily needs, it can soon become corruptive if we misuse it with our own desires. It comes from a lack of a vertical focus. We forsake the promises of God’s everlasting presence in Scripture for material possessions that will not last an eternity. We must not fall in love with its power, otherwise it will destroy us. May we draw near to God’s presence in our time of need, and rely on Him to provide the money we need.
In Sex & Money, Paul David Tripp certainly agrees with Holland in terms of money’s danger. “Money will be a blessing to you, or it will be a curse, he said. “It will be a tool in the hands of a God of grace, or it will be a doorway to bad and dangerous things.”
Money has its blessings and its dangers, according to Tripp. It blesses us in five different “windows” — on the goodness of God, what rules our hearts, the dangers of our sinful world, responding to others’ needs, and connects us to the work of the kingdom of God.
While the blessings seem so profitable, the dangers are equally as powerful. Money can cause you to forget God, change your view of yourself, look down on others, weaken your resolve to fight temptation, and finances your allegiance to your own kingdom.
It is sufficient to say that money has its positives and negatives. It is a product of the fallen world. It seems good at first. It can get us several things that will help us survive in the world. However, when seen in the concept of the fall, it can be used selfishly for your own wants. You can use it to take advantage of someone. It can make you think all the answers in life are within yourself. When something makes you forget God and his amazing grace, it must be taken seriously.
All of this begs the question — what can we do? How are we to fight the world’s temptations with money? How are we to live a God-honoring financial life?
If we are honest, the answer is not within ourselves. We can try to come up with plans to help us get better at managing our money. We can come up with budgets and finding accountability partners. None of that matters if we try to find the answer within our own strength. We are fallen human beings who have been tainted by the fall’s curse. We cannot possibly think we can remedy our own financial troubles. That is why, according to Tripp, God has given us the most wonderful gift he could ever give us — himself.
Isaiah 40:28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”
In our hour of need, God has given us himself. He is all-loving, all-present, all-powerful, and all-gracious. May we all call upon him to help us with one of Satan’s most powerful weapons — money. May we all yearn to glorify God with our use of it. May we all desire to hear those six great words from Jesus, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”