YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON!
“Christ returns to the former doctrine, the object of which was to withdraw his disciples from covetousness. He had formerly said, that the heart of man is bound and fixed upon its treasure (Matt. 6:21); and he now gives warning, that the hearts of those who are devoted to riches are alienated from the Lord…
Where riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has lost his authority. True, it is not impossible that those who are rich shall serve God; but whoever gives himself up as a slave to riches must abandon the service of God: for covetousness makes us the slaves of the devil…
What is here said with a special reference to riches, may be properly extended to every other description of vice. As God pronounces everywhere such commendations of sincerity, and hates a double heart (1 Chron. 12:33; Ps. 12:2), all are deceived, who imagine that he will be satisfied with the half of their heart. All, indeed, confess in words, that, where the affection is not entire, there is no true worship of God.” – John Calvin
TEN SIGNS THAT YOU LOVE MONEY
Years ago, I watched the movie, ‘The Money Pit’. The main characters made a foolish purchase of a house that fell apart, piece-by-piece. Soon their relationship started crumbling too. I remember thinking, “I want to be wise with money—it can a powerful tool for good, but it can cause destruction too!”
Sometime after that, my pastor shared Paul’s caution to church leaders in 1 Timothy 3:3. Paul urged them to be “free from the love of money.” I thought, “That’s wise counsel for ALL Christ-followers.”
To develop a healthy, biblical relationship with money, we must build on this truth: God owns us and everything we have, and it is only as we wisely steward His resources we discover not only a thriving relationship with Him, but with money and possessions as well.
The love of money is a heart problem. It is a choice to pursue wealth for sheer luxury or selfish consumption instead of looking at life from a biblical, eternal perspective and accumulating money and resources as a powerful tool to bring glory to the Lord.
There’s a fine line of difference sometimes, but here are 10 signs you might love money:
1. YOU’RE OBSESSED WITH BECOMING RICH.
The concern here is not wealth itself; it is only the love of money that is evil. It is the compulsive and sometimes unethical pursuit of wealth that leads to ruin.
People with this heart attitude set themselves up for temptations and snares—“senseless and harmful desires” that can lead to destruction and may even cause them to “wander away” from trust in God (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
Related to this is the obsession of seeking wealth, the workaholic insanity that lacks discernment (Proverbs 23:4).
2. YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH.
Your checkbook may contain a mere hundred dollars, but you can still be a foolish money-lover.
Conversely, you can have a million bucks in the bank and be a fervent God-lover. It’s all a matter of the heart.
The heart problem here is constant feeling of “lack” that arises from a discontented spirit. (See Luke 3:14; Proverbs 30:15; Philippians 4:11; and 1 Timothy 6:6-8.)
3. YOU’RE LIVING BEYOND YOUR MEANS.
This is a huge issue in a culture of abundance. Examine your checkbook, bank account, and credit card statements, and you’ll soon discover if this issue of greed is your heart problem.
Who is ruling us when we over-spend, or when we build up credit card debt and accumulate “beyond our means” to quickly repay? Proverbs 22:7 says “the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
4. YOU’RE BECOMING A SHOW OFF.
It’s not a matter of “keeping up with the Joneses” now, but also the fashion trends of the Kardashians and the Hollywood crowd, and every enticement from Apple and the Shopping Channel and… it never ends!
The Bible says our unhealthy desires of the flesh, our constant cravings for things we see, and our pride in possessions are “not from the Father” (1 John 2:16).
But we love to flaunt our new purchases, don’t we? God gives us many things to enjoy, but we’re not to become “haughty” or proud, setting our hopes on “the uncertainty of riches” (1 Timothy 6:17).
Consider where and how you seek acceptance. Listen to your conversations. Check out what you post on Facebook. Are they are reflection of your thoughts and beliefs about money? Are you praising God for His good gifts, or bragging?
5. YOU’RE CHARACTERIZED BY GREED.
You may not feel you are greedy, but how would others characterize you?
Do they see you as greedy, lacking a desire to give? Do they think you are generous and doing good to others? Do they see you storing up treasure in heaven, or simply accumulating things on earth? (1 Timothy 6:18-19)
6. YOU’VE FORGOTTEN THE SOURCE.
We love money when our hope and security are misplaced, rooted in our financial accounts rather than the Lord. Those who find their security in their possessions may come emotionally unglued when their valuables fall apart or “thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).
Sometimes money draws us away from trusting God in subtle ways. If you’re not sure you’re wandering, ask, “Does money bring me more joy and satisfaction than loving, obeying and serving the Lord?”
Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.” Remember the source of your wealth and you will be less likely to misplace your hope.
7. YOUR LOYALTIES ARE DIVIDED.
When money or possessions drive you—like a slave-driver, like an addiction—you likely serve the idol of materialism.
John Calvin wrote, “Where riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has lost His authority.”
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… No one can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:21, 24).
8. YOU’RE TEMPTED TO SIN.
The love of money can lead us to many choices for sinful gain: cheating on taxes, shortchanging customers, padding expenses, etc.
Love of money clouds good judgment. Blinded by our greed and lusts, we may get caught in “a snare” (1 Timothy 6:9).
Guard your heart, and if you find yourself tempted to make sinful financial choices, repent of losing your “first love” and return to the Lord!
9. YOUR LIFE IS STARTING TO SUFFER.
The love of money is a sinful root problem that bears bitter fruit. It’s not just problems with your bank account. There may be problems with relationships (family or friends). Problems may arise with your health because of the stress of obsessively pursuing wealth.
Keep money and wealth in its proper place.
10. YOU’RE WONDERING IF YOU NEED COUNSEL.
Fools don’t see the need for advice, but wise people listen to and even pursue it (Proverbs 12:15).
If you’re beginning to see problems arise because of your financial choices, FIRST PAY ATTENTION TO THE TRUTH ABOUT FINANCES IN GOD’S WORD and then place your confidence in the Lord (Proverbs 16:20). But don’t rule out wise financial counseling from a biblically-wise financial advisor or ministry specializing in financial wealth-building to the glory of God.
Now look back over those 10 statements and turn them into personal questions. For example: Would my friends say I’m characterized by greed? Are my loyalties divided? Answer each question honestly before the Lord.
It’s not wrong to have wealth. It’s only wrong when wealth “has” us!
“Having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” [1Tim 6:8-10]