Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Call to Store up Wealth – Nuts and Bolts of Warfare, Part 13

Jesus describes the devil as the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy, and one huge area where he works is finances. We need food and shelter, provisions for our children, bills to be paid and debts to be repaid. We can’t avoid the need for material goods as long as we’re on this earth. To believe that it’s a sin to pray for money is a misinterpretation of God’s Word and His will for us. 

But it is a sin to have our hearts wrapped up in our talents and abilities, our careers and our bank accounts rather than in Him. And because it’s a sin, the devil does one of two things. He facilitates easy access to money, knowing that you will immerse yourself in greed and place all your trust in it, or he can continuously chip away at what you have so that you’re just barely surviving and living in a constant state of anxiety.  

Greedy Christians are not true Christians because Jesus isn’t their Lord. Jesus is merely an accessory to the lifestyle they crave. Comfort is their real lord. Funny how most greedy believers aren’t even rich. They just fiercely hold onto the few comforts they have as if they would shrivel up and die if they had to part with them. They want what they want because they want it, and that’s their god. The Bible says that people who store up these kinds of treasures will loose it all to moths, rust and thieves. Moths represent the ravages of nature, rust represents time, and thieves represent human injustice — all three are tools of Satan, the head thief, who Jesus says comes to steal, kill and destroy. There’s no getting around it, wealth on this earth turns to poison when we refuse to loosen our grasp on it.

The other group that the devil attacks through finances easily feels that God is distant and uncaring, that poverty is His will and a test of their faith. It’s true that God can allow scarcity to come upon His people from time to time, but He will always provide and show abundant care to those who are faithful to Him. The danger is in losing heart and blaming God — in feeling guilty to pray for financial help on one hand and then angry at God for not providing on the other. This passive-aggressive cycle is a faith killer.  

Once a Christian has become bitter towards God, there’s no vision to rise up and confront the devil and command him to leave. It even makes it harder to act out in faith and give what God is asking them to sacrifice. Why would God want them to sacrifice when they’re so poor? …they ask. Many Christians find themselves in these spots because they had once been in the first group of greedy believers who refused to let go of their precious possessions, opening a door for the thief of thieves to rob them blind.  

Our priorities have to be turned upside down. Our driving force needs to be the joy of storing up eternal wealth by serving each other, by caring about the lost, about going wherever God sends us and doing whatever He asks. Our comfort zone has to be wherever He is and that’s all. Why else did first century Christians sell all they had to help the growing church? They understood that wealth has no value unless it is used to advance the kingdom of God. They had an amazing new life in the Kingdom of God that was worth every sacrifice. What God is looking for are willing hearts that are free of greed, free of anxiety and full of trust that He is our great provider. We’re not supposed to worry and fret over what we do or don’t have. We’re supposed to be busy doing His will, determining that He will supernaturally provide all we need and more as we act out our faith, sacrificing what He acts us to sacrifice, and having big dreams for His glory and the salvation of souls. God has promised to provide when we do this.  

Spiritual warfare against the devouring spirit demands a mindset that resists greed and anxiety over money, and which chooses the heavenly riches of our salvation and the salvation of others above all other wealth. But it also demands a conviction that God wants to do big things through us for His glory, and the willingness to sacrifice whatever He asks us to sacrifice. What is God asking you to give up so that the hold of the devouring spirit can be broken?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in nor steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 MEV)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing Bishop. When we believe in God's Promises of abundant providence, we don't place our trust in what we have and are therefore able to give whatever He asks of us in return for His blessings and honour.