God and Mammon
There are certain misconceptions concerning the Christian life that the lost world and many in the Church share. Jesus did not come that He might add a greater spiritual burden to a people already struggling to conquer unruly bodies. Instead, He came to lift the greatest of our burdens from us. The world in which we live operates according to what has been called natural law. Most of us learn very early that our actions lead to certain results. If we disobey our parents there are consequences meant to teach us that unruly behavior is not acceptable. Gravity is no respecter of persons. Fire burns and burns hurt - etc. The Holy Spirit convicts everyone by way of individual conscience. Our conscience makes us to know that apart from God’s intervention we can never hope to have peace regarding the condition of our soul.
He did not come to rob us of our joy but to give us reason for joy indefinable! You may recall His words in John 10:10, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. The Beatitudes describe the kind of life Jesus wants for His followers. The key word there is blessed, meaning happy. It is not His desire that we feel guilty all the time.
Matthew chapter six is a portion of the Beatitudes that teaches believers how to be a Christian in the material world. Every believer is a citizen of two worlds and those worlds are very different. It is not so difficult to think and act in a spiritual way when surrounded by others that believe as we do. The difficulty arises when we venture out into the secular world. Jesus wants us to know how to deal with material things such as personal property, investments, and money. Both the having of money and the lack of enough money have caused more heartbreak and misery than any other thing.
We must ask ourselves a few questions:
1. How do I feel about things?
2. Can I love Jesus and love my possessions?
3. If He is Lord, how do I treat my money and possessions?
4. How can we simultaneously cope with being spiritual and material?
I. How To Be Spiritual In A Secular Environment
A. Remember that God made you
1. He understands how we think
2. He knows our motivation
3. Our instincts and desires were given to us by God
Note: Though God makes us; we are not as God made us! Sin has corrupted every part of our lives.
1. Our society is obsessed with sexuality. It is used to sell products, to entertain, and for barter.
a. God created the desire for sex to cement the bond between husbands and wives and for the propagation of children.
b. Satan has worked diligently to turn human sexual desire into an avenue for spiritual attack.
c. The leading causes for marriage dissolution among church members are money problems and adultery!
2. Gambling is a perversion of the instinct for earning a living
a. God created a desire in us for success and achievement.
b. Gambling seemingly offers a shortcut for achieving security.
c. In reality, gambling can lead to addiction, destitution, and loss of moral compass.
3. Alcohol and drugs are a perversion of our instinct for happiness and well-being.
a. These substances lure us in with promises of making life a little less complicated. They end up stealing our joy entirely!
b. Many use drugs and/or alcohol to fill the God-shaped void within their heart.
II. It Is Not Wrong To Possess Material Things
A. So long as we understand their temporary nature
B. Eternal Investment is best
We are most careful to look after the things we value most (Matthew 6:21). Think of it as an eternal retirement plan.