For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:10-11)
Money isn’t in and of itself evil. What’s being confronted isn’t the money but the harmful desires in our lives. Possessions aren’t evil; our attitude toward them can be. When our pursuit of anything encroaches upon our pursuit of God, we are wandering away. We have choices in our pursuit. We pursue whatever we focus upon, whatever we allow to take space in our hearts.
Anything can get in the way of our relationship with God. And our attitudes toward money can certainly edge into that relationship. We can also use the teachings God gives us about the love of money and consider how we love other things in our lives in similar ways. Let’s not take the easy route and say, “I don’t have a love of money” and discount the lessons He is teaching us. We all have loves other than God, and while they might not all be evil, we certainly need to keep them in perspective, placing our love of God above all else at all times.
We’re in danger when we think we’re the sole reason we have the money we have. It’s part of loving money. The provisions we have, money and otherwise, are because God has allowed them in our lives. When we begin to take credit and ownership where He doesn’t intend for us to have it, we step into pride. God intends our relationship with Him to always include humility.
God’s Word also teaches us not to cling to money when God takes it away or directs us to give it away. If He separates it from us, we aren’t to cling to it like a child throwing a fit in the store because we didn’t get what we wanted. We do the same with many things in our lives, not just money. When we cling to anything more tightly than we cling to God, we cannot fully receive and give as He intends. He wants us to live with our hands and hearts wide open, ready and willing to give and receive as He guides, not as we prefer.
Yet another lesson we learn from Scripture concerning money is that we’re not to show favor to those who have it or mistreat or ignore those who don’t. Money isn’t grounds for favor. Neither is beauty, knowledge, position, experience, family, and many other things we use as a determining factor of who should get our attention and preference.
God teaches us that we’re not to seek wealth. That doesn’t mean that wealth is bad; He just doesn’t want it to be what we seek. That position and focus belongs only to His kingdom. God adds anything of His kingdom into our lives that He wills, but we seek His kingdom. He fills in all the details.
As our love for money grows, we’ll get selfish in trying to protect it. We’ll put it on show. We’ll lie to keep it. We’ll compromise other areas in our lives. Anytime we sin because of our love of money, we betray the heart God has given us to love Him, His righteousness, and truth.
We can’t and shouldn’t ignore money. We must steward well whatever God provides. Ignoring it is mishandling it. God doesn’t tell us to hate money. He says not to love it. Don’t replace Him as the focus of your love with money…or anything else.
Dear God, I don’t want to love money. It’s so difficult to avoid the love of money with the constant barrage of pressures to place value of financial status. But I know it’s not a money issue as much as a heart issue. And my heart issues aren’t just about the love of money. Show me any area of my life which I’m rivaling against or alongside You. Nothing and no one compares to You, but I don’t always live that way, and I know I dishonor You in the process. Please forgive me. I am Yours, and I want to grow in Your will and toward Your presence with each step I take, each choice I make.