Why does it seem that everything in this world boils down to money? “All that glitters is
not gold, and all that is gold does not necessarily glitter.” How does our doctrine dictate how we use our money? “Where our heart is, that is where our treasure will be” and the reverse is true too. Unfortunately chasing wealth is also in the “Church” to the chagrin of the secular populace. Doctrine is designed to show us who God is and what he is like so that we might experience his transforming work in our lives. When our heart is not in love with God for who he is, then all kinds of doctrines will arise and become means used to justify personal gain. “We cannot love both God and Mammon.” When we are living for God then money is a tool in his hand. But when He is not the center of our being, then money is used for personal gain and we become hypocrites with our resources – blind to our own condition, but obvious to everyone else.
In their day, the apostles fought false doctrines derived from scriptures taken out of context. Yet they are more abundant today than ever. Where there is incorrect doctrine involved, i.e. “Name it and claim it”, divine rights, physical reward for spiritual success; these kinds of dogmas can be traced to a misinterpretation and misrepresentation of God’s Word and blessings.
1 Tim 6 3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Paul’s Charge to Timothy
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the giver of life and all things for your happiness in this world. I meet your every genuine need (as well as many wants) so that you will recognize me as your good and gracious God. I allow needs in your life so that you will come to me to help you. Just don’t confuse your wants with needs. I am not a genie at your beck and call to grant your lusts. Be content in what I provide you and look to help others in their genuine needs, as this may be why I give you extra resources at times. Live your life with the next life in mind as this life is too short to squander on your lusts, and because this life is all you have to prepare for the next, make every opportunity to share my blessings and make them count toward rewards.
Everyone expects me to be Loving and gracious, which I am, yet everyone seems to have a problem with me when I withhold my physical blessings. Why should I meet your needs, when you don’t reciprocate to those around you? The doctrine which you live by shows others, as well as me, whether yours is a true religion or just selfishness. There are many false doctrines regarding the use of money in this world that can lead you into ditches in either way; the deprivation of basic necessities or conversely toward gluttony. Contentment is the key which Paul discovered by my grace Philippians 4:11-13 says “11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Prov 30:8, 9 says “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
Animism as is found in PNG is all about controlling the overarching spirit world to give physical blessing in this present world by strict adherence to rules and the proper use of secret words and amulets, so the more stuff you have proves the more power you possess. In one tribe, the man who’s Yams (a type of sweet potato) are the biggest obviously proves that he controls the spirits best and thus deserves to become the village leader. In America, the saying “he who dies with the most toys wins” seems to convey this mindset. The philosophy of Karma has similar overtones.
Our country was founded on Judeo- Christian principles as found in the Bible, but it is imperative to remember that only those in pre- Christ Judaism, who obeyed the Commandments, had promise of God’s physical blessings. We err to think that we Christians, by obeying the Old Testament Commandments can manipulate God to bless us because of our actions as if we deserve his blessings. Thus, we become western animists of sorts within Christianity.
However in the New Testament, you will not find these promises of physical success given to the church because the Christian church is not about a national identity as Israel was. See my post on spiritual verses physical blessings https://whoareyoulord.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/why-a-spiritual-blessing-eph-13/. Unfortunately, often those who are money driven depend upon Old Testament references to substantiate their motives for riches and use riches to spread their faulty doctrines. Thus in this passage we see Paul warn Timothy to convey to believers of every age the dangers of living for money and to watch their doctrines closely.
Sorry to step on your toes America, but the believers in the rest of the world who are in poverty have no means to receive the blessings you have; does that mean that they are not spiritual. I beg to differ.
More to come,