Financial issues can be devastating. Despite what the very “religious” claim, money is very important. Most of the tangible things in life are obtained and maintained through finances, and when there is a negative issue with monetary resources, a person’s life can seem to fall apart. For the Christian, there are two issues concerning money that can cause extreme problems. Christians can love money to their detriment, but they can also fear poverty to the point where this fear wreaks havoc in their lives. The Bible warns us about the love of money.
“For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10 AMP). There is nothing wrong with desiring to be prosperous. But to actually love money is a sin. Many love money because it becomes their god. Those who are obsessed with obtaining or maintaining financial wealth see money as the solution to all, or most, of their problems. Money in itself has little value, but money is the key to obtaining “things”. People who love money are actually in love with what wealth can do for them, and for the greedy Christian, possessions can take the place of God. God has the habit of stepping away from those who have idols, and he challenges his people to call on those idols when problems arise. Eventually a problem will occur that an idol can’t solve. And the wise believer will repent and acknowledge that God is their true source. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord]” (Matthew 6:24 AMP). The love of money is bad, but there is another issue that can also cause major problems for the Christian.
The fear of poverty can cause problems similar to the love of money. In fact, many Christians do unwise things not because they love money but because they fear being poor. Or, a financial issue will cause them to seek money with a fury, and they will do anything to relieve the burden of monetary lack. In this case, money still becomes an idol, and God is viewed as an unreliable resource. The fear of poverty is also an insult to God; he has promised to provide for his children. To fear financial lack is to call God a liar. “And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 AMP). There are common solutions to both the fear of poverty and the love of money.
“Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” (Hebrews 13:5). Contentment is one of the solutions to money issues. To be content means to be satisfied and free from anxiety. Allow God to help you to enjoy what you have. Contentment does not indicate a lack of ambition, it is OK to want more out of life. But being content is to embrace your current situation and rest in the knowledge of the love, goodness, and power of God. God will bless his children who are faithful.
“So that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:12-15 NASB). Patience is another weapon that can be used against the fear of poverty and the love of money. Patience, in this context, is a lingering trust in God and in his promises. Patience helps us to focus on God as our source, and it also helps us to wait for better days ahead. Patience believes God; God is not a liar, and his word to you will come to pass. Those who love money are often in a rush to obtain wealth. Patience causes such a person to slow down and to reflect on the reality of God being their source. Another weapon that we can use is prayer.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NASB). Anxiety comes from both the love of money and a fear of poverty. God tells us to bring everything to him in prayer, and his peace will destroy any anxiety found in our minds. The peace of God is not based on outward circumstances, it is based on receiving the love of God. God’s peace will sustain us when we cast all of our cares on him. God truly has solutions for all of our problems.
Money in itself is not evil. But our relationship with finances can be sinful. God is interested in our connection to finances, and through his word we can have a right and fruitful relationship with wealth. We must not only not love money, we have to also resist the fear of poverty. The kingdom of God is about joy and peace, and the right attitude towards money helps us to experience his kingdom. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).