Charles Spurgeon once said, “The world was never meant to fill a believer’s soul.”  Each of us has a part of our heart that can only be satisfied by Jesus.  Sadly, many are in a frenzied panic, trying to find satisfaction through the things of earth.   Materialism is alive and well, and it is distracting the hearts of many of God’s people.  As a result, we need to consider some biblical truth.

Materialism is a form of idolatry.

We may not worship golden calves or bow before Baal, but we have false gods none the less.  Idolatry is alive and well in the twenty-first century church, and materialism is one of our cherished false deities.  Some may not think of it in this way.  How can money-loving be a form of idolatry?  Well, consider the nature of the sin.  In the Ten Commandments, Yahweh said, “Do not have other gods besides me” (Exodus 20:3).  Plain and simple, an idol is anything we value above God.  When you love money more than Him, you are guilty of false worship.  Jesus knew this.  That’s why He often compared and contrasted the two.  In His most famous sermon, He said, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).  What sits on the throne of your heart?  If money has sway over your soul, you are guilty of idolatry.  Make Jesus your passion, and the grip of gold will loosen its grasp on your heart.

Materialism never satisfies. 

It’s like a hungry monster than can’t be satiated.  Prov. 27:20 says, “Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and people’s eyes are never satisfied.”  The two words at the beginning of Solomon’s proverb refer to death.   Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  King Solomon would concur.  But just as death is inevitable, it is also certain that “people’s eyes are never satisfied.”  In Scripture, the “eyes” are often associated with humanity’s love for material things.  Jesus called the eye “the lamp of the body” (Matthew 6:22), and John talked about how Satan’s evil value system beckons us to live by “the lust of the eyes” (1 John 2:16).  The tragedy of setting our sights on cars, homes, clothes, gadgets, and trinkets is this — they can never satisfy.  We can get what we think we want, but we will always want more!  Instead of living for gain, it’s better to live for God.  The Bible says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

Materialism causes you to miss out on God’s best. 

You can’t experience God’s will and have a desire to get rich at the same time.  It just won’t work.  The two passions are contradictory.  You will either live for one, or live for the other.  Since this is true, the love of money is a great deterrent to spiritual progress.  If you want to miss out on God’s will for your life, just make possessions and profits your main priority in life!  Don’t believe me?  Just ask Gehazi, Elisha’s servant.  Because of his lust for silver and clothes, he incurred a leprous plague upon his family (2 Kings 5:19-27).  The love of stuff will stifle your spiritual progress, and snuff out your passion.  Inevitably, it will keep you from God’s plan and purpose for your life.  Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).  Set your heart on Christ, not cash!

Dr. Patrick Latham

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