The lifestyle of Christians has been a hot topic for years. Many believe that “real Christians” should swear a secret oath of poverty and shouldn’t own any kind of material possessions so that they can stay pure before God. Others believe that the Lord wants us to prosper and have an abundance of material possessions. While both of these scenarios are opposite in concept, the idea of getting rich can be appealing and can lead to a downfall because greed and love don’t mix.
Why is choosing to live in poverty wrong? Because Jesus died on the cross so that we could live. John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” God wants us to enjoy life and to not have to suffer from lack or from want.
God loves us so much that He has told us repeatedly in the Bible that He wants us to be blessed and to have the things we need and want. Matthew 21:22 tells us to ask in prayer believing and we would receive it. He says in Philippians 4:6 that we should let our requests be made known to God.
In Psalm 37:4 He says that He’ll give us the desires of our heart. God told David in Samuel 12:8 that if he wanted more than what God had given him, he just needed to ask. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you”. Deuteronomy 28:13 says that the Lord will make us the head and not the tail, the lenders and not the borrowers. Psalm 1:3 says that if we follow Him we will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water and whatever we do will prosper us.
God wants us to prosper and be in good health because He loves us. We are His children and He doesn’t want to see us going without the necessities – and even some luxuries – in life. He does NOT want our sacrifice; He wants our obedience. And just looking at it from our own point of view, what kind of witness would any of us be if we were proclaiming the goodness of the Lord and His healing power and His love for us if we are living in a state of poverty? Of not having anything to show for the work of our hands? Of not representing the Kingdom of God in its entirety? Who would want to become a Christian if it meant living a pathetically impoverish life?
The opposite of this is greed and it bears its own sorrows. We can’t show others our love for God, or even more, His love for us, if we are focused on our own material gain. Matthew 6:33 tells us to first seek God’s Kingdom, to learn about Him, to become part of Him and to share the same love for people as Him and then He will bless us with all the things that we need or want in life. He tells us NOT to seek after riches as our reason to know Him, but to want to know Him and make Him our reason for living and then these riches will come to us.
It all comes down to LOVE. Who do we love? If we love God, we will want to know Him, worship Him, praise Him and LOVE Him, and as we come to know Him we’ll realize that He supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory – Philippians 4:19.
Greed for material possessions becomes our idol and God says that we are not to have another idol before Him because it becomes our obsession and what we will sacrifice things for and be happy. Greed becomes our love and 1 Timothy 6:10 says that our love of money – which includes material possessions – is the root of all evil.
So, as Christians we need to find a balance and we do that by seeking God first and letting our riches be His blessings to us because whatever God gives us, no man can take away, but what we give ourselves we will lose because they are not blessed by God. Greed is an attitude of self-righteousness and it has no place in the life of a Christian. Matthew 6:33 says that we are to seek after HIS righteousness.
The perfect example of love is what Jesus did for us. He was rich in Heaven. He left His thrown and all the luxuries of Heaven so that He could come to earth to be born in a cold and dirty barn, so that He could preach for three and a half years without even having a “den” to sleep in, and so that He could give up His life as a sacrifice for us.
Greed cannot exist in us if we truly love Jesus because we would have His spirit in us, and we would have His love for others and we would be willing to share what we do have. Riches would not be our reason for living, but rather, they would be a blessing from God to make us happy because He loves to give us the desires of our heart when our heart is pure before Him.
“Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” … Psalm 37:4