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The Love of Money

Paul commands Christians to avoid conforming to worldly patterns. Instead, he tells us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2).  He recognized how incredibly powerful our thinking is, and just exactly how it informs, shapes and controls our behavior in the world. To be different from the world, you have to think differently than the world. Along those same lines, he tells the believers at Corinth that he and others who follow Christ are miraculously able to destroy all the strongholds and sophisticated arguments that keep people from knowing God. They are able to do this, he says, because they keep every thought captive and obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). In other words, a powerful Christian is able to conform every thought to the truth of God, and when he’s done this, it will defeat any lie that tries to upend it. 

The writer of Hebrews makes a similar command that is based squarely on Paul’s reasoning.  He says that we Christians should keep our lives free from the love of money, and to be content with what we have because God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The world tells us to love money, and it is always telling us to think about it. In fact, whole sectors of the world’s economies are marketed around envy. In contrast, Paul and the writer of Hebrews are telling us to shape our minds toward contentment in a God who loves us so much that he’ll never leave us or forsake us. When we think of God as the most important treasure in our lives, then we will shape our lives around him, and we’ll naturally be content even if we become financially poor. On the other hand, if we become financially rich, we’ll be content to let go of any money should God ask us to do so – because the money isn’t near as valuable as the almighty God who has something good in store for us which trumps all the money in all of the world. Such thinking turns money into a tool for our use instead of an object of affection or desire. A desire for money over a desire for God leads one down all kinds of evil roads (1 Timothy 6:10). Much of the evil that men do in the world isn’t done because they love God, but because they love money.  Much of the debt slavery that people find themselves in is because they have believed the world’s lie that money (or the things it can bring) should be an object of desire. They are not content with what God provides, or the means by which he provides it. 

Paul, however, demonstrated by his behaviors a transformed mind that kept everything obedient to Christ. He describes his thought process to the Corinthians when he tells them that everything he does is to advance the ministry of Christ. In a list of difficulties he regularly endures, such as beatings, and hunger, and dishonor, and slander, and sorrows, he is able to live with love, joy, kindness, and truth. He has those things even though he possesses “nothing.” This is because he knows that in Christ, he has “everything” (2 Corinthians 6:3-10). He drives that point home when he famously tells another church, the Philippians, that he can do all things because of Christ who strengthens him. He isn’t saying in that famous verse that Jesus gives him the magical strength to perform any task in the world he chooses. He is arguing that he can be content – whether in wealth or poverty – because of the transformative power of Christ who gives him strength to be content (Philippians 4:11-13). 

Where do your thoughts take you? Contentment? Envy? Want? What is the primary object of your desire?

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