Freedom from Greed

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36 NKJV)

The world has never seen countless of practical minds coming together from all walks of life fighting the brutal effects of the so called financial meltdown. Even the world’s brightest money smart talkers and financial geeks have chipped in their two cents strategies, refusing to give in to this economic slump. Almost everybody has created a five or seven points list to overcome a personal economic blues. Suddenly, we have become a world of financial experts.

Evidently, at the height of this crisis many of the believers have missed out the coming onslaught of the enemy. It happened almost without warning. What went wrong, and what caused it, is a matter of denial or acceptance of the truth. Shouldn’t the Spirit of the Lord have prepared us for this famine? However, in some Christian quarters they have deliberately and purposely ignored the writings on the wall. And yet, the ever faithful Biblical principle offers itself to be exhumed to take us back in the green pastures where fear, want, and lack do not exist.

For the past decades a so called prosperity gospel unlocks itself to awaken and to warn the Body of Christ for the coming onslaught of the enemy on finances. However, somewhere along the line, the wonderful message of this gospel was distorted. The devil sneaked his way in and sowed oats of deceit and perverted the message. And now, some loosed canon and high profile opinionated extremists have deemed prosperity gospel as a wide open road to perdition.

It is sad that the very pronouncement of the word “prosperity” has become heretical and labeled as a doctrine from hell. And for those who have accepted this gospel with pure motives, absent of the lust of the flesh, were also condemned by the unforgiving self-righteous. It is pitiful that this pre-mature condemnation was handed down in advance, way ahead of time, even too early for the commencement of the judgment seat of Christ.

Nevertheless, no matter how the devil has destroyed this message, it is here to stay. Along with the Holy Spirit, who is our Comforter and Teacher, never fails to lead us and guide us into all truths. Moreover, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Body of Christ, who is founded on the solid Rock of the revelation knowledge of Christ and His word.

To clarify some truths, the Bible does not teach that money is bad or evil. Also, the Bible does not teach that money is the root of all evils either. What the Bible teaches is that the LOVE OF MONEY is a root of all evils.

There is nothing wrong with money. Money is one of a countless instruments in your tool box, when used properly, will expedite the completion of your work here on earth. Once your work is done, you can leave this planet for your Father in Heaven.

Let’s take a gun for example (it maybe a brutal example for money, or a sarcastic way to treat it as money.) However, we have to drive the message deep in our spirit that money is like a gun. A gun has no life in itself. It has no volition to fire itself. A gun does not discriminate. It is neither prejudice nor a bigot. Nevertheless, when a gun is placed in a wrong hand, it becomes a tool for destruction.

On other hand, when a gun is entrusted in a good hand, and as long as that good hand remains trustworthy, that gun becomes a friend. It follows then that a gun becomes one of the many tools (not the only tool) for protection, for defense, and for saving of life.

To reiterate, money is not the ultimate tool for help, not the ultimate tool to satisfy one’s desire, not the ultimate tool to fill the void in life, and not the ultimate tool for power. Money can’t buy respect either. Money can’t buy healing from a terminal disease. Paul the Beatle (not the apostle of course) is right when he rocked, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.”

To have a balance grip to any questionable and suspicious issues that pertains to life, you must allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truths. Read the scriptures without prejudice. First, read the Bible with your opponent’s shoes on, and then read it a second time with your shoes on. And see for yourself what is good and pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. Take off your religious and denominational lens and allow the Bible to speak for itself. You will be amazed how the Spirit teaches according to His word.

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and exhorted him to flee from the temptations of man’s desire, lust, greed, the love of money, and the riches of this world. Paul admonishes Timothy to be content with what he has, because he cannot take the riches of this world forever with him. Riches have to be given away and shared to all who are in need. The worldly things remain here.

Again, there is nothing wrong or evil in desiring to become a billionaire, IF AND ONLY IF, you are willing to give all the billions you have to the needy in a heartbeat.

When a rich ruler asked Jesus that he wanted to enter the kingdom of God, immediately, Jesus gave him the money test. Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give them to the poor, and then follow Him. The rich ruler was saddened to his heart because he has too much riches. He failed the money test. He was not willing to free himself from the lust, greed, desires of material gain. At the conclusion, he rejected Christ. This is one of the saddest stories in the Bible. (Luke 18:18-26).

“But he who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition, for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1Timothy 6:9-10 NKJV)

Theorists have thought that those who came from extreme poverty with extreme need have extreme craving to get out from their impoverished origin. Consequently, lust and greed become the motivating factor of their material success. But this is not so. Even the wealthiest spoiled brat could not control his lust for more, and greed for more.

The real problem here is the lust of the flesh. Although a believer is born spiritually, and his spirit becomes a partaker of the Divine nature of God, a believer has the ability to shut off the voice of his spirit, ignore his conscience and follow the call of his flesh. His mind makes the final determination to be damn or not. Also, the mind stretches itself to no limit, and makes all extreme reason to justify his motives and actions.

There was a funny TV commercial many years back regarding a man who had difficulty making up his mind in choosing plastic or paper bag to put all his groceries at the check-out counter. The frustrated clerk had asked him many times, “Paper or plastic?” The confused man stood there frozen in limbo, does not know what to choose. The point is that man has the power and the ability to make a personal decision or choice to be damn or not.

As a matter of fact, you can remain in a church pew for millions of years and never go out to be a witness for Christ. You can choose to be useful or stay a fool. It’s up to you. You make a call for yourself.

The apostle John gave us a warning and admonishes us to choose and do the will of God, and establish ourselves against the lust of this world. As a believer, you have the ability to shut off the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Now, the evidence or the fruit of “the pride of life” is the unwillingness to be corrected and refuse to take responsibility to one’s fault. Pride refuses to admit guilt in the midst being found guilty beyond reproof. Satan is the personified “the pride of life.” He already made up his mind that he will never admit that he is not equal with God. Satan rather wills to burn in hell than to admit his fault.

“For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:16-17 NKJV)

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV)

Dictionary defines lust as to have an intense desire or need, an intense of longing. Paul said that he is content in everything. He never gave a chance and allowed his flesh to creep in his life. He knows how to live the lifestyle of the skid row, and also knows how to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Paul is above all things. He doesn’t need to prove anything to this world. As a matter of fact, Paul had trashed everything he had to gain Christ.

Other than selfish motives, one of the distorted messages of the prosperity gospel is to measure up with the standards of this world. So what if sinners and unbelievers can afford to live in a multi-millions of dollars estate, and waste their money with no regard of the future. Why sweat? The truth is their standard of living is not the believers’ standard. A believer is not of this world. The believer’s life is beyond this world.

“And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” (1 Corinthians 15:19 NLT)

“And those who are in Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24 NKJV)

If you are in Christ, then you have crucified the desires of your flesh in Him. You have to renew your mind according to the word of God. Christ has nailed your flesh’s desires and passions to this world on the cross. Therefore, do not allow the flesh to dominate you.

A missionary testified that he lost his desire to gain or accumulate wealth for himself (wealth for personal use) when he volunteered to join a missionary work in one of the poverty stricken areas of planet earth. He witnessed firsthand how the devil steals, kills and destroys people’s life through lack and needs. He said that the prosperity gospel have changed the life of these people.

The real message of prosperity gospel is to help the brethren who are in need. It is never designed for excess personal use.

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)

You see, Jesus preached the good news to the poor. He came to bring life, and that life is the abundant life. Don’t distort the message, the Bible wants you rich, so you can share your riches to those who are in need. But be aware of the lust of the flesh. The best way to combat the dangers of riches is to give. If you can’t give, the riches are not for you.

Also, if you don’t trust your money in the hands of your church leaders, or any preachers in the body of Christ, then distribute your money to those you think are trustworthy. And do it yourself. We can call this system as “Do It Yourself Giving.”

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