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If we are Christ's people, then we are driven by a pure as well as purifying thirst to know Him more. We are in the business of establishing God's kingdom on earth, the one cause which, the world over, we can pursue with clear consciences, because God's Spirit cleanses us and our consciences as we go.
With this in mind, Christ-saturated saints live well in Him and spend well for Him apart from either excess or a lack of possessions. They have learned from Christ how to utilize earthly goods for heavenly benefit.
Therefore, with our heavenly goals in mind, as we strive onward toward freedom in Christ, let us be strategically free from the love of money.
Money might be useful to us who follow Christ, though in a variety of unexpected ways. For example, we might perceive spiritual usefulness in money only to the extent that we can give it away unconditionally.
In any case, we are better off admiring men and women to the extent that they resemble our Master, rather than for the shininess of their possessions or how high they can stack them if they put one on top of another. All these things amount to rearranged dust, and to the dust they are already returning.
I wonder, with all our Biblical expertise and nice sounding answers to life's major problems, why is there still such slavery to money in the United States? By "slavery to money" I mean daily dependence on money. Lovers of this life tend to be enslaved to money whether or not they actually possess much of it.
We become worshippers of money when it becomes our end for doing anything or the underlying purpose for our existence. Anyone who measures what they can or cannot do according to the amount of money they possess is also a slave to money.
Depending on money is the same as loving it, even though it has no worth in itself nor does it hold any power in itself. Though money does not have any inherent power over people's lives, yet countless souls, churched and unchurched, continually give themselves over to it.
Money does exist, whether I like it or not, and Jesus speaks of it like it will never go out of style. However, if you handed Him a twenty dollar-bill, He would be unimpressed with the pretty paper in itself. This paper has neither good nor evil built into it. Money in general isn't evil in itself, that is, until any sinful person gets a hold of it.
We westerners might scoff at people who bow down to metal, clay or wood made into the form of statue. "How," we might ask, "could grown adults let such silly, simple objects be master over them? Certainly we are advanced far beyond this..." But we are as bad if not worse, as we bow down to non-existent numbers and slips of paper imprinted with the faces of dead men. Despite our ridiculous shallowness, we still look at our advancements and think, "Surely we are wiser than they!"
Do I worship a sandwich because it fills my stomach? No, it's God who created all things, who is also the Source of every good thing. Even more overwhelming than sandwiches is the grace He affords me in Christ, in whom I have fullness and life and even freedom from all that was emptying or killing me. Believing that a sandwich will save me from starvation is as absurd as declaring that I will, indisputably, live another day. The truth is that no one has any inherent right to live another day, but rather it is to God's credit that we have any life at all. Nor, for that matter, do we have any right to a cushy lifestyle, intellectual prowess or worldly respect. But rather, we who follow Christ are free to embrace God's divine right to give or take these things away.
The sad truth is that we have all committed horrifying crimes against God and therefore we have also forfeited all semblance of entitlement. Even more striking is the fact that, even if we were perfectly sinless, we would still only live or breathe by the grace of God. No matter how perfect we may seem, we will continue to depend on Him for daily life and breath. If we really were sinless, then we would understand this better. However, because of God's amazing patience with us, we sinful people have the distinguished opportunity to fall down on our faces in desperation before the Lord.
No matter my lot in life, with whatever God gives me, I will seek and obey Him. Do I have a voice? Then I will sing, I will pray out loud with my spiritual family, I will teach, I will encourage others, and I will preach the gospel. And if I fall sick, and my voice fades away, then I will pray and serve other people just as well in the Spirit, remembering that God knows what I am able to do. Should I become debilitated in any way, I should praise Him still because He is pleased with a heart of obedience rather than the outward form of things. Christ renews our ability to live well and obey Him apart from any excess or lack of abilities, possessions or will-power. We are governed by grace and not by any earthly force.
But this, friends, is basic. It is acceptable to any childlike faith, that every situation offers unique opportunities to worship God.
by Patrick Roberts
This is an excerpt from To the Church of the West, Scattered Throughout the World. Find this book and similar articles at www.BooksByPatrick.com
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.
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