What’s a major threat to our relationship with God?

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By BibleAsk Team


The love of money is often highlighted as a significant threat to one’s relationship with God in the Bible. This sentiment is especially emphasized in the New Testament, where it is portrayed as a powerful force that can lead individuals away from their faith and devotion to God.

Biblical Warnings Against the Love of Money

The Root of All Kinds of Evil

One of the most direct statements about the dangers of loving money comes from the Apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NKJV):

“But those 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, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Paul warns that the desire for wealth can lead to various temptations and ultimately to one’s losing his relationship with God and spiritual downfall. The love of money is described as a root from which many forms of evil can grow, highlighting its potential to lead believers away from their faith and into destructive behaviors.

Serving Two Masters

Jesus Christ also addressed the issue of money and its potential to dominate one’s life in his Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV):

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

“Mammon” is an Aramaic word that means wealth or money. Jesus clearly states that it is impossible to serve both God and money because their demands and priorities are fundamentally opposed. Serving money is a threat to spiritual growth as it leads to idolatry, which is incompatible with wholehearted devotion to God.

The Spiritual Consequences of Loving Money

Distracting from Spiritual Pursuits

The love of money can distract individuals from seeking God and focusing on spiritual growth. The pursuit of wealth often requires a significant investment of time and energy, which can detract from one’s commitment to prayer, worship, and service.

Matthew 13:22 (NKJV):

“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains that the deceitfulness of riches can choke the word of God, preventing it from taking root and growing in a person’s life. This illustrates how the pursuit of wealth can lead to spiritual unfruitfulness.

Fostering Greed and Selfishness

The love of money can foster greed and selfishness, leading individuals to prioritize their own desires over their relationship with God and the needs of others. Greed can drive people to unethical behavior, damaging their integrity and relationships.

Luke 12:15 (NKJV):

“And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.'”

Jesus warns against covetousness, reminding his followers that true life and fulfillment are not found in material possessions. This teaching encourages believers to focus on spiritual riches rather than material wealth.

The Example of the Rich Young Ruler

The encounter between Jesus and the rich young ruler provides a poignant illustration of how the love of money is a major threat to one’s relationship with God.

Matthew 19:16-22 (NKJV):

“Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

The rich young ruler’s attachment to his wealth prevented him from fully following Jesus. Despite his outward obedience to the commandments, his love of money revealed a deeper spiritual issue that hindered his relationship with God. This story exemplifies the challenge of surrendering material wealth for spiritual gain.

Practical Steps to Combat the Love of Money

Cultivating Contentment

One of the key antidotes to the love of money is cultivating contentment. The Apostle Paul highlights the importance of contentment in his letter to the Philippians.

Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV):

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Paul’s ability to find contentment in various circumstances is rooted in his reliance on Christ. By focusing on spiritual strength and trusting in God’s provision, believers can overcome the temptation to pursue wealth as a source of security and satisfaction.

Generosity and Stewardship

Practicing generosity and good stewardship of resources helps counteract the love of money. Giving to those in need and supporting the work of the church redirects focus from accumulating wealth to serving others and honoring God.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NKJV):

“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Paul instructs those who are wealthy to use their resources for good works and to trust in God rather than in their riches. This approach promotes a spirit of generosity and helps believers maintain a healthy perspective on wealth.

Seeking First the Kingdom of God

Prioritizing the kingdom of God over material wealth is essential for maintaining a strong relationship with God. Jesus emphasized this principle in his teachings.

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV):

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

By focusing on God’s kingdom and righteousness, believers can trust that their material needs will be met. This mindset shifts the priority from accumulating wealth to pursuing spiritual growth and godly living.

Conclusion

The love of money poses a significant threat to one’s relationship with God, as it can lead to spiritual distraction, greed, and idolatry. The Bible consistently warns against the dangers of placing wealth above faith and devotion to God. Through teachings from Jesus and the apostles, believers are encouraged to cultivate contentment, practice generosity, and prioritize the kingdom of God over material wealth.

By adhering to these biblical principles and seeking to align their hearts with God’s will, Christians can safeguard their relationship with God against the corrosive effects of the love of money. Through faith, reliance on Christ, and a commitment to serving others, believers can face the challenges of wealth and maintain a strong, vibrant relationship with their Creator.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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