"If any man teach otherwise and consent not to wholesome words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, SUPPOSING THAT GAIN IS GODLINESS; from such withdraw thyself." 1 Timothy 6: 3-5
We live in a society that is after money. Everything they do is in the hot pursuit of money. Why? I can hear some of you saying, "But we have to have money to survive!" Don't get nervous here, just bear with me and you'll see where I'm heading.
Money is NOT the root of all evil, you can relax. Now that you have, you can hear the rest: "The LOVE of money is the root of all evil." 1 Timothy 6:10
Did you catch the difference? Money, in and of itself, is amoral. It's neither good nor bad. As a force for good, it is a valuable tool that can be powerfully used for the good of mankind and to grow the kingdom of God on earth. As a force for evil, many lives are destroyed because of it's hot pursuit. It's all in how it's used, which is a direct reflection of our attitudes about it.
In Genesis, Eve (and Adam, we learn in verse 6) is tempted in three ways that coincide with 1John2:16. She first believed that the forbidden fruit was "good for food" (Lust of the flesh). She then believed that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes). Finally, she believed that it was "to be desired to make one wise" (Pride of life). Because she believed these three things, she was willing to throw out ALL of God's teaching on the matter and CHOSE to go after what had been forbidden!
Brother Winskie, you ask, what does that have to do with money? GLAD YOU ASKED!
Anywhere you turn today, be it TV (if you watch it), Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Internet, Movies, etc, there is a pervading philosophy: "He who dies with the most toys wins". There are literally thousands of people that are trying to get rich at your expense. "You need...", "A must see...", or "A must have...". The worst voices of all out there belong to the "name it/claim it" school of Christianity. These people present their "gospel" in such a way as to give the impression that God wishes to "make you rich'. If you'll just "exercise your faith" enough, you'll never need doctors or be in need of money ever again. After all, they say, did not Paul say that we are "to prosper, even as (our) soul doth prosper". Money is the modern day "Adam's Apple".
Unfortunately, besides the fact that they are not taking a look at the WHOLE word of God, they give people the impression that if they are sick or if they are running short of money, somehow, they are not right with God!
One MAJOR problem with this teaching: Paul told Timothy that those who "suppose that gain is godliness" are NOT teaching God's word, but are false teachers that we are to SHUN! ("from such withdraw thyself") Many times, these very same people who claim to be so holy and righteous really are not even close. They flaunt their "blessings" as proof of how righteous they are, yet their attitudes are horrible. How many people that are really in need are sneered at and NOT helped by those that claim to be so right with God and have the means to help them?
The world tells us to be after gain; be it more money, a bigger car, a bigger house, nicer clothes, a better class of friends, attend the right church, and on and on. God has another way for us to live:
"Godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN". (verse 6)
Our attitude should be one of loving God and others first. When God gives us much, we praise him and use it in ways that will glorify him. When we have little, we praise him and use it in such a way as to glorify him. Paul put it this way:
"Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Philippians 4: 11-12
We are to learn to be content in whatever state God sees fit to put us in. If we aren't, there is another warning in scripture that we only quoted part of. Here's the whole thing:
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
Those that are seeking riches and not God, usually wind up straying from the faith. They may have the correct doctrine and attend a truly biblical church, but their own works are not biblical. In fact, Paul instructs the rich to be willing to help the poor and not to think too highly of themselves (1 Timothy 6: 17-19)
Brethren, let us learn to walk circumspectly in the fear and admonition of the Lord! Let us be very careful how we treat others and love them. Most of all, let us watch our attitudes about money.
The next time we feel "the need" to CLAIM that lottery jackpot, or that raise, or that promotion, let us remember this: The Apple that we reach for, may just have a hidden worm! Until next time, walk in faith with his word! God bless!