A Destructive God
You cannot serve both God and money (v.24).
There are two essential spiritual truths that we ignore at our peril. The first is that a variety of “gods” seek our allegiance. The second is that we take on the qualities of the gods we worship. Jesus described money as one of these alternative gods, and the secular world is now telling us how worshiping this god affects us.
In his book The Selfish Capitalist, psychologist Oliver James outlines the effects of materialism on those who practice it. With their emphasis on money, possessions, and personal appearance, materialists suffer increased levels of depression, anxiety, aggression, narcissism, substance abuse, and relationship breakdown. As our devotion to this god grows, we become less loyal, forgiving, helpful, and joyful, and tend to be more cynical, fearful, insecure, and manipulative. Oliver James adds that most modern psychiatric disorders are virtually unknown outside of westernized societies. A materialistic culture leads to sickness of the deepest kind.
Jesus knew this long ago. He described wealth as something that vies for our worship (Matthew 6:24). He knew that our hearts are shaped by what we “treasure” (v.21). He warned that obsessing over material things would bring anxiety (vv.25-32) and a darkness of soul that robs us of life and purpose (vv.22-23).
How can we be liberated from such a pervasive illness? Jesus’ remedy is as relevant today as it was in the first century. We’re to renounce the god of money and serve the God of love (v.24). We’re to be assured of His concern for us (v.26) and trust Him to provide the material things we need (v.30). We’re to orient our lives around His agenda (v.33) and find our life’s purpose in working for things that last (v.20).Worshiping money destroys us.
Worshiping the true God brings life, joy, and peace (Romans 14:17). The choice of allegiance is ours.
How are you prone to seek your identity through what you own and wear? How are your dreams shaped by the kingdom of God? How are they shaped by advertising?