TEMPTED: GREED FOR MORE
WE CONTINUE our ‘Tempted’ series on how to navigate some of life’s most difficult temptations. We have considered that temptations come from three sources: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The devil will coordinate these three against us. If we are not vigilant, our lives will be destroyed. As we go through this series, please always keep in mind that a war is being waged to destroy our spiritual lives, but God intends for us to overcome.
Today, we will examine greed, a very dangerous temptation, because it will keep you from being satisfied with what you have, from enjoying what you have, and from being happy for others. Greed is also the primary source of jealousy, broken relationships, and dissatisfaction. So what is it exactly? Greed is an overwhelming desire to have more of something than is actually needed. We get a glimpse of the devastation that greed has on us when we consider 1 Timothy 6:10 NLT – “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people craving money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” The reference to money in this verse could be substituted to say the love of things, the love of cars, or the love of cell phones. The love of anything other than the Lord, as a first priority, is the root of all kinds of evil.
Greed can cause us to ‘pierce ourselves with many sorrows’. Let us look at some of the results of a life of greed.
A LIFE OF GREED:
1. Robs my joy. “They were always greedy and never satisfied.” Job 20:20 NLT. You can’t be greedy and be satisfied. They’re exact opposites. If you fall into the trap of greed, you’re never going to be happy or satisfied, you will always want more.
2. Results in overspending: When we think of overspending, we often think of a person who is going deeper into debt. That’s true. But you can be wealthy and greedy because you are spending on the wrong things. Just because you are not in debt doesn’t mean that you are managing your money properly. Proverbs 15:27 says, “A greedy man brings trouble to his family.”
3. Releases my anger. When greed is present in my life, I get angry at everyone because everyone is my competitor. Greed causes me to constantly fight and argue. In fact, James 4:2 says, “You want what you don’t have,” that’s greed, “you’re jealous of what others have,” that’s greed, “so you fight and quarrel.”
4. Reignites other sins: One of the big dangers of greed is that it’s an instigator. It causes me to take things and turn them into idols. So I begin to worship these idols that come between me and a relationship with God. Ephesians 5:5 NLT: “For a greedy person is an idolater, worshipping the things of this world.”
5. Stunts my spiritual growth: Greed distracts us from the things that really matter. In our pursuit to get more, it seems as if God is pushed off to the side. Greed is very subtle and it works its way into all areas of our lives. But we have to decide – is it going to be God or ‘stuff’?
So let’s look at some personal responses to help us overcome the temptation of greed.
1. Establish firmly that God will meet all of my needs. King Solomon says in Proverbs 28:25 NLT: “Greed causes fighting. Trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.” The root cause of greed is always a lack of trust. If you aren’t completely trusting the Lord, it’s going to lead to problems. For example, if you’re not completely trusting God with your finances, you’ll be greedy for money. Philippians 4:19 NKJV. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
2. Expand the habits of contentment and gratitude.
If you want to overcome the habit of greed, you will have to grow the habit of contentment and gratitude. Ask yourself this: “If this is as good as it gets right now, how can I find a way to enjoy what I have at this very moment?” In Philippians 4:12 TLB, Paul said, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want.”
3. Exercise intentional acts of openhanded living every day.
Deuteronomy 15:11 NLT ‘96 says, “I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” Open-handed living is a command of God. Not only will it be a blessing to others, but God will also bless you in return. God blesses you with satisfaction, contentment, and freedom from greed.
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 NLT 4. Enjoy a lifetime of generosity. Jesus said in Luke 12:15 NLT: “Beware. Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.” Jesus says real life is not about what you get. It’s measured by what you give. Philemon 1:5-6 NLT ‘96 says, “You are generous because of your faith...” God’s remedy to the temptation of greed is generosity, and generosity draws us closer to God.
The Lord leads the way in His generosity to us. “For God loved the world so much that He gave His One and Only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. So trust Him today with your possessions, your happiness, and your life.
DWIGHT FLETCHER Pastor of Transformed Life Church. Send feedback to familyandreligion @gleanerjm.com.