TEMPTED: GREED FOR MORE

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION -

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.

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