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Love of Money Is the Root of All Evils

Having trouble repenting and don’t understand why you keep making the same mistake over and over? Clearly, there is some underlying cause of failing to live up to your spiritual potential. Romans 1 explains that refusing to trust and obey God leads to all manner of sins:

Rom. 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
Rom. 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Rom. 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
Rom. 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
Rom. 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
Rom. 1:31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
Rom. 1:32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

And, the foundational sin, which leads to all others, is the love of money.

1Tim. 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.

Love of money is a complex subject, for it is more than a craving. It is obsessing on money or lack thereof; or, life revolving around some aspect of money or lack thereof; or, worrying about money or lack thereof.

The following is a brief analysis of the Greek for mammon:

“The proverb gets its point in its biblical context through its application to man’s relationship with God. Selfish amassing of material possessions has its prototype in mans grasping after the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. It is an indication that life, limited as it is by time, circumstance and the vital interests of others, is no longer accepted thankfully from the hand of God. Love of money erects a selfish dividing wall against God and our neighbours. It drives the man who is possessed by it into utter isolation. Thus striving after wealth is the germ of total alienation from God.”
NIDNTT

Danger of Riches

Riches in and of themselves are morally neutral. Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon and many others in the Bible were quite wealthy, but their wealth derived from God and His righteousness in them. For most, however, wealth brings forgetfulness of God who gives one the power to be wealthy, and the wealthy consider that they ascend over the poor and average among them because of some special quality in them or accident of birth. With noses in the air, they look down on all other humans. Naturally, that posture often leads to a fall from the heights because they cannot be bothered to look at where they are going. They think that their talent for making a buck or luck, which brings them wealth, makes them better than those less endowed.

The Calvinists, who are the root of conservatism through Cromwell and the Puritans, said that the poor were either lazy or unrighteous or both. They are right to a point, but there is the occasional circumstance where poverty can creep up unawares and cannot be tagged to some form of unrighteousness, which this article will examine, or laziness. Those, however, will not remain poor as circumstances will change, and God will intervene promptly as He will not let His People, properly following the laws of righteousness regarding well-being, be in need or begging for necessities.

Riches Can Lead to Pride

Many of the wealthy class consider themselves as being better than those poorer. The multiplication of gold and assets wrench any remnant of decency and humanity from the minds of these deluded souls. Often they cannot find their way to God through the thorn bushes of selfish wealth surrounding them. From the outside one can see their predicament, but from the inside their world is perfect, they see no reason to fight their way through the barrier to associate with inferiors. Thinking they are free from all material concerns, they instead have enslaved themselves to mammon.

Deut. 8:13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies,
Deut. 8:14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Riches Can Lead to Idolatry

But, pride remains a result of the underlying cause: the love of money. Idolatry, which equals the love of money, comes from Satan. This evil alien was found unrighteous because the demon learned to love and crave wealth. This evil alien made wealth its consummate love and devotion, and dedicated its entire existence to its acquisition. But, all wealth comes from God; therefore, the alien meant to unseat God and failing that, which it did, it presumed to contaminate mankind, who would participate in inordinate and ungodly hunger for wealth, to its deadly lust for material gain.

Those who love money in all its forms have enslaved themselves to demonic idolatry, even as covetousness is specifically called idolatry.

Deut. 31:20 For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant.

Satan Worship and Mammon

After listening to Satan’s spurious seductions Eve immediately went to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The contagion of the Devil’s deception metastasized in an overwhelming selfish desire and ambition to seize the forbidden fruit. Material possessions far outweighed the spiritual command of her Creator. And she ate and gave some of the fruit to Adam. The cancer of material possession was passed along to future generations, not through genetic transformation, but through language. Seeing is believing, became the great religion of humankind. Only the few found the calling and wisdom to walk by faith, not by sight. While most could eschew stealing and fraud, the more common elements relating to the idolatry of the love of money often remained obscured. Instead they treat the symptoms as shown in Romans 1, instead of excising the basic cause.

The love of money immediately degrades itself to pride; just as Lucifer, having become wealthy beyond imagination, became proud of its beauty. Eve as well inflated by the love of material possessions became proud of her newfound knowledge of good and evil. Each step leads a person continually downward to depravity. And unless a person unlocks their secret love of money, he will continually fail to get a real grip on righteousness.

The Pharisees consider themselves the epitome of righteousness, but Jesus observed their arrogance shown by wearing long robes of office, which redounded on them by the solicitous attitude of their countrymen. For most a show of opulence is a worthy endeavor. And then Jesus explains the underlying root of their evil: their rapacity for others’ possessions, i.e., their love of money.

Often people, who are not wealthy, will act obsequiously toward the wealthy, as if being wealthy was a mark of a higher-class human being. James told those people acting that way that they were misguided and explained why.

Ezek. 28:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
Ezek. 28:14 You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
Ezek. 28:15 You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you.
Ezek. 28:16 By the abundance of your trade
You were internally filled with violence,
And you sinned;
Therefore I have cast you as profane
From the mountain of God.
And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the stones of fire.

Gen. 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Luke 20:46 Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets,
Luke 20:47 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearances sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.

James 2:2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,
James 2:3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, You sit here in a good place, and you say to the poor man, You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool
,

Miserly, Selfish

All who have a love of money, as the foundation of their being, will always be miserly to a greater or lesser degree. Even pagans recognize the love of money as evil and dreadful. The story of Midas shows how a selfish and greedy person can wreck his own life. Scrooge and Silas Marner demonstrate tragedies results from the love of money. True, both were redeemed by gaining insight into themselves.

Prov. 23:6 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;

2Tim. 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2Tim. 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
2Tim. 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2Tim. 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

Covetousness, Which Is Idolatry

The commandments are bracketed by idolatry, i.e., the worship of Satan. The first warns against having any other gods before God and the last describes how this idolatry (covetousness) envelops a person. Paul warns that no covetous person, an idolater, will enter the kingdom of Christ. James shows how covetousness causes conflicts among people, and actually wages war within an individual. The desire for material goods, he shows, is friendship with the world and hostility toward God. Love of money is Satan’s plan to make people worship it instead of the Creator.

You Shall Not Steal.

That stealing is a love of money is patently obvious. And most societies refuse to stem this evil by demanding that the thief return what he stole with interest. Instead, the thief just goes to jail if caught. If thieves were required to make restitution, potential thieves would think twice about stealing.

As you know, there are many more ways to steal than physically taking a person’s goods. A person can be conned out of money. A worker would not work as hard as he could. A business person could keep two or three books in order not to pay as much taxes as really due; he could give false weights; he could charge more than its value; he could give preferential treatment to certain people, but not others; he could conspire with other businesses to fix rates; he could inflate his profits falsely to get a higher stock market rating. People find endless ways of obtaining money they’re not entitled to. You can think of many more ways people find to steal.

Eph. 5:5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Ways of Mammon

At the other end of the spectrum, people find ways to get things for free or at a reduced rate. Cunning and conning of the major ways people find to gain without working. For example, people on welfare wish to maintain their lifestyle, primarily of laziness, and the government indulges them by taking from people who work and giving it to people who don’t. Others find opportunities to maintain their lifestyle by hitting on others. Sons and daughters, who are old enough to work, would rather remain at home and indulge off their parents. Some older people find similar ways of maintaining their lifestyles by indulging from their offspring. This way they can do what they want without having to worry about earning a living and keeping the fourth commandment – six days, shall you labor. Yet these might say, I have a particular talent for skiing, rock climbing, watching television, getting a suntan at the beach, playing with a rock band for nothing, putting a brush to canvass, and so forth. And these would further explain that what we do actually helps other people as they continued to be a burden to those who help to maintain their frivolous lifestyle and fruitless labors. While these others continue to divert other people’s money, honest, hard-working people maintain their independence, by doing whatever has to be done without depending on others. Some of these have severe physical impediments; yet will not be undone by these challenges in their lives. The love of money and self are seen in the takers, while the upright would rather give than get.

Eph. 4:28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Prov. 20:23 Differing weights are an abomination to the LORD,
And a false scale is not good.

Rom. 13:6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
Rom. 13:7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Laziness

In many respects, a negligent and lazy person is akin to the thief, for it is a lazy person who works with the slack hand, and thus makes others work more to make up his lack or causes the owner to lose money due to lack of productivity. The ways of the sluggard in spite of his protestations are easily seen in how he maintains his physical possessions. The diligent keeps even old and worn out material possessions in as best shape possible. I once visited the apartment of one of my students in a very poor neighborhood. While everything in the apartment was old, everything sparkled. The floors were shiny and clean enough to eat from. The boy’s attitude in class reflected his parents’ diligence. He was an outstanding student in every way.

Prov. 12:24 The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the slack hand will be put to forced labor.

Prov. 24:30 I passed by the field of the sluggard
And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,
Prov. 24:31 And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles;
Its surface was covered with nettles,
And its stone wall was broken down.
Eccl. 10:18 Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks.

Prov. 14:23 In all labor there is profit,
But mere talk leads only to poverty.

Prov. 12:11 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.

2Th. 3:8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;

Six Days Shall You Labor

People’s obsession with mammon is a major cause breaking the fourth commandment. In many cultures, Saturday, the Sabbath, is a day of shopping and doing business. Too much money is involved in keeping the Sabbath. For many mammon supersedes God’s laws. If people rest at all, it is seldom on the Sabbath. Naturally there are other reasons why people do not keep the Sabbath; yet mammon can be linked to this disobedience. For example, organized religion has determined to keep the Sunday instead of God’s Sabbath and therein lies major profit for organized religion. Mammon is always closely linked with organized religion. You can see how organized religion, having kowtowed to the ways of Satan, must maintain commandments diametrically opposed to God’s and become very rich, at the same time.

Small Stuff

The saying goes that if you take care of the small things, the big things will take care of themselves. This saying is based on a biblical truth. Jesus plans a major increase in blessings to those who managed to take care of the small things in their lives, their possessions and person – you know, personal hygiene, eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a positive mental attitude.

Will a Man Rob God

The Earth is God’s planet, and we have to pay a kind of rent or tax to use His world. Of course, the pagans would dispute God as the Creator, but the Big Bang theory shows there had to be a First Cause (my caps) even if some scientists cannot bring themselves to use the word, God. Nonetheless, God has decreed that people should pay 10% of their increase to Him. Those who refuse or neglect to pay Him His tithe are thieves and robbers of God, of which no good can come.

Mal. 3:7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. “Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. “But,” you say, “How shall we return?”
Mal. 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, “How have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings.

Conclusion

If the love of mammon, i.e., the inordinate desire for material possessions and wealth, the love of self beyond all else, and making decisions in terms of mammon, rules your thinking then the love of God is severely compromised. The ways of mammon are the ways of Satan. This foundational sin leads to all manner of corruption. We must search ourselves to see how much the love of mammon reflects in our actions. Very few have excised the love of mammon completely in their lives. So we will have to do some soul-searching to find how we can begin to replace the love of mammon with the love of God.

God Bless,

Gil Kovacs,

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