What is lust ?
John 2.16 : "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, does not come from the Father, but comes from the world."
Definition : Extreme and unscrupulous desire to possess a thing. Awaken, stir up lust. Synonyms: greed, envy.
Matthew 19.21 : "Jesus said to him," If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you have, give it to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven, then come, and follow me."
Covetousness comes from the world, it is the antithesis of a holy life. When we are born again, we understand the importance of ruling out the futilities of this world. Faith and money each provide assurance, but they have two competing beliefs that exclude each other. The apostles were poor, Peter declares to the lame that he will heal: "I have neither money nor gold, but what I have, I give it to you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk".
Today, we sometimes hear "a gospel of prosperity" that presents success and wealth as direct consequences of fidelity to the biblical commandments. This is not what Scripture teaches, it is perverting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 9.58 : Jesus answered him, "The foxes have den, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has not a place where he can rest his head."
Jesus teaches us to live with simplicity and not in excess. The Lord teaches us not to raise money but to give. We must be led by God, both in the way of obtaining it and in the use we make of it. The Word says, "He who loves money is not satisfied with money," but what can he do as children of God? The worry is the fear of missing, it is intimately linked with the accumulation. Jesus sees in it a demonstration of lack of confidence, a lack of faith in God.
Matthew 13.44 : "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, and the man who found it hides it, and in his joy will sell all that he has, and buy this field."
The Lord was poor and never possessed anything for himself. So is it bad for a Christian to be rich? The Bible never directly condemns money or wealth. On the other hand, she sternly judges the love of money and the desire to have more and more. On several occasions, she warns those who are rich to be attentive to the use of the money entrusted to them and above all else in the place that this wealth takes in their lives and in their hearts.
Luke 12.20 : "But God said to him, Fool, and this very night your soul will be requited to you, and what have you prepared, for whom shall it be?" So is he who amasses treasure for himself. and who is not rich for God."
We often hear that money is a good servant, but a bad master. A Christian must never allow himself to be governed by the desire to possess, to spare ever more, to increase his income, to count his wealth: it amounts to serving "Mammon" the God of money. The great danger is therefore when one possesses a lot, is to turn away from this life of faith. Instead of relying on God, we risk putting our trust in our riches.
Matthew 6.14 : "No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the first and love the second, or he will cleave to the first, and despise the second: you can not serve God and money."
Envy comes from the world, it distances justice. Go to the essentials in your purchases, avoid superfluous. Do good works with sincerity, in adequacy with your means so you would be agreeable to the Lord. Give to persecuted Christians; orphans; people at war; to the sick .... Make donations according to your means for just causes.
1 Timothy 6.17 : "Commit the rich of this world not to be proud, neither to put their hope in uncertain riches, but to put it in God, who gives us abundantly all things for our enjoyment."
As Jesus teaches us, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is to God." These are two kinds of riches:
- money that is material, visible is temporary. They are "unjust wealth" because they are not evenly distributed among men, and the rich do not deserve it more than another. The riches pass, they can be removed to us at any moment on the earth, in any case they will not follow us when we leave it.
- Spiritual riches are permanent and are found in heavenly places such as the forgiveness of God, the certainty of salvation, eternal life, the adoption of God our Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the places prepared for us in heaven etc ...
Conclusion : Jesus teaches us to be "rich as to God", rich in treasures in the sky that he places well above the riches of this world. These are the ones that we will have to look for first, the prosperity of this world keeps our heart away from God. For the Christian, blessings are above all spiritual "knowing that we have better and permanent goods" (Hebrews 10.34). This Bible distinction between earthly riches and spiritual riches is an exhortation to everyone to carry a message of hope that God offers with faith and trust in Him, for the Word tells us: "These riches are free and unconditional: we have been blessed in Christ. (John 4.10) To lead us there, we can ask the Lord, "Lord, I offer you my body, my heart, my money, my time, my skills, my gifts, my energy, my talents." Make me a blessing everywhere
where I will go today."
Matthew 19.24 : "I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Amen !