Triumph Over Giants From Within (7) - Greed
Greed is dissatisfaction with oneˇ¦s current situation, and inappropriate desire for other peopleˇ¦s assets. Of the Ten Commandments given to the Israelites by God in Old Testament times, the last warning relating to human relationships was ˇ§You shall not covetˇ¨. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." (Exodus 20:17) In the teachings of the New Testament, Paul warned us that the sin of greed is commensurate with the sins of sexual immorality and impurity, and an avaricious person, just like an idolater, has no inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5) The greedy will be like other unrighteous people who will all fail to inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9)
In days past, the false prophet Balaam lusted over the wages of wickedness offered by the Moabite king Balak. He refused to follow the word of God, used every means at his disposal to curse the Lordˇ¦s chosen people, and thereby brought about the attack by the angel of the Lord on the road and the excoriation of his mule. (2 Peter 2:15) Esau loved the world, and sold his birthright for a bit of food set before him. (Hebrews 12:16) Achan coveted a robe from Babylonia and some gold and silver, and sinned against God in the things commanded to be destroyed, thereby leading to the Israeliteˇ¦s defeat at the battle of the city of Ai. (Joshua 7:21) Gehazi the servant of Elisha wanted the presents sent by Naaman, and contracted leprosy. (2 Kings 5:27) Greed even caused Demas, who had worked for many years with Paul, to gravitate to the world, and deserted Paul to go to Thessalonia. (2 Titus 4:10) The aftermath of these greedy people should be an admonition to us.
Sometimes the avarice in human sinfulness descends upon us in the blink of an eye, just like the sneak attack of an enemy. Whether the sneak attack of this internal antagonist will succeed depends on the degree of our vigilance against this greedy foe. Below are some teachings from the bible:
1. Watch out and be on guard to prevent the infiltration of greedy thoughts. This is the attitude Jesus Christ teaches us to have to counter rapacity. "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15) The Lord also reminds us that spiritual life is more important than physical life. Paul pointed out that a quality of being an overseer or deacon is to have self-control (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8) and not to pursue dishonest gain (1 Timothy 3:3,8, Titus 1:7).
2. Learn to be content. A contented man is a joyful man. We have heard the saying, ˇ§A contented man is happy even in povertyˇ¨. Be like Paul who learned to be content, so that he had great joy. ˇ§I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.ˇ¨ (Philippians 4:11) More importantly, learn to accept God as our full satisfaction. Inside our hearts is a place that is empty and hard to satisfy. Only God Himself can fulfill that void.
3. Distinguish between your needs and your wants and pray to the Heavenly Father. Food and clothing are our basic needs, but manˇ¦s wants are driven by desires. Economic theory tells us that manˇ¦s wants are ceaseless, which is how economic activity is generated. But Paul reminds us, ˇ§If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.ˇ¨ (1 Timothy 6:8) Jesus Christ teaches us to pray thusly, ˇ§Give us this day our daily bread.ˇ¨ He also exhorts us not to worry about what to eat, what to drink, and what to wear, because the Holy Father knows all that we need. (Matthew 6:31-32)
4. Trust in the providence of our Heavenly Father. We must truly believe that God is a faithful and kind Father. He will prepare the best provisions for His children. ˇ§And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.ˇ¨ (Philippians 4:19) We must believe in God.
By: Daniel To