31For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
1 Corinthians 11:31
Main Prayer Focus of the Week:
- Examining our lives in attitude and practice with regard to money and wealth
- Confessing and repenting of personal sins with regard to our attitudes and practice in regard to money and wealth
- Making personal, family and corporate commitments to do things God’s way.
13“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
9Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
As we begin the season of prayer for our national economy, it is vital that we
spend time examining our lives and attitudes with regard to money and wealth. As we do this and repent of our sins in this regard, the legal ground for the voice of the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10) before the throne of God will be removed. Without doing so, our prayers will be made of little or no effect. Therefore the first week of this year’s national fasting and prayer season will be spent on a self–audit in regard to attitudes and practice towards money and wealth.
The lifeblood of an economy is money. The circulation of money in a modern economy can be compared with the circulation of blood in the human body1. Money does for the economy what circulating blood does for a human body. And, if money were to be somehow withdrawn from the circular flows, the production and employment system would come to a standstill in a modern economy2. Money keeps each and every element of the economy in working order.
The word mammon comes from the Greek word mammonas meaning money,
wealth, and material possessions.” Jesus warned that mammon has an appeal to man that competes with the place that God should occupy. Indeed the love of money is akin to idolatry. In the New Testament, covetousness is also defined as idolatry.
24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the
other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God
Ultimately, mammon describes an idol of materialism. Jesus’ words here show a powerful contrast between the worship of the material world and the worship of God. Worship of mammon can show up in many ways. When we envy others’ wealth, are anxious over needs not yet met, disobey God’s directives about the use of money or wealth, or fail to trust God’s love and faithfulness, our thinking is out of balance concerning material wealth3 which indicates that we are out of balance in our relationship to God.
5For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an
idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
5Therefore put to death your members, which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in
Jesus depicted Mammon as a spiritual entity that demands love, service, and loyalty. He used the ancient Aramaic word Mammon to describe a spiritual entity that was and still is being worshiped under many different spiritual guises in every culture and civilization. Mammon is out rightly opposed to God.
God hates all sin, but it would appear from the scriptures that He deals with some sins more severely than others. The Bible indicates that God hates idolatry with greater passion. God perceives idolatry as spiritual adultery or prostitution.
First of the two commandments on which all the Law and the Prophets hang:
37Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
No other objects or person is worthy of that worship or service, only the LORD God of Israel – YHWH.
The apostle Paul writes of the godly perspective toward mammon:
Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:6-10
Lust of any kind is insatiable, no matter how much time or effort is poured into the pursuit of the object of lust. King Solomon who enjoyed money and wealth to a level where few ever reach, writes of the futility of chasing after mammon:
“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never
satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.”
Jesus rebuked those who refused to hear His admonition to choose God over mammon:
“The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.’”
The parable of the rich young fool in Luke 12:13-21 is the story of a man who
lives to increase his wealth yet in the end he loses his soul because he “is not rich toward God” (vs 21). In the parable of the sower Jesus warns of the deceitfulness of mammon and its ability to “choke the Word, making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19).
God is not against meeting the needs of His children and even blessing them with abundance. He is however against a condition where money and wealth become the pursuit of one’s life. The Proverbs speak much about this.
“With me [Wisdom] are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.” Proverbs 8:18
The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22
In Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us not worry about our physical needs, about houses or clothes or food:
31“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But seek first the kingdom of
God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
SELF AUDIT ON MONEY, WEALTH & WORK
- What is my attitude to money and riches?
- Is my love for the Lord more than the love for money, wealth and comfort?
- Am I envious of anybody’s wealth?
- Am I anxious about food and clothing (Matthew 6:19-24)?
- Am I anxious over unmet needs?
- Am I obedient and faithful in paying my tithes?
- Do I give over and above the tithe?
- Do I give with a generous and joyful heart?
- Do I exercise restraint in my expenditure?
- Have I cultivated a saving culture or am I primarily a consumer?
- What is my response to those in genuine need who come to me for help?
- Am I putting all the resources God has given me to use?
- Am I guilty of laziness or sloth?
- Do I make good use of the time God has given me?
- I have put all the resources God has given me to use?
- Am I paying my local and corporate taxes?
- Am I trusting God’s love and faithfulness?
- Am I paying back money that I have borrowed? (Psalm 37:21)
- Have I returned possessions that I have borrowed?
- Am I stealing from anyone?
- Am I paying wages and salaries of my employees?
- Am I content at heart or is my heart hankering for more?
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
- Is there pride in my heart because of my possessions?
- I am trusting in my wealth as I face current and contemplate future challenges?
- Am I enjoying the riches God has blest me with in godly ways?
- Am I doing good with the riches/resources that God has blest me with?
- Am I doing good works?
- Am I ready to give and willing to share?
- Are there any areas where greed is manifest in my life?
- What are the areas where covetousness manifests in my life?
- I am investing for the future?
- What is my attitude to work and labor?
- I am doing everything as “unto the Lord” or do I see myself as serving my boss?
- Am I being faithful with my employer’s time and resources?
- Am I paying my employees or am I withholding their wages? Could there be wages crying out against me (Malachi 3:5; James 5:4; Deuteronomy 24:15)
- I am guilty of taking or giving bribes?
- Do I remit the correct statutory obligations like PAYE and NSSF?
- Do I prop up corruption in any way?
- Use this week to take stock of your attitudes and practice toward money and wealth.
- Repent and make restitution where you where you need to.
- Make personal, family and corporate commitments to do things God’s way.
- A new attitude in the Body of Christ towards money and wealth that is in line with the teaching of Scripture
- Balanced teaching in the Body of Christ with regard to wealth, possession and poverty that would enable this to happen.
- The increased manifestation of Christian philanthropists in our day – men and women that God will trust enough to entrust with His resources for the advancement of His Kingdom in the country and the nations.