How Are You Doing With Greed & Materialism?
Dear Members & Attenders,
Greed and materialism are part of the air we breathe in our culture and we need to talk about it. In our sermon series on The Seven Deadly Sins, this week is about greed. If talking about selfishness or money makes you nervous, you are in good company.
It’s ironic also. In the church, we can have little patience with people who sin sexually, while we expect to be shown great patience as we come to grips with our own greed, or as we learn to be generous. People have come to our church offices for hushed-tone conversations about sexual sin. I have never in my entire life had someone come to my office to confess the sin of greed. Yet I’d ask, of which sin are more people guilty – sexual sin or materialism?
Like other sins, I do not believe that “Just stop it!” works. Sin has a power. Particular sins have a "hold” on our hearts in various ways. Will power is not enough; it’s ineffective. We need a Savior.
Jesus works to free us. He not only atones for the wrong we’ve done by our selfish greed. He also works to transform us by His Spirit. Jesus is the only One who can solve our problem. In terms of gains or losses, He takes away our guilt; and He gives us His very own Spirit. Because we know that we’re not all right, we try to compensate by acquiring possessions. But His grace removes all our guilt – which can help to kill one root of selfish greed. But He also works to persuade me of the beauty of a life of generosity and love. He literally owns everything, and He shares it all! By His Spirit indwelling, we can learn to share freely also – instead of hoarding, or greedily trying to acquire even more.
We also need friends. Jesus says that riches are deceitful and can choke us spiritually (Matthew 13). Hebrews 3 says, “Encourage one another daily lest you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” So clearly, one of the great gifts the Lord has given us is a believing friend. It is a gift to have someone who can say, “me too” to my confessions of materialism, while also going with me again (and again) to the feet of Jesus for His rescuing power.
So how are you doing with greed and materialism? How do you need Jesus to come to your rescue (and not with just more money)? Who has helped you truly (and what do they do)? And whom can you help in their fight against the deceitful powers of sin?
Things to pray for:
– A true knowledge of how incomparable the LORD is (vs. the things of this world). Ask the Lord to help you see what the Apostle Paul calls the surpassing worth of Jesus.
– Riches in Christ as His Bride and the adopted child of the Father. Ask the Lord to help you know his power to save so that you’re convinced Jesus is greater than anything wrong about you and everything wrong you’ve ever done.
– Who do you know that is under the power of the deceitfulness of riches? Pray for them, asking the Lord to come to their rescue, to change their heart and to empower you to help them.
– Ask the Holy Spirit to give you joy. Ask Him to bear the fruit of His character in your heart so that you’re free – and rich – in Christ, no matter what your circumstances are.
Tim Rice, Lead Pastor & Director of Church Planting
Trinity Presbyterian Church
301 N. Florida Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801