“Let your way of life be free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5).
If you are content with what God has given you, you will not be a person who is covetous or a lover of money.
I once had a man come into my church office and confess the sin of gluttony. When I told him he did not look overweight, he answered, “I know. It is not that I eat too much but that I want to. I continually crave food. It’s an obsession.”
Covetousness is very similar to that man’s gluttonous attitude. You do not have to acquire a lot of things, or even anything at all, to be covetous. If you long to acquire things and are focusing all your attention on how you might get them, you are guilty of covetousness.
It is not wrong to earn or possess wealth. In the Old Testament, Abraham and Job had tremendous wealth. A number of faithful New Testament believers were also fairly wealthy. The problem comes when we have a greedy attitude that craves money above everything else. Paul warns us, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Tim. 6:10). Loving money is perhaps the most common form of covetousness; it is akin to lusting after material riches in various forms.
No matter how it appears, this kind of covetousness breeds the same spiritual result—it displeases God and separates us from Him. More income, a bigger house, nicer clothes, a fancier car can tempt all of us.
But the Lord wants you to be free from the materialism that so easily controls your non-Christian neighbors. Your earthly possessions are only temporary anyway. You will lose them all one day soon enough. So God tells you and me to be “content with what you have” (Heb. 13:5), realizing that we have “a better possession and an abiding one” (10:34) in our salvation.
Suggestions for Prayer
Is there any covetousness or materialism in your life today? Confess it to the Lord, and pray that He would give you a renewed desire to trust Him rather than uncertain wealth.
For Further Study
Read Luke 12:13-34.
- Make a list of the things that illustrate how God cares for our material needs.
- How does the rich fool’s attitude contrast with what Jesus teaches in verse 31?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur