Money and Bondage

Para información en Español, contacte a Alex (alex@christoscommunity.org).

In the Money: getting started worksheet we briefly considered what’s at stake, including pain we can experience with money.  In order to fight for joy, let’s carefully consider the situation.

Assessing the battle field

Take a moment and brainstorm the different expressions of the dark side of money.  (e.g. “it has been a cause of depression or addiction”  What else?)

 

 

 

So that’s some of the dark sides of money and possessions that we are aware of.  But is it possible there are aspects of our own relating to money that are dark and that we are not aware of?

Our radar is broken

There are few (if any) support groups for those who say they are greedy.   It’s always the other person – the person who has more than us – who we think is greedy.  And yet Jesus knew it was a danger for us that we need to on guard against.  Unlike many other sins that are obvious, we can be greedy without realizing it.  Jesus knew that there are even different types of greed…

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all kinds of greed, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

And greed isn’t the only way we can be deceived (even self-deceived) when it comes to what money is (and isn’t…).  Consider these additional scriptures…

So we are blind on the battlefield.  But it gets worse, because money is not just about money.  If we consider these scriptures – and our own hearts – we see that money is actually often a ‘surface idol’ for a deeper idol that wants God’s rightful place on the throne of our hearts.

Idolatry vs. Worship

Matt 6:19-21, 24

19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

“Surface idols” are things such as money, our spouse, or children, through which our deep idols seek fulfillment. We are often superficial in the analysis of our idol structures. For example, money can be a surface idol that serves to satisfy more foundational impulses. Some people want lots of money as a way to control their world and life. Such people usually don’t spend much money and live very modestly. They keep it all safely saved and invested, so they can feel completely secure in the world. Others want money for access to social circles and to make themselves beautiful and attractive. These people do spend their money on themselves in lavish ways. Other people want money because it gives them so much power over others. In every case, money functions as an idol and yet, because of various deep idols, it results in very different patterns of behavior.

Keller, T. (2011). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 65). New York: Riverhead Books.

Planning for joy: stepping out of the dark

In the next worksheet we’ll see more about turning toward true joy, but the first half of repentance is turning away from false joys.  So…

What are some attitudes or actions relating to money or possessions that you see you need to repent of?

 

 

Would you say you are impervious to self-deception and/or sin in your relationship with money?  Or, put another way, can you be certain that there is no self-deception and no sin in your relationship with money?

 

 

What is an area of your attitudes or actions relating to money or possessions that you are not sure, but suspect you may have a problem with?

 

 

Who is someone you trust you could ask their opinion about it?  When will you?

 

 

For further study…

https://compass1.org/the-bible-on-money/idolatry/

https://compass1.org/the-bible-on-money/greed/

https://compass1.org/the-bible-on-money/coveting/

Chapter 3 of Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller