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God warns us that those who love money will fall into a trap that will ruin them (1Ti.6:9). The mark of loving money is that we run after more and more of it. We may first look for money to meet our needs. When we are able to meet our needs, we suddenly discover that there are more needs to be met. When we didn't have enough money, there were many things we didn't desire because we knew they were out of our reach. But now those desires come alive, and we think we couldn't live without many new things. We look for more money to meet those needs, and the cycle continues at higher levels!
When we become occupied with our pursuit of money, we also find that we think it is alright to cut corners to avoid losing money and to get more of it quickly! We find excuses to justify our unrighteousness ('Everybody does it', 'If we have to live in this world we can't be so fussy with legalistic rules', 'Our intention is good', 'God wants us to enjoy life'). The Devil is eager to give us wealth so that he can get us caught in the trap.
We can argue that there is nothing wrong with money in itself and that it is the love of money that is wrong (v.10). Jesus referred to money as the 'unrighteous wealth' contrasting it with true riches (Lk.16:11). Money can lead us to unrighteousness easily, but true riches are the spiritual wealth of becoming like Jesus. But we close our eyes towards the love of money that comes in when we begin to go after it earnestly and it begins to occupy prime spot in our mind, because we tell ourselves we are only trying to meet our needs. But the funny thing is, our needs are never satisfied! The Bible tells us to learn to be content (1Ti.6:8). But we point out that Abraham and Job were wealthy, and quote verses from the Old Testament. We don't seem to realise that the focus changed in the new covenant to becoming like Jesus (Ro.8:29) and gathering treasure for eternity (Jn.6:27). Jesus tells us to seek God's kingdom and His righteousness first and promises to give us all what we really need (Mt.6:33), and not to be like all the other people who are eagerly seeking after earthly things (vv.31,32).
There are riches that pass away, as Jesus illustrated in the story of the rich man (Lk.12:16-21), and treasures that will have value in eternity (Mt.6:20). There are pleasures that are sinful, or which take our mind away from God, and there is immeasurable pleasure living in the presence of God (Ps.16:11) and pleasures beyond imagination stored up in heaven for us (1Co.2:9). When we set our heart on God, pleasures on earth will become less meaningful and less attractive. Our joy comes from being pleasing to God.
How sad to fritter away our time and energy by pursuing after money and its pleasures while we are storing up nothing in heaven by serving God, His kingdom and His people! Let's keep to the bottom line, we cannot serve God and wealth at the same time (Mt.6:24). It's better to believe this than to discover it too late!