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Love God, Not Money

Set your heart on things above

Doug Britton, MFT

Page Summary
Summary: Bible study on the love of money. Set your heart on things above to avoid loving money.

Part 3 of a 5-part series on “God and Your Money”

Part 1      Part 2      Part 4      Part 5

Introduction to loving God, not money

This online Bible study is part of a series of studies on money and finances. More detailed information on these topics can be found in the book Putting Money in its Place. (Although written for married couples, the practical, scriptural information in this book also applies to single people who want to handle their finances in a biblical manner.)

Be aware of the dangers of loving money

Many diseases threaten us as we journey through life. Some of them could be fatal. It is not only our physical bodies that face danger. The Bible warns of spiritual hazards. One of the most dangerous is the love of money.

God warns us about the dangers of money and wealth throughout the Bible. View these warnings as seriously as you would a sign that says, “Danger: Road washed out ahead.” Rich or poor, be alert to the following dangers of wealth or of loving money.

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. (Proverbs 23:4)

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

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 6:9-10)

Notice that the love of money, not money itself, is “a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). However, although money is not evil, it is a rare person who has not fallen in love with it.

What do you think?

1. Why does God say the love of money is “a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10)?

2. What kinds of “fruit” grow in people’s lives when they love money?

3. Read Matthew 6:25-34. What is one result of seeking the kingdom of God?

Danger of loving money — Turning away from God

Wealthy people often think they do not need God. Agur, the man who wrote the following prayer, was well aware of this danger.

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)

Danger of loving money — Neglecting your family

Does making, spending, or saving money consume you? If you put too much time and attention into your finances, you are likely to neglect your spouse and children.

Danger of loving money — Personal pride

It is easy, but foolish, to give yourself credit for your wealth. Remember that God is the one who made your situation possible. Thank him instead of patting yourself on the back.

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Danger of loving money — Social pride

It is easy to think you are better than others because of your possessions or wealth. If you are not careful, you may find yourself only associating with wealthy or powerful people.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant. (1 Timothy 6:17)

Danger of loving money — Spiritual pride

A danger for many Christians is spiritual pride, thinking God blessed them with wealth because they are more devout, faithful, or better loved by God than others.

If you catch yourself thinking this way, read about the poor widow who was praised by Jesus as she put her last two coins into the temple treasury (Mark 12:41-44). Jesus used her, one of the poorest persons in the Bible, to illustrate great faithfulness.

Danger of loving money — Selfishness

Many people have discovered that they become stingier as they earn more. This can be especially tempting for rich people. Yet look at God’s command to those who are wealthy:

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Timothy 6:18)

Danger of loving money — Dissatisfaction

Many have discovered that no matter how much money they have, they always want more. The love of money can be like cancer, always growing and spreading, never satisfied.

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

Danger of loving money — Trusting in riches

It’s a good idea to make reasonable financial plans for the future. But don’t put your primary trust in these plans or in your wealth. Instead, put your trust in God.

Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. (Proverbs 11:28)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (1 Timothy 6:17)

What do you think?

4. Which of these dangers of wealth could be a problem for you? How can you avoid these dangers?

Is it wrong to be well off financially or to seek to improve your situation?

The Bible has many warnings about the perils of wealth. However, God sometimes gives people riches. Look, for example, at the stories of Abraham, David, and Solomon in the Bible.

Although being rich poses spiritual dangers, being rich can be a blessing from the Lord. The key is to have the right attitude toward money—to recognize that your wealth is God’s and see it as something to help accomplish his will in the world.

People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish. (Psalm 49:20)

If you are wealthy, be vigilant. Remember the many dangers discussed earlier in this study. Use your money to glorify God and help others. Remember Paul’s instructions in his letter to the Corinthians:

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11)

The desire to buy a newer car, buy new furniture, or purchase other things is not necessarily bad—assuming we don’t slip into making our finances too important and God not important enough.

What do you think?

5. What guidelines should we bear in mind if we try to improve our situation?

Identify ways in which you love money

For some of us, it’s pretty clear we have given in to the love of money. When we wake up, our first thoughts are about how the stock market is doing. As we go through the day, we mainly think about how to make more money and how to spend it. When we talk with our spouse and others, finances always come to the forefront. God is rarely part of our conversation.

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. (Luke 8:14)

What do you think?

6. Does the love of money sometimes get in the way of your walk with God? If so, how does it get in the way?

7. What changes should you make in your actions and attitude about money?

Recognize that you are a citizen of heaven

Our time on the earth is limited. When we die, we will live with God for eternity. If we understand that our citizenship is in heaven, we are less likely to get caught up in materialism (the love of money).

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

What do you think?

8. What do you think the Bible means when it says “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20)?

9. What do you think the Bible means when it says to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-3)?

Memory verse

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

Make it personal

1. Is money evil? Why or why not?

2. What does it mean to love money?

3. Name three dangers of wealth that could be personal dangers for you. Explain why they could be dangers.

4. How can remembering you are a citizen of heaven help you overcome the love of money?

5. What does the Bible mean when it says the love of money is a “root” of all kinds of evil? What sort of fruit could grow from that root?

6. Is it wrong to be well off financially or to seek to improve your situation? Why or why not?

7. How can you protect yourself from loving money if you seek to improve your situation?

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About Doug Britton, MFT

Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)

Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.

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