There is a reason Jesus spoke so frequently on money. No, the Son was not fundraising for the Father. God was not looking at His heavenly bank account balance and fretting over how He would accomplish His plans with such few resources. God does not need our financial resources. They are already His.
Jesus spoke so frequently on money because the way we view and manage the financial resources that God has entrusted to us reveals our hearts. And while money can certainly be a blessing for our families and a tool to advance God’s Kingdom, it has a way of gripping our hearts and drawing us away from God. The allure of money is strong, and it will either draw us toward (Matthew 6:21) or away from God (Mark 4:19). When money is not put in its proper place, it can become corrosive to the soul. To deny or ignore this is unwise.
As we go review Scripture, we find some money temptations of which we must be aware and from which we must flee. We must be careful not to dabble in or justify the temptations. By fleeing these temptations, we keep money in its proper place and experience what God has promised for those who do.
Here are five money temptations to flee from:
1. The temptation to desire riches.
As we look at Scripture, we do not find that, in and of themselves, riches to be wrong. In can be a blessing from God. However, the Bible is clear that the desire to get rich for self-serving purposes leads people astray in many ways. 1 Timothy 6:9 says, “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” (NIV).
2. The temptation to love money.
Scripture is clear, our God is a jealous God. This simply means He has no desire to share our hearts. He wants all of it. Hebrews 13:5 tells us to “flee from the love of money.” Matthew 6:24 says, “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” (NIV). And what happens when we devote ourselves to money? Mark 4:19 answers this question—"but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (NIV).
The allure of money is strong, and it will either draw us toward (Matthew 6:21) or away from God (Mark 4:19).
3. The temptation to be stingy.
God has designed us, not to be hoarders, but conduits through which His generosity flows. God provides us several warnings those who hold tightly to their wealth. Proverbs 28:22 says, “The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them” (NIV). Proverbs 11:24 says, “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty” (NIV). The result of stinginess is loss and a temptation from which to flee.
4. The temptation to put our hope in money.
In 1 Timothy 6:17, we find Paul encouraging Timothy to communicate something of utmost importance to the wealthy in his church:
“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” (NIV).
What happens when we place our hope in money? Our hope can literally fluctuate with the economy. One day, we are confident. The next day, we are insecure. Money is not a place to put our eternal hope. Our hope is to be found in Him who do not change—Jesus. He is the only hope in whom we can have full confidence.
5. The temptation to not put God first in our finances.
In Proverbs 3:5-8, we are encouraged to place our full trust in God and to avoid being wise in our own eyes. Then, in Proverbs 3:9, we are given a practical way for this to be demonstrated in our own lives—"Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops” (NIV). The very first thing we are to do with our finances is to give. Placing God first in your finances demonstrates trust in God’s provision and promises. The act also goes against all human wisdom, where generosity typically comes from our financial leftovers. We cover our needs and wants first. God’s Kingdom flips this on it head—we give first, fully trusting God’s provision and promises.
The rich young ruler should be warning for us all. This man looked Jesus in the eye and turned away. Why? His hope was found in possessions and not the Provider. He sadly walked away because his heart had gripped tightly to wealth. Flee from money temptations. Money is a tool. Use money in the way God intended.