Avoiding Financial Hell (Part 2) – Tools for the Fight
In Part 1 of Avoiding Financial Hell we looked at the power that money can have in our lives and the consequences of loving money. If left unchecked, our love for money could have a say in where we spend eternity. In this post I’d like to offer some tools or resources to help us in our fight against the love of money.
Last time we began looking at 1 Timothy 6:6-20 (click here to read the passage). If you haven’t read part one, I highly suggest perusing it so you can have some context for part 2. Otherewise here is a quick summary:
- False teachers were preaching to get rich. v.5
- The Apostle Paul redefined true wealth: “godliness with contentment is great gain” v.6
- Proper perspective: nothing is really ours anyways. v.7
- Our love for money has the power to send us to hell and lead us away from our faith. v. 9-10
Thankfully Paul doesn’t just end there. He gives us some practical guidance on how we can avoid the issue of money controlling us instead of us controlling our money. So here are Paul’s tools for the fight against loving money.
Flee, Pursue & Fight
In verse 11, Paul encourages Timothy to “flee these things”. In other words, run as fast as you can from the idolatry, materialism and greed that we are so prone to. We need something to run to, not just run from so Paul tells Timothy to instead “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness”. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good list. One of the best ways to get our minds off our money is to get serious about pursuing “bigger” things.
Paul tells Timothy in verse 12 to “fight the good fight of faith”. Fighting involves shunning evil and running towards virtue. As John Piper often mentions in his preaching, we need to have a “war time mentality” when it comes to fighting against sin. We need to fight against loving money. Pray for help and read and memorize scripture passages that have to do with money.
Humility & Hope
Paul stresses that Timothy should exhort the rich in this present age to be humble (v.17) or to not view themselves as better than others because they have money. At first glance, many of us will gloss over this thinking that surely Paul isn’t talking about us. After all we don’t look down on others if they have less money. Besides we are not really rich, or at least we don’t feel rich. That may be true if we compare ourselves to others in America, however, it is far from global reality.
If you want a little perspective on just how rich you really are then check out Global Rich List, type in your annual income and see where you rank on the global list. If you are making $25,000 per year you are in the top 10% of all the world! A good application of this is to remember that a person’s value does not come from their net worth statement, so don’t look down on others who have less money than you and don’t idolize those who have more.
Paul also mentions that Timothy should “charge the rich to not set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us everything to enjoy”. 2008 was a great lesson for those of us putting our hope in uncertain things like brokerage accounts, home values and our jobs. God is the one constant, He never changes so put your hope in Him.
Proverbs 23:4-5 says,
Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Open Hands & Loose Grips
Verse 18 gives a final admonition for the rich. They are to “do good, be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share”. We must remember that our treasures are not found on earth. We should store up heavenly treasure by using our money to do good for others. I have to constantly remind myself and often times I fail to remember that I need to view my money with an “open hand – loose grip” policy. None of it is mine anyways so I should seek to be generous, pray for opportunities to give where there are needs and “be ready to share”.
What does it mean to be ready to share? Perhaps we need to build generosity into our monthly expenses at first just so we can get used to the idea of giving to others. Here are some other tips on how to be ready to share:
- Simplify your lifestyle – the more stuff we accumulate, the more time and attention gets taken away from what’s really important.
- Get rid of debt – when we are bogged down by credit cards, mortgages, car payments, it is very difficult to be generous and ready to share with those who are in need.
- Seek opportunities – pray for God to provide circumstances where you can be generous and then seek them out. Volunteer at a food pantry or visit the poor end of town and seek to help others.
Christians should be known for their generosity. After all, God has been so generous to us and we should respond likewise. He sent his only Son to die for us. We didn’t deserve it, yet Christ came and laid down his life. What an amazing example of a generous life!