No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
–2 Timothy 2:4
We all have to deal with money. We have to earn it to take care of our needs. We have to put some aside for the future, as Proverbs says. But materialism, a love of money, can become a detour in this race of the Christian life.
Hebrews 13:5 says, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have.” And Paul warned Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Love of money has the power to lure you off track and distract you in your relationship with God.
Now, do not fall into the trap of thinking only rich people suffer from materialism. The folks to whom the book of Hebrews was addressed had lost everything because they had followed Jesus Christ–yet they needed to hear these words. Those who are poor can be just as materialistic as those who are rich, by believing that money is the answer to all their problems. Materialism is a universal problem.
How do you keep materialism from getting you off track? In 2 Timothy 2:4, Paul wrote, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” Money is one of those “affairs of everyday life” that we all have to deal with. But the writer of Hebrews was saying, “Do not get so entangled with money that it trips you up.” In other words, do not let money become your focus.
One way Christians get entangled with money is by becoming slaves to debt. Consumer debt is a major problem among all Americans, including Christians. I was reading recently that the average American has more than $5,000 in credit card debt. Last year, the average credit card interest rate was around 16 percent. That means if you are an average American with $5,000 of debt and you pay off a $100 of that debt every month, it will take you almost seven years to clear that debt. And at the end of seven years, you will have spent $3,300 on interest in addition to the $5,000 on the principle. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” That is what debt does–it entangles you, it restricts you, it ties you up in knots. Stay away from the lure of materialism by avoiding entanglements with money.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Detours That Destroy” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Stefan Lembo Stolba, “Experian 2020 Consumer Credit Review,” Experian, January 4, 2021, https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/consumer-credit-review/
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org