The Downside of Affluence
We can see many Christian individuals who are wealthy and grounded on the Rock, on their faith in God. However, there are some who seems to have forgotten their humble beginnings, much worse, they have forgotten the Giver of their wealth. In Deuteronomy 8:18 the NIV says: “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” When we forget and leave God out of our successes, the enemy rejoices and finds an opportunity to sneak his way into our lives and lifestyle!
Achieving affluence is a milestone for any individual. It may be due to hard work and perseverance. It can result from something good. Therefore, being affluent is something to be celebrated!
However, when does the celebration end? When do we start viewing this “status” as contrary to what is right?
Below are a few examples of why being rich can become a negative thing. In fact, they should serve as warning indicators:
- When you do not honor God as the blesser because the Bible says: “Wealth and honor come from you…” 1 Chronicles 29:12
- When you think that you can do it on your own without God because the Bible says: “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” Deuteronomy 8:18
- When we start to love money, which leads to worshiping it because the Bible says: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” 1 Timothy 6: 6:10
- When our character changes, it compromises our morality because the Bible says: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5. We often see greed in others, but rarely in ourselves.
- When you start to hoard, wanting more and more because the Bible says: “There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.” Proverbs 11:24
- When you become so anxious that you become paranoid, thinking that people are after your possessions and are scared of losing them, for the Bible says: “Anxiety weighs down the heart…” Proverbs 12:25
- When you become arrogant and start manipulating people because the Bible says: “… let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” 1 Samuel 2:3
There are many reasons why being affluent can become problematic. But God can help you build wealth and yet still be a faithful steward. We need to understand and consider the foundational truths that will not just help us with being affluent but will serve us in our daily lives. They are:
- Love for God and neighbors. How can you use you financial resources to love others?
- Faith. Believing God as sovereign, good, and holy. Believing that God is the ultimate provider.
- Worship. Honoring and celebrating God. How we handle money is an act of worship.
- Servanthood. Being instruments of God. Money is merely a tool that is to be harnessed in service to the Lord.
- Thanksgiving. Not forgetting the giver. Learning to be grateful and content with what we have.
- Humility. Believing that by God’s grace we were given, and so we aim for Jesus to be glorified. How can you glorify God with what he has blessed you with?
Being rich is not a sin. God will not punish us for being wealthy. In fact, God wants us to live an abundant life, after all, we are His children, and God is a loving father who wants to bless his children. However, when God blesses us with wealth, He wants us to manage it as His stewards on earth who can direct these resources to advancing God’s kingdom and meeting the needs of others. We must always remember to seek God first and foremost. We have a good Father, and He desires that our hearts be like His— desiring things from Heaven, and to never be consumed by this temporary world that we live in.