Let’s be clear. We live in a physical world which we feel and touch. We sense it physically. Yet we know that’s not the whole story. The world is also spiritual and it is this spiritual dimension which ultimately explains our existence. Man’s philosophy and man centred wisdom have never adequately explained this life, nor ever will.
There are all sorts of explanations for this spiritual dimension of our existence – a dimension which cannot be seen because it is not physical in nature. But it is there; it is pre-eminent, and it is powerful.
The one belief system which explains this spiritual dimension correctly is Christianity – the teachings of Jesus Christ and his apostles and prophets, as recorded in the New Testament of the Bible – but not as some men often teach today.
One of Jesus apostles, Paul, wrote to a protege called Timothy that:
THE LOVE OF MONEY IS A ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL
and because of this, many people who believed in Jesus – even back then in the first century AD – many were tempted away from obeying Jesus Christ.
You see Jesus Christ tells us how to negotiate the spiritual dimension of our existence. He explains the traps and pitfalls; and he explains how we should live in order to live in spiritual blessing in order to avoid doing spiritual harm to ourselves and to others.
Having an inordinate desire for the material things of this life will cause us problems. Now of course we need to eat and be clothed; we need to work and earn a living. But we need also to keep such basic necessities and activities of this life in perspective.
The problem today is that our daily physical needs have been turned into an obsession which is almost religious in nature. We are pressured into indulging our every desire for material things. Advertising exploits our desires. $ Billions are spent every year in order to provoke us to buy and consume things we don’t actually need. Buying the latest type of “X” even though our existing “x” works just fine, is to indulge this mindset – it is to be drawn away after Mammon.
The apostle Paul told the Philippians:
FOR I HAVE LEARNED – IN WHATSOEVER STATE I AM – TO BE CONTENT
It takes a conscious effort to stop and realise that our natural inclinations may not be right and that we need to consciously adapt our thinking and our behaviour to avoid the snare, the trap of materialism and all the spiritual consequences which go with that – wanting ever more money and material things, yet never being satisfied.
Jesus told us plainly, as recorded by Matthew in chapter 6, verse 24:
NO MAN [ie person] CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS: FOR EITHER HE WILL HATE THE ONE, AND LOVE THE OTHER; OR ELSE HE WILL HOLD TO THE ONE, AND DESPISE THE OTHER. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON !
Serving Mammon is easy. It comes naturally. Just indulge our wants and desires even though we know that they can lead us into terrible problems like unmanageable debt. But to serve God requires self awareness; it requires a sober taking stock of ourselves and our situation; it requires a sacrificial attitude which says no to Self, and yes to discipline. It requires a sense of DUTY and RESPONSIBILITY to do the right thing, and to avoid getting ourselves into problems down the line.
The Christian life is a disciplined life. A life in which we progressively learn to live as we should; a life in which we train ourselves in right habits and thinking by which we will then gain the spiritual and – indeed material benefits – in due course.
This world says do as you please and have what you want. Indulge yourself ! But God says, recognise the consequences and the pain which result from that mentality. Instead train yourself – yes coach yourself – to live as God teaches, and then you will live in the blessing – the spiritual benefit and gain – of what God provides.
That’s the straight choice. That’s the reality of this existence, of this life. Let’s face it and do the right thing by ourselves and by those around us.
God bless you.