BEWARE OF MATERIALISM

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

JUNE 04, 2024

TOPIC: BEWARE OF MATERIALISM

BY T. O. BANSO

Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15 New King James Version).

In Matthew 19, Jesus told the rich young ruler who asked Him what good thing he must do to have eternal life, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (verse 21 New King James Version). That was after he had responded to Jesus’ answer by saying that he had kept all the commandments from his youth and asked what he still lacked.

When Jesus answered that he should go and sell what he had and give the money to the poor, and he would have treasure in heaven, then he should come and follow him, he went away sorrowful because he had great possessions. This rich young ruler’s reaction showed that his possessions were more important to him than the eternal life he said he wanted to have. He was guilty of materialism. He considered material things superior to spiritual things. His possessions were controlling him, not the other way round.

One of the dictionary definitions of materialism is “a preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual things” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). However, the Dictionary of Bible Themes defines it as The outlook on life which treats material possessions as being of supreme importance or which denies the spiritual aspects of life.” Synonyms for materialism include greed, acquisitiveness, avariciousness, covetousness, avidity, and cupidity.

We need material things on earth. But we must not devote our lives to pursuing them. We must not love things above God. We must not be obsessed with acquiring material things at the expense of our fellowship with God. Our desire for things must not override our desire for spiritual things. We must not become so desperate for material things that we disobey the Word of God to possess them.

Although the word “materialism” is not used in the Bible, it warns against the danger of materialism, which some believers today are as guilty of as the unbelievers. Some Christians promote material acquisition above spiritual growth. They want to worship God and mammon, which Jesus said was impossible (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). Like the Laodicean church, they say they are rich but are wretched. “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17 New King James Version).

Consequently, the Lord told the Laodicean church,I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’” (verses 18-22 New King James Version).

Beware of materialism. It can creep stealthily into your life. You will begin to desire things not caring how you get them. Ask yourself: Is my emphasis more on material things than spiritual things? Do I engage in sinful practices and callous means to possess material things? Do I give some of my material possessions to others, including things I don’t use or need? Your answers will show if you are materialistic. Beware of the attractions of this world, the delights of wealth, the search for success, and the lure of nice things (Mark 4:19). What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:36).

Solomon tells us the futility of materialism. He says,I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-8 New King James Version).

Solomon continues: “So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor” (verses 9-10 New King James Version).

Solomon got all the things he wanted. He denied himself nothing his eyes desired and refused his heart no pleasure. He crowded his life with material things. Whoever thinks he would be fulfilled having all Solomon had would be wrong. Solomon states the outcome of his materialistic lifestyle: “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (verse 11 New King James Version). Note the phrase “All was vanity and grasping for the wind.” The Living Bible renders verse 11 thus: But as I looked at everything I had tried, it was all so useless, a chasing of the wind, and there was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.”

Beware of materialism. Do not have a desire for material things above spiritual things. Don’t pursue earthly things at the expense of heavenly things. Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1 New King James Version).

Beware of materialism. Jesus says, Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15 New King James Version). Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6). Having more things does not make you happier.  Research has shown that people with high levels of materialism have less positive emotions, higher levels of depression, loneliness, anxiety, and drug abuse (https://www.scirp.org › journal › paperinformation). Don’t be materialistic.

Don’t live your life acquiring material things and storing your wealth here on earth instead of being rich toward God (Luke 12:21). Jesus says,Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 New King James Version).

Beware of materialism. Don’t love money-making more than fellowship with God, Bible study, prayer, or church service. Material things are important but temporary; spiritual things are more important and eternal. Beware! Matthew 6:31-34 says, Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (New King James Version).

Beware of materialism. Luxury is relative. When God prospers you with more money, don’t waste it on sinful luxury or the acquisition of useless things; use it to meet your needs and the needs of your family, to advance God’s Kingdom on earth, and to help the poor and needy. Biblical giving will deliver you from materialism. Don’t gather and hold on tightly to the things of this world. Be rich toward God; don’t be selfish. Material things are not more important than spiritual things. Make the kingdom of God first in your life. Beware of materialism.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. Take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You must join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: God will continue to be number one in my life, not material things. Material things will not become my god in Jesus’ name. I will not treat material possessions as being of supreme importance. Spiritual things will not become inferior to material things in my life.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org)

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org.