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Standing Strong Through the Storm - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FIGHTING MATERIALISM

Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Luke 18:24

How is the god Mammon conquered? The Bible offers a perspective from which to view all of life’s economic decisions. The Holy Spirit is with us; Jesus is our present teacher. The following are some suggestions:

Get in touch with our feelings about money. Get in touch with our fear, insecurity, guilt, pride or envy. We are afraid to be short of money. And our fears, though irrational, are real. We need to face up to these feelings before we can apply God’s promises to our financial situation.

Stop denying our wealth. Instead of seeing the small picture of our situation, let us become world citizens, looking at ourselves in relation to all humanity.

• Create an atmosphere in which confession is possible. Much of our preaching about money has been either to condemn it or to praise it but not to help each other relate to it. Many of us feel isolated and alone. How much better if we could confess our fears and temptations.

Discover one other person who will struggle with you through the money maze. Together covenant to help each other detect when the seductive power of money is beginning to win. This

needs to be done in a spirit of love and graciousness but also rebuking and prodding.

Discover ways to get in touch with the poor. One of the damaging results of affluence is allowing us to distance ourselves from the poor so that we no longer see their pain.

• Give with glad and generous hearts. Giving has a way of rooting out the tough old miser within us. The very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, destroys the sin of greed.

Chinese house church leaders met together to discuss their problems. They concluded that their number two problem (after gossip) was money and the lure of materialism. There are two main sources of this. One is the rising standard of living in the coastal areas, which is tempting good teachers into commerce, depriving the church of much-needed leaders. The other is the kind, but often indiscriminate, giving of some wealthier Christians and missions to house church networks.

RESPONSE: Today I commit to living a simple life style and not give in to materialism.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to follow You all the way. And I want to be obedient as You direct and instruct.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.