Paul wrote, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Many people fail to give the enemy of our souls the credit he is due. Though in the New Testament he is called the god of this age, shown to have possession of all the kingdoms of this world and said to exercise influence and control over all the world, he is perceived by most followers of Christ as either non-existent or, at most, an inefficient, impotent, incompetent, scatter-brained buffoon who could not possibly pose a threat or accomplish anything lethal or even dangerous to our souls or our eternal destinies. This too is a fruit of his labors and ought to show us just how effective he is in his war against us.
Followers of Christ, particularly in affluent cultures, routinely fall into the traps and snares which Paul writes of here – not because they have the consciously overt, intentional drive to be wealthy – but because they have been programmed by the lies of the kingdoms, systems, philosophies and agendas of men to believe they require wealth and luxuries in order to survive and thrive. From the time they are born, people in affluent cultures are quietly (and not so quietly) programmed and pressured to conform to the status of their neighbors and this inflated, fictional “standard of living” is viewed as the norm to which all must attain or these are criticized as “lazy” or “cursed” or “rebellious” even in “Christian” circles.
To attain to this standard of living, men (and women) will work 40 to 60 hours a week (or even more) to bring home what is perceived as enough money to sustain oneself and one’s family in a “comfortable” lifestyle according to the definitions, perceptions, desires and agendas of each family member involved. In many cases, both parents do this and relegate the care and raising of their children to public education and paid professional day-care attendants. The traps of this kind of thinking are many – let us examine but one of the more dangerous ones.
What should be the most obvious trap (but rarely is seen as such) is that there are only 168 hours in a week – approximately 60 of which are used to sleep. Of the remaining 110 hours or so, approximately 12 to 15 hours are devoted to eating. Of the remaining 100 hours or so, 10 to 20 hours a week are given to cleaning and dressing up for one’s “work.” For those who work 40 to 60 hours every week and who feel compelled to attend “church” – an exercise which consumes 2 to 6 hours of one’s week depending on one’s “faithfulness” – this leaves only anywhere from 10 hours to 40 hours in a given week in which one can actively serve the lost and dying of this world or one’s fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Factor in one’s “need” for sports, movies or other such leisure activities and entertainments and whether or not one even has any energy or desire left over for such genuine service to Christ and His family, and the nature of the trap one is in becomes obvious for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. The way of escape is to allow Christ – and not our culture’s expectations – to determine what is truly necessary and what is only a distraction or a discardable luxury. In the above scenario, God’s kingdom is last, not first, in our priorities.
When all or most of one’s time is spent in pursuit of material possessions (for whatever “good” purpose or to fulfill whatever “good” agenda), the spiritual treasures found in Christ must be sacrificed and lost. The Spirit lusts against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit. The two are mutually exclusive of one another. When one’s life is absorbed and used up in one’s “work,” one has little or no time to delve into and understand the things of Scripture nor the machinations of men and the demonic which are designed to ensnare him. Such an ensnared “soldier” of Christ is no threat to the devil on any front and will not hinder much the evil plans men have to enslave others for their own gain. In fact, such a one is an asset and not a liability to the schemes of men and demons.
Let he who has ears hear.
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