In the introduction to Fast Forward 2018, we looked at how “Jesus Judo” can be used to turn the devil’s attacks against him. In part one, we discussed the seven Christian Virtues and seven Deadly Sins. We began with the first virtue – Chastity – and its opposing sin – Lust. Part two examined the second set in the virtues/sins list; Temperance and Gluttony. Today in part three, we will delve into Charity and Greed.
Greed is defined as an “Excessive or reprehensible desire to acquire.” (Holman) It may also manifest as wanting or wishing you had what others have.” One of the most egregious examples of greed in scripture involved the sons of the High Priest, Eli. Hophni and Phinehas chose to ignore the laws of God because they were greedy for the meat of the sacrifice. Their desire to personally indulge in the best the people had to offer, instead of sacrificing it to God, disqualified them as Priests and ultimately led to their deaths.
Biblical warnings against greed abound, but here are a few:
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB)
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5 (NASB)
Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 (NASB)
Whoever loves money will never have enough money; Whoever loves wealth will not be satisfied with it. This is also useless. Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NCV)
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
In an especially protective warning, Second Peter chapter two says that just as there were false prophets in ancient times, so will there be among church. He warned that many would preach from a motivation of greed and would makeup and teach false doctrine in order to exploit people. Hmmm….
Jesus said that if we would make God’s Kingdom our first priority, all our needs would be met. (Matthew 6:33). Proverbs teaches that people who are always holding on to what they have end up with nothing while those who give keep getting more.
Greed is tightly bound to another sin we will discuss later – pride. In order to act on greed, a person must convince himself that he is more worthy his desires than is the person who currently has it. It is also connected heavily with narcissism which causes a person to place their own desires and interests above others. It’s all about “me, me, me.” It’s what “I” want over what others want, or even what they need.
Narcissistic greed runs absolutely counter to Biblical teaching which instructs, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…”Philippians 2:2-5 (NASB)
This scripture reveals the “how” behind the secret weapon to combat greed – Charity. Charity gives, serves and sacrifices for the benefits of others rather than ourselves. It is the Jesus Judo that effectively combats the deadly sin of greed.
As you reflect this week, consider ways you have been self-focused rather than others-focused. Ask yourself, “Have I been greedy with my money? My time? My stuff? Have I ignored the needs of others while selfishly focused on my own needs and desires?
When you identify areas of greed and selfishness apply a little Jesus Judo and reach out in loving sacrifice to those around you.