Tim Keller once tweeted, “Jesus warns people far more often about greed than about sex, yet almost no one thinks they are guilty of it.“
Up until I read that tweet, I never really thought much about greed. However, after I started studying it, I’ve been seeing it everywhere, mainly in my own life!
In Luke 12:15, Jesus said,“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
[shareable text=”Tweet This >> “]“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” -Luke 12:15 [/shareable]
I like how he said to guard ourselves against every kind of greed because different people are greedy for different things. However, I’ve found that we can only guard ourselves against things we are aware of.
The purpose of this post is to help you (and me) become aware of the role greed can play in our lives. Once we become aware of it, we can recognize it when it shows up and then do something about it.
The dictionary defines greed as an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.
I think the key words there are “selfish desire“. Greed makes us believe that if we get what we intensely desire, then we will be fulfilled. The problem with greed that is can never deliver on what it promises.
When we’re pursuing things through greed, we think:
- If I just get that promotion, people will respect me and I’ll be fulfilled
- If I make this much money, I’ll have it made
- If I lived in that neighborhood, I’d be content
- If I married that man or woman, my life would be complete
- If I had X amount of influence or fame, I’d feel content
- If I finally accomplished that goal, I’d feel worthy
Because we believe this things, we often become greedy in our pursuit of them. The danger in greed, as my friend Daniel Bull said is that, “You often don’t know how greedy you are. If we are not careful, we can come to a point where our ambition will outgrow our morals.”
When greed causes our ambition to outgrow our morals, we are in trouble. When we believe greed’s lie and we do absolutely everything we can to attain what we want, we often do it at the expense of our reputation, relationships, our health, our families, and our walk with God.
Here’s the problem: Let me tell you what you’re going to feel when you get all of those things that greed tells you will satisfy you: You’re going to feel like it’s not enough.
So what will you do? You will set another bar in your life to go after and attain thinking that just a little more money, a few more accomplishments, and the promise of greed will finally deliver. It never will.
So what can we do to successfully combat greed?
1.) Become aware of It – Evaluate every area of your life. Ask yourself if you are pursuing anything in an unhealthy way. Are any areas of your life struggling at the expense of your greed? Ask your friends and family if they see an unhealthy pursuit of something in your life. Once you become aware of greed, admit it, and continue to look for it when it shows up in your life.
2.) Manage the Tension between Greed, Contentment, and Complacency – The reason nobody thinks they struggle with greed is often because what they are pursuing isn’t a bad thing. It’s not wrong to pursue growth, a promotion, a raise, accomplishments, etc. These pursuits become greed when we put their importance above God, family, relationships, etc.
Andy Stanley often says, “A lot of things aren’t problems to solve, they are tensions to manage.” I believe we have to manage the tension of greed, contentment, and complacency.
You want to learn to be content with where you are, who you are, and what you have and at the same time never grow complacent in doing our best or growing to our maximum potential. However, in never growing complacent, you have to be on guard against greed sinking into your pursuits. It’s this tension that we must continually manage.
3.) Recognize that what you’re really looking for is something only God can provide – When we become greedy, it’s because we believe something or someone can give us fulfillment that only God can give us. When you find yourself believing this, repent and ask God to help you not look for fulfillment outside of Him.
Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Too often, we spend all of our time and energy pursuing “all these things”. God said that our only job is to seek Him first and then He will take care of all these things.” God always delivers on His promises, so stop selfishly pursuing things and start unselfishly pursuing God. Watch what happens!
- In what areas of your life has your greed and ambition outgrown your pursuit of God?
- What are you pursuing that you think will fulfill you, but won’t? Be realistic.
- Evaluate your life and look for greed
- Ask other people if they think you have unhealthy pursuits in your life
- When you find an area you’ve been greedy in, repent and ask God to help you have a proper perspective on whatever you’re pursuing
- Seek God with all of your heart, find your contentment in Him, and trust Him for “all these things…” that you’ve been pursuing.
Thoughts? Comment below!
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