Money and being content…

I feel like I am starting to become obsessed with money. I’ve been very blessed my entire life – I don’t think I have ever truly been in need of anything, and that includes now. But due to some changes in my finances (which I was made aware of just today, so it is fresh on my mind), I feel like things are about to get really tight, and it just isn’t a good feeling. I’m not good at being frugal, but I’m about to be forced to make a lot of changes, and this is causing me to think a lot about money and how I can get more of it.  And I despise these thoughts…

I’ve been going to church all my life, so I have heard the stories in the Bible about the dangers of being obsessed with money. I know that Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters – God and money. And I know that Paul said, in 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  Oddly enough, I am more worried about that second sentence than the first – that some have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. I know that I have a worldly, fleshy side of me that is evil and longs for those things which will only bring grief. I’m reminded of it every minute of every day (some days more so than others). But I also know that I have a choice in all things – to choose not to give in to that side of me, and instead to choose to give myself over to the Spirit, of whom I am possessed. But choices are hard, and I feel like making the right choice is often something you have to do over and over throughout the day in order to be successful.

I think one of the things that helps us to make good choices throughout the day is to remember scripture. I’m one of the worst about memorizing scripture, but I do have a few verses memorized. I found it interesting when I went back and looked at a couple of these, that some of the most loved and most memorized scriptures of all time relate very well to this topic. One of my favorites is Philippians 4:13 – “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” I have thought of this verse hundreds of times when things were tough, but when I read the surrounding verses, I was surprised to see that Paul says this in the context of being content with what we have. In the previous verse (v. 12) he says “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” That is interesting – the strength that he speaks of in v. 13 is the strength to be content no matter what his circumstances.  Another good example is the second half of Hebrews 13:5 – “…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” That has been a very comforting verse for a lot of people in tough times, but if you read the whole verse, you’ll notice that it says: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'”

So for now, I’m going to be content by choice and hope that sooner or later I will feel content as well.

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