In the King James Version of the Bible, a single word represents those who are “lovers of money,” who are said to be simply “covetous.” Covetousness is about being consumed by the desire for more, to make material wealth the chief object of one’s affection. What did Paul say about this sin that we see so widespread in the marketplace? The reason a lot of people are primarily in the marketplace is that they desire more material gain.
6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;
7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it;
8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.
9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. (1 Timothy 6:6-10 NRSV)
The Apostle Paul did not say money is evil; after all, money is something very useful in today’s society. It is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. When you set your affection on money, instead of on God, this is where the problem begins. The prophet is not immune to this sin or to the temptations to this sin, and he must always check his heart for the sin of covetousness. People who love money are never content. To the contrary, believers find their contentment in the Lord. Those who love money do not appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; instead, they fall into many snares. In addition, they make themselves the victims of many foolish and harmful desires and pierce themselves through with many sorrows.
When people are in love with themselves and when they love money, then this excessive love would produce arrogance, pride, and boastfulness. Boastful thoughts result in boastful words. What do your conversations sound like? Is there constant boasting in your conversations? How do you overcome being boastful? Easy. Just accept the value and the death of Christ, knowing that it is only through God’s grace and love that we ever have anything, that we can overcome this arrogance.
The perils of being proud or haughty happen when one thinks more highly of one’s self than one should. For example, Diotrephes was a man whom John called proud. He described him as one “who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority” (3 John 9). The times are perilous when you see people love themselves rather than God, love their money, and boast in their vain pride.
We see people who are blasphemers. They speak bitterly and abusively. We see Internet trolls who are relentless in attacking people—keyboard warriors—because they cannot attack these people face-to-face. They attack their leaders. They rebel and disrespect authority, and they make their rebellion and disrespect known online. On a similar note, there are also people who are ungrateful. Instead being grateful, these people complain and grumble over everything.
We see young people rant on their social media accounts about their parents and how much they hate them. In Romans 1, and here in 2 Timothy 3, we see that when one defies parental authority, one sins against God. Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said that children must obey their parents for this is right (Ephesians 6:1).
What would Paul, a prophet in the marketplace, want Timothy to do about such conditions? What would a prophet in the marketplace do in view of the peril of these sins? These questions are answered in the next chapter. Paul instructs us on how to be prophets in the social media marketplace. He says, “Proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2 NRSV). Paul’s statement implies that the Word of God is the remedy to the perilous times. As Warren Berkley puts it, “The only message that can well inform people of their sin, then offer forgiveness, is the Word of God, the gospel of Christ.”
Not only does the Book of the Month Club provide a pathway to knowledge, wisdom and insight, it also sets you up to be in attendance at the Spring Session of Prophecology 2018: Birthing House: The Latter Rain, February 23-25, 2018.
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How are you being a lover of self in your way of life?