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Christisking
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Joined: 2005/7/20
Posts: 672
Los Angeles, California

 Is GREED ONLY AN ATTITUDE?

Is GREED ONLY AN ATTITUDE?
-by Brother David.

"I'm glad God looks at the heart and not the bank account,
otherwise, a lot of us Christians would be bound for hell." --- A
recent comment on a Christian discussion board

That quotation represents a very commonly-held belief among
professing Christians that greed is only an attitude of the heart
that has nothing to do with one's outward actions. This belief is
expressed in common sayings such as, "God is not opposed to
our having possessions as long as our possessions don't have us"
or, "The Lord doesn't mind what we own as long as He has our
hearts." Thus we need not be concerned about how much we
possess as long as we don't allow greed into our hearts.

Is this line of reasoning supported by Scripture? No, it actually
stands in direct contradiction to what Jesus said. He commanded
all of His followers:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth
and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store
up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for
where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:19-21).

"SELL YOUR POSSESSIONS and give to charity; make yourselves
money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven,
where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For WHERE YOUR
TREASURE IS, there your heart will be also" (Luke 12:33-34).

Jesus could not have stated it more clearly. Where we put our
treasures, either in heaven or on earth, reveals where our hearts
are. Our actions reveal what is in our hearts. So it is simply not
true that God looks only at our hearts and not at our bank
accounts. Rather, when He looks at our bank accounts (and at
everything else we possess) He knows what is in our hearts. We
may fool ourselves, but we can't fool Him.

Simple and honest logic alone should be enough to convince us
that our actions reveal our hearts. What would we think of the
person who, as he stabs a knife into his victim's back, says, "I
really don't hate this person. Inwardly I'm full of love." Or how
about a person whose house is stacked to the ceiling with
pornographic magazines and who says, "These magazines mean
nothing to me. Inwardly I'm pure"? Or how about a drunk person
who says with a slur, "Inwardly I'm sober"? Surely in every case
we would consider these people to be sadly self-deceived. Their
actions reveal their hearts while their words reveal their self-
deception. Then why do we fool ourselves about our possessions
and say, "All of these possessions mean nothing to me"? If they
mean nothing, why have we given our lives for them? Why are we
clinging to them? Why are we ignoring what Jesus said regarding them?

Greed is indeed an attitude of the heart, but one that is always
expressed by outward actions. We all know and believe that. If
you put three cookies on a plate before your three children, and
Billy grabs all three, do you say, "Billy, go ahead and eat all three
cookies...just don't allow greed into your heart"? No, Billy's actions
reveal the greed in his heart. Greed is selfishness as it relates to
material things. We all intuitively know that greed has something
to do with obeying the second greatest commandment, to love
our neighbors as ourselves.

In light of all this, consider the common Christian cliche', "It doesn't
matter what you possess as long as you hold it loosely." That is,
of course, doublespeak, a declaration that it is OK to be unwilling
to give as long as you are willing to give. An unwilling willingness!
The one who is holding something loosely is still holding it. His
treasure is still on the earth. His actions reveal his heart.

"Holding one's possessions loosely" is akin to the idea of "mental
relinquishment," something that in many peoples' minds fulfills
Christ's commandments regarding dispossession. They have given
all their possessions to Christ "in their hearts" while giving up
nothing in reality. So all that they now own supposedly belongs to
Jesus - even though it is just as much in their possession as it
was before they "gave it all to Jesus." This is utter self-deception.
It would be interesting to see what would happen if I used that
method of relinquishment when paying my taxes. When the IRS
comes knocking at my door, I'll just say, "I've mentally paid my
taxes, and in my heart I've given you all that I owe you." I suspect
the IRS would know that my actual failure to pay my taxes is a
sure indication that in my heart I don't want to pay my taxes.
God is no dummy either.

Another form of this same self-deception is found in the justification,
"If the Lord told me to give away any of my possessions, I would
do it in a second." Such a person imagines that his heart is right
and that he is willing to relinquish anything that the Lord would
require of him. Yet, as we just read from Luke 12:33-34, Jesus
has commanded all of His disciples to sell their possessions, give
to charity and lay up treasure in heaven. So this person who
imagines he is so willing to give up his possessions proves that
he is unwilling by his ignoring Christ's clear commandment. It
could be said that he is doubly-deceived, as he imagines that
what Christ required of all of His disciples is not required of him,
and he imagines if it ever was, he would surely obey .

One final form of the same self-deception is the altercation of
Jesus' commandment from, "Do not lay up treasures on earth" to,
"Do not to treasure your earthly possessions." Once again, greed
becomes only an attitude - the "treasuring" of our possessions -
so we need not actually give up anything.

Jesus, however, did not say, "Do not treasure what you possess,"
calling us to adjust only our attitudes. He spoke of actually doing
something with our possessions - selling them in order to lay them
up in heaven rather than on earth. Moreover, adjusting only our
attitudes about our possessions will not prevent thieves from
stealing them or rust from consuming them. Only by giving up our
possessions and laying them up in heaven do we prevent their
inevitable demise.

So let us not be deceived. We must ask ourselves this question:
"How have I obeyed Christ's commandment to sell my possessions
and give to charity?" And certainly this initial relinquishment implies
a continued stewardship that is characterized by less acquiring
and more giving. Our obedience to Christ's commandment would
be annulled by re-acquiring what we sold. So we must ask
ourselves another question: "Now that I have sold what is not
necessary and given the proceeds to charity, how have I been
able to increase my giving to charity by acquiring fewer (if any)
possessions?".....

Is your heart in heaven or on earth? The answer is found where
your treasures are stored.

To read an in-depth book about biblical stewardship by Brother
David, go to this site-

http://www.shepherdserve.org/ttne/ttne_intro.htm


_________________
Patrick Ersig

 2006/8/10 22:16Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re: Is GREED ONLY AN ATTITUDE?

Brother Pat wrote:

"Jesus could not have stated it more clearly. Where we put our
treasures, either in heaven or on earth, reveals where our hearts
are. Our actions reveal what is in our hearts."

This thought might be expressed by the following Scipture...

Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

The attitude of greed is created in each individual 'as the substance of things hoped for" are found to be the treasures of this world. The yearnings of man for security and fulfillment are created in us by our Creator. Yet, the substance of what is hoped for are found in the things of this world. For the carnal mind is enmity towards God. As fallen man, we are subject to the corruption of this world. For those who continue to seek security and fulfillment in the things of this world, they find that these things never satisfy these yearnings. This unfulfillment causes us to strive ever more because nothing that is seen can satisfy the yearnings that are part of what man is.

The fruits of this striving creates the attitude of greed. The evidence of what is hoped for produces in us the things that we treasure. Fallen man is in subjection to the carnal mind. All that is treasured by the world is evidence of what the carnal mind strives for. Corruption finds its roots in these strivings. We begin to war and strive against one another because we are seeking those things which point to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. The evidence of what is strived for can manifest itself in sexual exploitation. It can manifest itself in the lording over one another for place and position, "the pride of life." And it can manifest itself in the pursuit of money. Greed is the result of never finding that which satisfies. Greed is the result of never finding the waters of righteousness.


Out of time...

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/8/12 7:46Profile
mamaluk
Member



Joined: 2006/6/12
Posts: 524


 Re:

Francis Schaffer in True Spirituality wrote that true spirituality entails

- loving people enough to not to envy them

- loving God enough to not to covet against Him.

He wrote that should the tenth commandment be kept, one will have no trouble keeping the prior 9 commandants. With the tenth commandment being the most difficult one to keep inwardly. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, ..."

In my mind, greed is not just an attitude, it can be a powerful and most destructive motivator, it causes one to fall into all kinds of other sin. It robs one of contentment, and whenever discontentment kicks in, envy, lust, hate.....follow.

Pride and greed, the evil twin. :(

mml

 2006/8/12 13:42Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re: Is GREED ONLY AN ATTITUDE?

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth
and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store
up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for
where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:19-21).

"SELL YOUR POSSESSIONS and give to charity; make yourselves
money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven,
where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For WHERE YOUR
TREASURE IS, there your heart will be also" (Luke 12:33-34).


In both of these sections of Scripture we find the word "treasure." The carnal mind has not the capacity to understand the treasure that is of heaven. The carnal mind is subjected to that which is seen, that which is created.

Likewise we find other Scripture which point to the same precepts.

Luke 14:25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

I have found myself counting the costs. I have ventured in my flesh seeking to conform to the precepts commanded of us by Jesus. I myself have found that frustration and striving is all that comes from living according to the commandments. And this is expected of all who come to seriously consider the demands of Scripture in our lives. We have been corrupted by the treasures that the world seeks. We have been taught that gold and silver can bring security and gladness. We are bombarded by Madison Avenue's messages which glorify the creation and not the Creator.

Jesus defines for us the nature of worldly treasure. It is clearly defined throughout the OT and NT. The carnal mind is given a clear picture of what Jesus demands of us. However, the Scripture alone, does not enable the carnal mind to understand the "heavenly treasure." Thus man is trapped and convicted by the law of God.

So attitude or oaths alone lead man to dispare. Legalizism takes root. Those who continue along this path might well be spoken of by Paul when he cries for his own people.

Rom. 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Do you hear and understand what Paul is declaring here?

Read each word, contemplate the sequence of thoughts, seek Wisdom.

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/8/12 19:53Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Now there is a more excelent way. A way that looks to God for deliverance of coventousness...

Psalm 119:33-37,

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things...


In this section of Scripture the Psalmist prays that God will deliver him from covetousness. Look carefully to the last verse...

"Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things"

The Lord through Scripture, and the work of the Holy Spirit replaces the things that we once treasured with things that are of His kingdom. This is the "way of His statutes."

In another place in Psalm 119:17-19,

"Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word. Open my eyes, that I may see Wonderous things from Your law. I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandment from me..."

The treasures of the kingdom replace the treasures of this earth. Only by the bountifull grace of our Lord are we able to overcome those things which binded us to this earth. Look closely at the last part of the verse..."I am a stranger in the earth"

What does this say about the things this Psalmist values?

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/8/14 20:27Profile
mamaluk
Member



Joined: 2006/6/12
Posts: 524


 Re:

Rookie,

Thanks for these verses, I looove them. May I add

Proverbs 30:8
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.

Psalms and proverbs are so so precious.

mml

 2006/8/14 20:37Profile





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