This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at http://www.dtbm.org/

 

 

Giving God What Is His

(Revelation 18; 2 Peter 3:10-18)

 

As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you learn to avoid materialism

and give God what is His in this life!

 

 

MONDAY: What Is Materialism?

 

“… Put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry(Colossians 3:5, Emphasis added).

 

God has given us stern warnings about materialism. Materialism is when we make our sources of security, hope, trust, and pleasure in some material thing instead of the Lord. It grows into an insatiable desire to have things as our security, pleasure, and for the building up of our lives.

Greed is demonstrated in possessiveness (selfishness with what we have) and covetousness (longing for what we don’t have). Just as hate amounts to murder in 1 John 3:15 and lust amounts to adultery in Matthew 5:28, so greed amounts to idolatry.

The Bible has given believers insider information. As Revelation 18 records, on the horizon is a major upheaval in the worldwide social and economic situation. All the currency of the world—its money, possessions, fashions, and whims—will be worthless at our death or Christ's return, both of which could be imminent. This should utterly change our investment strategy.

For us to expend our precious time and energies building up more and more wealth and possessions is foolish. In light of the inevitable future, storing vast sums of money for some day in the distance is equivalent to rushing out to hoard Confederate money on the day before Sherman took the South.

To place our hope in money, despite an awareness of its worthlessness, portrays a basic ignorance or unbelief in the Scriptures.

Kingdom currency, backed by the eternal treasury, is the only medium of exchange recognized by the Son of God, whose government will last forever. The currency of His kingdom is our present faithful service and sacrificial use of our resources for Him. The payoff in eternity will be "a sure foundation," consisting of treasures beyond our wildest dreams.

Christ has told us to keep alert (Ephesians 6:10-13). This ought to encourage Christ-like living. Look at 2 Peter 3:10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up ….”

Everything that people have spent all their time investing in will be gone. Many months ago when we were driving across the Adirondack Mountains in New York, I looked out the window and saw an old run-down house. In the front yard were three piles of stuff plus a U-Haul. I imagined that an older couple had lived there and passed on, so their children had descended on the house to decide what to do with the things. They were carefully carrying out the antique furniture; putting things on tables for an estate sale; and the rest was put in a huge pile of trash. That elderly couple’s life had been reduced to three things: trash, yard sale stuff, and things their children wanted to keep. They did not get to take any of it with them. The only thing they got to take with them is what they sent on ahead (if they sent anything at all, that is).

Although I have mentioned this previously, I want to remind you of this vital truth again: Christ said that He was going to prepare a place for us—He is building a room for each of us in His Father’s house. The Apostle Paul added to that by saying that we only have two categories of building materials from which our room will be built in heaven. Our room will be built out of wood, hay, and stubble—or gold, silver, and precious stones. What you and I do on earth for Christ will determine which will be used. You see, Christ is going to put all that we’ve done through the fire, and what is left is what we will have for eternity. Therefore, Christ said, “Don’t cloud your mind with earthly interests—loving the world and all that is in it!”

Now look at 2 Peter 3:11: “… Since all these things will be dissolved [the world, the beauty of it, our possessions, all that we’ve labored for and built], what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness …?” That question needs to be answered in each of our lives. We must decide that, above all else, we want to be characterized as pilgrims and strangers on this earth. Consider the Apostle Paul, who took the gospel to the Gentiles, and wrote half of the New Testament: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Timothy 4:6).

That verse uses the same term as a boat shoving off. When we lived in Rhode Island, people used to take our family out on the ocean in their sailboats. There was a science to how the ropes were wrapped around the mooring. They did not want to secure it permanently, but just enough so the boat would not come loose and drift away. Paul said that he was ready to let the rope loose and sail away.

The other way verse 6 is described is breaking camp. The Roman Legionnaires who conquered the world lived in tents. Before a campaign, they would methodically set up their perimeter with their tents; soldiers would then go fight the battles. But they never drove their tent stakes too deeply in case they needed to break camp quickly. Paul did not pound his tent stakes in too deeply, so he was ready to pull them out at any moment. Materialism, however, makes us bury our tent stakes and put concrete on top. Materialism ties the mooring rope in knots. So Christ is saying, “Since the Day of the Lord is coming, and everything is going to be dissolved, be careful how you live—because how you live is going to determine what your ‘forever life’ is like.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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