Prevent Virtue from Becoming Vice
- 2012 7 Mar
Have you ever stopped to wonder just exactly what the devil has to work with? After all, if we believe that God made the world; and that God made all the stuff in the world; and that all the stuff God made is good stuff—then it begs the question, "What's the devil got to work with?"
The fact is, all the devil has to work with is the good stuff that God has made. We talk about this in the No Debt, No Sweat! Seminar and Retooled and Refuled. Satan simply takes God's good things and twists them just a little, and perverts them—then he tries to sell them back to us. Sex is a party provided it's within the bond of marriage. But outside of marriage, God's ultimate purpose for the sexual relationship is cheapened. Ambition is a wonderful attribute if we use it to bring out our peak performance. But if we use it as an excuse to claw over other people to selfishly get what we want, then it has become a bad thing.
A healthy interest in our money is right and proper. Christians have every good reason to be interested in how to get it, give it, and grow it. But, if we let our interest in money morph just a little bit, it can become greed.
Greed is a killer. It kills both temporally and eternally. King Solomon (arguably the richest guy who ever lived) could have bought and sold Bill Gates twice in a day's time with the change that fell through holes in his tunic. This guy knew his way around money. Here's what he had to say, "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income" (Ecclesiastes 5:10, niv). Greed leads a lot of God's best and brightest into tremendous sin and bondage. In the South we have an old saying, "The pigs get fat and the hogs get slaughtered."
Big picture thinking has a lot to do with stewardship. As a follower of The Way, God expects me to redeem all the gifts he has given me to his glory. There's nothing wrong (and everything right) with enjoying the blessings God gives us. The trouble comes when we use them the wrong way. And convincing us to use God's blessing inappropriately is the devil's stock and trade.
In fact, the devil is a very easy master to please. He really doesn't care which sin we choose. He's cool with whichever side of the road we run off. His job is simply to get us bogged down in the mud. But life is too short to spend it in a ditch on either side of the road.
What if we concerted our efforts to find glory and joy in whatever gifts God has blessed us with?
For instance, if you have a high intellect, congratulations. Your intellect is a gift from God. The basic question is: How will you use it? On the one hand, you may allow it to become a source of pride and arrogance. You find yourself unsettled when someone fails to introduce you properly without citing your academic achievements, referring to you as Dr. So and So.
Or you may go off the road in the other direction. This would be when false modesty becomes your drug of choice. You fail to develop and use your intellect. You may wrongly believe yourself to possess a greater level of spirituality by demeaning the gift God has given you. In either case the devil is grinning.
Yet, on the other hand, you may select to foil the devil and make God smile by humbly acknowledging your abundant gray matter for what it is: A wonderful gift from God. Then with single mindedness, you determine to use it to his glory. You never brag or make others of us who are less endowed feel small or foolish. But you never hide or deny your talent either. You take rightful joy in being able to lead, advise, and assist others who need your wisdom.
The devil is the god of extremes and bi-polar spirituality. Our God is the Master of balance.
February 15, 2011
Steve Diggs is best known for 2 internationally acclaimed seminars that he has presented at nearly 500 churches. Steve can be reached through either of the websites below, or call him at 615-300-8263:
No Debt No Sweat! Christian Money Management Seminar teaches God's people how to use God's money God's way. More at www.NoDebtNoSweat.com.
ReTooled & ReFueled: The Essential Christian Life-Skills Seminar shows Christians how to live for the beautiful bye and bye—while dealing with the nasty now and now. More at www.RetooledAndRefueled.com.