What is the basis of your identity? In our American, individualistic culture people often associate their identity with their possessions. Thus the saying, “keeping up with the Joneses.”
But who said the Joneses were happy? And for that matter how is keeping up with them going to make you happy? True happiness comes when our identity is based on something more valuable than the possessions of this earth that will rust and rot away.
Paul wrote to his young mentee Timothy, encouraging him to be on the lookout for those whose focus was material gain rather than the Kingdom. “The love of money,” he said, “is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Money is not evil in and of itself. After all money is an inanimate object. It is the love of money that can lead us away from God. Having set forth the issue Paul goes on to teach Timothy how he should live his life, and the example he should set for others.
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:11-16 ESV)
What the Christian should flee (v 11)?
Greed, a desire for riches and things is the root of all sin (vv 8-10).
What the Christian should pursue (v 11)?
Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
What the Christian should hold onto (v 12)?
Hold onto your faith and the promise of eternity.
What is the result (vv13-16)?
- The present promise of Christ (v 13)
- The future promise of Christ’s return (v 14)
- The timing is God’s sovereign choice (vv 15-16)
In our individualistic, consumer-centric world we need to be especially cognizant of our values. Are we content with the necessities, as Paul was, or do we strive to keep up with the neighbors? The temptation to get just a little more exists in the marketplace just as much as it is in our personal lives. Many a bad decision in the marketplace was made because someone made a greedy decision, “for just a little bit more.” Avoiding this “love of money” helps avoid making bad financial decisions, as we learn to be content with what we have–at home and at work!
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you been tempted at times to place your identity in the things of this earth? How do you manage those times when the temptation to “keep up with the Jonsses” comes along?
Category: Personal Development | Priorities