Money, Pride & Destructive Relationships Hinder Holiness
As mentioned last week: If we truly want to experience the power of God, we must surrender pivotal areas of our lives.
The first area was our “time.” I John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We claim that we don’t have time for God, but we find time to enjoy the things of this world. If we don’t schedule time, time will schedule for us. “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Time is not like money; it can’t be earned, borrowed, or saved. You do, however, spend it, so spend wisely.
The next area to surrender was our “mind.” What you think provides the framework for who you become. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
Holiness is not a strange, outdated word. Its being set apart, or separated from anything that causes us to sin, whether mentally in what we think, or physically in what we do. Holiness begins in the mind.
The next area to surrender is our money. 1 Tim 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
One of the best times in my life was when I went from working seventy hours a week as a corporate executive running multiple fitness locations to making much less money working in construction and writing books. During that transition I realized that the more that I owned, the more that owned me. Money can be a great servant, but a terrible master.
Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). It’s been said that if Christ is not Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all. Charles Spurgeon adds, “We cannot follow two things. If Christ be one of them, we cannot follow another.” If He’s not Lord, it may be because we have not yielded in this area. His followers put their complete trust in Him, not in money.
Next, we must surrender our pride. I Peter 5:6 declares, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” Pride is the opposite of humility, and its collapse is certain. D.L. Moody once said, “I can look back for forty years, or more, and think of many men who are now wrecks or derelicts who at one time the world thought were going to be something great. But they have disappeared entirely from the public view. Why? Because of overestimation of self. Oh, the men and women who have been put aside because they began to think that they were somebody, that they were ‘it,’ and therefore God was compelled to set them aside.”
Pride can be defined as conceit, or a sense of superiority in who we are, what we do, or in what we possess. A proud Christian is an oxymoron. The Lord hates pride and arrogance. When we think more highly of ourselves than we should, pride is a problem; it will hinder spiritual development. Without humility and a teachable spirit, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to defeat pride. Humility does not mean that we become passive observers, but that we live in total surrender to God.
Next, we must surrender our relationships. In Luke 14:26, Jesus said, “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.” This scripture has been confusing for some, but Jesus is simply saying that our relationship with Him must exceed our relationships with others.
Countless times God warned His people not to have friends who would draw them away from Him, and countless times their disregard led to their downfall. If you’re not sure if a person is a positive influence in your life, consider where they are leading you. Is it in the direction that you want to go? If not, seriously reconsider the relationship. I cannot stress this enough.
If you are standing on a wall, it’s easier to be pulled down than to pull another up. Companions, good or bad, will influence you. It’s easy to believe that you can influence the other person, but they often have the leverage and can pull you down. Guard your relationships carefully. (See Proverbs 24:1 and I Corinthians 15:33.)