Sunday, November 25, 2012

Breaking the Spirit of Unrighteous Mammon

At the very heart of the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus brings up a very popular but perhaps misunderstood statement regarding mammon. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). Many have interpreted the word mammon to mean money. However, there’s more to this word than simply equating it as money. Some scholars believe that this word has its roots in the Hebrew word hamon, which means, many, a lot or more. Though there are other views that associate this word through Aramaic roots, the Hebrew origin seems to fit the context of Jesus’ use of the word in both Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:11. I believe that Jesus’ use of the word represents being vexed with a desire for more or a lot of (hamon) of money.
I’ve heard it said that money is the root of all evil. Yet that’s not exactly what the Scriptures teach. The following verse truly represents the case that Jesus made about mammon.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. -1 Timothy 6:10
This verse teaches that the love of money and coveting after (mammon) will lead to the erring of faith and causes one to be pierced with sorrows. The word sorrows comes from the Greek word odin which means travail or pain. We need to pay close attention to this word for I believe that it will explain why we need to break the spirit of unrighteous mammon.
It’s important to understand that money is neither good nor bad and that God is not against our lives being enriched or abundant. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 list all the ways that God wants to multiply our lives. Deuteronomy 8:18 teaches that God gives us power to get wealth that His covenant of blessing might be established in our lives. God has a purpose for blessing us - it is to be a blessing to others!
1 Timothy 6:10 warns us of the “sorrows” that the love and coveting of money can bring upon our lives. With that in mind, notice to following verse:
The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. -Proverbs 10:22
In comparing the two verses I’ve mentioned, you see that the love and coveting of money will bring sorrow. On the other hand, the blessing of God, that makes rich, adds no sorrow!
Again, I considered all travail [sorrows], and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit. [6] Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit. -Ecclesiastes 4:4,6
In the verse quoted above we find that sorrows is defined as a man being spiritually vexed with the envy of his neighbor. This man is consumed with the spirit of unrighteous mammon - he never has enough, he wants more. His sorrow is that he faces vexation of spirit.
What does it mean to be spiritually vexed? The word has two meanings taken from both the Old and New Testaments. It means to have a sensation and it means to be eaten or fed upon. Most are familiar with the phrase “What’s eating you?” or “Something’s been eating me,” etc. That evil feeling of envy that comes over a person when another prospers represents the spirit of vexation. The following scripture defines it perfectly:
For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? [23] For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. -Ecclesiastes 2:22-23
Here the bible defines a person that has been vexed by the spirit of unrighteous mammon. He does not enjoy the fruit of his labor, all his days are sorrows and he is not able to rest at night. However, the following verse defines the man who enjoys the fruit of his labor.
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. -Ecclesiastes 2:24
How can one break the spirit of unrighteous mammon? I truly believe that you conquer a spirit by the power of the opposing or opposite spirit. Light conquers darkness, love conquers hate, etc. So how do you conquer being vexed with the sensation of greed and gain? The answer is to give! Honoring God financially is essential to breaking the spirit of mammon.
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. [9] Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. [10] Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. -Malachi 3:8-12
  These verses teach that the consequence of not tithing was a curse. What’s interesting is that in God’s warning of not departing from His Word, the first word used in defining the curse is vexation (Deuteronomy 28:20). Could the curse that tithes and offerings break in our lives be the curse of sorrows and vexation - the very spirit of unrighteous mammon?
It’s vital that I add, Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the Law by being made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Believers have been made free from the curse of death and eternal separation. What we are discussing is breaking the curse of greed and vexation. “Shall we sin that grace may abound?” God forbid (Romans 6:1-2). God has set before us “life and death, blessing and cursing” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Without Jesus, we have no right or power to a blessed life! As His disciples, we must choose to continue in His Word (John 8:31-32).                         
Jesus taught that a man could not serve God and mammon. But how do we as believers and disciples choose God over mammon? Notice a verse following God’s ordinance of returning the tithe into His house.Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. -Malachi 3:18
This verse literally shows us that when we honor God in tithes and offerings, we are able to discern between who serves God and who doesn’t. Remember, Jesus said we could not serve God and mammon. No matter what one decides to do with the tithe - it is the Lords. Leviticus 27:32 teaches us that the tithe is the Lord’s and that the tenth of our income is holy unto Him.
The repeated promise given to those who tithe and give offerings is the blessing. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). With all these things in mind, notice what Jesus said in the following verses:
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches. -Luke 16:11
I believe that an aspect of the true riches is the blessing. Jesus has given every believer the right to live the abundant life free of the sorrow and vexation of greed, covetousness and envy. Notice what Jesus  goes onto say in the following verses:
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? [13] No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. -Luke 16:12-13
Make a decision today to break the spirit of unrighteous mammon through the opposing spirit of generosity! Jesus said to “beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). Yet sadly, many equate being blessed by what they possess. However, I believe the blessed life can be defined by contentment, not covetousness! 
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. -1 Timothy 6:8-9
The power of contentment is truly missing in our society. Study Hebrews 13:5. It is a lack of contentment that leads to greed, stinginess, envy and covetousness! 
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate. -1 Timothy 6:17-18
Think of all the ways that lives, marriages and families have been wrecked by the sensation for more. It’s time for believers to break the spirit of unrighteous mammon and live blessed in Jesus’ Name!