D-DEBT (inordinate; mammonism)


            Mammonism (or Mammon) is a concept introduced by the Lord Jesus Christ to describe the pernicious evil of making wealth, money, work, house, property, and basically any material item the chief aim of life, i.e. making material things your god.      


                        Matthew 6:24 'None is able to serve two lords, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to the one, and despise the other; ye are not able to serve God and Mammon.


            The term Mammon is taken from the Aramaic and Hebrew words for trust (AMEN) and only occurs on the lips of Jesus Christ in the Bible.  Jesus uses this term to warn every believer of the evil and demonic influences that accompany an attitude of living for money and possessions by putting them above God’s Word. The above passage shows the pernicious power of materialism in that it will destroy personal love for God and the things of God – unchecked it will cause you to hate and despise the Lord, the spiritual life, and God’s Word (as per the above passage). Human viewpoint in its arrogance rejects the above verse by claiming that it has the ability to serve both God and Mammon. 


            It is Mammon that is the root of many evils that cause couples to go into unnecessary debt.   Due to an insatiable desire to have more and more things, many couples live above their means and spend more than their income.  This results in a habit of relying on more loans and credit cards, and hoping (trusting!) to make enough in the future to pay for what they are using (or amassing) today.                              


            Even before the busting of the recent housing bubble, I have known many cases where houses were on the market because of the divorce of a young couple that simply bought beyond their means.  The couple thought that they would be so happy if they had such a nice house with the white picket fence, but the financial strain proved too much for the marriage.  The love for a “beautiful expensive home” ended up destroying the love they had for each other.  Again, an inordinate love for money, property, or any possession is a root of many evils. 


                        1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.

       This passage not only informs us that money is a root of all kinds of evil, it also warns us of how it can destroy the spiritual life.   Anytime money, wealth, work, become more important than the Word of God, the believer is already in trouble spiritually.  Anytime a believer chooses money over doctrine, he has moved into evil.    Anytime a believer always has time for work, but no time for the Word of God, he is in the clutches of mammonism.   It is not like the Lord did not warn us.  He constantly warned all of those around Him about the perniciousness of materialism. 


            I know, I know, so many people are too tired to study God’s Word.  Why are they are so tired?  Because they have to work so much!  Why do they have to work so much?  To pay on the debt of that beautiful home and expensive car and credit cards.  It is all about priorities.  To be sure there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an expensive beautiful home or expensive cars as long as they do not interfere with time for growing in the Word of God, time for growing in your relationship with your husband or wife, and time for your responsibilities as a mother or father.  The problem is when a person so wants material things that they so overextend themselves that they do not have the time or energy for spiritual growth in the Word of God and to be the husband, wife, mother, or father, that God has called him to be. Once the spiritual life is rejected, capacity to love and grow with each other with unconditional love goes out the window – all for another $.


            Mammonism enslaves, of course always by mutual consent.  Many become slaves simply for a house.  They have become slaves to their houses, cars, clothes, boats, etc, and have lost the most important relationships in life by living for Mammon.  The availability of credit just made it a little easier for them to get the wealth – no delay in gratification is needed.   Again, throughout the Scriptures Christ warns us about the pernicious and seductive power of materialism – He even gives this god/demon a name:  Mammon.  We are also informed that covetousness is a form of idolatry (Col 3:5) as well.   


            Not only is our country in financial trouble because of people buying homes they could not afford, but also due to increasing debt on credit cards.   It is easy to fall into the credit-card trap.   Using a credit card often does not seem like spending money, so one is tempted to buy more things than we might purchase otherwise.  Impulse buying is much easier with a credit card.    Credit-card buying becomes a license to spend money we don’t have and can’t spare for goods we often don’t need.  It is always easy to rationalize that you will pay it off or that the minimum payment is such a minor amount.  However, credit card buying (when one does not pay off the cards each month) is kind of a financial self-strangulation.   Once caught in the 

credit-card trap it is very hard to get out.  This adds stress and tension to any marriage as the couple is forced to use a limited salary to pay a high price for something that was charged originally but has been used or discarded already.  As the pressure builds so do many “money arguments” in the marriage.


            The solution to debt problems as well all other problems is growth in Bible doctrine.  When the believer’s spiritual life is healthy then he will have the right priorities: God, spouse, family, then work.  He will not put himself in a position that would threaten the time to develop the spiritual life and grow in the relationship with spouse and family.  It really does not take much reflection on how easy it is for one to sell out their relationship with God, wife, husband, children, parents – all for another buck. 


            We are so blessed to have a Lord who loved us so much as to warn us about problems we all face each and every day with regard to materialism,


                        1 Timothy 6:6 But the spiritual life actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. 11 But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.


       In closing I would add that it is a very small matter for the Lord to take care of our financial needs.  It is nothing for Him to provide for all that we need.  He could solve every financial problem we have overnight with very little effort.  Solving the financial problems is nothing for Him.  The real challenge is to solve our wrong attitudes toward relationships, wealth and money.  The real challenge is to renew our minds.  That requires our positive volition to His Word to the point of valuing God’s Word more than fine gold (Psalm 19:10-11).  It requires nothing less than an overhaul of the mind (Rom 12:2).   That is what God is after.  It is not our financial problems that are our biggest problems; our biggest problems are not out there, our biggest problem is between our ears:  our thinking, our priorities, and values. The issue is never money, it is volition and mindset, that very entity you are using right now to read this aloud in your mind.


Doctrine matters!    


Pastor Don