In the Grip of Money – Part 1

By Joel Iyorwa

It has never ceased to amaze me each time I reflect on the way God, the almighty and sovereign God, is mentioned in the same breath with money, a mundane, man-made treasure. Consider this scripture for a moment:

“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.” (Matt. 6:24)

It is almost as if money (also called mammon) is being put at ‘the same level’ with God.

When it said “you cannot serve two masters,” I naturally expected it to say something like “God or Satan.” But alas, it does rather pit money against God as a contender for men’s affections and passions.

If satan were to walk up to 99% of people in the world today (including non-believers) and say to them – and it won’t matter how politely he begs them – “Will you serve me?” they will all say, “No way!”

Satan himself is not attractive. Even most non-believers are not conscious of the fact that they are in his service. If they did, many would back out immediately.

Satan is more aware of the fact that our human resources like our affection, passion, love, etc are indivisible and extremely more limited than we are.

Because the goal of satan is to preoccupy and distract us so that we are unable to truly serve Jesus, the core reason for our existence, he uses a decoy, a surrogate. Satan’s decoy is Money!

Money is a hundred times more appealing and attractive than satan himself. If money had existed in the Garden of Eden, you can bet that would have been what the serpent would have utilized.

Since money emerged, satan has found his perfect surrogate with which he lures men and women into a servitude that is not to God. That’s why money exists at the core of the world’s system. Without money, the world’s system cannot hold together.

The bible tells a very sad story of one ‘rich young ruler’ who was caught up in a dilemma of following and serving Jesus or pursuing and serving mammon. He was a rich guy who loved his money and thought he could serve and follow Jesus and still have a space in his heart for money.

“Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”

This man chose to continue to serve money rather than God. He didn’t openly and consciously chose to follow satan here, but that attachment he had to money is exactly what the devil wanted.

In clinging tenaciously to that love for money, he was unable to muster any passions in his heart for following Jesus. It had to be one or the other.

In part two of this article I will be sharing about what it means practically to serve Mammon and how its hold over us can be broken.

Have you been trying to serve God while also being in hot pursuit of money? What undergirds your drive to make money?

The words of a song readily come to mind here:

“If anything upon this earth
Attracts me with, its sense of worth
If money has its hold on me
Lord give me light that I might see”

How we need that piercing light of the Holy Spirit to reveal any hold of mammon over us.

Show us, Holy Spirit, how we have let our hearts drift with loyalty and passion after money, hindering us from being effective servants of God. Pray for light and confess to the Lord those things the Holy Spirit brings to mind.

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