Summary: Part three of this series examines how Satan uses the deceitfulness of riches to destroy Christians.
Satan’s Battle Tactics
This is part three of my series “Satan’s Battle Tactics.” Our foundation Scripture for this series comes from John 10:10 which says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Last time I shared with you that if Satan cannot outright steal the Word from you he will try to get you to sacrifice it on his altar (making in null and void in your life). If this does not work he will try to destroy the Word from operating in your life by piling on the cares of this world. His whole focus is to minimize the power of the Word in our lives. Keep this in mine this morning as we examine the next tactic of his battle plan. Let’s go back to Mark chapter four and we will begin at verse eighteen.
In Mark the fourth chapter we read about the seeds that were sown among the thorns. In the explanation Jesus referenced how the deceitfulness of riches chokes the word out of us. Let’s read this again to refresh our minds. “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19) While Jesus also states that the cares of this world and the desires for other things also chokes the Word from us, I want us to pay close attention to the deceitfulness of riches. This tactic works against Christians who are strong in the Word so I want to focus on this one specifically. You will not have to do an extensive search to find Christian leaders who are caught up in the power of money and end up losing the gift that God has placed within them. One of the most popular things Satan likes to do is hiding behind religion and tells us what God is and what He isn’t. To this end he tells us that God wants all of His believers to be prosperous and have plenty of money. He wants us to believe that God equates faith and blessings with money and material things. This is why we often hear testimonies of how God has “blessed” us with something when we receive material things (new house, car, job, etc.) because that is what is being taught. If the devil can get us to believe these lies then it makes sense that if we do not have the material things that the world says we should have then we are not truly being blessed according to our faith in God. Also, and this is important, if we feel that God is not blessing us as He does others because we do not have material things, we spend our lives trying to obtain them so that we can prove our faith! Do you see this? We work harder and longer hours to pay for things to prove that we are walking in the favor of God. And to make this even worse, we begin to place our security in the money versus in the God who enabled us to have it in the first place. When we allow our minds to go here, the devil wins. He has us because he has the authority to give money especially if he understands that the money will remove our focus from God! The deceitfulness of riches is a powerful tool that Satan is using against us and none of us are exempt from this deceit. Let me demonstrate this to you.
Turn with me to Luke 16:10-13. It reads, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” I want you to focus on verses eleven and thirteen.
In verse eleven we see something that most people overlook or do not think about as it relates to their personal finances. I want you to see that God pays attention to how we use the money that is placed within our hands. Jesus said, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? (Vss. 11) Let me say this first, if you are living with a mountain of debt that is not God’s will for your life. While we may desire to be financially free, when it comes to making buying decisions for something we want, we do not necessarily have the patience to wait until we can pay cash for it. Many of us live in debt because we give in to our flesh of wanting something right now! I have told you before that there is a level of accountability that comes with being a Christian and how we use “unrighteous wealth” is one of them. Many people use the majority of their funds to feed their selfish desires which leaves them little to give to the work of God. This is a form of not being faithful with unrighteous wealth and being deceived by riches. How we use our finances is a test God uses to assess whether or not we are ready for the higher levels of blessings, prosperity, responsibility and authority and sadly, many Christians are failing this test. The word “faithful” in this verse comes from the Greek word pistoi which paints the picture of someone who is known to be faithful, responsible, conscientious and trustworthy in contrast to someone who is rash, irresponsible and untrustworthy. If someone is not trustworthy with unrighteous money, how can they be trusted with true riches? This is the statement that Jesus is making.