To the flesh, there is nothing better than money in a savings account or in the world of investment, either for retirement, the illusion of prosperity or for the proverbial “rainy day”. Society harps on and desires money, things and the illusion of power that the “lifestyle of mammon” brings. What is a “lifestyle of mammon” and what does this mean for Christians?
by John and Ruth Greene
We live in a materialistic society. A common attitude views life as “the bigger, the better.” This lifestyle of millions seems to be the longing of billions around the globe. We serve money and things as we spend our life and time collecting and storing objects of wealth. To the flesh, there is nothing better than money in a savings account or in the world of investment, either for retirement, the illusion of prosperity or for the proverbial “rainy day”. This attitude sets up “self” as god. Society harps on and desires money, things and the illusion of power that the “lifestyle of mammon” brings. (“Video – A Lifestyle of Mammon: Is Gain Always Righteous?“; “Christians & Finance“; “News: Hyperinflation & False Teaching“; “News: Investment & the Black Horse of Famine“)
The “lifestyle of mammon” is a way of life for untold millions of Christians. Whatever you store up, you will spend personal time and energy to keep in the effort to hold it or amass more of it. America and much of the world is caught in a materialistic trap and hardly knows it, even as untold numbers profess Christianity. (“Bible Prophecy and the Rise of the Corporation“; “The Image & Mark of the Beast System“)
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:10 NIV
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV
Worldly treasures and a wealthy lifestyle surrounding “mammon” are uncertain at best and are NOT truly life, but a likely constant distraction from vital spiritual matters that holds answerability to Elohim [‘God’, YHWH]. Even the purpose of wealth and power that exists within some denominations of churches has been lost. Untold millions of professed Christians and the shepherds that lead them have lost sight of what is most important in the assembly of Messiah: knowing YHWH, working in harmony and relationship together and with YHWH as well as taking His Kingdom News accurately to the world. Loving mammon is a mindset. (“Christians, Corporations & Disability in the US“; “Disciples: Focused on the Messiah & His Purpose“; “The Great Beast Seduction“)
This simple truth remains.
“No one is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cleave to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve Elohim and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24, ISR98
Storing up treasures for YHWH’s Kingdom is not limited to tithing in storehouses of real Bible truth, but is accomplished by all acts of obedience and love for YHWH. In a sense, investing in heaven is the fulfillment in all that a dedicated Christian does. A true Christian seeks YHWH’s purpose in an honest spiritual lifestyle and attitude, not simply seeking and apportioning money or wealth. As a Christian, you may have heard the admonition of Yahshua [Jesus] regarding two masters until you were hopelessly bored, ignoring the truth of His words while blaming money for evil in the world. Untold millions do this very thing without realizing that money, even wealth, is a instrument, not the satisfaction of life, deliverance, or salvation. English translations typically render the Syriac word “mammon” as money, riches or wealth. Mammon is all of these things and much more. Mammon is a way of life, an attitude. There is a good reason why Yahshua [Jesus] used the Syriac word “mammon”. Let’s find out why. (“Attitude and the Disciple of Messiah“; “Attitude & the Disciple of Messiah“; “The Kingdom of YHWH and the Drive for Self-Importance“)
Mammon is a word that encompasses the trappings of wealth, everything that falls under the name of worldly goods. It is said that Mammon was an old “god of money.” Irenaeus, an early French overseer noted, “Mammon, according to the Jewish way of speaking, which the Samaritans used, is one that is greedy, and would have more than he ought; but, according to the Hebrew language, it is called adjectively Mam, and signifies one that is gluttonous; that is, who cannot refrain himself from gluttony.” In essence, “mammon” is worshiped as a god. (“The Idolatry Factor“; “Video: What is Idolatry?“) This is incompatible with true faith and conduct of a Christian. Such persons are covetous for wealth along with all the trappings and commit themselves to that “lifestyle of mammon”, eagerly and anxiously pursuing that lifestyle. Obedience to YHWH and Messiah is a pretense because confidence is fully placed elsewhere. Directly put, in character with scripture (Acts 5:29) and based on the observations of early scholars, such people are opposed to YHWH and to any accurate truth that they could know in exchange for legalism. They are no less than apostates or antichrists that have put their trust and faith in a worldly system of mammon to sustain them. Any that leads others in this direction is a blind guide, much as Yahshua [Jesus] described Jewish leaders during His time on earth. (“Called to Have Confidence in Messiah“)
One example of the ages could be the scribes and Pharisees, even the majority of Jews in Yahshua’s [Jesus] time, who were notorious for the love of “mammon”. That character of ugly rebellion and pride resulted in the destruction of the second temple, even when General Titus of the Romans fought mightily to preserve it. The Jews of that time labored for the ‘Law,’ which had become distorted from years of tradition, mystical thinking and writing. Religious Jews took care of the commandments, the letter of the law as they saw it, tithes and what appeared to be good conduct. Scholars and ancient sources indicated that the majority of Jewish culture loved “mammon” and hated one another without cause.
Our Savior exposed the cheat that the people of His time put on their own souls and the cheat that Christians are liable to put upon themselves, only this cheat isn’t really a cheat. Who are we fooling if only ourselves? A disobedient self-worshiping creature that serves only him or herself certainly isn’t fooling YHWH nor His Son, not even His Spirit. The grand hypocrisy is not compatible with the Will of YHWH, for anyone that does such a thing sets him or herself above Elohim as an idol, as their own god. (“Culture: Prompting Falsehood Through the Lie“; “Approved: Lie Cheat & Steal“; “Becoming Your Own God Through General Goodness?“)
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” – Matthew 15:8-9, NKJV
“But these things which were once a gain to me, I have counted a loss for the sake of Messiah. But, no, rather I also count all things to be loss because of the excellency of the knowledge of Messiah Yahshua my Master, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them to be trash, that I might gain Messiah and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness of law, but through the faith of Messiah, having the righteousness of YAHWEH on faith” – Philippians 3:7-9, HRB
Whatever is in the world, whether lusts of the flesh or pride of the means of life…even your stomach can be mammon as you follow the course of that lifestyle. In the words of Yahshua [Jesus], ‘the other’ (heteros) is a distinction of quality between two opposites. In His own words, Yahshua [Jesus] shows the impossibility of loving the world and loving YHWH at the same time. A man of the world cannot be man of YHWH, a disciple of Messiah. A man of religious mammon cannot be a man of YHWH, nor have the Holy Spirit. (“Knowledge of Good and Evil“; “Wisdom & the Battle of Two Kingdoms“)
In the same line of thought, Yahshua [Jesus] said,
“The light of the body is the eye. Therefore if your eye is sound, your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matthew 6:22-23, MKJV
Yahshua [Jesus] firmly contrasts light with darkness, clear vision with evil.
Messiah instructs His people, those that are willing to listen,
“Do not lay up treasures on earth for yourselves, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21, MKJV
Yahshua [Jesus] tells it like it is, but this is not about fine sounding heavenly glory and singing angels as many might portray. Yahshua [Jesus] didn’t discuss that here. He is very pragmatic about where His people would put their trust or lay up their treasure or spiritual commitment. The reality is that lifestyle bears very real fruit beyond conduct. Yahshua [Jesus] reveals the grand rift between light and darkness, clear Biblical vision against the evil of greed, selfishness and mammon, a lifestyle based on a failing system of fleshly power. Where the treasure is actually placed is where the heart is. The wife of Lot proved that her heart resided with Sodom and Gomorrah. She couldn’t follow YHWH’s instructions and it finally cost her dearly. Simply put, you are an obedient believer to the best of your ability by allowing the Holy Spirit [Sanctified, Set Apart Spirit] to work in you without legalism and manmade rules OR you are not. (“Disciple: Wavering Between Two Opinions“)
“Because of this, I say to you, Do not be anxious for your soul, what you eat and what you drink, nor for your body, what you put on. Is not life more than the food and the body than the clothing? Observe the birds of the heaven, that they do not sow, nor do they reap, nor do they gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Do you not rather excel them? But who of you by being anxious is able to add one cubit onto his stature? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not labor nor do they spin, but I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed as one of these.
If YAHWEH so enrobes the grass of the field, which is today, and is thrown into a furnace tomorrow, will He not much rather you, little-faiths? Then do not be anxious, saying, What may we eat? Or, what may we drink? Or, what may clothe us? For after all these things the nations seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of YAHWEH and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:25-34, HRB
In this passage of scripture, Yahshua [Jesus] reminds the listener no less than 3 times to take no thought (merimnao) about tomorrow. This is exactly the opposite of what this world system of mammon recommends. As Americans, we are mentally trained to be fully concerned for tomorrow for a rainy day that is always around the corner. Self-reliance is the buzz word of life. The world says that we must be able to take care of ourselves even when we know that this is not always possible. This attitude of mammon is not the Way. (“Origins of Faith & Global Culture“; “Fear & YHWH’s Protection“; “YHWH’s Prayer Shawl of Protection“; “YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“)
In the flesh, putting trust in YHWH over a worldly system of weights and balances can be exceeding difficult, especially when faced with trial and opposition from the system of mammon itself. In time of trial, Yahshua [Jesus] admonishes His disciples that they will be looked after because Christians are far more important than his earthly creation and the beauty of nature.
The entire world seeks fleshly subsistence, luxuries and even security of some measure. Yahshua [Jesus] says that this is not what His people seek. Christians seek first the Kingdom of YHWH after being born again. Christians begin to put a new Christian personality, a better man in Messiah. As Christians look after righteous purpose, YHWH handles the details, making all things possible as His people work within His Will. Disciples pray and listen to YHWH through scripture and through the Holy Spirit. Christians can do this because of a devoted relationship, standing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Yahshua [Jesus] promised His people a Counselor that would teach us, emphasizing the absolute need to be able to rely on the Kingdom of YHWH. All these other things will be added to you. This emphasizes the need to be equally yoked with spiritual brothers and in covenant relationships. Scripture does not ensure constant comfort or that Christians will work within their personal comfort zone. In fact, the opposite will likely be true for dedicated believers that stand for Him. On the other hand, Yahshua [Jesus] knows that we are flesh and that flesh has needs. He admonishes that His people must not be anxious for tomorrow because every day has its trouble. Disciples of Messiah are to live for each day depending fully on YHWH and the revealing of His Kingdom. (“Hardened Hearts: Strengthening the Brotherhood in Messiah“; “A Branch of the Vine through Trust“; “Consenting to Fables of Men“)