Every day, the world gets up with an incredible opportunity to see God’s creation as His perfect harmonious orchestra performing with all its crescendos (ups) and decrescendos (downs), and from grave (very slow) to presto (very fast), until the final curtain call. Or, maybe they choose to see a dreadful musical theatre where their beliefs and distorted ideologies are thought to be better equipped to produce a more worthwhile and melodious outcome in their lives rather than the workings of the Triune God. And many may fall somewhere in between these two examples, resting somewhere in the lukewarm. An individual is allowed to choose the spirit in which they will work out their days on earth. Whether from a perspective of good, bad, or a mixture of both, their ruling spirit will be manifested. We get to decide to either believe in the Lord Jehovah or believe in the god of this world, Satan. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4)
As Joshua, the successor of Moses, put it, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” He chose to serve the Lord. We must also decide whom we serve: the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh (see Numbers 27:16), or some other god (spirit) from the other side of the flood. (See Joshua 24:14) Jesus Himself in Luke 16 and Matthew 6 tells us that not even one man, nothing, can serve two masters. It is made very plain for the hearer to understand. He said, “No one 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.” (See Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:9) A master, the supreme authority, the controller in our lives, is the one we allow to possess our spirit. The one we select is the one we will revere, honor, and produce the fruit of. Another way to say this is, “Whom will you choose to sustain your life and grant your provisions, not only on earth but with everlasting life in the Spirit? One that is good or one that is evil?”
Mammon can influence people to believe a lie, a mirage, a veiled delusion. It is a spirit that brings upon a person more confidence in their physical wealth and earthly riches they’ve been given, instead of relying on the provisions from above, seeking guidance from a higher authority through the finished works of Christ. (See John 17:1-5) Riches are the idols of men without uncircumcised hearts, which causes them to rely on physical wealth and the things of this world above a Spiritual God’s ability to provide for their every need. Jesus did not die in vain, for naught, He paid the ransom, the price demanded by sin–death–and rose again to the Father.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that called you, who also will do it.
I Thessalonians 5:23-24
We are in a spiritual battle, and the example in the story of Job goes to the heart of the matter: whose will you be? Satan, the opponent of good, the accuser of the brethren, is asked by the Lord if he has considered His servant Job. (See Job 1:8-11) Satan, in his reply, says, “Does Job fear God for naught?” This basically means, does Job fear God freely, devoid of cost, reason, or advantage?
Seems that Satan questions whether Job reveres God only because of His hedge of protection and the blessing upon him. He implies with confidence that Job will curse God if his covering is removed. Surely Job would fall down and worship Satan, not God after his livestock was taken away and his servants and children were killed. However, despite all the tribulations, Job does not sin against God. He was not led away from God’s chosen path for his life by permitted temptations of Satan. Job’s integrity, alignment, and ability to love God with all his heart, soul, and mind was an example of the Great Commandment Jesus spoke of in Matthew 22:35-40. (See also Luke 10:27)
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him (Jesus) a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:35-40
Now in Job chapter two, Satan is before the Lord again. God, for the second time, asks if he had considered His servant Job, “And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.” He believed that no man could choose God after his allotted time of striking his flesh. They would undoubtedly choose him, right? God allowed Satan to attack Job but forbid him to kill his nephesh, his living soul. (See Job 2:1-7) This time Satan struck Job in his body with sores and boils, inflaming his flesh most miserably from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Yet, he remained in righteousness during his testing.
Subjected to many hardships and all forms of misery, Job ultimately submitted himself to the plan God allowed for his life, giving testimony from his personal experience that God is able to prevail as victor over all circumstances and that no plot of His opponent could ever be hidden or prevail against His power. Job was given greater blessings in the end than at the beginning of his life.
It is fascinating that the book of Job declares Satan’s intent to overwhelm and persecute the “one that feared God, and avoided evil,” even provoking God to test him. In Hebrew, the name Job means hated, persecuted. He was under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, and Satan and the world he ruled would hate him for being such a wealthy man yet could not be controlled by any other spirit, including Mammon. Job’s integrity prevailed even though there was a move against him by Satan, “to destroy him without cause.” In Hebrew, the word cause means for nothing, without a wage being paid, undeserved, for no purpose, in vain.
What type of “job” will you choose to perform? God had incredibly blessed Job; his job was to be a bondservant to the Lord. Whom will you serve? Will you serve the Lord with reverence and honor, in spirit and truth, or serve other gods (spirits)?
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 10:14 that we should run away from vices and vanish from their presence. Separate ourselves from idolatry. The word idolatry (eidololatria in Greek) means the worship of false gods, which have no Truth in them.
The Greek word study puts forth some clarity on the word eidololatria. First, there are the actions of someone performing formal sacrificial deeds in honor of a false god(s), and second, it calls out someone with an excessive desire for gain, coveting what others have, which is a sign they are worshipping Mammon. The worship of Mammon will cause all types of vices to appear which are immoral, reflecting the likeness, the fruit if you will, of the spirit in control of the person. Job is only found perfect and upright by the Lord, fearing God, so we can surmise there were no other gods (spirits) that he was serving.
The Spirit of Mammon and the Company of Satan
Have you heard of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira? In Acts 5, their story plays out. They sold some property but kept back some of the money. They brought the amount they were willing to share with the apostles and placed it at their feet. This was to be a sign of total submission and that Christ would now be the influential ruling power (spirit) over their life.
However, they were not willing to give all the money at the feet of the apostles. They did like the others and placed their offering at their feet, acting as if they were giving everything, yet, their deception was not hidden from the Holy Ghost. Peter asks why Ananias would allow Satan to fill his heart and lie to the Holy Ghost, to God Himself, by keeping back some of the total price for the land? He not only lied to the men around them, but he also lied in the presence of God. After Peter spoke, Ananias fell down dead. But you see, Sapphira also knew what her husband was going to do. It also corrupted her heart by participating in the same deception. The spirit of Mammon brings about vices, such as being untruthful. We know who has no truth in him, and he is called the father of lies–Satan. (See John 8:44) She knew nothing of Ananias’ death and arrived about three hours later. Peter asks the selling price of the land, and she repeats the amount they agreed to give. She, too, fell down and died. Ananias and Sapphira were in the company of people filled with the Holy Ghost, in the presence of God, yet proved who the ruler was in their spirits. Their hearts remained in servitude to Mammon. You cannot serve two masters at the same time.
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.)
Many are longing for an Acts 5:12 corporate moment to resurface, just like the one Peter saw. Where signs and wonders and all manner of miracles occur. But these things didn’t happen until after Ananias and Sapphira were removed from amongst them, and they were in one accord. This is a clarion call for people, no matter their position within the body of Christ, to repent and give up the spirit of Mammon.
Those who idolize money do not realize that God supplied it even though they have provided the action to acquire the funds, and the Holy Spirit sees everything that is done with it. Without realizing that it truly is a spiritual battle to occupy and overtake their mindset, they are serving Mammon. That spirit will despise God because the riches will not buy a seat in Heaven. The spirit within a man is worth more than the flesh that covers it, yet it is the choice of a man to which spirit resides: good or bad. And our God is a jealous God. He wants all of you. When someone receives Jesus Christ into their heart by believing He is who He says He is, they are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, our inheritance until the redemption. God will fulfill everything He has planned for those who choose Him. (Ephesians 1:12-14)
Win The Race: Choose Good
What choice would help us become better equipped to overcome the spirit of Mammon, run our race against the opponent of God, and push back against the enemy’s current plans? Simply put, have reverential fear and honor towards God, showing it through the sacrifice of the tithe. Tithing circumcises the heart of a person. And do not mistake the meaning here. Just because a person tithes does not mean his heart is right with God. The story of Ananias and Sapphira bears this out. Some will give thinking that if they do, the blessing will surely come. But that is not the case. A person must have his heart, his spirit in a position of honor to God, and a genuine desire to serve Him and no other god (spirit).
In Malachi 3, we find out that if we are not tithing and giving offerings, we rob God and fall under a curse. That curse will cause us to hate one master and love the other. When we don’t tithe, we align with an evil spirit because it does not want to bow down and serve God. The process usually takes some time before getting to the point of submission, yet, when achieved, God will show up and show out. All to His glory, not ours.
When someone has relinquished the spirit of Mammon, they do not need prompting to give. They know that it is through the giving that the blessing will flow. But first, God doesn’t NEED your money! He owns everything that ever was and ever will be. He is looking for a heart willing only to serve one master. A tithe is the first 10% of any gain a person receives. An offering is any amount above the 10% given as a tribute to God. God can make the remaining 90% worth more than if you kept the whole amount. This action, this cutting away of a fleshy heart, is the only place in the Bible where God says to test Him. Investigate for yourselves if he will not open to you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that you will not have room enough to receive! Yet, there is more to this blessing, and I feel this information is very timely.
There is a second blessing associated with the tithe. God states in Malachi 3:11-12, “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” Being under the protection of the Lord from the devourer will be imperative in the coming days and years, and we must be in one accord, one mind, one heart, playing our part in the grandest, most harmonized orchestra ever performed. And we must get our hearts away from serving Mammon and only longing for the company of the Lord. All to the glory of God!
Job continually sent burnt offerings to the Lord to sanctify his family because he knew they might have been guilty of cursing God within their hearts, loving another god. Their actions would incur a penalty that was payable by death. Which turned out to be the scenario. However, being declared by God to be a pious and upright man, Job seems to have been one who was under the Great Commandment, fearing only God and rebuking evil. He was only serving one Master and turned away from the false gods (spirits). He ran his race with patience, relying on God for his needs during the good and bad times.
I, for one, am glad to see Christmas come this year. Our family has decided, along with many others I am hearing about, to forgo presents this year and focus on family, friendship, and, most importantly, The Presence. Yes, we can all celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ without a gift box to open. I am sure He would much rather you open His Gift of salvation and open your heart to receive it. And maybe, just maybe, that giving “Christmas Spirit” will wash over all those who read this, and their hearts will grow three sizes today!
Shalom, Peace be unto all this Christmas!
Feature Image: Bigstock.com; scriptures KJV