Many Christians divide their lives into categories. Some things they want Jesus to be a part of, but not others. Because we compartmentalise our Christian lives, according to Pastor Jeff Vines, we instantly assume that everything we don’t devote to God is neutral.
God will still love us, but any area that we withhold from Him and think we can handle on our own is a false assumption. C.S. Lewis said, ‘There is no neutral ground in the universe.’ Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.
In his message Truth and Lies of Financial Freedom, Jeff reminds us not to underestimate the power of Satan and his desire to take hold of all areas in our lives. The Bible teaches that God sent His son to die on the cross for us, but also that there’s an entity in this world that is diametrically opposed to anything good.
Jesus Came to Give us Life to the Full
‘When you underestimate Satan’s power, you won’t be on the lookout for it,’ says Jeff. ‘Even though we are supposed to be more than conquerors, we can live our whole lives in an area of defeat. Jesus said in John 10:10 that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.’
There’s a way that leads to life. But there’s also the prince of the power who is here to destroy us. It is God who justifies us, we don’t justify ourselves before God. If we could do that, we wouldn’t need the cross. God makes us right before Himself by sending his son to pay the penalty for our sin. Past, present, future.
‘There are things that the Bible teaches that appear on the outside to be bondage,’ says Jeff. ‘But they’re not. They’re incredibly freeing, but we have to trust them. There is nothing happening inside you that can change the love of God for you, for those who are in Christ Jesus.’
Money Worries are Stressful
Jeff says we all know that the number one cause of stress in marriages is money. And it also causes a new marriage to disintegrate faster than any other outside force. It is the devil’s primary tool utilised to cause tension in any relationship.
‘The devil tells us many lies,’ says Jeff. ‘Number one is that it’s my money and I can do whatever I want with it. But the Bible says in Psalm 24 that the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in the world and all who live in it. Everything came from God, everything belongs to God. He is the ruler of all things in your hands, and He is the one who gives you your wealth.’
The second lie the devil tells us is that money and things will bring us ultimate satisfaction. But the Bible tells us that whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. When you love money to that point, it becomes your idol. When it is the thing that you pursue your priorities are distorted.
All We Need is Jesus
‘When you have Jesus, He’s all you need,’ says Jeff. ‘I’ve met many people living in poverty, and they’re happy because all they need is Jesus. People continue to seek for happiness and materialism. They seek inner fulfilment by obtaining positions of power in corporations, communities, and their own families. Yet they remain unfulfilled.’
Why is it that the Bible repeatedly reminds us that money and stuff will never bring us the satisfaction that God can? In the story of Jacob, God shows up and Jacob wrestles Him. The reason God shows up is that He’s trying to teach Jacob a lesson. Everything that he striving to get through illegitimate means, God was going to give him anyway.
‘We have a hard time learning this lesson,’ says Jeff. ‘We treat money like we do food. We don’t just eat when we’re hungry. Do you ever eat when you’re depressed? We tend to use food like a drug, like a high because we want to feel good.’
‘We do the same thing with money,’ says Jeff. ‘It’s a sad thing, but in the affluent West we purchase things because it gives us a temporary high. But it will never provide lasting fulfillment.’