By Vivian Bricker, Crosswalk.com
Anything can become an idol if we consider it more important than God. God is clear that we must not have any idols in our lives as the Bible tells us, “Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 26:1). Money is a common idol that many of us struggle with in different seasons of our lives. When we financially struggle, it's easy for money to consume our hearts, allowing fear and frustration to grow. When financially comfortable, it's easy to lean on money as the (false) sense of our joy.
But God doesn’t want us to place anything as an idol in our lives. Once we establish something as an idol, it becomes our “god." It is extremely dangerous to place anything as the “god” of our lives except for the true God.
Here are four signs money is your idol:
1. Not Giving to Those in Need
The first sign money is an idol in your life if you're not giving to those in need. Often, when we place money as our idol, we will not share our financial resources with those who are needy and lacking food, shelter, and basic necessities. The love of money is dangerous, as the Apostle Paul tells us, “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). While money in and of itself is not a bad thing, the love of money keeps us from living the Golden Rule.
The Bible clearly tells us we are to help those in need: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). When money becomes an idol, we neglect the financial burdens of others. Instead of freely giving, we hoard our capital gain. The Lord wants us to give to others and help them freely. Let's face it: it's hard to help those with financial burdens if we don't share our financial blessings. We cannot help others if money is an idol in our lives.
Pray and ask God to help you with this sin. God is excited when we live with a repentant heart. When you pray to God, ask Him to help you place Him as the God of your life, not money. While it can be difficult for many individuals to turn away from having money as an idol, it is more than possible for God to help you overturn this false worship.
2. Jealousy Toward Those Who Are Richer
A second sign money is an idol is if you have jealousy toward those who are richer. When money becomes an idol, you can never have “enough” money. You will not be satisfied with what you have. Instead, you will want more and more. The love of money will cause jealousy to rot our bones. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” When money is our idol, it's too easy to grow obsessed with it and envy others, damaging your relationships.
As believers, we do not need to be jealous of others. Cain was jealous of his brother Abel, and his jealousy caused him to murder his brother (Genesis 4:3-8). In the same way, when money is an idol in our life, it can lead us to destroy others for their money, and as crime tv shows reveal, it leads some to kill. There have been numerous robberies and thefts by not only the impoverished but the rich—people taking other people's lives for the dollar bill.
It's a slippery slope, friends. Repent, turn to the Lord, and ask for His help in your struggle against idolizing money.
3. Being Super Stingy
A third sign money is an idol is if you are super stingy. Surprisingly, most wealthy individuals can be quite stingy with their money. Despite having more than enough money, they prioritize themselves over those in need. There was a story my mother used to tell my sisters and me growing up about a rich man who abused his own health to conserve his massive wealth. Even though this man had enough money to last a lifetime, which he inherited from his parents, he was so stingy that he would never buy himself a new toothbrush. Most of us can see how ridiculous this is, yet this man was blinded by his love of money that he neglected his own health to get a new toothbrush.
If you have found that you tend to be stingy with your finances to the point that it hinders your health, it is a definite sign that money is an idol in your life. It is important to remember that money is nothing we can hold onto once we die. No matter how much money we obtain during earthly life, we cannot carry it with us. Jesus urges us to store our treasures in heaven as He says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
4. Place More Trust in Money Than God
A fourth sign money is an idol is if you place more trust in money than God. This is extremely dangerous because money cannot save people from their sins—only Jesus can. Yes, money can help in many ways, but we should not place our trust in riches. The Bible tells us directly, “Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf” (Proverbs 11:28). As this passage tells us, those who place their trust in money will fall.
Instead of placing our trust in money, we need to place our trust in God. Everything and everyone outside of God will fail us. We cannot place our trust in money because money is so uncertain. We could easily be robbed, or our bank accounts could be hacked. Our money can disappear in a blink of an eye, yet God is always there. He will never fade away or leave us. Proverbs 3:5 tells us this truth, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” When we trust God, we will never be let down.
Placing our trust in money will prove to be futile in time. Money is something we need in our daily life, but we should not place our trust in it, nor should we idolize it. We need to place our faith in God and trust Him. It can be tempting to find security, peace, and happiness in money, but it is not guaranteed or eternal. Finding true security, peace, and happiness cannot be found except in God.
If you have found any of these signs to be true in your life, turn to God and ask for His forgiveness. God is faithful, and He will forgive you (1 John 1:9). God needs to be the true God of our lives, not money.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/lovelyday12
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.