Holy Habit for Marriage #2: Put Sin to Death (Part 2), Day 12

Editor’s Note: Last week, I discussed the 2nd holy habit for marriage – put sin to death: guarding your mind and heart against sexual immorality, impurity, and lust. To read post, click here

Holy Habit for Marriage #2:

Put sin to death (Part 2) –

Guarding Against Greed

“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

This is a particularly difficult subject for me because everyone wants nice things and to enjoy life and there’s nothing inherently wrong about that. Adam and I enjoy eating out on occasion and buying nice things for our home or for entertainment purposes, and again, nothing particularly wrong with that. But if and when acquiring “things” and doing “things” become more important than seeking God and living for Christ, then there’s a spiritual problem, and the Bible calls this idolatry.

Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death, whatever belongs in your earthly nature… greed, which is idolatry.”

Sounds harsh! How can purchasing a new pair of jeans,  eating out at a restaurant, or buying a new computer game be idolatry?

It’s time for a heart check. In each of the following areas, ask yourself: How much time do I spend thinking about this area? How much time do I involve myself in this area? How much time do I spend wanting something from this area? How much do I worry about this area? Am I trusting God completely with this area of my life? 

Bills/Finances

Career/Volunteering/Work

Children

Chores/Household Management

Church/Spiritual Activities

Culture/Society

Education

Emotional Wellbeing

Entertainment (i.e. movies, music, arts, magazines, books, sports, etc)

Exercise/Staying Fit

Faith/Spiritual Growth

Family/Friends

Food/Meals

Free Time/Hobbies/Relaxing

Friends

The Future

God

Improving my Marriage/Quality of Life/Relationships/Self (etc.)

Law/Politics

Love/Romance

The Past

Pets

Physical Health

Possessions

Sex

Stress

Transportation

Vacations/Weekends

If you’re spending too much time thinking and worrying about even a third of the things on that list, you have created an idol.

In the Casting Crowns song, American Dream, the man working for the American Dream miserably reflects on his life:

“He used to say, ‘Whoever dies with the most toys wins’
But if he loses his soul, what has he gained in the end…                                                      

‘Cause he worked and he built with his own two hands
And he poured all he had in a castle made with sand
But the wind and the rain are coming crashing in
Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands.” 

Simply put, the definition of greed is an idol: the constant lust for more. Many of the problems in our marriages and in our society can be contributed to wanting too much. But things will never satisfy. Even doing “good” and “spiritual” things can’t satisfy.

The greedy bring ruin to their household…” Proverbs 15:27

How does greed affect a marriage?

Greed distracts you from what really matters: a life lived as a holy sacrifice to Jesus Christ! 

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.” ~Actor Will Smith

We’ve been told in our Western culture that bigger and newer is always better. But the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but once you get over the fence there’s just another fence! There will be just another thing for you to buy for your home, one more activity for you to be involved in, one more account to get at work, one more event to attend to keep up with the Joneses.

Be wary of how “I want more for my marriage,” can become “I deserve more from my marriage,” which becomes “I will satisfy my needs with another man,” or “I want out of this marriage.”

Greed leads to arguing. Adam and I seem to always have Argument X, the one we keep coming back to time and time again and the underlying root of this argument is finances. News flash! Money is NOT everything. As my favorite band, Switchfoot says, “The ambition for excess wrecks us…

Greed is selfishness. When you and your life partner are focused on getting bigger and better, you will neglect your relationship with Christ and overlook the bigger and better blessings God promises.

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5

5 Ways to Protect Your Marriage from Greed

1. Encourage each other to seek a strong relationship with God first and foremost, and to invest in heavenly things.  

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…No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and moneyseek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:19-21, 24, 33

2. Trust in the Lord for everything. Take your concerns (financial or otherwise) to God in prayer frequently. Know that God will not always answer the way you want Him to, but He will do what is best for you. 

The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.” Proverbs 28:25

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” Hebrews 13:5

“…my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

3. Set a budget together. Be wise with your finances. (Adam and I check with one another before spending money in order to include one another in the decision making process and to keep each other accountable). Keep your lives free from the love of money. 

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. But you, (wo)man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:10-11

4. Be content with what you have. Ask yourself: in the light of eternity, is this really worth having? 

Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” Proverbs 19:23

5. Tithe regularly. Give back a portion of your earnings to God. Your financial giving reflects a fully surrendered life to the Lord. 

“... remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35

On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up…” 1 Corinthians 16:2

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

Meet Me for a Cup of Coffee

In what areas of your marriage and life do you struggle with greed? How does greed hurt a marriage? How can we, as believers, encourage couples to set aside the concerns of this world and focus on things of God? 

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7 Comments

  1. Adam

    Just one note to put in about idols…idols can be and are any and all of those items listed above. Ask yourself what do you love to do, think about, read…do you love it more than God himself? If you have any doubts about whether or not you love God more than that thing you love is likely an idol in some shape/form. It may not be a big idol but idols can be small things, little habits, that distract us from God and draw us away (often to ourselves). God wants us to have fun and enjoy our lives, but life can only be enjoyed when it is first focused on God, then us. All and all Hannah it was a very good post!

    • Thanks for your comments. You’re so right about how if we love something more than God than that thing we love is an idol. And I really enjoyed what you said about God wanting us to have fun and enjoy life, but in order to enjoy life we must find joy and delight in God. Great thoughts!

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