Greed vs. Spiritual Godliness
I am going to cover a subject that many bible teachers do not teach.† Greed is a result of the five senses that are out of control and there are many different ways that greed can manifest itself.† Envy results in greed and so does covetousness Ė to a great degree.† Lust is another major factor which contributes to greed.† Lust is simply over desire and the world will tempt you with all of these factors.† Letís not forget the love of money.† There is nothing wrong with money, but it is the love of money that is the problem.† The love of money is the root system of all evil in the world today.† So in its least common denominator greed is the result of the love of money.† The following is similar to a simple flowchart as to how greed operates.
Covetousness is a desire for what others have.† Covetousness is a result of lust and lust is over desire.† These two are almost synonyms.† Lust and covetousness can be the result of envy which is an evil desire to have what someone else has.† Envy resulted in the first murder that occurred in the Bible.† This is when Cain slew Abel.† So envy can be an extremely dangerous and deadly emotion.† Now we are beginning to see where all of these factors tie in and work together towards one goal.† Now letís take a look at all of these factors and see what is the least common denominator that is causing a person to think this way with their five senses.† Now we can conclude that this is the love of money.† Are you able to see it?† Now greed is a result of the five senses and that is a result of the carnal mind which is what the world teaches and propounds.† We know by now that this present evil world is run and controlled by the devil himself.† So all of these negative factors originates from him.† Going to an opposite aspect, greed is the exact opposite of spiritual godliness.† Spiritual godliness is your true and vital spiritual relationship with God Almighty.† You can only have this relationship if you know God and God is His Word.† Spiritual godliness in a personís life can yield only positive things pertaining to a personís lifestyle.† The worldís way, which we have gone over in detail, can only lead to destruction sometimes in the short run and sometimes in the long run.† If itís in the long run, this is how the devil tricks people into living a lifestyle that appears to be profitable.† What a man gives out he always gets back.† This is one of the true Godís mighty principles.† I always said that if every man lived by this principle, the world would be a perfect place in which to live.† No one would do anything wrong because they know that itís going to come back to them.† Well, we will have to wait until Jesus Christ returns and places us in the third heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.† You can bet your life as I have done mine that this day is coming.† Take a look at the situation of the world today.† Most people are full of greed.† All they want is more and more and more and get they never get to know the realization of a simple life.† I make sure my life does not get too complicated because I just canít enjoy it.† If you donít have enough time to enjoy life, then whatís the point?
I wanted to make a short introduction but it is difficult to do when you are trying to get the Word of God across to people to the point where they act on it.† In the process of doing research for this type of teaching, I ran across nine Scriptures in I Timothy.† They seem to cover every aspect that I wanted to go over.† When this happens to me, which doesnít seem too often, I feel that God is giving me a break.† It is not necessary for me to do a ton of research to put certain teachings together because God already put it together for me.† We are going to go over these nine Scriptures and they are going to cover everything we need to know pertaining to greed versus spiritual godliness.
Before we begin with verse 3 of I Timothy Chapter 6, you should absolutely read verses 1 and 2 of this chapter.† You will see that the context is talking about the correct doctrine of the Word of God and the fact that it should not be blasphemed.† It mentions that the teachers of Godís Word should not be despised but rather we should do service unto them because they are faithful and beloved.† These are the things that we should teach and exhort.† Then the chapter goes on to explain people who do the opposite of what they should be doing.† Let us let the Word speak.† Even though I went over these first two verses, you should also read them and make sure you understand that they set the context [the overall subject matter] of the chapter.†
I Timothy 6: 3-11:
You should be able to see that this verse takes up where verse 2 ended.† Verse 2 ends by saying that we should be listening to teachers who are faithful to Godís Word.† So verse 3 goes on to mention about the people who teach otherwise and do not consent to the words of the true God.† They consent to words which are not wholesome.† They do not consent to the words of Jesus Christ and to the doctrine which is according to godliness.† There is genuine or spiritual godliness.† The teachers who do not adhere to the true Word of God do not teach true spiritual godliness, but a counterfeit type.† This emanates from the world and the devil is the present god of this world.† I noticed that God sums up what I just said in the next verse.† Letís go over that verse since we learn by repetition.† However along with the explanation that I just gave God goes on to explain in detail the consequences of what happens to these people in verse 4 as we will see.
3)† If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even† the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
Again, if a man teach anything besides the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godlinessÖÖ† We explained godliness before and I will again.† It is our true and vital spiritual relationship with God.† It is based only upon knowing and acting on the Word of God.† If any man does not practice true spiritual godliness, the following is what will take place.† I want you to take notice that there is one word in the following verse that we have gone over previously and that word tends to lead a person to greed.
4)†† He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
God says that these people who blaspheme the Word of God and who do not practice true spiritual godliness will suffer the following consequences.† God says that this person is proud.† This is pride.† Pride is a devil spirit where a person becomes heady and high-minded.† The second thing God points out is that these people know nothing Ė they are just plain stupid.† They also bicker back and forth about questions and strifes of words.† They talk about nothing and if you listen closely to a person like this, you will see that they make no sense and that their words accomplish nothing.† And as a result of this type of action by a personís own free will, there then comes envy, strife, railings, and evil surmisings.
Letís take a part the last part of this verse and go over each word so that we totally understand what God is trying to tell us.† This is how you do research.† I am simply using a Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament.† You can do the same.
ENVY -- this word is always used in a bad sense.† It is jealousy of anotherís success and depreciation of his worth.† It is envy of another personís excellence.† This can be referred to as heart burning jealousy.† This is the stepping stone for greed and is the opposite of spiritual godliness which is giving cheerfully to help others based on the Word of God.† All of this takes place as a result of a personís free will.† That is why we must work very hard to renew the mind to Godís principles.† The renewed mind is a difficult process and happens very slowly, but as I said once before, every day gets a little bit better.† Letís take a look at the next word in this verse.
STRIFE -- this is defined as rivalry, contention, a quarrel.† I have done a teaching called Ambitious Rivalry.† You should read that teaching.† Can you not see where strife can result in greed of some type?† Just the term rivalry points towards a person who wants what another person wants or wants to exceed what they have accomplished by any means possible.† They will take from a righteous person what does not belong to them and this is clearly a type of greed.† Remember that all of these things take place as a result of a person who does not teach the wholesome words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and of God Almighty.† It will eventually catch up to a person sometimes quickly and sometimes in the long run.† The enemy has no mercy.† He will bring it upon you at the worst possible time in your life.† Just keep God first and he cannot touch you.
RAILINGS -- now remember that all of these negative things will come upon a person who does not practice spiritual godliness, but runs their life by the five senses.† God is explaining the personality consequences of this type of ungodly person.† Now letís get to the definition.† Railings are abuse and are the very worst kind of slander.† It is mainly blasphemy which attacks sacred things.† We should stop there.† Many people who claim to be teachers of Godís Word are actually working for the god of this world.† Why do I say this?† It is because they do not rightly divide Godís Word.† They do not study and work it like we are doing here.† Most of the time they guess at it and then they pass the basket.
EVIL SURMISINGS -- this is a type of evil which causes sorrow or pain.† It denotes the more active form of evil.† It is the result of the evil one who is the devil.† This is how totally messed up a person can become by not teaching and not acting upon the rightly divided Word of God.
We have simply taken the end of one verse of Scripture and we researched it.† It wasnít very hard.† If you had the Lexicon that I have in front of me, you would see how easy it is.† It simply takes time and God will always reward you for the time that you spend for Him.† You always have all the time that you need to do other things when you keep God first and foremost in your life.† Donít try to figure it out.† I wanted to show you what itís like to research just part of one Scripture.† We can easily do a complete teaching on I Timothy 6: 4.† For the sake of the subject matter of this teaching, we are going to move on to verse five.
5)† Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness:† from such withdraw thyself.
Among those that corrupt the teachings of the true Word of God, their minds have become corrupt and their conversation results in useless incessant quarrelings.† Can you imagine being such a man?† And why are their minds so corrupt?† The Scripture clearly states that it is because they are destitute of the truth and that truth being the rightly divided Word of God.† If you are practicing spiritual godliness, God will tell you by word of knowledge and word of wisdom to withdraw yourself and to get away from those people.† They will only cause you confusion and it will take away your peace.† This is one of the greatest things that I have learned in recent years.† You cannot reason with the devil and you surely cannot make friends with him.† Although he will lure your mind to think so, this is one of the ways that he seduces a man or a woman.† I have learned the hard way to get away from those people and to ignore them.† But first, I have learned to give them a chance Ė to give them an opportunity to be friendly and to walk with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation.† Once a person has had a few opportunities to walk in a godly manner, and still turn their back on God, then you must turn your back on them or they will drag you into the pit in which they live.† This principle is so important it cannot be stressed enough.† It seemed to take me forever to learn this and it was another believer who shared it with me.† Iím giving you all of this knowledge Ė over 40 years of it Ė for free.† You donít have to pay for classes or you donít even have to buy any books Ė itís all here.† God gets the glory.† He wants it done this way.† And I am blessed to do it for God.† I only ask you that you get serious and you study and work the Word until it becomes a part of your everyday life and living.
Now in verse 5, the last part of the verse is what I really want to stress.† It is my teaching in a nutshell.† And what I am referring to is the phrase ďsupposing that gain is godlinessĒ.† These are the people who you must withdraw yourself from.† What does that phrase mean?† These ungodly people who do not practice true godliness think in their corrupt minds that gain is godliness.† Can you imagine that?† And I see people every day who will purchase more and more items that they donít even need because they think that gain or excess is similar to godliness.† The opposite is true.† Jesus Christ told us to travel light.† And you see people buying all these fancy things and brand-new trucks and all types of cell phones and they donít really need any of them.† But they think, because their minds are corrupted, that the more that they buy and the more that they gain, the closer they become to God.† How sick is that?† I find it true in my own life that sometimes when I have just enough to get by, this is when I feel most peaceful.† Material things will drag you down and will actually own you.† We can only try to have compassion on these people since many of them refuse to learn the principles of godliness.† And one great principle is to travel light.
I have to make room for this story because I have one neighbor that is pathetic pertaining to this principle.† At times there was a contractor at her home twice a week.† Sometimes they are there for one week or two weeks.† Because she makes a lot of money and has nothing to do with Godís ways, she keeps buying and replacing everything in her home for no rational reason whatsoever.† She believes that gain is godliness.† So what is my job?† I keep away.† The term ďgain is godlinessĒ illustrates the concept of greed to its utmost.
6)† But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Now look at the difference in this verse 6.† It is one of the promises of God and there are almost 1000 of them in the Word.† God says that a spiritual relationship with Him referred to simply as godliness, with contentment is great gain.† If you are happy with God and you learn to walk and talk with Him, you will experience great gain in all the areas of your life that you have ever dreamed of.† We probably renew about 10 or 20% of our mind.† But still, we are able to have contentment because we practice godliness and in turn we have great gain.† How simple can that be?
7)† For we brought nothing into† this world, and it is †certain we can carry nothing out.
I always seemed to almost chuckle (I said almost) when I would read this verse.† It is so down to earth, no pun intended.† God is saying to us and asking us why we would like to have all of this gain.† He is trying to show us that when we live according to our needs and not our greeds, that we will be content and of course we will have great gain.† Because He says it so clearly, and anyone can understand this, we brought nothing into this world, and surely we can carry nothing out.† So why should we place such importance on so many material things and material gain?† God is trying to show us that the simple life will offer you godliness which comes with peace and all the positive aspects of life.† The problem is that we think this is too good to be true and thatís what defeats us.†† We need to get over that type of thinking.† We have all things that we need to live a life of spiritual godliness where there is great gain.
8)† And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
God surely gets down to the basics with this Scripture.† He is trying to show us that if we only have clothes and food, we should be content with our lives.† But in this day and time, doesnít God give us so much more?† How many people do you know that only have food and clothes?† Not very many, Iím sure.† God is taking matters to what I would like to call a godly positive, extreme to get His point across.† Even in my own life, I have many material things that I can do without.† Lately, I have thought of selling many things because God has proved to me that the simple life is the best way to live.† The more material things you have, the more things have to be maintained.† This can take away much of your time.† A simple example of this in my own life would be if something I had needed to be fixed.† If I were to go swimming that night, but instead had to repair some type of machine that I own, this would be to my detriment.† So the term came about somewhere that material things can own you instead of the other way around.† I think God makes His point very clearly and we should not forget it.† Many people in biblical times had only these two things Ė food and clothes and they were happy.† It is something for us to remember the next time we are tempted to buy that material thing just because everyone else owns one.† I will tell you something about my life and it pertains to cell phones.† I do not own a cell phone.† It will only complicate my life and cause me to make phone calls to people that are totally unnecessary.† It is my opinion that a cell phone is a device of the god of this world.† I will honestly say that there are a few situations where this type of phone will come in handy.† Many times, I walk on some rough mountain roads and if I hurt my ankle and I cannot move, then a cell phone would be a great benefit.† But to counter this reasoning, I rely upon God not to get hurt in situations like the one I just described.† Everyone has free will and I am not saying that a cell phone cannot be beneficial at certain times.† But to me those times are very few.†
9)† But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into† many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Youíve got to see the great wisdom in the words of God.† This verse gets right to the heart of our subject.† We know that spiritual godliness will bring us great gain and great peace in our life.† You may notice in this teaching, up to this point, that the subject of greed is stressed much more than spiritual godliness.† That is because the latter is so much simpler than the former.† Greed is complicated and brings about negative results in a personís life.† Letís go to the verse and see what are some of those negative results.
Verse nine says that those who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare.† First of all, the true God never tempts anybody.† The second point that you should understand is the meaning of the word Ďsnareí.† A snare is a trap.† Any and every time that you are tempted, it is wrong.† Temptation comes from the god of this world.† Many times, a person who is rich has gotten there through greed.† Something at some time has tempted them to do things that are ungodly and because they did these things, they fell into a trap.† Now it is not only a trap but it is one that results in many foolish and hurtful lusts.† Remember that lusts are over desires.† Now because they are so rich and have become greedy, they suffer because they realize that they were tempted and fell into a trap that brought upon them over desires that are nothing but harmful and hurtful.† The end result is that these people drown or are consumed in matters which result in destruction, loss, and ruin.† Perdition can be defined as the loss of all that a person ever had.† It can be defined as the destruction of a person in their body, soul, and spirit.† It is utter and final ruin which will not be reversed.† We seem to only hear about this happening to celebrities, but it happens to many other people.† We do not hear about them.
You have to admit that Godís Word really lays it on here and He holds back nothing.† Have you ever met some rich people?† Most of the time they are miserable and we are going to talk about the reason that they brought this situation upon themselves.† And it has to do with money.† I would like to say that money brings power and power brings corruption.† Only a believer who walks with the true God via the spirit will be able to handle great riches as some of the records in the Old Testament will attest to.† People who do not know and rightly divide Godís Word simply cannot handle too much money.† You need Godís guidance to know what to do.† Is there anything wrong with money?† I said this before and I will say it one more time.† It is the love of money that is the problem.
10)† For the love of money is the root of all evil:† which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
There it is spelled out for you and so many people missed that one word.† It is the íLOVEí of money that is the root system of all evil in this world today.† It is the least common denominator as far as evil is concerned.† All evil emanates from the love of money.† God says that these people who covet after money have erred from the faith which is the truth of the Word of God.† The end result is that they pierced themselves through with many sorrows.† They become unhappy and miserable no matter how much money they have because their money has become an idol in their life.† They worship money and God wants no Gods to be put before Him.† I would like to move away from I Timothy just for a moment to show you a Scripture that is so simple and is so dynamic that pertains to idolatry.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.† Amen.† Ė II John 5: 21
Now I want to give you a literal translation according to usage of this verse:
ďMy little children, you are not to seek any help, guidance, or instruction from any other source than your heavenly Father.Ē
Now you must understand that the first place or person that you go to for help or guidance is God Almighty.† If you go anywhere else first, you are practicing idolatry which is putting anything else first before the true God.† This agitates God to no end.† Thatís why God states in the Gospels that we are to ask and then we receive.† So many of us fail to ask God for His help.† We must act first and then we see.† When I first learned the true meaning of this short verse, I felt a great sense of deliverance.† Now I know where to go when I have a problem.† There was no more guesswork in my life and I would like to believe there will be no more guesswork in your life when it comes to the subject of going to God first.† Now we will get back to Timothy.
We should all understand verse 10 and we should never forget it because it gives us a warning and tells us where all evil comes from.† Isnít this a great revelation from God Almighty?† To me it answer so many questions in this life.
11)† But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Now God is referring back to the love of money mentioned in verse 10 and He gives us some advice that we should adhere to.† He says that if you are a man of God you should run away and flee those things that result in the love of money.† The love of money results in a massive amount of negative situations and emotions in a personís life.† But God doesnít leave us up in the air Ė He never does.† He tells us what we are to seek out or to follow and we are going to go over His advice in detail.† He says that we should seek out or follow righteousness.† Letís go back to our previous method of teaching and learning and go over each word in the latter part of verse 11.
Righteousness -- this is the doing or being what is just and right;† The character and acts of a man commanded by and approved of God, in virtue of which the man corresponds with Him and His Will as His ideal and His standard.
I believe that is a tremendous definition of how a man of God should act in his life pertaining to the God that he loves.† It has been said that we are as righteous as God Almighty.† We are to follow after and to pursue righteousness in our lives.
Godliness -- as I mentioned before, this relates to our real, true, vital, and spiritual relationship with God;† Every one of us has a different type of relationship with God.† What I am trying to say is that God works individually with each one of us differently.† You are to pursue this type of relationship with God and you will find out it is a most precious thing that only you and God possess.
Faith -- faith here is referring to believing;† What we believe is what we receive.† Faith is a firm persuasion and a firmly relying confidence in what we hear from God in His Word.† We are not to argue with God but to believe what He says and to act upon it.† If God created life, surely He knows how to live it.† You really have to be a fool to argue with God.
Love -- this is referring to the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation;† You need to absolutely turn to and study I Corinthians chapter 13 which speaks only about the love of God.† I will tell you a few things about this type of love.† It never fails and it never thinks evil.† It is referred to as agape love which is the love of God in contrast to fileo love which is the love of the world.† The point that God makes in Corinthians is that if you do anything without the love of God, you are nothing.† This means that you accomplish nothing unless you carry on your life manifesting the love of God.† The love of God is a major subject in the Bible and I have done separate teachings pertaining to the love of God.† I can only cover a few details of this topic at this point.† Remember that I Corinthians chapter 13 will give you all the information you can ever need to understand and apply the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation.
Patience Ė endurance or holding out, a remaining under;† It can be said that we need patience to wait for the return of Jesus Christ.† To stand for God in this day and age, many times we need to have patience and wait on God.† We must endure what this present world throws at us knowing that if we have patience, God will eventually come to our aid.† Most of us know what patience means and it can be said that it is a virtue.† I myself, have problems in this area many times.† I dislike the god of this world so much that I want to see him brought down to his knees as quickly as possible.† But God does everything at the exact right moment in time and this you must not forget.† So being impatient is simply not going to help matters.† I am going to move away shortly again from Timothy to show you a Scripture that addresses patience in a more simpler and straightforward manner.†
Be careful [anxious or distracted] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.† Ė Philippians 4: 6
This is the Scripture that I have learned by heart when it comes to anxiety.† Anxiety is a result of a lack of patience.† God says that we are not to be anxious or distracted for anything at all, but we are to have patience and to wait on God with prayer.† There are many other Scriptures especially in the Old Testament that talk about patience.† Patience is also referred to in Galatians 5: 22 as longsuffering.† Patience is not an easy quality to obtain, so we must work on it and not get anxious and not get distracted no matter what the world throws at us.† Remember that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.†
You see that there is a lot of information here and that is why we must study Godís Word every day.† If we learn just a little bit of it every day, we have made progress and God honors that commitment and He will bless you in time.† We need to have patience when it comes to God.† Many times God will make us wait until the very last moment to receive something from Him because He knows that this is the only way that we will appreciate what we have received.
Meekness -- one of the first definitions that I would like to stress about this word is that it means to be teachable; other definitions stressed the words mildness, gentle, and most importantly, enduring all things with even temper.† Meekness in a person results in tenderness and someone who is free from haughty self-sufficiency.† This means that these people donít walk around thinking theyíre a big deal, but they keep to themselves and are usually quiet.† They are tender when it comes to bearing with others.
I must point out that this word in its meaning in old English has been misinterpreted for many years.† The word meekness has been taught to mean someone who has a weak and shy personality.† This is totally untrue and only the above definitions of this word apply at the time they were written.
I have to say that most of this teaching seemed to stress the negative side which was greed.† But at the end, God put together a group of verses which shows you the personality characteristics that you should have when you are experiencing spiritual godliness.† I am glad that the teaching could end on such a positive note.† You can stress the characteristics of greed so that you learn to avoid them.† Then you can stress even more so the characteristics of your true and vital spiritual relationship with God.