I bought a new toothbrush. (Actually, it was a Father’s Day gift.) I know that’s not exactly breaking news, but my new toothbrush taught me an important lesson.
The toothbrush isn’t any ordinary or old fashioned brush. This is one of those V-6 horse power turbo toothbrushes.
To be honest, this was the first time I ever had to read the instructions before using a toothbrush. But, in the instructions I was informed that over the first 12 uses the brush would slowly become more and more powerful.
When people buy the brush, if they used it on full power at first, it was too much vibration for them.
Therefore, Sonicare decided to slowly increase the power so that I’d be unaware of the subtle changes.
We tend to be oblivious to subtle changes.
The only way we’ll catch subtle changes is by being on guard.
Jesus found it important that we be on guard. He are some of the things he wanted us to guard against:
“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6 NIV)
“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. (Mark 13:9 NIV)
Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. (Mark 13:33 NIV)
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15 NIV)
We ought, therefore, to be on guard.
We are to be attentive. To be aware in the presence of certain things, including leaders who teach false doctrine, the Second Coming of Jesus, and greed.
Which of these areas do you think we’ll focus on today?
Here’s a really good definition of greed:
That’s what the man did in the parable Jesus told after this warning in Luke 12:15. He kept collecting. Kept consuming. Kept building. Without any reference to the needs of others or even his own needs.
So what are we guarding ourselves against?
It seems to me that the temptation is that one might slowly come to believe that the sum of their life (their net worth) might consist of the total number of possessions they own. As a result, one may keep buying and buying and buying without any end in site.
What a waste of what we’ve been entrusted with!
What does it mean to be on guard?
To take a defensive position. To direct your resources to being attentive to any subtle dangers. To be aware of your surroundings.
To make a distinct effort to keep oneself from doing something.
Quoted from: Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:164). New York: United Bible societies.
Ohh. I like- “to make a distinct effort.”
So let me ask you. What distinct or intentional things are you doing to make sure that you’re not falling pray to the false teaching that your life consists of the abundance of your possessions?
5 Quick Tips for Guarding Oneself Against the Lure of Greed
- Remind yourself every day that the cultural understanding and definition of wealth is vastly different than the biblical one.
- Instead of filling yourself with the wisdom of man, take time daily to listen to the Wisdom of God. The church should be a place where we hear the Wisdom of God. The Bible is the Word of God.
- Be attentive to motivations. When you buy something, question your motives to be sure they are not purely based on human greed.
- Go to a developing nation. Sometimes a little shock to your sensibilities can help you get on the right track.
- Find a mentor or like-minded Christian and hold each other accountable. Help each other spot those subtle changes.
What do you do to guard yourself against equating self worth with net worth? How do you avoid the lure of wealth?