In Matthew 6:24 Jesus tells us clearly “No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Strangely, we may well think we serve The LORD; yet in truth, we often both worship and serve mammon, leaving little or no time for The LORD. Indeed, we can very easily make mammon our god.
In the Bible, “mammon” is a Chaldean (Aramaic) word meaning 1) treasure or 2) riches or wealth (where it is personified and opposed to God) or as simply put in the vernacular, “a love of money”, as in avarice.
It is found only 4 times in the Bible: Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:9, Luke 16:11 and Luke 16:13. (Matthew 6:24 & Luke 16:13 are identical). During the middle ages, mammon was personified as the spirit of avarice, the spirit of richness and the spirit of injustice.
The spirit of Mammon can control us and keep us under bondage; as Ephesians 6:12 says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
It has three characteristics we need to know and appreciate to avoid falling under bondage to it:
- Mammon will tell us that it can protect us from our problems; that “money” is the solution.
- Mammon appears to provide things which only God can give: security, significance, identity, power, freedom, self esteem etc.
- Mammon causes fear, for it will tell you that you don’t have enough money or wealth. No matter how much you have, it will repeat: you don’t have enough! It is a spirit of lies.
Money in itself is not evil; it is only a tool for exchange and commerce. However, as First Timothy 6:10 warns us, “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.”
Thus, making an idol of money, as in the “love of money,” is wrong. It will drive us from God, substituting itself, for God’s spirit. Matthew 6:21 warns us that “wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” This is a clear warning against idolising money or mammon.
However, until and unless we truly recognise the spiritual impotence of money, we will be unable to free ourselves from pursuing it. Nor can we be set free from the influence, the domination or the bondage of the spirit behind Mammon.
Spirits tend to work in groups and the spirit of Mammon typically brings with it two other spirits which assist it in assailing us. They are the spirit of Poverty and the spirit of Pride.
The spirit of Poverty: This causes the state of constant wanting: it is the torment of never having enough. It will cause us to feel guilt and shame all the time, for whatever blessings of The LORD we have in our lives.
Second Corinthians 9:8 tell us “God is able to make all grace (every favour and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances, and whatever the need be self sufficient, possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation.” This spirit seeks to deny this in us and for us.
The spirit of Pride: God hates the spirit of pride, for this spirit kills our ability to obey God and follow His plans and purposes.
Pride is anti-God; the very spirit which caused Lucifer’s fall. It causes a turning away from God to seek self satisfaction of satisfaction in one’s self, being one’s own God.
John 4:23-24 tells that “the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Pride is a lie.
Ask yourself the following questions. They will help you assess your exposure to the spirit of Mammon in your life:
- Do I look to God or to people, to meet and satisfy my needs?
- Do I blame others for my present circumstances?
- When people fail to help me in exactly the way I want, do I get unhappy, angry or resentful?
- Will I ever have enough?
We can break the curse of Mammon on our lives and that of our family in three steps:
First, we need to discern or recognize the spirits of Pride or Poverty in our lives. Discerning these spirits in ourselves is no easy task. If we had not been blinded to them and their effects on our character and our actions initially, we would not now be in this position. We need to ask the help of someone whom we trust and who knows us well, and ask that person for help; to tell us what we are really like. The truth can hurt. We then need to be accountable to that person (or someone else) as we seek to make changes, so that when we backslide, we can know it and repent again.
Secondly, we need to repent of having given these spirits control over our lives. This is the easiest step and sample prayers for this purpose will be added to this website soon. It is recommended, however, that the prayers are made in the presence of another person who can hold you accountable for them and the commitments you make to changing self and repenting.
A spouse is the ideal prayer partner, but exposing oneself in open, brutal honesty, is hard. However, it is these defensive wall of lies and ego-protection which we have built up over a life time, which make it easier for the enemy. Remember, repentance is an intentional choice of turning to God and away from that lifestyle or habit, which is abhorrent to God.
Thirdly, we need to exchange our selfish and self-centered attitudes with attitudes of gratitude to others and especially to God. We need to give praise where it is due and quickly acknowledge others. Again, an accountability partner or group helps with this. It is so easy to slip back into old habits, but when meeting with an accountability partners on a weekly basis, progress can be monitored, corrected and improved.
If God is your source, money is intended to be your slave with which to accomplish His Kingdom works. However, if money is your source, God will not be your slave to get you money!
Unless it is understood how impotent money is in truth and in reality, one can never be set free from its pursuit.
But we have a choice: as Joshua 24:15 tells us, “if you are unwilling to serve The LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Ammorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve The LORD.”
Amen and Amen.