Walking by Faith amid Materialism’s Deceptions
MATERIALISM’S deceptions! How many they are and how subtle! Due to the sin of our first parents the inclination of the heart of man is toward what is bad, toward selfish pleasure, toward covetousness or toward the love of ease. Materialism is made to appeal to these fallen tendencies by those who stand to profit by our succumbing to materialism, those who offer entertainment or who have fine homes, fine autos or fine furnishings and clothes to sell.—Gen. 8:21.
But materialism is deceptive. The more you have the more you want. Besides, it plays havoc with the Christian’s spiritual interests and his relationship with his God. ‘The deceptive power of riches chokes the word.’ Not without good reason therefore did the apostle Paul warn: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things.”—Matt. 13:22; Heb. 13:5.*
Materialism is also deceptive because it is temporary, as we are reminded by the apostle John: “Everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but [only] he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:16, 17.
We cannot serve two masters. The question is, What comes first in our lives? We must earn a living and provide for our own or we are worse than an unbeliever. But that does not mean that we cannot keep on seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. It is a matter of emphasis and priority. If we find ourselves neglecting the spiritual things, then we are being taken in by materialism’s deceptions.—1 Tim. 5:8; Matt. 6:33.
To avoid being ensnared by materialism’s deceptions we must have a strong faith. Study of God’s Word, association with others who are trying to avoid materialism’s deceptions, prayer and engaging in the Christian ministry will help us grow strong in faith. In particular is it helpful to take note of the fine Scriptural examples of those who in times past walked by faith amid materialism’s deceptions.—Heb. 12:1.
There was Moses who, in preference to all the treasures of Egypt, chose to walk by faith as God’s anointed one. Before him there was Abraham, who preferred to walk by faith in alien lands rather than enjoy the comforts and prosperity of that great ancient city of Ur of the Chaldees. And then there was Job, wealthy as he was, who did not put his trust in his riches and so kept integrity when he lost them all.—Heb. 11:24-26, 8-11; Job 31:24-28.
Coming to Christian Scripture times, we observe Saul of Tarsus. Highly educated, he could look forward to a life of high reputation and economic security, but he gave it all up for a life of faith, becoming materially poor but making many spiritually rich. And the greatest example of all, that of Jesus Christ. What riches he left behind in heaven to do God’s will on earth, and what opportunities for material wealth he cast aside so as to walk by faith! He did not even have a place to lay his head!—Luke 9:58; 2 Cor. 6:10.
Today there are some 30,000 Christian ministers in the full-time ministry throughout the world serving as pioneers, special pioneers, missionaries, circuit and district servants and members of Bethel families; they have proved for themselves the truth of David’s words that Jehovah will not forsake the righteous. Could you be among that number? If not, perhaps you could be a vacation pioneer minister for at least one month in the year. Even if family obligations prevent you from enjoying the blessings of this full-time ministry, are you doing all you can to inculcate in your children the desirability of such a career?—Ps. 37:25; Deut. 6:7.
So walk by faith, as “seeing the One who is invisible.” (Heb. 11:27) Remember, valuable material things are temporary and they cannot profit you in the day of Jehovah’s fury, Armageddon. (Prov. 11:4) Put spiritual riches first in your life, enjoy to the full the blessings God has for his people in the way of spiritual food, Christian association and service. In that way you will be laying up treasures in heaven, lasting treasures.—Matt. 6:19-21.
During the month of September let all of God’s dedicated ministers walk by faith amid materialism’s deceptions by devoting all the time they possibly can to the Christian ministry, in particular endeavoring to place with men of goodwill toward God Bible-study aids and then calling back to assist them further.
For details see The Watchtower, July 15, 1962.