The devil, though defeated by the death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, remains a very capable and clever foe. He is smarter than we are. He’s been watching us and taking notes for a very long time. He knows what we want and he knows how to lure us away. And he does this by telling us what we want to hear. That’s what makes it so difficult.
To us who are greedy, he says: “You are not greedy. You are prudent. You are frugal. You are a good steward with your money. God wants you to have all the things you want. He wants you to be happy. He wants you to have the latest and greatest toys for both young and old.” So if you consider yourself to be wise in the way of money and finances, beware of who just might be telling you these things.
Satan is a liar. He tells us what we want to hear. He lures us away from repentance and confession and faith, so that we harden our consciences and place our souls in peril. We must not underestimate the enemy. We have all taken his bait. We have all failed in this. None of us can say that we have fought this temptation to hold back with everything we have and won.
And we must repent. Yes, God wants us to be happy. But this happiness is never at the expense of faithfulness. We have a calling. We are a member of His family, the church. That relationship places a duty upon us: to give a generous proportion of the first fruits of the income He provides.
Only God is true to His Word. Only God is true to His promises. His promises never fail. His Word endures forever. HIs mercies are new every morning. He is faithful. He provides everything that we need. He provides food and clothes, house and home, everything that we pray for in the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer.
There are a whole host of things that we have that we do not need. The question that we need to ask ourselves is whether these have come at the expense of our faithful, generous proportion of the first fruits of our income. If they have, then we must repent, turning away from our selfishness to Him who is faithful by giving His Son into death so that we are reconciled to Him and justified in His sight.
The devil will always tell you what you want to hear. But God tells us and gives us what we need to hear. With law and gospel, he cuts us to the heart, so that we will repent and believe His Word and promises. He is faithful. He is good. He will not forsake you or leave you destitute. So believe and trust in Him. And you will not only be happy, you will be blessed.