Last February, I took stock of my love for Christ by examining how much of my thoughts and activities were occupied with Him in comparison to material possessions. I found that, while this fruit of the Spirit was present in my life, my affections were too often tied to temporal things, including “stuff.”
When I think about love and its relationship to finances this year, one convicting term immediately comes to mind: anxiety.
Anxiety is an issue repeatedly addressed in Scripture. We are cautioned to be anxious for nothing, told that we cannot serve both God and money, admonished that anxiety will not enrich our lives or add to our lifespan, and reassured that God will provide for our needs as we seek His kingdom and righteousness. I am familiar with these passages, and you might be too. So then, why do I struggle with anxiety when it comes to material things? It’s not because God’s Word is vague. It’s not because I love feeling anxious. I think it may be that I love comfort, and when I feel that my comfort is being threatened, I start to worry. I’ve never been hungry for lack of food. I’ve never been without shelter, nor without a host of other items that would be considered luxuries to many people. God has proven Himself to be faithful without exception and exceedingly generous to me. Yet, when appliances break down, clothes wear and get holes, and income is delayed, God’s faithfulness is the farthest thing from my mind. Without fail, I get anxious, wondering if this is the time we won’t be able to pay our bills. In my heart, this translates to questioning, “Is this the time God is going to forsake me?”
I’m not suggesting that anyone who struggles with anxiety does not love God. I do love God, and I want to obey His command to be “anxious for nothing.” To do this, I need to pray that God would remind me of the love poured out at Calvary’s cross, which is infinitely more valuable than any feeling of temporal comfort or security. I need to confess my anxiety to Him and trust Him to grow me in believing that He knows my needs and will provide for them all. Loving God means submitting to Him my own ideas of what my needs are and letting Him cut away things that draw me away from Him. Loving God means recognizing that my ties to material things are stronger than I’d like to admit and imploring God to help me not love the world, nor the things of the world.
Lord God, I love you. Please help me to love you more. I do not want to love things that thieves can steal and moths and rust can destroy. Work Your will in my heart that I may seek Your kingdom and righteousness and not material security. Amen.