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Guard Your Family from the Money Trap

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Family Finances.

1 Timothy 6:5-10, 17

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Family Finances.

Money is the root of all sorts of family problems. Many of our best families are in financial bondage, so it shouldn’t surprise us to learn that surveys of married couples find that the major problem in homes is not sex, children, or in‑laws—it’s finances. Satan’s plan is to keep families in financial bondage.

Try this little 11-point quiz to see if you’re in financial bondage. How are you doing?

  1. Are you putting daily expenses on a credit card because of a lack of funds?
  2. Have you put off till next month a bill due today?
  3. Do you borrow to pay fixed expenses such as taxes or insurance?
  4. Does your annual debt retirement on long‑term debt (like a mortgage) exceed 20% of your annual income?
  5. Are you aware of how much total debt you carry?
  6. Are creditors or bill collectors writing you about past-due bills?
  7. Are you having to withdraw from savings to pay current bills?
  8. Are you making new loans to pay off old loans?
  9. Have you considered being dishonest concerning money?
  10. Are you having difficulty returning your tithe to Almighty God?
  11. Do you and your spouse ever argue over money?

God has much to say about money problems. The Apostle Paul described some in the early church as having “corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself” (1 Timothy 6:5). 

It’s shocking to think that some in the early church thought wearing a mask of godliness might be a way to make a profit—to enrich themselves. Their false thinking was rooted in the love of money. Paul said only corrupt minds think like that. He said, “Stay away from such people!” Money is a notoriously poor measure of your value, virtue, and worth.

To avoid false beliefs about money, write these four truths on your heart.

Lack of Money Can’t Take Away Genuine Contentment

You say, “I don’t have a money problem—I have a lack of money problem.” That’s shallow thinking.

Most American families need to learn the difference between genuine needs and simple “wants.” Advertisers work to create desires so we’ll go out and buy things—to convince us we need something newer, bigger, better, shinier. As we page through catalogs and wander through stores, we feel a sudden need that’s really only a want. A voice whispers, “You don’t just need it—you deserve it! You’ve earned it. You won’t be happy without it.” Advertisers know how to sow seeds of discontent in our children too, convincing them they can’t be happy until they have the latest thing they saw on TV.

The desire for more isn’t making us happy—it’s making us unhappy. Young couples think they should have in three years what it took their parents thirty years to accumulate. They go out and get it relying on the false god of credit. There’s one thing money can’t buy: poverty. You need credit cards for that. Some of us need to take out our cards and perform a little plastic surgery.

What is true contentment? Write this in the margin of your Bible: Contentment is an inner sufficiency that keeps us at peace in spite of outward circumstances.

If you depend on “things” for contentment, you’ll never be content. Solomon, one of history’s wealthiest men wrote: “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver, nor he who loves abundance, with increase” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

If you’re loving God with all your heart but thinking you're a failure, the devil told you that. If you think more money will satisfy, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Contentment is found in godliness, in our relationship with Jesus Christ: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

If you’re Christlike, you're already wealthy. Your value has nothing to do with your money. Jesus died for you, purchasing your salvation with His priceless blood. When our worth is decided by what we’ve accumulated, God calls that mindset “a corrupt mind.”

Stop that deadly thinking. Instead, lead your family to:

  • Confess the sin of discontentment.
  • Begin daily to thank God and praise Him for what Jesus has done for your family. It needs to be a family affair. Bring your children in on this. Remind them daily at mealtimes when you pray, and at other times, of what you have that money can’t buy and death can’t take away. Praise God for those assets.
  • With your children, take a frank look at all your debt. Write it down. It will be as painful as getting on the scales after New Year's but do it. Then as a family, set a goal: we don't have to have a new coat. Our car will go another 20,000 miles. We don't need the latest gadget. “We’ll get out of debt, and we’ll do it as a family. Then we're going to celebrate when we do.”

Come together as a team. Working on the same problem will bring your family unity.

Loss of Money Is Inevitable

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).

Some people believe they're going to take it with them. But money talks. It says “Good‑bye.”

“Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5).

When you die, you leave all this world's goods behind. Francis of Assisi said we need to learn to “wear this world like a loose garment.” Great missionary statesman Jim Elliott said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Certain things we cannot keep. Other things we cannot lose.

If Jesus doesn’t come first, one day they’ll hold your funeral. What do you want your children, your grandchildren, your spouse, to say about you? “He really spent long hours at the office”? They won’t be talking about your bank account. What are you leaving behind in the hearts and lives of your children?

Love of Money is Dangerous

The Bible says, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

Many of the godliest people in the Bible were rich. But if you seek satisfaction in money, you’ll never find it. If your burning ambition is to be rich, Proverbs 15:6 says all you've bought for yourself is trouble.

Financial wealth increases a rich man’s worries because there is so much more to be responsible for. Your desire instead should be Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

If you’re taking the bad advice to “make all the money you can,” money will become your god. You’ll be making money when you should be spending time with your family or praying or fishing or sleeping. Do not overwork to be rich" (Proverbs 23:4). Yes, you should be productive. The Bible teaches investment, not laziness. But success is measured by godliness.

God knows you have need of things, of food and clothing. He wants you to have your needs met. He is a good God who will give you many things you don't need just because He loves you. Your heavenly Father isn’t a cosmic killjoy saying, “All I want you to have is food and clothes.” He’s saying, “If you have your basic needs met and you have Me, you can be content.”

You are in financial bondage when you:

  • become a slave to money. Money is a wonderful servant but a poor master.
  • have no treasure in Heaven. “Lay up for yourselves treasure in Heaven.”
  • die a Christ-less death. Money cannot buy your way into Heaven.

“Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4).

Luxury of Money Brings Responsibility

With wealth comes responsibility. Remember, God is the owner of this world. He has loaned our worldly wealth to us and made us stewards over it. Here are some scriptures that explain ownership and stewardship:

“And what do you have that you did not receive” (1 Corinthians 4:7)?
“The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1).
“Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).

Here are God’s instructions to the wealthy—and they apply to all of us:

Be humble. 

“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty” (1 Timothy 6:17). Don’t flaunt your wealth. Warren Wiersbe says, “Material wealth is either a window through which we see God or a mirror in which we see ourselves.”

Be trustful. 

"Trust…in the living God…" (v. 17), not in the wealth you’ve stored up for years.

Be joyful. 

Satan will tempt you to think God doesn't want you to have a good time, but He does. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

Be generous. 

“Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19).

Don’t hold on to wealth like a Scrooge. You are a steward; wealth belongs to God. Wealth is both an opportunity and an obligation. Let your children see you give and let them learn generosity from you.

The greatest wealth you have isn’t in the bank. It’s your children. They make a poor man rich. You can't take your money to Heaven, but I'm taking my children to Heaven, and so can you.

Thank God for the things that really matter! Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6), and that godliness comes when we give our hearts to Jesus Christ and trust Him as our Lord and Savior.

Pray this prayer to give your life to Jesus:

“O God, I am a sinner and I have a sinful nature by my first birth. I need a second birth. I need a new nature. I need to be born from above. Lord Jesus, You died to save me and You promised to save me if I would trust You. Thank You for paying for my sin with Your blood on the cross. Thank You for making it possible for me to be saved today. I now open my heart. I receive You by faith as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive my sin. Cleanse me. Save me today and help me not to be ashamed of You. In Your name, I pray. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, we’d like to celebrate with you and provide you with some resources to help you get started in your new life. Let us know by clicking here.