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Breaking Free of Money’s Power

Student at INFire’s program receiving money for school in Northern Thailand.

Student at INFire’s program receiving money for school in Northern Thailand.

I’m going to make a challenging statement. You may not like it. But I encourage you to reflect on it and see if it’s true. Money (as system of buying and selling) is dishonest. There is iniquity attached to it as it has long term negative impacts. At some point there are losers in the game. This contrasts with provision, which stems from God’s grace (gift) and is always good, never dishonest.

I recognize we are all part of an economic system. I’m not asking us to all flee the system. I do think we need to reflect on how much our allegiance is tied to it. 

I was personally brought to tears on Friday, April 10th, 2020 when President Trump historically recognized Good Friday and Easter and actually prayed in his national address. I say this as a simple fact, not because I believe we need a Christian in office to see God’s kingdom come. Trump called COVID 19 the enemy. Then he had Bishop Harry Jackson of Maryland share and pray. Bishop Jackson read and prayed out of Psalm 105 verses 37 and 39. Verse 37 reflecting on the Exodus from Egypt, “Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.” 

As much as I’m seriously rooting for us all to pull out of the current COVID 19 crisis, [1] I also worry that especially the church is still worshiping the god of Mammon. It’s so integrated as a power in our societies that it’s extremely hard for us to even detect. Many of our modern day prophets in the church who hear God really clearly on many matters, have struggled to hear God without taint on money. I believe this reflects how deeply its power is entrenched in our culture.

I’m working on a book about three overarching powers. I write how Jesus faced each power in his temptation and leading into his crucifixion: the economic, socio-religious and political systems of our world. [2] Jacques Ellul refers to them as Money through the betrayal of Jesus, the Law of the religious leaders, and Violence through the soldiers and Rome. 

These three powers, like all powers are subjects of human worship. All humans must worship something. We can call powers that we worship idols, but idols are dead objects whereas powers are living forces that engage our world. Do not make the mistake of thinking you are innocent of their subtle undertow in cultural values. 

How are you dealing with the god of money? You cannot serve both God and Mammon. [3] Luke 16 speaks of Mammon as a god not Mammon as an object (though we should serve neither as followers of Jesus). There is a kind of morality that can be followed in serving money. Stewarding money and multiplying it conscientiously is often recognized as a moral kind of work. The fact remains, this is a deep trust in something that is not God, but rather a security. Our more spiritual option is to have 100% of our personal economy set on furthering the heavenly city coming down, the city of Revelations 21. 

This is not to say you can’t have money or work with money. God placed us in a world system that uses money. This means there are many times we will need to break out from the power of money and our propensity to trust it and love it. We are called to something much more beautiful than money. We were purchased with the high price of the life of Jesus so that we no longer need to be owned by any power. 

Here are ways to become and stay free of money:

    1. Be an extravagant (without charge) giver.

    2. Make sure we are serving the poor with our resources in a significant way.

    3. Listen to the Holy Spirit and obey, especially in counterintuitive ways.

    4. Frequently do a heart-check and offer all you have back to the Father.

    5. Find God’s beautiful presence in good and bad times.

    6. Ask God to remove the love of money from you. 

Note: The prayer for removal is even more “stupid” than praying for patience or humility. We all struggle with money and pulling the deep roots out can hurt.

There are two keywords when dealing with any Power: grace and faith. Grace is us receiving from God instead of entering into the spirit of buying and selling which ultimately shorts someone in the economic chain. Faith is our posture. We receive access to that grace with no earning attached to it. We look for our provision in the invisible realm and believing for the goodness of God beyond the circumstance we see. 

This is not a rant against wealth. There is plenty of wealth in heaven. In Revelation 21 the kings of the earth bring their wealth there, showing that God can even use the systems to bring honor to his own purposes. [4] This is a challenge to wrestle over what gods or God we trust in. 

“For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification” (Ro 6:19). We have two options. Slavery to God or slavery to Mammon. Neither feel like slavery if you worship them. But let’s be honest, wealth can never make the human soul flow like a fountain of life. Only God can do that. 


[1] Mammon is an Aramaic word for money or wealth used by Jesus 

[2] These can be simply stated, money, sex and power. 

[3] Jacques Ellul, Money and Power

[4] Isaiah 60:5, Revelation 21:24