What is the danger in being a middle-class comfortable Christian?

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By John Piper About Money
Part of the series Ask Pastor John

The following is an edited transcription of the audio

Being a Christian these days in America is very comfortable, middle-class, and respectable. What are the dangers in that?

The Bible is really clear in 1 Timothy 6:9 that making godliness a means of gain--financial gain--is deadly; and the deadliness of it is in the desire to be rich. It says to not desire to be rich, because "those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." In other words, it is suicidal to want to be rich.

One of the main dangers in being comfortable in our Christianity is that over time comfort tends to begin to feel like something that God--or the world--owes us; and what we once called "luxury" is now called "need." More and more we want things, and securities, and comforts. And we find our conversations with people even drifiting onto the subject of special new things that we have just bought and we're not talking Kingdom language anymore. It's a creeping kind of gangrene with a smiling face on it that eats away at the heart of the Kingdom.

When Jesus said Matthew 6:31-33--"Do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For all the nations seek after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you"--he was pleading for us to not get into a situation where we're drowning in stuff. In other words, "Give yourself to mental and emotional energies that concern Kingdom issues, and let food and clothing and drink take care of themselves." And we get it almost entirely backwards.

We get into situations where we talk about what we wear, and about food and toys and houses, and only now and then a Kingdom issue arises and Christ comes into the conversation. I think Jesus is grieved by that and would have us turn it around.

Talk about Christ, and missions, and ministry, and making an impact for Jesus. Oh yes, you need a place to stay. Sure, you need a way to get around. Sure, you probably need a computer these days, so that you can communicate by email. But let your conversation and your energy flow mainly with Kingdom vision and Kingdom issues.

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