The Bible tells us in Genesis 1–3 that God created a beautiful and perfect world. He created Adam and Eve in his image to inhabit his perfect world with the express purpose of having fellowship with him. And his creative design was for Adam and Eve to administer responsible stewardship over his creation.
Unfortunately, a fallen angel entered God’s creation to entice mankind to disobey God, thereby introducing sin into God’s perfect creation. We often refer to this fallen angel as “Satan.” Peter describes him in the New Testament in this way, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). I like to refer to Satan as the Chief Consumerlator. A consumerlator is anyone or anything that steals an opportunity to converterlate time, talent, or treasure into something of eternal value. Satan’s express purpose is always to destroy that which is good. He will use whatever means possible to get us to use our resources on those things that are perishable. He wants us consuming our resources rather than converterlating them!
We have been born into a world not full of conflict with many voices demanding our attention. Specific circumstances, including physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and material, shape and influence our lives in almost unlimited ways. And the conflict rages in both the seen and unseen worlds. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (NLT). Our world tells us, “Use this specific product, buy this specific brand, accumulate more stuff, desire the best, use your time here, use your talents there.” And all the while, we are consuming.Only God’s Word can give us the hope, power, and guidance we need to make our way through the jungle of activity in this complex world.
It is important to remember that the choices we make now impact greatly how we not only experience life here on earth, but how we will live in eternity. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body” (NLT). This provides us with enormous opportunity!
We all know there are foolish ways and wise ways to spend our time, talent, and treasure. We can either consume our resources, using them for perishable pleasure, or use these resources for imperishable treasure. How do we stay focused? Psalm 32:8 tells us, “The Lord says, ‘I will make you wise and show you where to go. I will guide you and watch over you’” (NCV). We need to ask for God’s wisdom!
I have tried to follow a basic principle through the years: I try to make as much as I can, save as much as I can, and give away as much as I can, taking into account whatever financial obligations I have. Here’s where God’s wisdom is critical. We can rationalize anything. It’s important to enjoy the fruits of our labor within what we determine to be “reasonable,” while at the same time staying sensitive to God’s direction.
The Bible tells us, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7, NIV). Since the beginning of time, Satan has been seeking to trip people up! It is critical that the resurrection power of Christ be at work in our lives in order to enable us to live the life that God desires for us. As this power grows in our hearts, the spiritual desires to invest our time, talent, and treasure in the kingdom of God will overcome our desires for pursuing perishable things. The lure of the world is constantly with us. We must find a way to recognize when we are being tempted to waste our resources, and then know what to do about it! When we submit to God, the Holy Spirit empowers us to focus on his desires for us.
We live in a world filled with conflict. Satan is doing his best to disrupt our lives and divert our attention from achieving the goals God has for us. However, we do have a powerful weapon to counteract any attack we experience.The Word of God gives us the hope, power, and guidance we need to make our way through this complex world.
In Ephesians 6 we read, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth … the breastplate of righteousness, … your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace … take up the shield of faith … the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (verses 11–17, NIV). The Christian life is all about advancing for the purpose of accomplishing God’s will on this earth. We invade the darkness with the light of the gospel, going into all the world with all of the means God has given us.
I took my son to the Gettysburg battlefield and we found a small plaque in the ground that said, “Write home, and tell them I died facing the enemy.” This person faced the enemy, they did not retreat! We are to advance, not retreat! We are to invade our culture. We are to use our time, talent, and treasure to make a difference for the kingdom. Put on God’s armor and resist the temptations to fritter away God-given resources. Face the enemy with all of God’s power and focus on his purpose for your life!
What step do you need to take in order to be more intentional about converterlating your time, talent, and treasure into God’s purposes?