Monday, 6 October 2014

Mammon works through Selfish Ambition

Most people have selfish ambitions lurking about in their hearts, but yet not consider themselves to have such selfish ambitions. Selfish ambition is an act of the flesh (Galatians 5:20). It is not merely a motive, but an act. 'Selfish ambition' comes from the Greek word 'eritheia' which means  acting for one's own gain, regardless of the discord (strife) it causes or placing self-interest ahead of what the Lord declares right, or what is good for others. 

Selfish ambition is self-seeking aspirations that one has for oneself. As long as one seeks place one's interests before others. It is the selfishness that makes it a despicable sin. No matter how small the ambition may be, or how good the interests may be, as long as one is pursuing it for oneself, and not God, one is serving mammon. 

Mammon works through the lust of the eyes and flesh, legitimising one's pursuit of anything that is earthly including so-called 'basic needs'. It is very subtle in its deception of one seeking one's needs. It whispers not only that 'man can live by bread alone', the opposite of Jesus' reply to satan that 'man cannot live by bread alone' (Matthew 4:4), but also that 'man can live by both bread and God' together. 

What is meant by bread here is not food. The issue being addressed here is not food. Rather, what is meant by bread in this context in Matthew 4 is earthly, perishable human needs. This includes the most basic needs such as food. Selfish ambition strives to serve the pursuit of earthly things because it can only serve the flesh. Earthly, perishable things are those things that it cares about, worries about and loves. It desires earthly things, that is, things of the world, because it can only serve the lust of the eyes and flesh. When it achieves its pursuit of each earthly things, it becomes proud of its achievement.

One might think, "I care for the poor, I give money to the poor, how can I be proud of myself in my pursuit of earthly things?" First of all, such a person would not see nor be able to see how he is pursuing earthly things to satisfy his carnal flesh. He most likely thinks that only those who prostitute themselves with a rich man, or those who work all day to earn money are under the spirit of mammon, and self-righteously things he could not be under the spirit of mammon. Such is a great deception from mammon himself. A Christian who even has such things needs to repent because he is not only selfish but also self-righteous. Many Christians in the 21st century fall under this category.

As long as one feels secure in the comfort one obtains from one's material possessions, one is under the spirit of mammon. An unsaved person under the spirit of mammon would think this is satisfaction,  and a Christian under the spirit of mammon may even think this is peace from God. It is the very comfort one obtains from having any material object or possession, or earthly thing that indicates one is under the spirit of mammon. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them (Luke 12:30). To take comfort in material things is to serve mammon because the comfort one takes in earthly things comes from the pride one has in oneself for having earthly things. 

Such pride is of selfish ambition. This pride causes one to think that one is entitled to anything at all.  To dwell in such pride in the pursuit of earthly needs is to serve mammon. 
This is the foundation of the doctrine of 'rights', which has blinded a world that thinks it is upright to fight for rights because it thinks it is seduced by the lust of the eyes and flesh in its own pride.