Breaking the Spirit of Mammon
by Robert Morris
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.Matthew 6:24
The Blessed Life
The word "mammon" is in the Bible four times, and three of those times Jesus said it. But what does it mean? Today, I want to talk to you about the spirit of mammon, because I think it’s crucial to having a biblical view of money.
"Mammon" is an Aramaic word that essentially means "riches." At its heart there’s an attitude that says: Man doesn’t need God—we’re self-sufficient. This is what the spirit of mammon tries to tell us: You don’t need God. Trust in riches!
You may recognize "mammon" from the New Testament. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus clearly suggests it’s possible to serve mammon instead of serving God, but He goes even further: Jesus states it is impossible to serve both at the same time. He says you will love one and hate the other. According to Jesus, there is no middle ground—no half-and-half.
Did you know all money has a spirit on it? It either has the Spirit of God or the spirit of mammon. Money that is submitted to God and His purposes has the Spirit of God on it. On the other hand, money that is not submitted to God has the spirit of mammon by default. That’s why people think money can bring them happiness or fulfillment. Mammon is basically the spirit of the world—and that spirit is a liar.
I’ve noticed that the people most under the influence of the spirit of mammon tend to have the most fear about their money. As Jesus clearly suggests in today’s verse, mammon tries to take the very place of God. Pastor Jimmy Evans, founder of MarriageToday and a Gateway apostolic elder, once said, "Mammon promises us those things that only God can give—security, significance, identity, independence, power, and freedom. Mammon tells us it can insulate us from life’s problems and that money is the answer to every situation."
Clearly, this stands in direct opposition to the Spirit of God. For example, mammon says to buy and sell; God says to sow and reap. Mammon says to cheat and steal; God says to give and receive. Mammon tells you that if you had more money, people would listen to you, your relationship problems would go away, and life would be sweet. The differences between these two spirits seem very cut and dry; however, it’s possible for believers to become influenced by the spirit of mammon without realizing it.
Mammon wants you to think, If I just had more money, I could really start helping people and giving more to the kingdom. Keep in mind, Jesus never told anyone the answer was more money. Money is not the answer to problems—God is. Now, don’t get the wrong idea—money and mammon are not synonymous. Money is not inherently evil. One of the most frequently misquoted verses in the Bible is in 1 Timothy 6:10, which says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil."
Notice the Bible doesn’t say money is the root of all kinds of evil. It says the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. One of mammon’s biggest tricks is getting us to trust in money rather than God. When you feel financial pressure, notice how the spirit of mammon tries to position itself as a substitute for God. It says, "You either need God to work a miracle right now or you need more money." That’s simply a lie. We need God, period.
That’s what Jesus is saying in Matthew 6:24. You can’t serve two masters. You can’t rely on both God and money to be your security and comfort. The Bible makes it clear that it’s one or the other, and if I had to choose, I’d take God over any amount of money in the bank.
God, I put my trust in You. Show me any area of my life in which You are not my source and help me to rely on You for my provision. There is no substitute for You in my life. I need You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For Further Study
- 1 Timothy 6:6-10
- 1 Timothy 6:17
- Hebrews 13:5
- Psalm 62:10
- Exodus 20:3