DEFINITION: Greed is an overwhelming desire to have more of something than is actually needed, especially in regards to possessions and wealth.
FACTS ABOUT GREED:
Money is not evil. It is the love of money and the greed associated with it that is evil.
(1 Timothy 6:10). You are commanded to keep your life free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5).
Greed is a trait of the ungodly. In Romans 1:29-30, the Apostle Paul describes characteristics of ungodly people. Greed is listed as one of the traits.
Greed enslaves a person. Jesus said you cannot serve God and money. You must choose one or the other as the master you will serve (Matthew 6:24).
Greed causes division. Arguments, contention, and division all arise from evil, selfish, greedy desires (James 4:1-3).
Greed affects your prayer life. The Bible says you do not receive if you ask for greedy, selfish motives (James 4:1-3).
One qualification for church leadership is that a person should not be greedy (1 Timothy 3:3, 8).
Greed is a sign that you love the world. The Bible commands you not to love the world, nor the things that are in the world–including money and possessions (1 John 2:15-16).
DEALING WITH GREED:
Ask God to forgive your greed. Repent of your love of money, your desire to have more and more material things, and of coveting the possessions of others.
Learn to be content with what you have. Paul told Timothy that godliness with contentment was great gain (1 Timothy 6:4-10). Jesus told the soldiers to be content with their wages (Luke 3:14). Paul said he had learned to be content–confirming that contentment is a learned behavior (Philippians 4:11). Hebrews 13:5 says to be content with what you have.
Focus on eternal rather than material things. The psalmist said that he focused on the Word of God instead of selfish gain (Psalm 119:36).
Practice giving instead of hording. Make it a habit to give of your resources–both possessions and money–to those who are less fortunate. A good practice is that when you get something new–like a new dress or suit–give one you have away to others. This practice will help you guard against greed and selfish hording.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT GREED:
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.(Psalm 10:2-3)
Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. (Psalm 119:36)
A greedy man brings trouble to his family. (Proverbs 15:27)
He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty. (Proverbs 22:16)
Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man. (Proverbs 27:20)
A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts the Lord will prosper. (Proverbs 28:25)
Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:6)
As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? (Ecclesiastes 5:11)
Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:15)
All man’s efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied. (Ecclesiastes 6:7)
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.(Matthew 6:24)
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)
Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.” (Luke 3:14)
Watch out! Be on guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15)
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:29-30)
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-12)
…he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:4-10, NKJV)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.(James 5:1-6)
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-16)
(See also “Covetousness” and “Envy And Jealousy” in this database.)