Materialism is attempting to meet emotional or spiritual needs with material things. This is a hopeless pursuit. Material things will never satisfy the hunger of the soul. Money or material things are simply tools that the Father has given to us to accomplish our mission. Money must be viewed and used as a tool for His purposes vs. a tool for accumulating possessions.
For years much of the church has been living in the fear of materialism—that is, a fear that if God blesses us financially, it will somehow ruin us and cause us to fall away from Him. This view ignores the many great men and women of the Bible who experienced abundance and continued steadfast in their love for the Father. There is a long list: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Noah, Job, Daniel, Jesus and Paul, to name a few.
Job maintained godly character when he was wealthy, when he was destitute and when his wealth was restored again. Job was the same person no matter what his financial state. He maintained his integrity and refused to deny God (Job 27:5-6). If we believe the Lord is strong enough to keep us from lust, gossip and other sins of which we are tempted within our Christian lives, why is it that we are unable to believe He is strong enough to keep us from materialism? Is materialism too big or too difficult for Him to handle? Of course not!
A good friend of ours is a landlord. As sometimes happens one of his tenants was late with the rent and it was during the Christmas season of the year. My friend was stopping by the rental unit to try to collect his rent. As he was on his way, he felt strangely prompted by the Holy Spirit to stop and buy a Christmas gift for the tenant who owed him money. So he did as he was prompted. When he visited the renter, he found them still unable to pay the money that was owed. He still gave them the Christmas gift.
As he pondered the situation afterward he found the Lord was showing him an example of how God first loved him even when he had a debt to pay for his sin. Yet in spite of his inability to pay for his sin himself, God still gave him the gift of eternal life by sending his son Jesus. Though he still expected the renter to pay what was owed, his obedience to give a gift led to a marvelous revelation of God’s love and he has found God’s hand is on the rental property business as well and it has prospered.