What Does it Mean ‘You Cannot Serve God and Mammon’?


you cannot serve God and mammon

In Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13, the Bible records that Jesus said you cannot serve God and mammon. 

“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 NKJV

“No servant 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.” Luke 16:13 NKJV

What did Jesus mean when He said you cannot serve God and mammon? 

‘You cannot serve God and mammon’ means that you cannot serve God and the spirit of mammon at the same time. It is impossible. You can only serve one or the other. 

What is Mammon? 

Actually, the correct question is not what is mammon, but WHO is mammon. 

Mammon was the demon god of Syria whose name meant the power of riches. 

Today, mammon is the spirit that deceives people into trusting money in place of God. Mammon tries to get you to look to money the way you should look to God. 

Mammon is not money. Mammon is a spirit that uses the deceitfulness of riches to control us, thereby causing us to serve it rather than God.

The spirit of mammon wants our trust, our devotion, and our obedience. It wants to be served in place of God. 

When we are trusting and obeying the spirit of mammon, we are not trusting and obeying the voice of God. 

The spirit of mammon has one main goal: to lure us away from trusting God and to cause us look to other things as our true source.

It’s all about our trust.

Mammon does not want us trusting God with our life. It constantly whispers “God won’t provide, you need to do it on your own”. 

God says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything you need will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). 

The spirit of mammon tells you “what God said is not true, you need to focus on money and how you will earn it”. 

How to Know if You Are Serving Mammon Or God 

Notice that Jesus said you can NOT serve both mammon and God. This means that if you are serving mammon, it is impossible for you to serve God at the same time. 

The spirit of mammon usually works together with spirits of poverty, pride, and fear.

The spirit of poverty causes a state of continual want, but never having enough. God says there is no want for those who fear Him (Psalm 34:9).

The spirit of poverty also causes us to feel shame about the blessings we do have. It will cause you to believe that prosperity is for other people, but not you. 

The spirit of pride kills our ability to obey God and follow his plans for our lives.

Proud people will not trust the Lord. Pride causes people to turn away from God and seek to obtain riches their own way. 

Remember that Jesus said it is impossible to serve God and mammon at the same time. This makes it quite important to uncover if you are serving mammon without knowing it. 

Here are 6 signs that the spirit of mammon is at work in your life: 

1. You Have Worry and Anxiety Over Money

Worry and anxiety are to mammon what praise and worship are to God. 

Every time you are in fear about your finances, you are worshiping mammon. You’re bowing the knee to mammon rather than to God. 

God is your source, and He says He will always provide. As we renew our mind to this reality, we can trust that God is not a liar and there is no need to worry about money. 

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33

2. You Withhold More Than You Should

There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. Proverbs 11:24 NKJV

The spirit of mammon causes people to hoard whatever they have. It does not want us to truly know that God is able to make all grace abound toward us, that we, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

3. You Are Always Trying to Save a Dollar (at the expense of others)

Most people think that saving every dollar they can is a good thing. But it’s really quite nasty and selfish when saving money means that you take from others.  

Being a good steward means doing with the money what the OWNER wants you to do with it. 

This may not always mean buying the cheapest item. The owner may want you to buy a specific one. If God says to buy the shirt that’s $40 but you refuse and choose to buy the shirt for $10 just to save money, who are you obeying? 

What does being a good steward of money actually mean? A steward is someone who manages money for someone else.

If  you are truly managing money for someone else, you will do what they say with the money. If they say they want the more expensive option, a good steward will carry out the wishes of the owner.

Being cheap is not always better.  

4. Money Dictates Your Decisions

If God tells you to do something and you are under the influence of the spirit of mammon, you will obey money rather than God. 

For example, if God tells you to move to another city, but it will cause you to lose your high paying job, many people will obey the money rather than God. 

The spirit of mammon disguises itself as “being a good steward” or “being frugal with my money” or “being smart with my money, not being wasteful, etc. 

Those are good qualities, but when these principles are obeyed over and above the voice of God, then the spirit of mammon is the one leading. Money is dictating your decisions, instead of the Holy Spirit. 

5. You Think There’s Never Enough Money

The spirit of mammon tells you that there’s not enough money. You have to hoard, you have to hold on to everything you can get because it might run out. 

Or on the other hand, it tells you that even when you have plenty of money, you always need more. Mammon will never allow you to be content and satisfied in the Lord. 

6. More Money in the Bank Makes You Feel More Secure 

The spirit of mammon wants to make sure you trust money rather than God. If you feel more secure when you have more money in the bank, that’s a sign that you are getting your security from money rather than God. 

Your security is supposed to come from God, not the size of your nest egg. 

Is it Wrong for Christians to Prosper? 

The Bible is over and abundantly clear that it is not wrong for a Christian to prosper financially. 

In fact, having an abundance is part of the blessing of God. God wants us to have more than enough to meet our own needs, so that we can be a blessing to those in need. 

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT

Poverty is a curse, and Jesus paid for our freedom from poverty on the cross. 

You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT

God is all about abundance and increase. Following the ways of God’s wisdom will always lead to wealth. 

That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, That I may fill their treasuries. Proverbs 8:21 NKJV

Prosperity is clearly a blessing from God when we allow Him to bring it into our life. When we try to obtain riches separate from God and His ways, we wind up in the bondage of the spirit of mammon. 

The issue is where your trust is. 

Also read: 

What Does ‘The Love of Money’ Mean?

Does the Bible Say God Wants You to Be Rich?

Can I Ask God to Prosper Me?

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