|Have you ever wondered, How
do I know if I'm becoming too materialistic? How do
I recognize when natural possessions have become too
important to me?
Today let's answer those questions! In Second Timothy
2:4, Paul wrote, "No man that warreth entangleth
himself with the affairs of this life." The word
"entangleth" in this verse comes from the Greek word empleko.
This Greek word can be used several different ways,
but it is often used to describe a person
entangled in his lower garments or a person who is
caught in some type of vine.
For instance, this is the same Greek word that is used
in Matthew 27:29 to describe how the Roman soldiers
assembled Jesus' crown of thorns! That verse says,
"And when they had platted a crown of thorns,
they put it upon his head." The word "platted" is this
same Greek word empleko. It may be the
clearest and best example of this word in the entire
Think for a moment: How did the soldiers "plait" a
crown of thorns? The soldiers took vines loaded with
sharp, dangerous thorns; then they carefully wove
together those razor-sharp, prickly, jagged vines
until they formed a tightly woven, dangerous circle
resembling the shape of a crown. It was this kind of
crown that the soldiers violently shoved down upon
Jesus' head in Matthew 27:29.
What I want you to see is that this word "entangleth"
describes something that has been woven together.
By using this word, Paul tells us that, as committed
Christians, we don't have the privilege of getting too
involved or intertwined with matters that are
relatively unimportant in light of eternity. The word
empleko was also used to describe a runner
whose garments become entangled in his legs.
Although the runner was running a good race, his
floppy, dangling garments have now become ensnared and
entangled in his legs - and as a result, they break
his pace and hinder his race. So here we find that the
word empleko Paul uses in Second Timothy 2:4
can also describe someone who has become ensnared or entangled
in something and thus hindered.
This means that Second Timothy 2:4 can be
"No one serving as a soldier permits
himself to get entwined, ensnared, and entangled
in the affairs of this life."
But now let's go back to the question about
materialism. There is nothing wrong with owning nice
things. In fact, God wants to bless us with nice
things. But we are not to allow material possessions
to become so ingrained in our hearts that they become
the central focus of our lives. Our souls, emotions,
and desires are not to become so ensnared, entangled,
and caught up in the things of the world that
we become meshed together with them.
How do you know if you've become materialistic? How
do you know if natural possessions mean too much to
you? Well, could you give them up if the Lord
asked you to? Or have they become so woven into the
very fabric of your life that you are now entangled
in them? Only you and the Holy Spirit know the answers
to these questions.
Do everything in your power to keep the temporal
things of this world in the right perspective. Keep
them in your hands but out of your heart. Ask the
Holy Spirit to show you areas of your life that need
to be "untangled" and brought back into balance.
Then after He speaks to you, it's up to you to STAY
untangled from those natural affairs of life!