The Six Powers of Satan and How to Overcome Them: Part 3
The Power of Mammon (Human Economics)
In this six-part series, we are exploring the six powers of Satan and how to overcome them. The six powers of Satan are:
- Lies—he is the father of lies
- The kingdoms of the world with their imposed law with coercive enforcement—he is the prince of this world
- Worldly economics—mammon, the false god of money, buying, selling, and owning
- Accusations—he is the “satan,” the accuser
- Temptation and division—he is the devil, the ancient serpent who tempts and divides
- Death and destruction—he is the destroyer whose powers result in death
In part one, we examined the power of lies—how lies that are believed break the circle of love and trust and result in fear and selfishness, and how every human born after Adam’s sin is born infected with fear and selfishness.
This fear-driven, me-first survival instinct is the energizing motivator of the dark-side, and all of Satan’s various powers are used to increase fear and inflame selfishness, which gives him greater control over people—ultimately destroying love and the fruits of the Spirit out of the hearts of those who, in some way, turn to self and practice selfish methods to cope with the fear.
In part two, we examined Satan’s power of worldly governments, of using the rule of law, made-up rules, outward force, and inflicted punishments to coerce people, in contrast to Jesus’ inward-focused kingdom of heart change.
Here in part three, we will examine Satan’s power of mammon—that is, money. However, it is not merely currency that is Satan’s power, but the system of human economics that operates upon the principles of Satan’s kingdom.
The Power of Mammon
The core reality, foundation, behind all human economies are the laws of buying and selling and the principle of ownership. Nothing is free in this life; we must pay for it, and we must own it. We must purchase it with money, or labor, or trade—nothing is free. And the more we own, the safer, more secure, we feel.
This is exactly the opposite of how God’s economy works; it operates upon free giving, everything that lives gives and gives freely without expectation of payment.
- Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8 NIV84).
- Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed (Proverbs 11:24, 25 NLT).
The Bible describes God’s economy as a system of free giving. It is by giving away that we become rich. But this is nonsense to a fear-driven, selfish world.
In Satan’s kingdom, the more you take—hoard, store up—the more you have; if you give it away, you merely deplete your resources. It is only by consuming, taking, and possessing that one gets ahead in this world.
Mammon—the system of human economics—is a fear-built system in which nothing is ever free; everything is bought and sold, and we are owners—we earn our way. And all of it is based on arbitrary, made-up rules, imposed standards, enforced controls. None of it is established in how the Creator built His kingdom to operate, a kingdom built upon design laws.
This world’s currencies and prices are also nothing more than made-up constructs that assign value arbitrarily; there is no inherent value in a piece of paper with a picture of a dead president. It is assigned a value by governments based in Satan’s kingdom, and people are required to agree upon those values in order to use it and survive. Property ownership is equally arbitrary—who can own and who cannot. Do you have mineral rights? Can you drill or frack for oil? Can the state put a highway through the property it says you own? Who has water rights, grazing rights, and so on? All are established on made-up, arbitrary rules.
This is the opposite of God’s economy, in which everything operates upon the design law of love—the principle of free giving. With every breath we take, we give away CO2 to the plants; we receive oxygen back from them. The “price,” or amount, of CO2 we give to the plants is exactly what we produce based on the metabolism of our bodies. It is determined by design laws of physiology that govern those processes. God gives without respect to what is earned: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45 NIV84).
Jesus makes this even more clear in the parable of the laborers, found in Matthew 20:1–16. Consider what Jesus taught. Try using this practice in your business today and you will see quickly that the world does not operate on God’s economy. The laborers who worked one hour received the same pay as those who worked in the field all day. Is that fair? In Satan’s kingdom, it is clearly not fair—we get what we earn, nothing is free. In God’s kingdom, the economy is different—everything is freely given.
In the parable, the payment is eternal life; this is the reward, and it is given to all of us freely, if we will accept it. The field is the earth, where we work with Jesus to save souls. Those who worked all day and those who worked with Jesus for one hour both receive the same payment of eternal life. But those who worked all day have also experienced something else: The privilege of working with God, coming to know Him and His truths more deeply and, thereby, growing in character more fully. They are able to apply His methods earlier in their lives, becoming more skillful in laboring for Him, which means they become more mature than those who have worked only an hour. For instance, the thief on the cross came at the last hour, yet he still got the same pay (eternal life), but he did not have a lifetime of growing with God.
If one holds the economic model of this world, this parable appears unfair. Why? Because human economics are not based on the reality of love and the natural blessings that come with free giving, but on fear and selfishness, on getting the most for self in order to ease our fears. And all human governments make up laws to control the value of currency and material possessions.
Satan’s economy of buying, selling, and owning has also corrupted the gospel of grace. Mainstream Christianity teaches that Jesus came to pay our sin-penalty—a penalty that God cannot freely forgive; our salvation must be purchased.
As always, Satan sets up two false systems that he pits against each other, and then he gets people to pick one of the opposing sides and fight the other when neither is true. For example, Protestants argue that we have nothing with which to purchase our salvation, so Jesus paid the purchase price with His sinless blood. Catholics argue that our salvation is purchased by a combination of Jesus’ sacrifice and our good works.
Likewise, within human governments, Satan also sets up opposing systems of economy and then incites people to choose one or the other when both are equally his inventions. Worse, he gets people to fight each other to promote one or the other, even proclaiming one of the systems is godly even though both find their origins in Satan’s principles.
The Deceptions of Human Economy
Satan’s two modern economic systems that he pits against each other are Capitalism and Marxism (socialism). Capitalism is a system in which people, individuals, can own property—it is a system of personal buying and selling. Its primary motivator is the accumulation of wealth. Without governmental regulation and self-restraint, this system always results in abuse and exploitation, with a few becoming extremely wealthy at the expense of the masses.
Marxism identifies the principle of “ownership of property” as evil, but it proposes a solution that creates an even greater corruption and more vile outcome than Capitalism. The Marxist solution is that no one can own anything; all property is owned by the state. Marxism, which is supposed to solve the problem of worldly selfishness and ownership by restricting all property ownership to the state, creates a system in which the state becomes supreme over everything—including the people. And this is the big, embedded lie that most people who move toward socialism are blind to: In all socialist, Marxist, communist societies, the state is more valuable than the people. In Marxism, the individual is only useful as long as they serve the state. Rather than people owning private property, in Marxism, people ultimately become the de facto property of the state. And in every instance in human history in which socialism has been established, the governments eventually committed mass abuse—imprisonment, impoverishment, and even genocide—against its own citizens, which is why it’s an even grosser perversion of God’s economy than Capitalism. But again, Satan has set up these two systems and deceptively plays them off each other to control people.
God’s economy is the kingdom of love and free giving, the gospel of grace. The biblical metaphors of payment are not economic; they are objective achievement. If you donate a kidney to save your child who is dying of renal failure, you “pay a high price”—but the price isn’t an economic (and not a legal) price, nor is it arbitrarily or artificially set. It is the price reality itself requires to fix or heal the condition; and it is a price that love freely gives. God and Jesus did pay a price, but it wasn’t economic (it also wasn’t legal); it was the price our sin-condition required in order to heal and restore—and what love freely gave to save the object of their love.
It is fear and selfishness that causes people to want more money, property, houses, or possessions—all in a vain attempt to make themselves feel secure. It is fear that causes jealousy when we see others with more stuff than we have.
Satan exploits us with the fear of poverty; this fear leads us to embrace his kingdom and methods to avoid poverty by using his methods of taking from others through imposed laws or through stealing, exploiting, or defrauding; we set up governments that take from others so that no one will have more than another. But all of Satan’s methods only result in more fear and more selfishness, with more injury to others and greater divisions in society. No matter the good intentions, injury and harm always occur when Satan’s methods are practiced.
But we are not left under the powers of our evil enemy. The Bible says about Jesus:
- Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15 NIV84).
- No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37–39 NIV84).
The most critical point to realize is that all of Satan’s powers exploit or magnify fear, and what is it that casts out all fear? Love! It is God’s love in our hearts that is the key, being loved and loving others. Satan wants to separate us from God’s love and truth—but if we remain in God’s love, we are more than conquerors. But without love, real love, we will be destroyed by fear and all of Satan’s methods to try to cope with that fear.
It is the truth and love of God revealed at the cross that destroys the lies of Satan and wins us back to trust. Then in trust, we open our hearts and God pours His love into our hearts (Romans 5:5). And His perfect love casts out all fear.
In that trust relationship with God, we rest secure in His love. We realize the truth that everything on Earth is the Lord’s, and anything the world recognizes as our property, we know is the Lord’s and we are His stewards. In that love and trust relationship, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus; we have hearts sensitive to the voice of the Spirit; and we live to give, to bless, to share the love of God with others in word and deed. We have surrendered our entire selves into God’s hand and trust Him with our future. Then rather than merely having the words printed on our currency, we live the reality: In God We Trust!