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October 13, 2014

Are You a Gold Digger?


How do you start reading the Bible?

I recently checked the dictionary for a definition of “gold digger,” and this is what I found in Merriam-Webster:

gold digger (noun)

 a woman who becomes or tries to become romantically involved with a rich man in order to get money and gifts from him

Think about this with me. Picture a rich widow. This lady is very wealthy. She lives in a marvelous home, enjoys exotic vacations and various other worldly gifts. A man comes alongside her. He gets romantically involved with her, and in the end he marries her.

He enjoys all the benefits of the life that he now shares with her. But he does not love her.  The truth is that he never did.  His whole intent, right from the beginning was that he should have what she enjoyed.

What would you think about this man? You would not admire him. You would call him a gold digger. You would think him selfish, dishonorable, unworthy. And you would be right.

But is this not precisely how we have often regarded Jesus Christ.

He owns heaven, and he can get us out of hell. He can get the blessing of God for us, and that’s what we want, so we ‘accept Him.’ (Isn’t that a strange way for Christian to talk about our Savior?  ‘Accepting Christ?’ I would never say that I ‘accepted’ my wife.  I love her!)

A.W. Tozer sounded the alarm over what I am calling “gold digger Christianity”:

The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless…Christ may be ‘received’ without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is ‘saved’ but he is not hungry and thirsty after God” (The Pursuit of God, pg 12).

Tozer wrote these words in the year 1948. That’s 66 years ago, which means that most of us have been breathing this air all of our lives. “Gold digger Christianity” means getting out of hell and getting into heaven. It says, “Get God on your side!”

But in it is very little love for Jesus Christ.

Open the Bible, and you find something very different. Peter says this about Christians and Christ: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him” (1 Peter 1:8).

Beware of the Gold Digger Mentality!

Christ gives us a profile of believers with the gold digger mentality when He speaks to the church at Ephesus. He says three things:

1. “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance” (Revelation 2:2). Here are people who are hard workers in the church. They are staunch, loyal folks who stick at it with steady tenacity. Paul also says,

2. “You cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false” (Revelation 2:2). So here are people of strong moral integrity, who are sticklers for truth, all of which is commended by Christ. But then Paul says,

3. “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). He says, ‘You are doing the work. You are living the life. But whatever happened to, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”? I don’t hear that from you,’ Christ says. So he says, ‘Repent, and do the works you did at first. If not I will come and remove the lamp stand from its place.’

The life of a church cannot be sustained by hard work, right living and doctrinal correctness. The life of the church, the life of a Christian, lies in our love for Christ which reflects his great love for us.

Beware of the gold digger mentality! Beware of looking to Christ for what He can give you and not really loving Him. When did you last tell the Lord that you love Him? Don’t let today, or any day, end without saying that to him.

Why Job Was Not a Gold Digger

The best time of all to tell the Lord that you love him is when you experience pain and loss. There’s nothing surprising about a Christian who loves God when life is going well. But Christians who love God when his good gifts are taken away demonstrate to heaven and to hell that they really do love God and not just his gifts.

This was the main point of the book of Job, which begins with Satan’s great slander against God. ‘The only reason Job loves you is that you have filled his life with blessings. You have showered him with wealth; you have surrounded him with loved ones. Job is blessed and he knows where his bread is buttered. That’s why he loves you!’

Hell knows nothing of love. Satan cannot believe that anyone would love God for who he is. So he slanders God by accusing him of buying Job’s affection. Well, you know the story: One gift after another was stripped away from Job. This godly man walked through the dark valley of pain and struggled with many unanswered questions.

But he did not cease to love God.

Though he slay me, yet shall I trust Him. I know that my Redeemer lives and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh, I shall see God.

When Job loved God in the middle of his pain and suffering, his testimony glorified God in heaven, it silenced Satan in hell, and it has brought strength and comfort to believers by the millions across the world through thousands of years of history.

So here’s my conclusion: Loving Christ still, in the middle of unexplained suffering or loss, may be the greatest contribution you will ever make to glorifying Christ and to the advance of his kingdom in the world.

Loving Christ still in the face of pain and loss, glorifies God in heaven, causes consternation in hell, and brings strength to other believers who see that God is worthy of our affection with or without his gifts.

Beware of the gold digger mentality, and love Christ for who he is.

Colin Smith

Founder & Teaching Pastor

Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the Founder and Teaching Pastor for Open the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.
Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the Founder and Teaching Pastor for Open the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.