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Do You Live in the Spirit or the Flesh?

johnIn the 12th century, when the Crusades were being fought, the Crusaders employed mercenaries to fight on their behalf.  Because they were fighting a religious war, the Crusaders insisted that the mercenaries be baptized before fighting.  As they were baptized, the mercenaries held their swords out of the water to symbolize the one thing in their lives that Jesus Christ would not control. They had the freedom to use their swords any way they wished.

Too often, modern day followers forego Catholic money management in a similar fashion, and hold their wallets and purses “out of the water” so to speak.  In effect they are saying, “God, you are the Lord of my life except for my money, which I am perfectly capable of handling on my own.”

Have you ever considered that how we manage money has a direct impact on our relationship with God? Money in its simplest form is a medium of exchange. In its most complex form, it is a means to worship God.

In America, society sees worldly wealth as the key to success and fulfillment. People think that the more money they have, and the more things they own, the happier they will become. We get so hung up on having the big house, fancy car, latest fashions and living an artificial lifestyle that we forget these things all become irrelevant the moment we die.  Nothing belongs to us–everything belongs to God.

Money is typically the prime tool for interaction with the secular world. And the secular world is constantly telling you what you need to purchase to be successful, sexy, happy, important, powerful, etc. When we are focused on money and our stuff, we are not focused on the Lord.  Whether we realize it or not, our attitude toward money and how we manage money has a direct bearing on our relationship with the Lord.

All too often, our secular, worldly life is controlling our spiritual life, when it should be the other way around. The spiritual must control the secular. From the earliest moments of our Catholic education, we come to understand that our spiritual and physical needs are different, though they work together to create who we are.

While both spiritual and physical needs are very real and very necessary, sometimes it can be difficult to prioritize the two. Don’t we need food and clothing before we address our spiritual needs? Shouldn’t our bodies be nourished and healthy before we go on pursuits of the knowledge of God and religion?

Take a look at Romans 8:9,11-12: “But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him…If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you. Consequently, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.”

This passage in Romans, tells us that the spiritual will provide the sustenance we need to carry on with our physical lives! Examine your daily life and your Catholic money management principles. Do you put material wealth and possession ahead of your quest to gain spiritual wealth? Or is the spiritual more important?

Do you live in the flesh or in the spirit?

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