Session 19

Does materialism have a hold on your life?

From Acts: A 28-Day Devotional

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Acts 19

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In Ephesus, Paul continues teaching about Jesus and performing miracles. Fearing they’d be put out of business, local idol makers start a riot.

People in Ephesus were passionate about maintaining the prestige of their patron goddess, Artemis. Their Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. To worship Artemis was as much a part of the city's culture and identity as loving sweet tea and barbecue are a part of ours. 

Silversmiths knew if people started believing in Paul's God instead of their man-made idol, their income would suffer.

While silver statues may not be the objects of our affection, we have plenty of false gods of our own. One of our most prevalent gods is the unquenchable desire for more — more income, a bigger home, or the newest iPhone.

Jesus understood the pull materialism can have over our hearts. In Jesus' longest recorded sermon, He warned His followers of this, saying, "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24). 

Following the Bible’s wisdom and instruction can help break the idolatry of more, bigger, and better. Learning to manage our money God’s way brings peace to our finances and break the hold of idolatry in our lives.


Reflect:

  • What does this passage teach us about God? How does it apply to you?
  • What does it mean to value God more than material possessions and money? How do your budget and priorities need to change to make God your most valued treasure?
  • Is it possible to be close to Jesus and talk about Jesus without actually knowing Jesus? What does this look like in the modern day church?

Need help putting God first in your finances? Download free budgeting tools or sign-up for free, confidential financial coaching at newspring.cc/finances

19 of 28

Devotionals From This Study

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Session 1

Waiting for God to move

Jesus returns to heaven, and the disciples replace Judas. A lot is changing in the lives of Jesus’ first followers as they embark on lead...

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Session 2

What is holding you back?

The Holy Spirit, the counselor Jesus promised, arrives. Peter preaches a message about Jesus, and the Christian church begins. No matter...

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Session 3

What is ugly is made beautiful

Peter heals a lame beggar and a crowd quickly gathers. Peter explains that healing comes from God and encourages the crowd to repent. In...

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Session 4

If you’re in over your head, you’re in good company

Peter and John explain their teaching to the religious leaders who tell them to stop speaking about Jesus. Church members pray for Peter ...

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Session 5

Get out of your comfort zone

God punishes a husband and wife for lying. Church leaders perform more miracles and wind up in prison. God breaks them out, and the churc...

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Session 6

Are you willing to make a change?

Seven people are chosen to perform daily tasks to help the church. One of them, Stephen, is arrested for talking about Jesus. Some peopl...

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Session 7

What a full life really looks like

Stephen defends himself to the Jewish religious leaders. The officials grew so furious they killed Stephen, making him the first Christia...

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Session 8

Are you ready to go?

Stephen’s death sets off a great wave of persecution. But rather than shutting down the church, believers are scattered and the good news...

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Session 9

You are not who you used to be

Saul, a religious leader, meets Jesus and his life completely changes. He takes the name Paul and becomes a traveling missionary preachin...

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Session 10

The No. 1 excuse we make to avoid change

Peter travels to share the message of Jesus with Cornelius, a Roman military commander. Cornelius and his family decide to follow Jesus. ...

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Session 11

No one is too far gone

Peter explains that it’s OK for Christians to eat with non-Jews, something they would never have done before. More and more non-Jews star...

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Session 12

Every escape starts with one step

Peter is beaten and thrown into prison for talking about Jesus, but God sent an angel to break him out. Chained to two soldiers and guar...

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Session 13

The effect prayer has on your life

Barnabas and Saul (aka Paul) set out on their first of three trips to spread the good news about Jesus with surrounding nations. In Acts...

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Session 14

Do people think you’re crazy?

Paul heals a man who has been crippled since birth. Paul and Barnabas then encourage the people to believe in God’s power, not their own....

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Session 15

Why division in the church is dangerous

A dispute breaks out about whether Christians should be circumcised or not. After hearing what God was doing in non-Jewish communities, t...

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Session 16

Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

Paul and Silas go to jail for healing a girl possessed by demons. Instead of panicking, they sing. Prison doors fly open, and chains come...

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Session 17

The secret to Paul’s confidence

Paul travels to Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens to share the good news about Jesus. In Athens, he gets the opportunity to talk to the nat...

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Session 18

Do you really want to know God’s will?

Paul continues to travel and teach about Jesus, but many Jews opposed his message. The Lord speaks to Paul in a dream and encourages him ...

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Session 19

Does materialism have a hold on your life?

In Ephesus, Paul continues teaching about Jesus and performing miracles. Fearing they’d be put out of business, local idol makers start a...

Read Devotional

Session 20

You can’t push God’s love away

Paul heads back to Jerusalem while encouraging and saying goodbye to people who supported him on his travels. Following Jesus took Paul ...

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Session 21

What it means to be committed

After a grueling journey, Paul arrives in Jerusalem. He swaps stories with friends then goes to the temple to worship. Pretty soon, a rum...

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Session 22

Your story is more powerful than you think

Wrongly accused of disrespecting Jewish law, Paul shares his upbringing, religious training, and conversion to Christianity with the crow...

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Session 23

What are you doing, God?

Unaware of who he’s talking to, Paul insults the head priest. Although Paul apologizes, people want revenge. Several Jews vow to kill Pau...

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Session 24

God cares more about your growth than your comfort

When Paul arrives in Caesarea, he explains the accusations to a new courtroom. Unsure of how to handle Paul’s case, the governor calls fo...

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Session 25

Is passion driving your actions?

Paul knows he’s innocent, so when the trial day comes he hands in an innocent plea and asks to have his case sent to Caesar. While Paul a...

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Session 26

Who is the hero of your story?

Speaking freely to a top official familiar with Jewish law, Paul shares how he met Jesus and explains that while he may have offended som...

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Session 27

What would you sacrifice for someone else’s freedom?

Paul sets sail for Rome, and a week into the trip, he hits a major storm. The ship runs aground, but everyone on board makes it safely to...

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Session 28

Are you willing to say yes to God?

The ship’s crew waits out the winter then sets sail for Rome. When they arrive, the Jews in Rome know nothing about the charges against P...

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