“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
Success in God is not to be measured by outward manifestations of wealth. Even in Paul’s day there were those who supposed the gain of earthly riches determined the degree of one’s godliness. The apostle deemed those who taught such to be “men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (1 Timothy 6:5)
Faith, for such men, is the means to actualize the earthly goods one covets in this life. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) How ironic that a scripture verse that was intended to turn the eye of the believer away from seen, temporal things to unseen, eternal things has been used by those who mind earthly things.
Just prior to this verse, the Hebrew believers were given this exhortation:
“But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” (Hebrews 10:32-34)
Further in the chapter, the faithful were exhorted to follow the faith of their father Abraham who “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10)
They were also pointed toward the faith of Moses.
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:24-27)
These heroes of the faith were not held up as examples who used their faith to gain earthly riches and material blessings. They were willing to go without such because their faith enabled them to see greater riches and a better and more enduring substance laid up in heaven. Their affections were not set on things of the earth; but they desired a “better country, that is, an heavenly.”
Contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Beware of that “faith” which would twist scripture to justify worldly desires and carnal ambitions.