Writing by Faith: The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil

Welcome to Part 11 of the Writing by Faith series for Christian authors! If you’re new to Authoring Arrowheads, be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss future series posts!

If you haven’t yet read previous installments of the Writing by Faith series, you can do so here.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:10, KJV

One of the darkest dangers we as Christian authors face when writing for God is falling head-over-heels in love with the possibility of financial gain rather than giving all our heart and ministry over to God. Yes, while God can allow us to make money from writing for Him, and money in and of itself isn’t sinful, we as Christian authors must dutifully prepare, and routinely examine, our hearts for the temptation of money lust.

The Dangers of Coveting

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Luke 12:15, kjv

Coveting is a behavior that is so deplorable in God’s eyes that “That shall not covet” is one of the Ten Commandments. And yet, even though we know this, as Christian authors, all thoughts of this commandment can go flying out the window (if we allow it) when we see the financial success of our fellow authors. But, before we move further, what exactly is coveting?

Coveting basically means that we have a deep desire for something someone else has, whether that be their finances, their family, their wardrobe, etc. For Christian authors, this means we could easily become covetous of our fellow authors’ sales ranks, royalties, publishing opportunities, or even their ability to work from home as a full-time author. Do you notice how all of these things have something to do with making money (or more money) as an author?

On the surface, it seems insanely selfish, doesn’t it? From our current, objective viewpoint, we can boldly declare that, “WOW. Any Christian author whose heart is on financial success rather than making God known is in it for all the wrong reasons.” And yeah, That’s totally correct. But, what if I told you that most Christian authors don’t initially go into the publishing realm with that mindset? Believe it or not, most begin with a true-blue, honest desire to write for God. What happens is, Satan knows how to trip us up, and can easily turn someone who was once in it for God’s glory into a royalty-hungry, jealous author who wants the same financial success and/or opportunities as all their comp(arable) authors. I mean, it’s only fair, right?

I thought so. For years. Though I know 1 Timothy 6:10 was true, that the love of money is the root of all evil, the love of potential royalties soon led me down the path of comparing my financial success to my comp authors, and then coveting their author careers and the extra time they were able to dedicate to their writing and publishing efforts. Looking back, Satan was easily able to tempt me into a covetous mindset, knowing these vulnerabilities about me:

  1. My top career choice, since I was seven years old, has always been to be a full-time author.
  2. I’ve always wanted to work full-time, from home, as an author, but currently do not make enough in royalties to fund that dream.
  3. So, instead of taking a risk and becoming a full-time author now and work toward building financial success, I currently work a steady, full-time job in an unrelated field. A field I chose only out of the pressure to earn scholarships when I was 17/18 years old, a field that projected I would eventually make 80k a year. A field that, in fact, does not provide that much annual income, and, that I have oh-so-regretfully found, is a horrible fit for me. But, I’ve stayed for the stable paycheck, for the sole purpose of knowing the house won’t pay itself off, and I don’t want my husband to have to fit the entire bill on his own.

What did Satan do, knowing these vulnerabilities? He used social media, of course! He made sure I saw more successful authors, who wrote books similar to mine, who were close to my age (but younger, and vastly more successful than I was at that age, of course), who had instant success upon their first book release. And even if I realized I was unhealthily comparing myself to them and unfollowed/muted their accounts for my own mental health, their books would then bombard my Goodreads feed and I’d see readers raving non-stop about their books. I’d get curious again and stalk their Instagram pages to learn how I could get on their level, and then realize that Oh. They’re able to be full-time authors. They’re not working another full-time job. They have the financial backing to dedicate more time to writing and publishing.

Covetous jealousy and resentment abounded. And, when it first started, I justified it on the basis that I don’t want millions from this author career. I just want enough to support a family in a two-income household. I just wanted to live the dream I’ve had since I was seven years old. But, that didn’t stop me from wanting, desperately, what they had. Because no matter what, or how hard I tried, I couldn’t get there. Even after three books.

Long story short, I became a very bitter author. In the everyday pity party of “why not me, God?”, I completely lost sight of my initial Why for publishing Christian books in the first place: to glorify God and make Him known. Eventually, obtaining financial stability from the books I published became the biggest idol I’ve head to face thus far in life, an idol I stupidly placed before God.

I’m not admitting all this so you’ll feel sorry for me. I’m hoping and praying that sharing that testimony will be the wake-up call some of my fellow Christian authors may need right now if they’re struggling with similar situations. Covetousness nearly ruined my desire to write at all, let alone for God. It crippled my writing tot he point that, as I’m penning these words almost a year after I finally learned my lesson and came crawling back to God, writing fiction is still difficult for me. Allowing ourselves to covet the financial success or situations of other authors shows God that we are allowing our love for money to worm its way between our working partnership with Him, and we will have to suffer the consequences of our sin. The only way to move past this is to check our hearts.

Checking Our Hearts For, And Clearing Them Of, Covetousness

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

matthew 6:19-21, kjv

Checking our hearts for and clearing them of, covetousness, first involves taking a good look at our values and admitting both to ourselves, and to God, when we have placed anything as an idol above Him. Admitting to God that we have sinned, and asking for His forgiveness, shows Him that we acknowledge our covetousness is sinful, and that it has been a toxic behavior that has hindered the Good Work He first called us to do as Christian authors: to make Him and His love known to readers, in the way He has individually called us.

Now, this “checking our hearts” and “asking for forgiveness” thing isn’t always a one-and-done situation where we’re immediately cured from this way of thinking. Just like with any other sin, we authors can be prone to backsliding into a covetous mindset after some time has passed, or whenever the temptation to be like Mr. or Miss Bestselling Author strikes. So, how can we actively work to keep our hearts clear of covetousness?

Just like with routine checkups at the doctor’s office, I recommend we authors routinely check our hearts and minds for signs of covetousness, especially in the thick of major book projects, or in seasons where we’re unable to make much progress on our books due to other areas of life taking priority. In these seasons, we need to make God our highest priority by making time to pray for His blessing and reflect on His word. If we intentionally set aside time every day to spend time with God, He becomes more and more difficult to forget. Dwelling in His presence and on His promises daily can serve as our constant reminder that we are to be serving Him in all we do, not seeking to serve ourselves by trying to be like anyone else.

While we know that money itself, if handled in a God-honoring way, is not inherently evil, we must stay vigilant in checking our hearts for money lust and/or a covetous attitude toward what our fellow authors have. As the verses in Matthew chapter six above remind us, earthly “treasures” are not actually valuable at all in the long run. For one thing, we can’t take them with us when we pass away, and secondly, our material possessions add no value whatsoever to the Kingdom of God. If we make sure to realign our focus on serving God–pushing thoughts of the money that may or may not come with writing books to the back of our minds–and work toward our purpose of making Him known, we will thrive regardless of how the financials look, because our treasure is found in Him, not money, nor what anyone else has.

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

When was the last time you checked your heart on the issue of covetousness? After reading this section, reflect on your author career over the past few months. Have you been serving God, or lusting after payment with your career? This is a deep and vulnerable subject, so if you need to talk it out within our community, feel free to below. There is absolutely NO judgment here, as I’ve been dealing with this myself for a while.

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

4 thoughts on “Writing by Faith: The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil

  1. Wow, this is exactly what I needed to read today. Like you described, I seem to backslide (or maybe even repeatedly cycle through) to obsessing over ratings, etc. and it completely steals the joy of writing for God. It’s so frustrating to find myself praying more for writing “success” (as defined by measurements rather than eternal value like you said) than for Thy Kingdom come. I’m so glad you wrote about this topic 🙂 and welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad to hear this post helped you! 😊 I’ve really had to have Come to Jesus meetings on this topic repeatedly over the last year, which made it the most difficult section of this series to write 😅, but I pray it serves as a reminder to myself and others to keep God first in our writing endeavors!

      Liked by 1 person

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