Are Christians called to live within their means or to live simply?
Believers are instructed to live within their means, though the degree of our wealth can vary widely. Some Christians will live on modest means, while others may become very wealthy as the Lord appoints.
Regardless of the level of our wealth, all believers are commanded to live with contentment in what they possess, as Paul says:
Contentment means being satisfied with whatever the Lord provides, whether little or much, so that we do not become distracted with the pursuit of more. Solomon put it this way:
Contentment is our defense against greedy hearts that covet for more than the Lord provides as ungrateful hearts cannot appreciate His provision. The Bible says we must focus on maintaining a character that does not love money:
Instead of pursuing riches, we should seek contentment in our relationship with Christ, for we can only love one Master at a time:
A Christian who sets his or her mind on the pursuit of wealth has (by definition) shifted his or her pursuit away from Christ, for we can only pursue one love at a time, Jesus says. This is the core issue: do we pursue wealth at the expense of pursuing Christ? If so, then we sin.
On the other hand, remaining free from the love of money does not necessarily mean living without money. The Bible never condemns the possession of riches, just the love of riches. Wealth is a tool, and like any tool in the hands of the wise and discerning, it can be a great blessing. Furthermore, we do not make ourselves more holy, pious and pleasing to Christ merely by divesting ourselves of our wealth. Poor Christians can be equally distracted by the pursuit of wealth as can their wealthier brothers and sisters, and even more so because of their poverty.
Once again, the issue is our heart attitude toward our wealth, not the degree of our wealth. If we work as the Lord commands and He chooses to bless our work with great financial reward, then we must assume that responsibility with great care. We cannot allow that blessing to become a curse in our life by becoming devoted to those riches. Instead, we must steward it carefully with an attitude that recognizes the Lord gave us our wealth, and one day it will cease to be ours, as Solomon wrote: