“The deceitfulness of riches can choke out the fruits of the gospel in many ways. A person who covets the wealth of another will suffer spiritually. A person who has wealth and then loses it and becomes embittered and hateful is also a victim of the deceitfulness of riches.
“Another victim is the person who becomes resentful of the wealth of the wicked. The prophet Jeremiah gave voice to the old question, ‘Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?’ (Jeremiah 12:1.) Those who brood over the prosperity or seeming happiness of the wicked put too much emphasis on material things. They can be deceived because their priorities are too concentrated on worldly wealth.
“Another victim of the deceitfulness of riches is the person who consciously or unconsciously feels guilt at having failed to acquire the property or prominence the world credits as the indicia of success.
“Those who preach the gospel of success and the theology of prosperity are suffering from ‘the deceitfulness of riches’ and from supposing that ‘gain is godliness’ (1 Timothy 6:5). The possession of wealth or the acquisition of significant income is not a mark of heavenly favor, and their absence is not evidence of heavenly disfavor. Riches can be among the blessings that follow right behavior—such as the payment of tithing (Malachi 3:9–12)—but riches can also be acquired through the luck of a prospector or as the fruits of dishonesty” (Pure in Heart, 75–76).