The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, , at sacred-texts.com
I saw Satan and his angels consulting together. He bade his angels go and lay their snares especially for those who were looking for Christ's second appearing, and who were keeping all God's commandments. Satan told his angels that the churches were all asleep. He would increase his power and lying wonders, and he could hold them. But the sect of Sabbath-keepers we hate. They are continually working against us, and taking from us our subjects, to keep that hated law of God.
Go, make the possessors of lands and money drunk with cares. If you can make them place their affections upon these things, we have them yet. They may profess what they please, only make them care more for money than the success of Christ's kingdom, or the spread of the truths we hate. Present the world before them in the most attractive light, that they may love and idolize it. We must keep all the means in our ranks we can. The more means they have, the more will they injure our kingdom by getting our subjects. And as they appoint meetings in different places, then we are in danger. Be very vigilant then. Cause all the distraction you can. Destroy love for each other. Discourage and dishearten their ministers; for we hate them. Hold up every plausible excuse to those that have means, lest they hand it out. Control the money matters if you can, and drive their ministers to want, and distress. This will weaken their courage and zeal. Battle every inch of ground. Make covetousness and love of earthly treasures the ruling traits of their character. As long as these traits rule, salvation and grace stand back. Crowd all you can around them to attract them, and they will be surely ours. Not only are we sure of them, but their hateful influence will not be exercised toward others to lead them to heaven. And those who shall attempt to give, put within them a grudging disposition, that it may be sparingly.
I saw that Satan carried out his plans well. And as the servants of God appointed meetings, Satan and his angels understood their business, and were on the ground to hinder the work of God, and he was constantly putting suggestions into the minds of God's people. Some he leads in one way, and some in another, always taking advantage of evil traits in the brethren and sisters, exciting and stirring up their natural besetments. If they are disposed to be selfish and covetous, Satan is well pleased to take his stand by their side, and then with all his power he seeks to lead them to manifest their besetting sins. If the grace of God and the light of truth melt away these covetous, selfish feelings for a little, and they do not obtain entire victory over them, when they are not under a saving influence, Satan comes in and withers up every noble, generous principle, and they think that they have to do too much. They become weary of well-doing and forget all about the great sacrifice Jesus made for them, to redeem them from the power of Satan, and hopeless misery.
Satan took advantage of Judas' covetous, selfish disposition, and led him to murmur against the ointment Mary dedicated to Jesus. Judas looked upon it as a great waste; it might have been sold and given to the poor. He cared not for the poor, but considered the liberal offering to Jesus extravagant. Judas prized his Lord just enough to sell him for a few pieces of silver. And I saw that there were some like Judas among those who profess to be waiting for their Lord. Satan has the control over them, but they know it not. Not a particle of covetousness or selfishness can God approbate. He hates it, and he despises the prayers and exhortations of those who possess it. As Satan sees his time is short, he leads them on to be more and more selfish, more and more covetous, and then exults as he sees them wrapt up in themselves, close, penurious and selfish. If the eyes of such could be opened, they would see Satan in hellish triumph, exulting over them, and laughing at the folly of those who accept his suggestions, and enter his snares. Then he and his angels take the mean and covetous acts of these individuals, and present them to Jesus and the holy angels, and reproachfully say, These are Christ's followers! They are getting ready to be translated! Satan marks their deviating course, and then compares it with the Bible, with passages which plainly rebuke such things, and then presents it to annoy the heavenly angels, saying, These are following Christ and his word! These are the fruits of Christ's sacrifice and redemption! Angels turn in disgust from the scene. God requires a constant doing on the part of his people, and when they become weary of well and generous doing, he becomes weary of them. I saw that God was greatly displeased with the least manifestation of selfishness on the part of his professed people, for whom Jesus has not spared his own precious life. Every selfish, covetous individual will fall out by the way. Like Judas, who sold his Lord, they will sell good principles, and a noble, generous disposition for a little of earth's gain. All such will be sifted out from God's people. Those who want heaven, must, with every energy they possess, be encouraging the principles of heaven. And instead of their souls withering up with selfishness, they should be expanding with benevolence, and every opportunity should be improved in doing good to one another, and increasing and growing more and more into the principles of heaven. Jesus was held up to me as the perfect pattern. His life was without selfish interest, and was marked with disinterested benevolence.
See Mark 14:3-11; Luke 12:15-40; Colossians 3:5-16; 1 John 2:15-17