Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Secret of Prosperity - Part 3 of 4

Being content with what you have doesn't mean that you can't ever have more possessions. It simply means that whether you have more or whether you have less, as far as your earthly riches are concerned, you’re content (happy, satisfied, filled, fulfilled, prospered). The secret to being content, as far as I've discovered it to be, is found in the fact that life does not consist in the wonderful things we have (or don't have). And also, that life does consist in joy and peace, love and other things that are found inwardly, not outwardly - things that can remain fully in tact no matter what our circumstances. I believe true abundant life and prosperity is found inwardly, no matter what our outward circumstances.

As we look at the lives of various people in the Bible, we find people of faith who had and abundance and people of faith who had very little. As far as God's blessings of abundant life go, earthly riches are irrelevant! Some say that Abraham, "the father of our faith," was a very rich man... so shouldn't we - people of faith - have the same blessings as Abraham? Well, what about the Person by whose faith we live? - Jesus. ("I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20 KJV). Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2) had nowhere to lay His head (Matt 8:20).

Look at the "great cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 11. None of the people listed there were acclaimed for any worldly prosperity that came as a result of their faith! They sure did some wonderful things, but worldly prosperity, or lack thereof, had nothing to do with any of what they were recognized for doing. And lets look to some more words from the writer of Hebrews. He wrote: "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'" (Heb 13:5-6).

Paul wrote similar words of advice to Timothy: "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim 6:6-10).

I don't mean to imply that I think that everyone who thinks that the gospel of Christ includes worldly wealth and prosperity, believes so because they are greedy, covetous, or are falling into a snare with harmful lusts which drown them in destruction and perdition. However, that could very well be the case for some. But my main point is that earthly riches and blessings are not what the gospel of Christ is about.

The Secret of Prosperity Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

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