Friday, August 16, 2013

Does God Want Us To Be Rich?

Does God want us to be rich? Yes, He does — maybe not materialistically, but rich all the same. You might not have everything that the world has to offer but the ways of the world are temporary. Build your treasures in Heaven, where earthly treasures will never suffice in comparison to the riches of Heaven. Seek to be rich in the Spirit. We often see people with so many possessions. Many times, these people have problems because they believe they can do things on their own. As believers, we know that is not a good way to live. Life wasn’t designed for us to struggle. When sin came into the world, the price of sin also entered the world. Many who claim they are self-sufficient usually have a higher risk for health problems. God gave us free choice; truth, which yields riches and lies, which yield emptiness. Evil derives nothing but evil. How can you gain anything from nothing? Since faith in God attributes to riches, aren’t we rich just by choosing to serve the Lord in spirit and truth? Yes, we are filthy rich; rich beyond what money can buy. Always remember — the devil is a liar. He wants you to believe anything but the truth. Why are you beating yourself up when the truth is right in front of you? The devil and his crew want you to be envious of others and greedy. One fruit that can put that to rest is self-control. Self-control is truly a gift for those who believe. With self-control through the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the ability to react to things without jumping to anger. Self-control is priceless. We come before God like we can possibly pay Him something for His gifts. We cannot pay a God who has created all. What does God want that we could give? How does God define wealth and riches? This world revolves around money and the latest fashions. As it says in Psalms, bank the promise of God in the vault within your heart. Interest beyond measure will be added. Sometimes, we go through storms where we wonder why things are happening. “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Proverbs 23:4-5). I know someone is probably wondering why there are poor people in the world. Wouldn’t God want these people to have a place to lay their heads? I believe God expects believers to help those in need. God has planted a seed of service to Him and His people. Help people in Jesus’ name. Evil corrupts the riches of the world. The devil leads vulnerable people to become greedy and money hungry. Know this — his riches aren’t from God, meaning that it does not add up to what the Lord has told us. God knows our hearts. The devil loves to convince you that there isn’t a way out of your problem. Evil seeks to capitalize on the things of this world that will kill us and lead us astray. God didn’t want us to think that we ought to be self-sufficient. “Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor” (Psalms 68:10). People who want to get rich can fall into temptation. Many foolish and harmful desires can lead to ruin and destruction. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grievances. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:9- 11). We miss out on the true life and happiness that God has for us if we do that which is opposed to Him. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:24-25, 31-33). In Jesus’ days on earth, it was a widely accepted belief that being rich was a sign of God’s favor and poverty was God’s punishment for sin. Jesus flatly rejected that idea most clearly in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The rich man ended up in hell at least partly because of his hardheartedness toward the beggar Lazarus. His great wealth was obviously not a sign of God’s favor. The beggar Lazarus ended up in heaven, although he was about as impoverished as a man could be. Poverty was obviously not a sign of sinfulness or folly. Despite the Bible’s many warnings against it, the idea that wealth is a sign of God’s favor and that the poor have done something to deserve their condition persists as an undercurrent today that is sometimes used to justify callous economic and social policies. In three of the Gospels, Jesus warns that each of his disciples may have to “deny himself” and even “take up his cross.” In support of this alarming prediction, he forcefully contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: “For what profit is it to a man,” he asks, “if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (need citation). It is one of the New Testament’s hardest teachings, yet generations of church-goers have understood that being Christian, on some level, means being ready to sacrifice — money, autonomy, or even their lives. “A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden and from there divides into four rivers. The first is names Phison; it flows through Haviliah, where there is gold. The gold of the land is good. The land is also known for a sweet-scented resin and the onyx stone” (Genesis 2:10). God originally designed beautiful riches in the Garden of Eden. From the start, this symbolizes that God had all intentions of giving us the best. So, God did give man the best possible riches. Man is the one who threw it away because of envy. The other side is that Heaven is beyond human understanding. How much richer could we be? Sure, it doesn’t register unless you are living, thinking, and breathing in the Spirit. This doesn't make sense to you if you are not seeking the ways of God. Of course, I am talking about the true blessings, which really are priceless. What is more intriguing — to have the world and lose sight of your soul, or be blessed with something that never goes out of style? Would you rather have an eternity in the presence of the Lord, or would you rather spend eternity with the author of evil? You do have a choice. Seeking spiritual riches is not popular. Sometimes the devil will lie and tell you that God doesn’t want to help you. You will never understand the riches and wealth God has for you until you believe that God wants to bless you. It may not be with the riches of the world but I do believe the Lord wants good things in your life. Think about this: most parents love their children and help them out as often as possible. How much more will your Father in Heaven give to you? We need to spend time praying before the Lord, for he is willing and able to give it all to you but you must have faith. We spend more time worrying about what we want instead of praising God for the riches He has given us. If we acknowledge that we know God is the only God, that He alone is able, we will be rich in the things that matter. Is it better to have a God-given faith to know that our Lord and savior is the truth and the light of the world, or to have money to spend on things that will fade? When everything is said and done, none of your possessions will matter. The gift at the cross far exceeds any other possible wealth. “Make sure you set fire to their carved gods. Don’t get greedy for the veneer of silver and gold in them and take it for yourselves — you’ll get trapped by it, for sure” (Deuteronomy 7:25). God wants good things for His people; however, when we become too rich and turn away from God, we lose sight of the gift of salvation, which is worth more than anything else. It’s a priceless gift. Remember that God gave you the strength to produce wealth so as to confirm the covenant (Deuteronomy 8:17). “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The things that do not pass away should be far more appealing than the things of this temporary world. Build your riches in Heaven. Pray to God that you have what you need. Pray to the Lord with your concerns. Come before the Lord in prayer, and lay out everything to Him. You might be so hurt or upset about something for which you really didn’t spend much time in prayer. God wants to give, and He wants us to ask for it. God is a good God. I love God because He does care for us. It is not necessarily a sin to be rich. God blesses you as He chooses and sometimes it is in the form of wealth. The only principle stressed here is that there is more to being rich than just having money. I pray for all people that might be struggling financially or in some other way, that God will be with you and come to your rescue. We will never be able to completely understand everything that goes on in our lives. Lord, I come before you and ask that if anyone is hurting or wondering about their situation, they might see your light through believers. God, I thank you for your gift of serenity. Lord, be with all that read this and give their heart the message they’ve been seeking. J.Cyr, D.C.A (C) 2013

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