Wednesday, March 13, 2013

God's Perspective on Poverty and Prosperity

Prosperity preachers and those who follow them just don't get the Gospel.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. ~James 1:9,10

It would seem that no matter our situation, rather it be poverty or prosperity, there is a test for us. Pastor showed us how poverty tempts us to curse God and envy others, while prosperity tempts us to forget God and degrade others. In this sin cursed world there will always be the temptation to disregard the greatest of God’s commands and the second one which is like it. A lawyer once asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment…

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” ~Matthew 22:35,36

To which Jesus replied…

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ” ~Matthew 22:37-39

The test for us then is will we love God and others over that of having… well… stuff. With our sin nature and the “me centered” attitude which comes with it, this can be a difficult position for us to be in. Here are a few practical questions Pastor wanted us to ask ourselves:

  • Do my possessions and position posses me? 
  • Am I known as a grateful and thankful person? 
  • Am I constantly striving for more? 
  • Am I prone to flaunt what I have? 
  • Have I considered sinning to get stuff? 
  • Do I resent giving or feel better than others? 

Pointed and well placed questions like these can help to reveal sin in our lives that still needs to be put to death. For the believer, satisfaction is not to be found in the desire of things, but in the “Desire of All Nations” (Haggai 2:7), our Messiah. When our greatest desire is Jesus, not just what He has or brings, we can find contentment in all situations. Whether we live in poverty or prosperity, with our eyes on Him we can find contentment.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:11-13

So many times we see that thirteenth verse of Philippians chapter four misused and applied to making more touchdowns, winning a race, or accomplishing some self centered effort. The intent behind what Paul was saying that it is by being in Christ we are able to overcome the otherwise overwhelming influence of our own sin nature. It is by Christ dwelling in us that when poverty or prosperity come in the form of a test or trial, we remain steadfast… we find contentment in Him… we put sin to death.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. ~James 1:12

1 comment:

  1. Great reminder on the Philippians passage that in God we are able to be content in every situation. It is not a guarantee that we will be successful in everything we do but that in Christ we can face every circumstance and still be content. Thanks Dave!