"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10
Hello readers. Welcome to my heart. Let's begin.
Now, John 10:10. Popular verse. Its one of those verses that a lot of people know and is spat around the common religious people when they want encouraging about their situation. And I understand--- it is a very comforting verse. But, its even better if it was being translated correctly.
Now, being a child raised in church, I've heard the prosperity message. And to be honest, its why I came to Christ. Yep, sign me up for this blog punching in gut, because it was me first. I signed up to follow Jesus just so I can get a prosperous life on Earth, because I was told that if I delight myself in the Lord I will blessed with the desires of my heart. I was told if I lived right then God would bless me. I was told that if I did ______, God would bless me with ______. So God is this McDonalds worker. "Since you've committed to us today for increasing your already bad health, anything you ask for I'll give, because you've delighted in the golden arches today." I've heard a lot of people claiming financial blessings and claiming blessings after blessings after blessings and we're still missing the entire point of salvation. We're missing God's greatest desire for us, and its just to be with Him. Let's take a walk, I promise you this will make you feel better.
Just listen to this story from Genesis, I'm sure you've heard of it. "Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
So, Adam had everything he needed. He had food, place to stay, and God. So sin actually came into the world because of our natural stupidity to desire stuff that's off limits, but also because they were looking for MORE. Here's a few humans actually really 21st Century-ish and desiring other things because we think they'll make us happier And my friend's pastor Jason Brinker said it best, "financial wealth can never make up for spiritual poverty"
Wanna know why? Because God IS abundance. GOD IS EVERYTHING WE NEED. Let me say that again, GOD IS ABUNDANCE. GOD IS EVERYTHING WE NEED. So He doesn't have to re-promise something He's already promised.
Let's get to the point.
So, what is God's greatest desire for us? Like, humans, what is God's greatest desire for our lives? The answer can be seen in John 3:16. " For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
Saved from what Claude? Saved from a poor life? Saved from living paycheck to paycheck? Saved from living in poverty? Credit card bills? Food stamps?
So? If you're needing help, the answer to me looks like God's greatest desire for us is to have relationship with Him. Let me explain. See when Adam and Eve sinned, it put a wedge between us and God. So, God wanted His children back so bad that He sent Jesus to save the world from sin so we could be with God again. (I love how simple the gospel is). So, considering Jesus didn't come to ensure us a prosperous Earthly visit, then why are we in the pulpits talking so much about money? Because our minds can be so out of whack that we actually build our entire lives around RIGHT NOW, EARTH. (Ouch, conviction is hitting me already.) We focus so much on Earth, thinking why don't I have this? Why don't I have that? And we use verses like this to once again take advantage of one of God's characteristics. Now the Man wants to bless us, don't get me wrong. I just want us to realize that God was blessing abundantly BEFORE Jesus even came, He was blessing abundantly when He created the Earth. You think He only made just enough for North America?
God cares about you, and how well you're living. Don't miss that point. But He cares more about having you in relationship with Him. Yes, He can bless abundantly, but He sent His son to die for you to be with relationship with Him so you can have LIFE, AND AN ABUNDANT SUPPLY OF IT. And all the perks that come right along with that.
I remember the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22 walks up to Jesus and asks what should he do to inherit eternal life? Hahaha. I seriously wonder what he was expecting to hear from Jesus, because obviously Jesus didn't give him the answer he wanted. Jesus tells him to "Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” Now, according to this generation and their prosperity messages, Jesus should have answered like this, "You got everything you need. BLESSED AND HIGHLY FAVORED! Just be sure you're tithing that." But see here Jesus is telling this young ruler that I'm better than your riches, sell it all and watch me prove it. So therefore, God cannot be extremely focused on how prosperous we are here on Earth. I might even go as far as to say he doesn't want you even being concerned about it too much, because he did say you cannot serve two masters, you either love one or hate the other. And right after that he says you cannot love both God and mammon(wealth). And its probably why He put the tithing condition in because He wants us to NOT be so concerned with it. He wants us to develop a "giving away" attitude towards our money and learning how to trust in Him with it, which will create this attitude of no matter what happens God, I trust you. AND THEN POW!!! HE GOT YOU WHERE HE WANTS YOU!
God wants us to reach this place with Him, where we trust Him. Trust is a great part of a relationship. The more our trust grows, the higher our faith grows, and the more we love Him because we're getting so much face time with Him through these moments.
So, what does this mean? Can we stop preaching prosperity in the pulpits? Jesus did not die for that. Please start preaching life, the whole reason why there is a cross and a message to talk about. Can we start conditioning people to be kingdom minded, and not just "living the good life" minded. That's flesh stuff. God is so much bigger than Him blessing us with stuff on this Earth. And no doubt He can do it, but He really just wants you. And I'm sure He'd rather you focus on that too.