Feb 25th, 2018
Today we’re talking about prosperity.
I want to re-iterate for those joining us for the first time and those that have been with us for a while that I don’t expect you to believe one word of what I say without question just because I say it; that’s ridiculous. Think about the statements that I make, look up the scriptures for yourself, and get a concordance. I suggest either a Strong’s Concordance or you can download a program that I like to use called e-Sword for your computer or mobile device that has the Strong’s built right into it. It’s great for bible study, looking up what the words meant in the original language to get a better idea of what the scriptures mean when you are reading them.
Let’s look at Proverbs 21:5, "Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity." Hold on OK, I know, if you looked that up to read it with me then you know that's not really exactly what the scripture says. That's a paraphrase from the CEO of a ministry that I used to work for, the actual scripture says, "The plans of the diligent certainly lead to prosperity, but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor." That "anyone who is reckless" is specifically talking about people who go about rashly in their business instead of taking the time to make plans. They don't sit down and say, "OK, how is this going to succeed? Let's sit down and figure out what the need is, let's figure out how we're going to meet that need, and let's find out how we're going to get from point A to point B." Those who do that then take that and submit it to other people, to wise counsel. If you don't do those things then you'll come to poverty, you won't prosper.
We see this same principle talked about by Jesus in Luke 14 starting at verse 28. “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.” Now granted, in context there He was taking about counting the cost of becoming a disciple and using this as a teaching example, but the principle is the same.
Colosians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people.” Everything you do, everything, as unto the Lord. Every act that you put your hands to, whether it's starting a ministry, or starting a new job. Are you gonna’ go work at Taco Bell, are you going to go pass out water and food to the homeless? In all these areas you should do these things as if you are doing them for the Lord and internally you should be expressing that as if it IS an act of worship to the Lord. These are your reasonable acts of worship that Paul talks about in Romans 12:1, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.” When you’re at work, and maybe you’re the fry cook at McDonalds, do that as if you are doing it for the Lord. Turn it into your internal worship, your internal act of sacrifice because God has you there in that season for a reason. Paul goes on to say, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.” We do everything that we do as if we are doing them for God because we are doing them as if we are Disciples of Christ and as if He personally assigned us these tasks. In this way we are sacrificing our own will, giving up our authority, giving our own bodies in worship to God and setting the course for our minds to be renewed.
Getting back to the Proverbs 21:5, "Good planning and hard work," thinking thoughts that are diligent, following through, being a trustworthy person. These are the things that lead to prosperity, and when I say prosperity, I don't want you to get me wrong. I'm not just talking about money; I don't want anyone to think that I believe that if you're actually poor. If you don't have money, that it's because you didn't plan well or work hard. That may possible be why, but that’s not necessarily why, or what happened to you. Prosperity is a word that expands WAY beyond the idea of having money or not having money. Prosperity being just about money is an idea we get from our modern secular culture, not Christian culture. The ways of the modern age that we’re not supposed to be conforming to. That’s not a Christian thing at all, it’s the culture of the world that says, "If you don't have money, then you ain't nothin'." You and I both know that's not true.
When I say prosperity, I'm talking about the infusion of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control into every aspect of your life. Then watching the blessing blossom out of those areas because of it. The fruits of the Spirit, the very building blocks of the Christian life. If you aren’t familiar what the biblical definition of each of those words then you would do yourself a justice to spend just a few minutes to look them up. And if you don’t see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in you and coming out of you as a Christian then it’s time for you to take a good long look into your heart and decide whether or not you ever actually believed the confession that came out of your mouth to begin with.
When you embrace the prosperity of the Lord. Truly embrace the prosperity of the Lord, you're going to find yourself looking at the world completely different. You're going to find yourself being more in control, even if you don't have two pennies to rub together. That doesn't matter. Personally, my prosperity, my riches, are when my wife looks at me and she smiles that particular smile that I know means that she's happy with me and she loves me. Or when I get home from being somewhere and my kids yell, "Daddy You're Home!" and they run up and hug me. When I'm lying in bed late at night and my mind has been reeling from all the things that I did or didn’t do and need to get done and I feel the presence of God and I'm overcome with this sense of joy and peace. Or I’m sitting down having a nice peaceful cup of coffee. These things are my personal prosperity moments, these are the things I find to be prosperity in my life.
I encourage you to find out what your personal prosperity is. Find out where and how God wants you to disciple. Make some plans, draw them up, submit them to some friends who are smarter than you are and see if anything floats. Go out there, make a difference, if you're working fast food, make a difference. If you’re working in a board room, make a difference. If you’re a CEO, make a difference. If you’re an accountant, make a difference. If you’re delivering pizzas, you make a door to door difference. Make a difference in the people around you who are hurting and need the love of the Lord and need you to speak into their lives.
Until next time...