Monday, April 16, 2007

Time to Repent!

Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

In my earlier post “Richer and Sadder” I talked about people being materially wealthy, but spiritually deprived. I wanted to make clear that I do not think that wealth in of itself is a bad thing. God certainly shows in His word that He is the giver of wealth. However, let’s look at a few things that God’s word shows us about money. “1 Timothy 6:10 says, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. Hebrews 13:5 says, Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income.

One of my fears in the area of loving money is that we even have preachers that proclaim from pulpits the “prosperity gospel” to many thousands of believers. The prosperity gospel is telling believers that God wants us to be financially wealthy and that all we need to do is "name it and claim it" in Jesus name and God will provide it. Or, even worse, that we deserve riches and blessings! The sad thing is, is that many are falling for it. This is a deceptive teaching and not in line at all with what the bible tells us. Believers are running after God for money and blessings rather than running after God for God alone. John Piper has an awesome article on Prosperity Preaching that is a must read!

2 Timothy 3:2 says in the last days, people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud and arrogant. Certainly we are in those last days. The problem is not the money or wealth itself. The problem is the love of it. We are a very wealthy nation in comparison to the rest of the world. And the fact is that unfortunately, many believers have come to love the money and the material more than they love God. This is not anything new. Listen to what God says in Deuteronomy 8:12-14 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, [be careful] that your heart doesn't become proud and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary puts it this way in regards to these verses of scripture. Moses directs to the duty of a prosperous condition. Let them always remember their Benefactor. In everything we must give thanks. Moses arms them against the temptations of a prosperous condition. When men possess large estates, or are engaged in profitable business, they find the temptation to pride, forgetfulness of God, and carnal-mindedness, very strong; and they are anxious and troubled about many things. In this the believing poor have the advantage; they more easily perceive their supplies coming from the Lord in answer to the prayer of faith; and, strange as it may seem, they find less difficulty in simply trusting him for daily bread. They taste a sweetness therein, which is generally unknown to the rich, while they are also freed from many of their temptations. Forget not God's former dealings with thee. Here is the great secret of Divine Providence. Infinite wisdom and goodness are the source of all the changes and trials believers experience. Israel had many bitter trials, but it was to do them good. Pride is natural to the human heart. Would one suppose that such a people, after their slavery at the brick-kilns, should need the thorns of the wilderness to humble them? But such is man! And they were proved that they might be humbled. None of us live a single week without giving proofs of our weakness, folly, and depravity. To broken-hearted souls alone the Savior is precious indeed. Nothing can render the most suitable outward and inward trials effectual, but the power of the Spirit of God. See here how God's giving and our getting are reconciled, and apply it to spiritual wealth.

Here is the issue as suggested from the commentary. When man becomes financially wealthy “they find the temptation to pride, forgetfulness of God, and carnal-mindedness, very strong.” So what are we to do? God says that he reproves and disciplines those He loves and He calls us to be zealous and repent (Rev 3:19). Interestingly enough, the word zealous here means to desire earnestly or pursue. So just like the God who Pursues us, we are to earnestly desire and pursue Him and Him alone. Not money, not wealth. Sometimes we don’t even recognize that we have forgotten Him. It’s time we start taking a good look inwardly at our hearts and see if this love of money and material exists. But let’s address the pride issue. This is the hard part. We so often are blinded and can not even recognize pride. We may say things like “I am a good person, I am going to church, and I am reading my bible” etc but we can’t see that we have been satisfied with our own well-being rather than being deeply satisfied in an intimate love for God. “To fix this heart issue, God calls us to repent! Joel 2:12-13 says Even now— [this is] the LORD's declaration— turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the LORD your God.

It's time to repent! More later on this issue.


kmomathome said...

"Sometimes we don’t even recognize that we have forgotten Him." This is particularly hard for me at times. I`m so THANKFUL for His love and forgiveness, and for the chance to do better next time. He IS Good!

Anonymous said...

This past weekend I had an opportunity to visit a women's shelter as a part of a mission project. We participated in a worship service where one young woman at the shelter taught us a lesson in these very principles you are writing of. Though she was apparently poor according to the world's standards, and without any of the material things that many of us deem necessary, she worshiped God freely and openly. Many of the kids on the trip commented on her worship saying they had "never seen anyone worship like that before, and she did it even though she didn't have anything." We were all reminded that she did indeed have something, and what she had was a genuine love for the Lord, even amidst her tough circumstances. Though we felt sorry for her situation, we envied her passion for Christ. WE envied HER...and we were the ones with the big charter bus, fancy clothes and jewelry, and all of our "stuff."

So many times God brings us to the place where everything is stripped away, only to let us find that He is all we need. He is it. We need nothing else and no one else!

Brittnie said...

Yes!! AMEN, AMEN!! I am so excited about this comment! Thank you "anonymous" (although I know who you are) for sending this perfect example of what my post was trying to explain. All we need is Jesus! Let all the other stuff fade away so we can have Him in the fullest! Blessings sister.

Anonymous said...

I was a teenager when the "Prosperity Gospel" first appeared on the church scene. God, in His amazing grace, opened my parents eyes to see how certain preachers and teachers had perverted the true Gospel. My heart is hurt in thinking of all the believers, my family members included, whose lives have been nearly destroyed by buying into the lies associated with the prosperity message. I must remember, "There but for the grace of God go I." For me, it all goes back to grace. And God's grace is truly amazing!

My husband and I are finishing up a Crown Financial Small Group Study. I highly recommend the study to anyone wanting to have God's perspective on money. The biggest truth that I have gleaned form this study is that everything is God's. The car I drive, the house I live in, the salary I all belongs to God. And God is my Boss. He's the One Who determins when I get promoted and how much of a raise I receive. That concept has greatly impacted my attitude in the workplace. Keeping the proper perspective of ownership in our lives is a great means of avoiding the pitfalls associated with a love of money.