We recently concluded a message series on the Lord`s Sermon on the Mount which, as you know opens with the timeless Blessed exhortations to God`s Kingdom people. This reminded me of another Blessed that I once heard that is not found in Scripture per se, but certainly covers a challenging principle by which to live in a radical world as Christians: Blessed are the Balanced!
One of the areas that requires us to maintain a healthy balance is that of biblical prosperity. The so-called Prosperity teachings in the past was clear evidence of a lack of understanding of God`s promises to His children. Prosperity doctrine basically taught that God promises health, wealth and supernatural wisdom to those who would trust Him to do so. Biblical Prosperity on the other hand reminds us from God`s Word that He promises blessing and prosperity at times, to those that work diligently and trust the Lord not only for His provision but also for Grace in times of distress and desperate need. One of the reasons that false teaching arises is the lack of adherence to the immediate context of passages of Scripture as well as the absence of comparing the Scripture with Scripture, in other words taking into account what the rest of the Word teaches on the particular theme. A good example can be found in Psalm 1:
“1Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”
Were I to fall into the trap of not reading of the grace of God in many people`s lives in their desperate times of need when God`s promise from this psalm appears to be failing miserably, I to would be guilty of believing that every child of God could expect to be wealthy throughout life on earth! In the same way, the psalmist reminds us that at times no harm will befall us and we will be spared, this does not mean that we are not called to suffer at other times whether for the sake of the Gospel or simply because life can be hard: Psalm 91
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.”
What God does promise however is that you and I are immortal until our job is done!
The apostle Paul`s own experience of what he called a thorn which he pleaded on three occasions to be removed, but was assured instead of God`s grace and strength in the difficulty:
“8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12
He also emphasizes the value of godly contentment in all circumstances and therefore rejects the notion that every Christian should at all times be blessed with wealth, health and success in all endeavours. God`s people are, to the contrary called to suffer for the sake of Christ and the Gospel in which there are rich rewards in eternity for the faithful saints who endure such hardships and overcome them by the grace of God.
Phil 4: “10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Child of God, be encouraged therefore and be challenged to find that healthy balance in your understanding of the purposes of our faithful God – in the good times and especially during the tough times, knowing that He cares for you and holds you in the palm of His strong Hand especially when you need it most!
Join us this coming Sunday as we consider one of life`s big questions: What on earth am I here for?! That wise man Solomon gives us some amazing answers from his unique perspectives recorded in Ecclesiastes as to how we are to live with meaning and purpose in this life.
Yours in His Grace,