Tuesday, November 02, 2010

God’s Way of Achieving Prosperity and Success.

- All of us want to be prosperous and successful. There’s an inherent desire in us to be prosperous and successful.
- We have heard of so many ways of the world to find success. Unfortunately, most of the common way to achieve success is against the Biblical principle..e.g. *the means justify the end; cheating; bribing, stepping on others, taking advantage on others to get what you want; be scrupulous in your dealings; don’t give face to others; grab as much as you can; bring down your competitor; etc etc.
- It has come to a stage that the word “success” is commonly associated with worldly desire that we are afraid of desiring success. What does the Bible has to say of success?
- Very often the desire for success drives us to make bad decisions. Eg. Taking drugs by athletes.
*I’ve tried to study God’s Words on this issue. And I would like to share with you what I’ve learned about this issue so far. What I will be sharing to us is just a guideline/a framework of God’s way of achieving success.
*Desire comes first before the needs. Do we ask to fulfill our needs or do we ask to fulfill our desires?

Where in the Bible does it mention God’s way of Achieving Prosperity and Success? Let me show you a few verses.
1. Leviticus 26:3-13
2. Joshua 1:8
3. 1 Kings 2:3
4. Psalms 1:2-3
5. James 1: 22-25

From these 5 references, let’s draw out the common instructions from God: -

1. All of these verses focus on the Word of God, (decrees, commands, Book of the Law, the Law of Moses, the Law of the Lord, the perfect law that gives freedom)
2. Exhort us to follow, obey, meditate on it, do everything written in it, observe, walk and keep his decrees, look intently into the perfect law, not forgetting about it and doing it.
3. The result is prosperity, success and blessings in whatever we do and wherever we go.

Wah… sounds so simple. And being a sinner, I too would not want to simply believe God in His Words and His promises. Like many others, I too felt that there must be a “catch” to God’s way to achieve prosperity and success. Tried as hard as I could, (so far) I could not find anything that contradicts God’s way. And I ask God to help me understand His ways in this matter. God is more than willing to do that.

Let’s meditate on this issue for a while. Let’s journey along this Biblical principle of achieving prosperity and success and let’s see what we can find along the way.

These 5 references refer to the meditating and obeying of God’s commands. God reminded me of the Greatest Commandment, (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:36-40) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
So the first stage in this journey is to love our God with all that we are. God wants our total obedience, devotion to Him. And how are we to show that we love God? Well, Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command”. And in verse 23 again Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”
Then we asked ourselves, what is Jesus’ command and teaching? To put it in a simple way, it is the Biblical principles and teachings. Now, we can only obey the Biblical commands if we know what the commands are. And we can only know the commands if we read and meditate on it. That’s why reading the Word is important. It is crucial discipline of a believer’s spiritual life. One of the marks of a Mature Lovers of Christ is that he/she reads the Bible daily or has a regular time reading the Bible.

Most of us ask God for success and prosperity. Yet, this simple yet important spiritual discipline of reading His Word is ignored. We wonder why we are not successful. We wonder why we are not prosperous.

Let’s continue this journey to success and prosperity. We read the Bible daily and meditate upon it. We know God’s commands. The next step is the most important step. It is obedience. It is doing what we are instructed to do. It is obeying the will of our Master. Don’t bother asking God for prosperity and success if we do not want to obey Him. Even human logic can testify to this flow of consequences.
Parents – would you be pleased with your children if your child does not obey you? Would you want to give to them gifts if they are always disobedient and rebel against you?
Employers – would you be pleased if your employee does not do what they are instructed to do? Instead of making things easier, they make the job even worse. Would you recommend them to be promoted if they are lazy?
Teachers – would you be interested to give more teaching if your students just don’t bother to listen to you and not interested to learn?
We naturally want to give gifts to our children when they are obedient to us, when they willingly and joyfully listen and do things that please us. We want to reward them. We want them to be happy. Once we know that they have develop Godly character in them, we can trust them with gifts and whatever they ask for because we know that they would not be spoilt by such gifts. The gifts will not change their character.
Likewise our God operates in this simple way. God is longing to bless us. God is longing to provide for us. God is longing to make his people prosperous and successful. It is not for us but for His name sake. He longs to show to the world His characters.

Let me tell you what God wants for us. He does not want to cheat, lie, kill and destroy us. That’s all the work of the Devil. Instead, God our Creator wants us to have life to the fullest – John 10:10. He wants us to focus on Him, on His Kingdom. Luke 12:31 - He wants us to seek first His Kingdom with a promise that He will provide for our needs. John 14:23 – God not only wants or desire to have our obedience but also that through our obedience to Him, God can come to us, show us His love and have fellowship with us.

But God wants to make sure that His gifts of prosperity and success would not cause our spiritual downfall. *Deuteronomy 8:12-17, “Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 17 - You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”

God promises us His generosity, His willingness to give us whatever we wish when we remain in Him and His words remain in us – John 15:5. We will also know that apart from God we can do nothing. Only by remaining in Him, we will bear much fruit. The analogy God uses is the fruit tree. Success to the farmer is when the trees that he planted bear good fruit. And it is prosperous when the tree not only bears good fruit but when the tree bears much good fruit. In other words, you will know that you are successful and prosperous when like the branches that draws life from the vine, you bear much good fruit.

Okay, that’s it. That is God’s way to achieving success and prosperity. As simple as ABC.
A – Know the commands of God by hearing, reading and meditating on it.
B – Follow, obey, keep, observe and do the commands of God, then
C – God promises success and prosperity.

Now, before I close, let us look at a few more Scripture verses on this matter so that we would not get off in the wrong step.

Luke 12:15, “Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

James 1: 2-4, “2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Ephesians 5:8b- 10, “Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord.”

In our quest for success and prosperity, may we be reminded of the words of Paul,
Romans 14:8, “8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord”.
Romans 14:12, “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God”
Hebrews 12: 1-2, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,”
2 Timothy 4:7, “7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

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