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Devotions > A View of Prosperity

24 Feb 2010


          A View of Prosperity
In our current day there seems, by comparison to the past few years, a dearth in the prosperity of our Nation. The secular man attributes this condition to various economic conditions and trends.    However the Bible would take a different view.    The Bible teaches throughout that there is a direct correlation between prosperity and obedience and the faith in God of the nation whose God is the Lord.
The United States of America has the history of a nation whose God is the Lord.   In our current day there has been much debate about this matter and some have proclaimed that we are not a Christian Nation.   As it relates to the laws of God and the relationship of prosperity to obedience and faith from God’s perspective, what we say about America has little influence on the way God evaluates our Nation.      However, it is true that God knows His people and He knows His actions and He is intimately familiar with all of His provision and all of His nurturing of the people of this Nation.   His judgments will not likely be impacted by our opinions regarding this historical definition.
While men often write what is sometimes termed revisionist history, the historical record in heaven is completely precise and accurate.    This is the true historical context in which we live.   We will not attempt to defend God and His perspective as He needs no defense.    We will, on the contrary, attempt to point to the reality that personal prosperity as well as national prosperity are inextricably linked to the laws and principals revealed by God in the Bible.    This is a critical point for each of us.   If we believe this, that the Bible outlines the keys to personal and national prosperity, we possess the real potential for temporal and eternal prosperity.   If we do not believe this, we are cursed and condemned to the superficial pursuits and unproductive activities that will result in meaningless prosperity or no prosperity whatever.
In order to be true to the Bible we must attempt to define prosperity from its perspective.    Prosperity in the biblical context must contain the view of the eternal.    “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” ( Mark 8:36 )    The Bible alsopoints to the present.    This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.( Joshua 1:8 )  This quotation from Joshua chapter one gives us another reinforcement that true prosperity is inextricably linked to man’s obedience to the laws and principals of God.  
From this point forward we will make two assumptions: that you believe obedience to the Word of God by faith is central to personal prosperity and that you accept the greater biblical definition of prosperity as outlined in the Word of God.    Upon this foundation we attempt to address some keys to personal prosperity that are in fact promised to those who believe and obey the specifics of the Word of God.
The Purpose of Prosperity:
Simply put, the purpose of prosperity is to glorify God.   We often begin our prosperity thinking process from a perspective that is flawed.    As Rick Warren, the author of “ The Purpose Driven Life”, so accurately reported “ life is not about you”.   Lou Holtz recently stated on national T V:  “when I was coach at Notre Dame it was my job to please the President, not the President’s job to please me”. God’s word makes our relationship with God clear. Isaiah said that we are represented by clay and God is represented by the potter. ( Isaiah 29:16 )
Most of us know these things, but somehow as we strive to achieve prosperity we seem lose sight of these directional signs amidst the activity of concentrated introspection.    Of course concentrated introspection is usually counterproductive because it defies the purpose of prosperity which is to bring glory to God and not to ourselves.
The Plan of Prosperity:
The plan to achieve prosperity includes obtaining wisdom.    God can give you prosperity to whom ever  He chooses.   However, we are here considering those things we can do to obtain prosperity.    Prosperity tends to follow wisdom and of course wisdom encompasses obedience.    Solomon asked God for wisdom and God gave him wisdom. He was the wisest man to ever live. God also gave him prosperity. He was certainly the most prosperous individual of his time. ( I kings 10:23 )    Historically some who in the past have obtained a significant degree of wisdom have not necessarily become rich in this world’s economy, yet in biblical terms they became prosperous and their prosperity brought glory to God. God not only is the source of prosperity but He also determines the nature of the prosperity that He elects to provide.   For example Mother Teresa may have been one of the more prosperous individuals of our times, but not particularly in this world’s goods.
 The Bible tells us that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.    This brings us to the prerequisite of humility.   Humility is critical for wisdom and thus important for prosperity. This is consistently true since pride and wisdom can not co-exist.    “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” ( Matthew 23:12 )    This verse seems to indicate that God will see to it that the proud person will be brought low while the humble person will be lifted up. Several other scriptures also convey this idea:    You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.( I Peter 5: 5 )   It seems apparent that one cannot experience God’s blessings and prosperity while at the same time being opposed by God.
James makes the connection between humility and wisdom in this way:
Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom.” (
James 3:13 (AMP) )
It is clear that the primary cause for wisdom is the fear of the Lord.   Humility also is fostered by the fear of the Lord.   In the same way that we can see cause and effect relationships between humility and wisdom, there seems to be a third character trait where the laws of God are critical to the prosperity of God.   This is the character trait of righteousness; righteousness that flows out of obedience from faith. The person from the Bible that can well represent righteousness related to prosperity is Job.
Of Job we learn:  And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." ( Job 1:1 )     In the first chapter of Job we see that Job was very prosperous in goods and possessions.  His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east. ( Job 1:3 )    But more than Job’s earthly possessions, his biblical prosperity [a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil] brought glory to God; so much so that God called attention to Job in His interaction with Satan.   Finally at the end of Job’s trials we are told: And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning, and he had 14,000 sheep, and 6,000 camels, and 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. And he had seven sons and three daughters. ( Job 42:12 )
Job is described by God as being blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. Job’s life seems to be a good illustration of righteousness flowing out of obedience from faith.
It is generally God’s desire to provide prosperity to His children. However prosperity is not an unconditional promise.   Biblical prosperity comes when our lives demonstrate a measure of obedience.
"It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.  (Deuteronomy 28:63)
Let’s take a moment to review : Humility builds up wisdom.    Wisdom builds toward righteousness and obedience.   Righteous obedience coupled with faith builds toward prosperity.    God desires His children to experience His blessings and prosperity.    Evidence of God’s prosperity for His children can be found in His provisions for His children and His instructions to them in His revealed Word.
Then does He Who supplies you with His marvelous [Holy] Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you do so on [the grounds of your doing] what the Law demands, or because of your believing in and adhering to and trusting in and relying on the message that you heard?”         (Galatians 3:5)
for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

There is no doubt that God has made provisions for His children to prosper. However there is a part of the prosperity equation that we must provide.   We must choose to seek, to pursue, to go after those provisions that God has divinely prepared.
 God desires that we develop the characteristics of humility and wisdom and obedience and faith, and He is waiting to help us as we pursue these character traits for our lives. 
 As we, by faith, seek wisdom, humility, and obedience we bring pleasure to our Father in heaven.     These characteristics not only bring biblical prosperity into our lives but they bring glory to God and to His kingdom!   Finally when a significant number of men and women of God in a given country begin to desperately seek these characteristics in faith, our heavenly Father has promised that He will bless this land.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
This leads us to a possible conclusion that our current lack of prosperity as a nation and as individuals is not primarily due to economic trends but is conversely directly related to spiritual trends that flow out of poor choices by God’s people.
For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:17)
This scripture seems to point us to the possibility that a few years ago when those of us in the United States of America thought that we were enjoying unprecedented prosperity, we were simply involved  in the early stages of being sucked in to the values and actions of the world.   This bait, it seems, has been taken and swallowed by most of us (believers) lock, stock and barrel.
In order to counteract the pervasive pressures of the culture in which we reside, and to move in the direction of personal prosperity, and to hold up our end of the high purpose of national prosperity, we believe the following or similar steps can be helpful.
First, picture: Picture in your mind at least one time per day the extent of God’s love for you personally. Find in your memory bank a picture of pure love.   Then picture yourself as being the person being loved by your loving heavenly father.
Next pray: Pray for God to develop in your heart and life a love for God so strong that it literally impacts every aspect and every minute of your life.    As we grow in our love for God our obedience will grow in like measure.
Next, hang out: Hang out with God, by spending time in His word, by spending time in good devotionals and by talking and listening to Him.    Obedience comes from trust.   We will never trust deeply anyone that we do not know intimately. This is simply the way we
God made us. To attempt to be consistently obedient to God without developing a strong daily intimate relationship with Him is as if when we release a rock from our hand we expect it to fly up and never come down.
Next ask: Ask your Father to fill you and control you by His Holy Spirit.   This is a request that we can be sure that He will answer in the affirmative.   This is promised. Luke 11:13 (AMP)
If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”
Lastly, begin to address the pride in you life.    Pride and its grip are big, powerful and very pervasive. We need the power of the resurrection to release the grip of pride on our lives. Pray of the Holy Spirit to reveal your pride daily.   Pray for the power of the Spirit to leverage your desire to rid your life of pride.   Persistent prayer of this kind will bring over time a measure of humility into your life.
 Now here is the rub.   This is not a thirty day make-over.   We have many loves that will not die quickly or easily.   However the real question is not ease but value.   Do you want to live a life of ease and enter into eternity a pauper?   Whatever the cost, biblical prosperity will be of great benefit in this life and no doubt orders of magnitude more in the eternity that follows.   Are you willing to ask God to make you willing to embark on this journey and give you the strength to stay the course?   
Please consider this question carefully, the stakes are eternally high.

Jeff Williams