God said He would provide for us.
Because of Jesus’ sacrificial death, resurrection and subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit, God has given an opportunity for all to experience eternal life. And for now, peace, joy, victory, and health: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:3-5).
Joining the family of God is a Blessing
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit you are adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:14-17). What a blessing! This has nothing to do with how you feel in the morning, with your success at work or school, how many houses or cars you own, or whether you have wrinkles. You are blessed beyond anything and everything that this life offers.
How do you feel?
It’s not about how you feel. Jesus was in agony in the garden prior to His crucifixion. Paul didn’t feel good about being stoned, shipwrecked or cast into prison. Although Stephen was still rejoicing when he was being stoned he probably didn’t feel good about it, but was still able to think positively: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60).
Jesus told us: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We all enjoy feeling good, but when trouble comes, God has not left us. Absence of tribulation is not a measure of God’s blessing.
Do you Need to be Rich?
Some churches teach that the blessing of God is in material gain, job security or a comfortable disposable income: this is ‘prosperity teaching’. Some people justify this by saying ‘the more you earn the more you can give to the Lord’. Jesus was able to pay taxes by taking a coin out of a fish’s mouth; He doesn’t need you to earn a big wage in order to give it back to Him. Paul made a few tents from time to time to make ends meet, and there were times when he had to ask for help from the Church (Philippians 4:15–19). Paul probably didn’t have the best donkey in the street, but he had the joy of the Lord.
It’s our Relationship with God that Matters
The blessing of God is found in our relationship with Him. It is our hope and our faith. It is knowing who we are, and the fact that there is nothing in this world that can take us from the Lord if we remain faithful to Him. Do not be hoodwinked into thinking that God has a duty to provide material prosperity for you as a demonstration of His goodness. God has given you all when you were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Witness to people and see them filled with the Holy Spirit; go out and lay hands on the sick and expect the Lord to meet their need; these things demonstrate the blessing of the Lord. The tantalising thing is that the Bible states; “… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). You will prosper materially when you put the Lord first. The apostle Paul wrote: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. However, we all have to be careful not to turn this around in our minds and believe that because we work hard and thereby prosper financially that this is the only measure of the Lord’s blessing.
There are many people who are happy and materially prosperous who don’t even know God. Although we can expect God to look after us, we must be careful not to always evaluate God’s blessing in materialistic terms. Many Spirit-filled people who have suffered business disappointments or chronic health problems can feel condemned through their misunderstanding of God’s true blessing. While we give thanks to Him for everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18), the ultimate blessing is to meet the Lord when He returns.
See what Matters
Sadly, more and more people live for the moment because they see a very limited future. Many people want recognition (a moment of fame or admiration) and they follow, even idolise, people whom they feel have achieved this. Some revere film and television stars and they mimic their behaviour because they see in them what they perceive as success. Spirit-filled people do not need to let these worldly ideals influence their appreciation of God’s blessing.
The Lord provides salvation, healing, a sound mind, and the promise of a wonderful future for those who will turn to Him in repentance and baptism now. This is God’s blessing.
(Article adapted from one originally appearing in the Voice of Revival – June 2005.)
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