The Pursuit of Happiness
For the most part, we all go through life trying to do our best to climb the ladder of success. We have ambition and work hard to achieve our goals. And with God’s grace, we excel in what we set out to do.
God has been showing me lately that we must be very careful to guard our hearts against pride and arrogance as He blesses us. We have to constantly remind ourselves of the source of our strength, and that all good and perfect gifts come from Him (Habbukuk 3:19; James 1:9). Good living is not exclusive to believers, but we work as unto the Lord for an incorruptible crown – unlike the world’s futile striving for power, fame, and material gain (Colossians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 9:25).
The Posture of our Heart
There are so many scriptures about prosperity and abundance, for example, Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and adds no sorrow”. However, Jesus says in Matthew 19: 23, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. So, here we have a conundrum. How do we receive the prosperity of the Lord and maintain our right standing and access to the Kingdom?
The rich young ruler asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. He’d kept the commandments since his youth and had great possessions, but he wanted to know what else he needed to do (Matthew 19:16-24). I always wondered why he would ask Jesus this knowing he’d kept the commandments and seeing that his life was blessed.
Jesus told him in order to be perfect he should sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Him. Then, the young man went away sorrowful. I think Jesus did this to show him his own heart and that he was perhaps too attached to his wealth.
The answer to our question is this: In order to receive the prosperity of the Lord and maintain access to the kingdom and eternal life, we must never get too attached to the blessing or become unwilling to give it up. The Bible says those who cling to their life will lose it, and those who give it up for Christ will find it (Matthew 10:39).
To Whom Much is Given
Our prayer should be that God prepares our hearts for the blessings He wants to give us, and the humility to be good stewards of it. God needs us to be mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with prosperity because there are so many people in need.
How can we preach the good news to people who are hungry or homeless? James said, “If one of you says go in peace, keep warm and well fed but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it” (James 2:16). Money should be used as a tool – if we bless others God will take care of us (Luke 6:38). The Word says to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48), so we should always have the mindset while working towards our goals that this is also for someone else, not just ourselves.
Our Success is Ordered by God
When we are telling people about the goodness of God, there will be some natural fruit in our lives that’ll confirm our testimony. If believers are ever going to take dominion over the earth, we need to be represented in various positions of influence. We need Christian lawyers, lawmakers, educators, etc. There is nothing wrong with ambition, but the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
I believe that having a healthy balance of success and prosperity comes down to your relationship with God. If He is first in your life and leading you, then it’s unlikely that you’ll have issues with ambition. By His Spirit, we can keep our minds on things above and everything else in perspective. When we show Him we can be trusted, we are given more! Matthew 25:29 says, “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance”.
I heard a teaching by Jackie Hill Perry where she shared that we give a lot of credit to our food for feeding us and our jobs for providing for us. It made me think that sometimes we overachieve not only for greed but sometimes fear. Fear of being poor or losing everything. We sometimes put faith in our own abilities to provide and we get attached to our possessions that way.
We need to learn to live in overflow. We are Kingdom citizens! We should excel in every area of our lives because we are connected to the King of Kings. Whether fear or idolatry, we have to destroy these harmful mindsets about money because it’s hindering the work of God.
So, What’s The Play Call?
- Self-examine your life and ask yourself if your ambition is motivated by selfishness, fear or the will of God for your life.
- Pray and ask the Lord to give you wisdom concerning your financial stewardship (1 Corinthians 4:2).
- Remember that we go from faith to faith and glory to glory in every way (Romans 1:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18). We should be constantly evolving and finding creative solutions to the world’s problems through our God-given purpose.
- Money is a tool – nothing more. Make sure you are using this tool to not only build for yourself but those who are in need as well. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)