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Having been self employed since 1987, I can definitely say that I have chased money. But I thought that's what everyone did, don't they?
The Devil wants us living in poverty and hankering after money! God wants us rich and living in abundance and hankering after Him. Or put it another way, Satan wants us dead and God wants us for eternity, so what will you choose?
It took me a long time to begin to understand how God's system worked. And there is a system! It wasn't without its naysayers either. If you mention money and God in the same sentence, many Christians immediately respond and say that you're talking about or attempting to preach the prosperity Gospel - keep reading and decide for yourself.
There is only one Gospel and I'm talking about the same book. The only book. The Healing Gospel, the Relationship Gospel and the Prosperity Gospel.
There are 138 references in the Bible that relate to prosperity. So I think God is trying to tell us something here!
God knows that to survive in this world, we have to use money, no surprise there, however, what we think is that we have to fight and claw our way through life to get hold of it in order to eek out some semblance of an existence and all the while hoping that some bank doesn't default or that some crook doesn't come along and steal it one way or another.
When we see money as our source and not God, we fall in to the trap of the world. We covet money and all it can provide - idolising it - without fully understanding Gods promises and how He has already stated how He will take care of us.
The decision is, do you obtain money via the world and then be subject to the forces of the world (like sorrow, pain and loss and so on) or do you trust God as your source and live by His precepts and experience increase, joy, life and blessing and so on?
Back in the Book of Genesis (the beginning of the Bible!), Abram listened and obeyed God. He honored God, who prospered him. He was generous and avoided strife. He was compassionate towards others. Abram was so blessed by God that he gave God 10% of everything he acquired to Melchizedek, the High Priest. This was before any law existed about tithing. Abram did this out of love and reverence for God.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have abundance for you and your family, but giving to God and being generous with others is part of our spiritual existence. God wants us to be a blessing to others by spreading His Word and saving souls.
Matthew 6:31 Jesus said "Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear"? He doesn't want us worrying about money because it takes our eye off the ball, i.e. preaching and spreading the Good News.
If we focus on blessing others by helping, praying and supporting, including financially and at the same time keeping God front and centre then we will be blessed in all things such as money, health, relationships and abundance etc. It says in the Bible that "if you'll seek first the kingdom of God, all these things (including material things) will be added to us,
The moment we turn away from God and start focussing on the "material things" that money can buy and stop helping, praying and supporting, then the blessing will naturally cease because we start to "worship idols", i.e. the stuff becomes more important than God.
So the focus is on others and not on ourselves. We need to trust God as our source and He will take care of us. I know this to be absolutely true because of my personal experiences.
Don't start thinking that all you need to do is say a quick prayer and "BANG" a bolt of lightning strikes the ground and a suitcase full of money appears at your feet.
There are spiritual rules and eternal laws that must be applied. It means belonging to a spirit-filled church and learning what it means to be a Christian, 'coz there's no short cut!
As a taster, check out the scripture/bible verse below. Its from Luke (6:37-38)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
These are not suggestions, they are specific instructions, "DO NOT..." There is a reason for this, so we all must do as we're told.
So, start sowing! Before you can reap a harvest, first you must sow seeds. Now here's the interesting part; you have to learn about seeds! Bear with me...
There is the power of death and life in the tongue. If Jesus appeared in front of you right now and said you can have anything you SAY - you'd seriously watch what came out of your mouth!
Words are things. The Hebrew word for "word" is davar. The hebrew word for "thing" is also davar. So words are things. What we say are things. Hope I'm not losing you here :)
So, because words are things, these "things" can be planted. The "things" have power and they manifest, they happen.
Let me give you an example; If you keep saying that you're broke, then you probably are. If you say that this "stuff" doesn't work, then you're probably right, it won't, not for you.
In Romans 4:17, it says we are to speak things in to existence.
Can you imagine that! Think about it for a moment. We live in a spiritual, supernatural world that has only two opposing forces - Good from God and Bad from Satan - and then combine the above with there being "the power of death and life in the tongue"; i.e. what we say, words being things and then being able to speak things in to existence. Can you see a pattern emerging?
Now, if words can be sown and planted, so can our finances. We must sow, firstly to honour God and secondly to sow in to other peoples lives including ministries, charities and so on. And no, its got nothing to do with the church roof or buying the Pastor a new car, that has nothing to do with you or me. Its about honouring God because we love him. Think about why you would buy your spouse or children a gift - its because you love them, right. We should be the same with God.
God is our source, therefore we honour Him for everything he has done for us. This is not demanded of us, but can take the form of our tithe, which means 10% of everything we earn. I'd rather have 90% of my income and be blessed that have 100% and not!. Jesus agreed with the tithe, but not with it being religious. God loves a cheerful giver!
Don't forget, He knows what we need before we do. Crying out to God for a new Bentley when you haven't got a job is not on the agenda!
God wants us to prosper, He certainly doesn't want us walking around with holes in our shoes or our clothes hanging off us in rags. What sort of Father do you think He is. Would you let your kids walk around like that if you could do something about it? No! Also, its a pretty poor advert for His Church.
As I said in my article about Authority to Heal, God has given us the ability and authority to do a great many things, that is one of the reasons Jesus died for us, in addition to bringing us back in to relationship with God.
In my opinion, there are spiritual mechanisms in operation which work along-side the grace of God.
In Galatians 4:4-5 (Amplified Bible) Paul says "But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law, To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God's sons].
Being the adopted sons and daughters of God and translated in to His kingdom means that now we have an inheritance. Many Christians believe that we are still under a form of law when it comes to money, finances and prosperity. The same grace that purchased our freedom is the same grace that prospers us.
It makes no sense to be a blood-bought child of God on the one hand and then believe that we have to "perform" or get tangled up in some transactional exchange that prompts God in to action.
Prosperity fails when you attempt to mix the law with grace. There is no "if I'll do this, God will do that" scenario being played out here. God wants us to know that we are blessed, no matter what we do, we are justified (just as if I'd never done it).
God wants us to really, really believe and trust him. To know that he has got everything covered and that we don't need to do a thing to affect a change. It is so important to get this on the inside and submit to him because, as it says in Epesians 3:18-20 (NIV) :
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
We give as a response to what he has done for us. Its our way of saying thank you. Once you believe for God's promises you will start to experience a new life. One which is not restricted by what other people say.
The Bible is very clear throughout. It is us who have been given the power and authority to have dominion on the earth.
The trouble is, not many Christians excercise their faith and trust in God. Think about it, if you won't trust God with your finances, you can't then say that you trust Him for healing or mending broken relationships. Think about how much value you place on your health - exactly, its priceless.
I realised I had "done life" the hard way. Jesus showed me His way and I can never look back. There are so many scriptures about prosperity, primarily because from the beginning of the Bible, it refers to poverty as being a curse. I know Jesus said we will always have the poor with us, however, it says that there need be no poor among you (Deut 15:14) and that we should be respectful and not take advantage of them.
Its not scriptural, holy or honorable to be poor, as God wants us to live our lives in abundance, but in the UK it is frowned upon if anyone is remotely successful.
Its time to change the way we think. We must renew our minds in line with the will of God and the will of God is the Word of God, so get reading your Bibles and find out what God's will is for your life.
Keep a look out for the good things that happen. Speak things in to being, be careful of what comes out of your mouth and believe God for everything.
I was recently given this mini book written by Charles Capps called "God's Creative Power for Finances" which helps explain howwe should apply ourselves towards God for our finances. It costs pennies but it is really worth getting a copy. It has some excellent clear and specific prayers:
Don't forget, sow, watch your words and bless others, and God will take care of the rest.