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Yesterday, we considered the first two keys to Biblical Prosperity:
- Cultivate a Trust and Obey Perspective on the Bible
- Steward with Generosity
Today, we will be looking at numbers 3 and 4.
3. Eliminate Greed
In some ways, this is a no brainer. The Bible talks so much about the sinfulness of greed and our culture itself sometimes recognizes the evils of greed so it almost goes without saying that to please God, we need to get rid of greed.
However, and this is important… The fact that you are reading this blog post, and the fact that I’m writing this blog post is evidence that we both need to do some work on eliminating greed. After all, what makes the concept of Biblical prosperity so interesting is our own desire to be prosperous and that quite frankly is often more about our greed than it is about living in God’s will.
Just last night, I was thinking about ways to improve the entertainment center in our home. I was thinking about purchases I could make and whether I could afford them. Of course, I don’t need any more entertainment in my life. If anything, I need less entertainment!
So the big question for a believer who wants to live in the flow of God’s prosperity is this: Where is the line to be drawn between justified desires and sinful greed?
Of course, if we have Keys 1 & 2 down (obedience to God’s Word and a heart of generosity) then we will find the line much more easily drawn, so let’s consider some passages of Scripture to get our insights.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. — James 4:1-3
It’s the last line that I think is most relevant to the issue at hand. “You do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” It’s God’s Word to us that selfish (greedy) requests will be rejected. In other words, God will never feed the greed of one of his own.
So where is the line to be drawn between sinful greed and justified desires? The Bible doesn’t actually give us a clear line, but perhaps it lies in the question of motives. If the desire is motivated primarily by a search for personal pleasure, then it could very well be inappropriate greed. However, if the desire is one that can bring benefit or even pleasure to others as well, it has a greater chance of being justified.
Greed is a hard vice to root out, and the Bible doesn’t give us legalistic specifications regarding what is and what is not considered greed. Therefore, let us work on our devotion to God’s word and our generosity to others and rigorously examine our hearts for signs of greed.
4. Watch Your Entourage
This is a new concept to me. In fact, I hadn’t really thought of it until this past weekend, but when reading Psalm 1, the implication is clear that who you allow in your circle of counselors will determine your level of spiritual and practical prosperity.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. — Psalm 1:1-3
I could have used this passage for Key #1, but the truth of the matter is that devotion to God’s Word is only part of the story. A person must also ruthlessly root out unwise, sinful, and even wicked counsel by avoiding people proven to offer it.
If you want to experience the prosperity God has for you, you can’t allow yourself to follow the advice of just anyone. There are get rich quick con artists out there. There are televangelists promising you healthy wealthy lives. There are new age philosophies claiming you can think your way into prosperity. There are bankers wanting to give you credit cards.
Advice is everywhere. We must choose wisdom. But the promise of the pursuit of wisdom is God’s own prosperity.
Check in tomorrow for the next installment.