It’s a sad reality that prospering in the present life ends up having a negative impact on many children of God. When the going is tough, many of God’s children look to Him with simplicity of heart and purity of worship. But when the blessings begin to roll in — financially, professionally, in societal standing, and more — the values that have brought them to their affluence are quickly forgotten. Our God is well aware of this tendency, therefore, He warns:
Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, . . . Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’
God permits certain difficulties in our lives in order to reveal traits that we or others may not know exist. When those traits are negative, we are essentially faced with two choices: acknowledge them and seek God’s deliverance or indulge them and suffer loss.
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
—1 Corinthians 3:12–15
The greatest sacrifice, or most acceptable offering, that a Christian can give to God is not outstanding works, or impactful acts of service, done in His name but a heart that’s yielded and obedient to Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not give His Father sacrifices and offerings but a heart that was fully obedient to His will. As a result, His Father performed mighty works through Him, including the redemption of humanity.
“When Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” (Hebrews 10:5–7).
So, give God all of your heart and strive to be obey Him fully. These are the core sacrifices He requires from you.
If you walk closely with God, yielding to Him, trusting in Him, and doing His will, you can rest assured that He will never let the devil outsmart you.
“I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken.”
Though permitted by God for growth, significant challenges can either build or destroy our faith depending on how we respond. If we choose to believe in who God is and trust Him no matter what, our faith will grow substantially in the face of trials. But if we allow setbacks to cause us to doubt God’s faithfulness, we will lose the ability to trust Him and thereby lose the strength to overcome.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
The true condition of an individual’s life is revealed by his or her response to God. Those who are upright in their ways respond to Him with reverential fear, but the perverse despise Him.
He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.
In ministry, not all will respond positively to the truths that God has given you to convey. This is because not all are ready to go the distance with Him. But God does not leave Himself without a witness; for every bunch who choose to worship from afar, or not worship at all, there are one or two (a remnant) who are on fire for the Lord and are eager to hear all He has to say. So, true servant of God, preach on!
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” So Paul departed from among them. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
God does not look at the outward appearance of things. Rather, He sees the heart of every matter and the true motive behind what is being done and rewards, or judges, accordingly.
I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.
—Proverbs 8:20–21 NKJV
Life is short, live it wisely. If you have children, invest in giving them a good spiritual, mental, and financial foundation. Equip them to live purposeful and fruitful lives with or without you. Use your God-given talents and abilities to build God’s kingdom and to promote His agenda. Invest significant effort and time in preparing your own soul for eternity. We all hope for long lives but, truly, none of us knows the exact amount of time we have here on earth. Therefore, let’s live each day in readiness to give a good account if we unexpectedly find ourselves standing before our Creator.
The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. . . . So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom..
—Psalm 90:10, 12 NKJV