I frequently tune into what I call ‘late-night religious tv’. This is where I channel surf what is playing on a range of about 10 religious channels; from Daystar to The Church Channel. I am saddened by the fact that what I find most of the time is not the Gospel of Christ, or even Biblical Truth, but rather a fancy humanistic swing on what the Bible says; in other words, man making scripture say that which it does not. Most of the time I here a tiny bit of truth dropped into a cauldron of error.
You may have guessed that by far the most popular message is of the Christian comfort variety. By this I do not mean a comforting of sorrows or burdens, but rather proclaiming that the ‘Christian life’ is of ease and immense comfort. While material posessions are often the goal, the message is also a proclamation of position. Coined by words and phrases such as: destiny, vision, God’s dream, God’s plan, and things of this nature. At this point you may be thinking ‘but God does have a plan’ and this is absolutely correct, however, often times this plan is distorted to mean that God’s ultimate goal is the happiness of man. This is backwards. God’s plans are for His Glory. This does not mean that He will not take care of us or provide for our needs, but whatever those provisions are, they are for the purpose of His Glory, not necessarily that we will have a comfortable existence. Therefore, if that means that we have to suffer, go without, or die, it is all done for His Glory. Whether we have or we have not, it is all for His Glory.
Unless you are sensitive to the Lord, what I am saying can easily be misunderstood. I am not saying that God does not bless materially, but the material possessions or comfortable existence of man is not His goal.
The problem that is rampant in the popular ‘Christian’ message is that it places man’s trust in the acquiring of ‘blessing’, as it is often termed, instead of Christ. Sometimes the extent of this ‘comfort only’ message is so extreme that if you do not have great possession, you are viewed to be in conflict with God. But both the ‘comfort only’ and the afformentioned view of wealth equalling a good stance in front of God are both dangerous. For the moment that you add a stipulation to someones standing before God, outside of what Scripture says, you exclude many people. Not only that, but it greatly deceives many people to believe that God is all about blessing, and causes many problems when trials come.
So what is a proper view?
You see, Hebrews 12:27-28 brings to our attention the ‘unmoveable things’ of the kingdom of Christ. I was reading a revamped edition of Charles Spurgeons ‘Morning and Evening’ Devotional that was put together by Alistair Begg when this came to my attention. I would like to share with you a small exerpt of that reading:
Whatever troubles come, let us play the man; let us show that we are not like little children cast down by what happens to us in this poor fleeting state of time. Our country is Immanuel’s land, our hope is fixed in heaven, and therefore, calm as the summer’s ocean, we will see the wreck of everything earthborn and yet rejoice in the God of our salvation.
And as the song goes,
Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but only lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand
Hebrews 6:17-19 tells us “In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…”
What an encouragement! Our hope is not found in the wealth the Lord may bless us with, or in the position He may grant; it is found in the steadfastness of Christ and the salvation He has provided alone. Therefore it is not subject to the markets, banks, health, nature, or circumstances. Our Joy is then not tied to the things of this earth but in the fact that our salvation, being found in Christ, is never going to change. So we do not have to worry about our position with God when, in doing His will, we find ourselves poor, despised, forsaken, or hungry.
May you find encouragement that your faith and hope for eternity are not based or judged by your wealth or lack of it but in Christ alone.
Soli Deo Gloria, Solo Christo