Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Prov. 3:5
The usual way of things in Christianity is that a person prays to accept Jesus into their lives, He gladly forgives their sins, and they begin their new Christian journey by attending a church.
Along the way, as the person reads the Bible, learns to pray, attends various Biblical studies and experiences the joy of giving to others, a subtle little extra creeps into their lives. This can be explained as the doctrine of “ifs.”
- o If you always attend church services, God will be more pleased than if you don’t.
- o If you tithe regularly (and give beyond that) God will be very pleased and this pleasure will play out in more money and things for you.
- o If you maintain your faith in God during the most difficult trials, He has a wonderful materialistic reward waiting for you just around the corner. God loves giving His followers lots of worldly things to make them happy.
- o If you check your brain at the door, use your emotions as a guide, and always ask other Christians what they think you should do with your life, God will reward you greatly. Usually with some form of prosperity to show his gratefulness.
The list can go on, including many more damaging ideas often perpetuated on people who sincerely wish to follow the Lord and use their lives as a source of light in this dark world. The problem with this line of thought is that it is a blend of God’s truth and human error. The results of following this path are always the same…failure and confusion.
God’s rewards are wrapped in His promise of eternal, everlasting life with Him. God DID NOT send Jesus to die on the cross of Calvary so all who believe in Him will not only have everlasting life but lots and lots of wonderful things on earth.
If we believe that God’s love will be shown to us through material blessings, job promotions, healthy lives and unlimited happiness then what happens when our lives fall apart? How can we find happiness in burdensome debt, being passed over for promotion, imprisonment for our faith, disease or death?
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know.6 Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.
Proverbs 16:2-3 All a man’s ways seem right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your activities to the Lord and your plans will be achieved.
Living in America, we tend to view the Bible and God’s promises, through a filter of material possessions and success. Therefore, as we read verses like Proverbs 16:3, we assume God is referring to material prosperity. We get together and agree among ourselves that God has promised “success” to all our plans. And when this does not work out—we are confused and discouraged. Our faith in God is in danger, especially when we see the world or even Christian friends, prospering.
James 1:5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.
James 3:17-18 But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. 18 And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.
Philippians 4:6-8 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Our lives on earth will always be filled with challenges and problems. Such is the fabric of our imperfect lives as we await our release from planet earth. However, in the midst of our trials and tribulations, the peace of Jesus Christ is ours if we choose to walk in it. Eternal rest and joy beyond compare await—just after we take our last breath or when this occurs:
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died[a] will rise from their graves.17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.