Monday, May 21, 2018
Working hard but never have enough?
The Old Testament is so rich! If you're not reading it, not studying it, you're really missing out. I'm currently reading some of the minor prophets, and check out this gem I found in Zephaniah 2:3
Seek the Lord [search diligently for Him and regard Him as the foremost necessity of your life,
all you humble of the land who have practiced His ordinances and have kept His commandments;
Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden [and pardoned and rescued]
In the day of the Lord’s anger.
The above is yet more proof of a pre-tribulation rapture and one in which only the truly faithful will be taken. But I digress. What I really wish to talk about is one reason why so many Christians are living in constant want. I came across these Scriptures in Haggai, Chapter 2: 15-17
But now, do consider from this day forward: before one stone was placed on another in the temple of the Lord, from that time when one came to a grain heap expecting twenty measures, there would be only ten; and when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty measures, there would be only twenty. I struck you and the work of your hands with scorching wind, mildew, and hail; yet you did not come back to Me,’ declares the Lord.
Haggai was a prophet to the remnant of Jews who were allowed to return to Israel from their captivity in Babylon. These Jews under the command of Zerubbabel were supposed to rebuild the Lord's Temple, but instead they spent most of their time rebuilding their own houses and tending their own vineyards. In this passage, God is explaining to them why, when they are working so hard, they are reaping so little. He goes on to tell them they have neglected His Temple!
What is His Temple today? Doesn't Scripture tell us we are His temple? His chosen people? The true believers in Jesus? And how do we build that temple? By doing our part to expand the Kingdom of God! By using the skills and talents God gave us to help spread the Gospel and get people saved. So, it occurred to me that if we aren't doing that, if we are spending all our time, talents, and money on ourselves, our homes, children, food, cars, etc.. .then this might explain why so many believers struggle to pay bills month to month.
In Matthew 6, Jesus is talking about the necessities of life when He says: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
One of my favorite Scriptures which I quote often when being attacked is found in 2 Peter 1
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Notice that the Lord has already given us everything we need to live and to become like Him! Everything! If you continue on in 2 Peter, you will see that there are conditions to receiving everything we need. We must grow in Him and become partakers of the divine nature by working to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, etc and a host of other great things to our faith!
Many believers love to quote the following verse from Philippians 4
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
But if you read it in context, Paul is telling the Philippians this promise only after he thanks them for their generous gift to him for the work of his ministry. Funny, how many believers never consider that. In other words, these Philippian Christians gave generously toward the furthering of the Kingdom of God. And then God supplied all their needs.
So, you may say, what does it mean to help build the Kingdom of God? Are you supposed to go out on the street corner and witness to people, go be a missionary in Africa? Sell everything you have and give to the poor? Probably none of those things. But God created you with specific talents and skills which He planned for you to use in His Kingdom before you were born.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
If you aren't doing anything to build God's temple and you find yourself struggling to get by, I would suggest you get alone with God and repent, and then ask Him to show you what you should do. Then allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. God didn't make it very complicated. He merely says to put Him and His Kingdom as your first priority and then follow Him. Then everything else will be provided. It's a heart issue as much as it is an action issue. You can't just go out and volunteer somewhere or increase your tithe and expect results. It must be Holy Spirit led and coming from a heart that loves the Lord above all things!
The reason I'm saying this? This has worked in my life time and time again. God's word is true. He's a father who loves His children more than anything, and He longs to provide in abundance everything you need.
And by the way, Happy Pentecost!