There have been a couple passages that keep coming up for me in the last 24 hours. While they are for me, I believe I am meant to pass it along to others. Here they are:
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
There is certainly one more that fits in but was not put in front of me. Yet.
Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Grin and bear it. Is that the lesson here? Pull up your boot straps. Is that it? Hike up your big girl panties? Every man for himself? Or how about Frank Sinatra’s, “I did it my way!”?
Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.
These are commands of God, yes, but they are more than that. They are promises. Yes, promises. Conditional, interactive promises. What does God promise to do?
Make straight your paths. Interpretation: God will make your life much easier with him than without him.
Add these things to you. Interpretation: God will provide all your needs.
Give peace to guard your heart. Interpretation: God will settle your spirit and give you rest.
Do you think he can do that? I mean, seriously. Can he do that? The richest of the rich chase after things that money can’t buy. Do they ever find what they are looking for? On their own, no. Yes, money can make life easier in many ways, but it doesn’t buy peace. Or love. I heard of a tycoon who once said that he would give everything for a wife who loved him. Another was asked how much money was enough. His reply? “Just a little more.”
News flash. It’s not just the super-rich who don’t have enough money to satisfy themselves. Nobody does. That’s right. Nobody.
There’s a major disconnect for believers. We have come to understand and know that our born-again experience includes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God, himself, now resides in us to guide, instruct, convict, encourage, and all sorts of other wonderful things. He has given us all the spiritual gifts we need to walk the life Jesus has or, rather, is walking. (Ephesians 1:3) We “need” nothing else. Yet, somehow, we fail miserably at times to enjoy the promises of God. In our miserable failure, we experience misery.
Certainly, we have experienced triumphs in which we have boasted of what God has done for us. Remember some of those? Where God pulled through and did what no one could have possibly done? Remember? Maybe you are so miserable right now that you can’t muster enough energy to even try, and, therefore, the misery continues on. Should we be surprised? Hardly.
Fine, you say. How does that help me, today, when I am broke and have a stack of bills that need to be paid?
Good. Now we are getting somewhere. What?!?! Yes. That is the first step, recognizing that the problem is far too big for you. The next step is to recognize that it is not too big for God. In fact, this problem ranks way down there on the difficulty scale for God. Actually, I take that back. Your problem today is no easier for God than parting the Red Sea. Nor is it any harder. It’s on the same scale as all of creation. God is all-powerful, right? Let’s get ourselves settled on this fact, my friends. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) Not only that, but God desires to bless us. Let’s get settled on this fact, too.
Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
That’s right from Jesus’ mouth, folks, and there are PLENTY of other passages like this to back it up. Get this settled. Nothing is impossible with God. He is in the business of doing the impossible. Especially for you. “Yet I will never forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16) You have not been forgotten. In fact, you are at the forefront of his mind. “For he who touches you touches the apple of his eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)
Let’s go back to the promises in the three verses we started with. He promises to make your life easier, to provide all your needs, and to settle your spirit and give you rest. That’s his promise. He can and will do it – conditionally. Now, here’s our part. What is it that we need to do?
Trust in Him with all our heart. Acknowledge Him.
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Pray and ask for everything with a grateful heart.
We’re focusing on money today, but I’m going to use another example. Let’s say you are in a real financial pickle, today, and you can’t even think straight because you are so worried about your bills. Fine. You know that God can deliver you, that he can miracle you out of this situation. What do you do? Pray for $1 million or to win the lottery? Here’s where the other example comes in. Let’s say an over-weight person desires to be thin. Would you recommend that s/he prays that God simply removes fifty pounds to be happy TODAY? Or, do you think there would be a better way to go about it? For the record, God desires us to treat our bodies as the temple housing the Holy Spirit, which means we honor God with our weight management. Our bodies are not our own, by the way. Nor is our money. Here’s something to ponder. All of us, I mean all of us, are flat broke. Flat broke. The richest of the rich is flat broke – apart from what God has provided. End of story, ladies and gentlemen.
If we are in a financial pickle, we would be wise to fess up to the situation. Praying for a million dollars is not the way to do it. How about tithing? Will that fix everything? Well, long-term, that is a component to faithful living. Please make a point of looking up Malachi 3:10 and Luke 6:38. You will be blessed by giving back that which already belongs to God. In the short-term, however, we can still find that peace which eludes us.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Matthew 9:13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Can we look on our anxiety about money as sin? Can we look at the predicament we have gotten ourselves into as mismanagement of the resources that God has given us? That we have not sought him regarding our money but rather have done our own thing without him? It’s no different than someone eating or drinking to escape problems. We can stick our heads in the sand about money just as we can about anything else. That’s our human nature. What will change this is a firm resolve to call a spade a spade – sin is sin – and go forward trusting in and walking with God. Humility. Repentance.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Take some time, right now, and re-connect with God. He will quickly flood your spirit with peace. I guarantee it. Don’t expect anything if you do it half-heartedly with crossed fingers. Nope. God is all or nothing with this kind of stuff. Then, listen to him. Seek wise counsel. Resolve to destroy strongholds and habits. Seek God diligently and earnestly. There is light in the tunnel. God intends for us to be financially fit within the resources he provides. He will show us the way if we walk with him. Closely. And, he will give us peace beyond all understanding when we do.
Father, let us set aside our pride and shame and admit our need for you in all our affairs. As Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” How true that is. Let me be not just a hearer of these lessons, but a doer. Let them sink deep into my spirit and come out as action. Let me honor you with my money, my time, and my body. Let me relish with delight in you. Let your joy burst forth from me so that I cannot hold it in and MUST tell others about you. Let me share the gifts you have given me. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers