Is This The Abundant Life?Handbook 1: Article 40 - Who In The World Are You?

There is an idea circulating in Christian groups that concerns me very much. It is this: God desires to give His children an abundance of material things. He wants us to go first class. The abundant life is living prosperously in this world. It gives God much pleasure to shower us with the "good" things in life. Now certain scriptures might be interpreted this way but the overall teaching of the Bible is that the desire for material possessions is a snare, a following after worthlessness and futility.

"Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever."

1 John 2: 15-17

I'm sure that we have all experienced times when God has answered our prayers for specific material things such as a house, new car, vacation, etc.. But if we conclude from this that it gives Him great pleasure to satisfy our worldly longings we have drawn the wrong conclusion.

A young man I care about put it into focus for me. He said, "This past year God gave me almost every material benefit I prayed for. I know now that He will take care of me for I have experienced this right here where I live. Now that I know this I want to move on into the spiritual world. I know that He will take good care of me there, too." I believe that God answers our prayers for worldly things that we might discover that He hears and answers our prayers. With this knowledge He hopes that we will move out into the spiritual world where His answers are not always visible to our human senses, where we must live by faith.

"If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

Colossians 3: 1-3

If we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things -- food, clothing, etc. will be added unto us. If we add to these needs, wants, God may grant us our requests. This He did for the children of Israel when they lusted in the wilderness. He gave them what they asked for but sent a leanness to their souls.

MC

"Material success is no measure of spiritual health. Nor is apparent affluence any criteria for real godliness." (Phillip Keller) Nor for that matter is poverty, health, conflict, peace, success, failure. Listen to the Scriptures:

"...people trusted God and as a result won battles, overthrew kingdoms, ruled their people well, and received what God had promised them; they were kept from harm in a den of lions, and in a fiery furnace. Some, through their faith, escaped death by the sword. Some were made strong again after they had been weak or sick. Others were given great power in battle; they made whole armies turn and run away. And some women, through faith, received their loved ones back again from death.

But others trusted God and were beaten to death, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free... Some were laughed at and their backs cut open with whips, and others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stoning and some by being sawed in two. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in dens and caves. They were hungry and sick and ill-treated -- too good for this world.

All these men of faith trusted God and won His approval."

Hebrews 11: 33-39

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