Tuesday, March 06, 2012

MYTH #29-Jesus wants you to be healthy, wealthy and successful!


There is something inside most of us that believes that if we are walking with God, our God will make us more successful. And, if I am faithful to my God, then my God will keep me in His healing hands and keep me healthy. Certainly the God of gods is able to do all of the above and more.
This has become a damaging myth to so many. The first area of damage is to use God as you might use a genie. This is thinking that God works for you. Have you ever heard someone say, "I tried God out and He didn't work for me." Well, if you think in this way, then you have it all backwards. The Lord doesn't work for you; you are to work for Him.

The second area of damage in embracing this myth has been repeatedly applied by Christian radio and TV personalities. It is the presumption that if you give your money to God's work, then God will pay your bills. One preacher specifically asks his viewers to tally up the total of their bills and send a check for that amount to his ministry. And, believing this myth, many people actually follow through and send their checks.

The third area of damage for those who embrace this myth that God wants you to be healthy, wealthy and successful is to come to believe that they are having troubles because their faith is too weak. If Jesus wants me to be healthy, wealthy and successful and I am not any of these, then I must feel spiritually inadequate-a spiritual midget, at best.

To debunk this myth I want to offer three observations. FIRST-Jesus speaks of suffering as a norm for those who are His disciples. Even when He gave Paul's mission through Ananias, Jesus said, "and I will show him what he must suffer."

SECOND-In one of the earliest books written after the Gospels-the book of Hebrews-there is a major chapter that lists out the Hall of Faith, demonstrating how God works in response to man's faith and faithfulness. But after so many successes of faith are listed, the writer of this book turns the corner a bit. The results are not always positive when a person exercises his faith in God. In some cases, people were sawn in two, stoned, lost their children by death, lived in caves and holes in the ground and their wardrobe was made of animal skins.
Now that doesn't sound like healthy, wealthy and successful to me.

THIRD-How much does Jesus want from those who follow Him? There are basically four dimensions of your life as you relate to the Lord-time, treasure, talent and touch.

1. Time-How much of your time does Jesus want from you? You might revert to the principle of the Sabbath and say He wants one-seventh of your time-one day a week. However, as you examine what Jesus requires, I think you'll come to a different conclusion. Jesus wants 100% of your time. You are to be a follower of Jesus and one who practices His Kingdom all of the time-not part time, but full time.

2. Treasure-How much of your money and stuff does Jesus want from you? You might revert to the principle of tithing and say what He wants is 10%. However, as you examine the teachings of Jesus, I think you will discover that He wants everything you have-100%. You own nothing. He owns everything you have and all that you are. You are to be the manager of your money and stuff for Jesus and His Kingdom.

3. Talent-How much of your talent does Jesus want from you? Since He gave it to you and empowers you to use it, I think you'll find that He wants it all-100%.

4. Touch-How much of your touch-your relationship with people-does Jesus want? Every time you come into relationship with anyone, you are to love that person and every time you find a person in need, you are to do what you can to meet those needs-hunger, thirst, clothing, and shelter. He wants your 100% attention.

You see, Jesus doesn't want you to be healthy, wealthy and successful as much as He wants YOU. Nothing else really matters to Jesus, but knowing and walking with you. Jesus doesn't even want to hold first place in your life. First place implies that there are many other places that are ranked in importance and can easily crowd out whatever is in first place. You may be healthy or ill, wealthy or poor, a success or a failure, but Jesus wants to be at the center of it all. Jesus doesn't want first place; He wants to be the center of everything you are and all that you do. So, why not turn it over-100%.