Thursday, November 20, 2014

Does Jesus Want You To Be Rich?

"Ask Jesus whatever you want and you will get it." Kinda cheapens our faith, doesn't it? Reducing Jesus to a glorified Santa Claus distracts us from what really matters. In all Scripture we need to keep in mind that Father is busy preparing us for eternity. He will deny us things that he knows will damage us and he will take us through things he knows will increase us. We don't always have to like it but we should understand it is for our benefit. So when we push the idea that Jesus is here to give us whatever our selfishness desires we undermine true faith.

So let's consider what Jesus did tell us:

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." (John 15:7)

It is so easy to take one verse out of context of the rest of the gospel. We need to remember this came from Jesus who also told a rich man to go sell everything he had, give it to the poor and then come follow him. This is the Jesus who possessed nothing. Poverty is not the purpose here but putting earthly treasures in their proper place is. So what can we take from this verse?

First, it is centered in relationship: "Remain in me". The focus is not our comfort, our desires, our wants, but our relationship in Jesus. This is the Jesus who taught that he is the vine, we are the branches and Father is the gardener who does the pruning. We only have life through Jesus so we desire what he desires and his priorities become ours. We have a Kingdom focus and not a democracy focus. What the King commands is what happens.

His commands, direction, instruction and teaching become the sustenance, the bread, that we consume every day. His words guide us, increase us and direct us: And my words remain in you. We do not live for our own purpose any more so we would never think of asking for something to lavish on ourselves. Our purpose and desire is obedience to Jesus' commands, not because we are afraid but because our love for him provokes us to obedience:

"If you love me, keep my commands." (John 14:15)

It is in this context that Jesus tells us "ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you", because our focus is not on us but on Jesus. He is our desire so we are going to ask for the things that will assist us in serving him and in obeying his commands.

I believe one hundred percent that Father provides for our needs. I can testify to many miracles in which my family was provided for, simply because we prayed. But I cannot teach or support any teaching that twists God's Word to say that he wants us all rich, healthy and spoiled. But Jesus did tell us that Father will meet our needs without us needing to worry about it but we are to focus on the things of the Kingdom.

I have been through some rough times and I am sure I will go through more. Each time I have come to know Jesus more intimately, grown spiritually, have never missed a meal, remained housed and had clothes on my back and the same holds true for all my children. Ask, trust and go all the way with Jesus because he is the only one looking out for your eternity but make sure you know the Word in context of the Word.