June 11, 2018

There Go I

One of the biggest reasons  that the prosperity gospel is flawed would be ‘the come up.’ Most people do not do well with a drastic and/sudden change in resources and lifestyle. There is something to be said for working and earning what one has over time.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a more comfortable lifestyle. But the truth is that too many become ugly inside from how having money changes the individual.

If too much is given or obtained too quickly, there is a lack of appreciation for what one has and nothing is sufficient or enough. But there is also the lack of empathy for those around the one who feels that they are now removed from their previous situation. It manifest in many ways but in most cases it makes one a great consumer and not a producer.  The money is not the problem, the true refection of the heart is the problem.  I would even go so far as to say that money can have a negative affect on a person's prayer life. This is why Christians often times dont do well with wealth, the wealth comes at the cost of having a heart, toward God and others.

 Consumers are those who love to use their spending power on things that they didn’t have before. How one spends their resources is the easiest way to tell old money from new money. New money makes poor spending decisions on items that are mostly for bragging rights and with very little or no asset value, and most often to impress people who are not impressed anyway. It is the fear of depravity wearing a mask of abundance.  It is a facade.

The sudden ability to have what one never had before becomes overwhelming and even can lead to poor decision-making and gluttony.  Being a consumer becomes addictive..... it becomes the high of being able to obtain what one never had, therefore leading to overspending,  and poor decision making in purchasing more than what is needed. This is exactly why most professional athletes and lottery ticket winners, and drug dealers end up in the exact financial state with a few years.  There is little to no knowledge about saving, investing, sound purchasing, or philanthropy.

When fear controls the individual it will cause a level of selfishness that leaves no room for investing in vetted causes or charities, and definitely not becoming a resource by founding a charitable or philanthropic organization. When Christians forget to help others, they risk missing out in the greatest way to be like Christ, and that is to become a giver and a producer.   When Jesus fed the people, he did with no expectation of return or compensation.  As a matter of fact, most of the time, Jesus told those that he did something for not to tell others. This is because the nature of God is to give.  We learn to be like Christ in the way that we treat others. How we treat others is a direct  reflection of how we see our relationship with God.  When we have a positive outlook on our relationship with God, there is an openness to share not only the Good News of the Gospel, but to overall have a positive impact in the lives of others.  We can truly be living examples of Christ on earth.      

 It has been proven that giving and affinity go hand-in-hand. A person will invest in what they have some emotional attachment to. Therefore, it can be said that those who suddenly obtain too much too fast become detached and lose their ability to care or to love others.  Their affinity goes toward the obtained material wealth or objects obtained. This is why loving people,  those you can see, is essential because it is a reflection on one’s relationship to God. And it can only be faked or pretended for a short span of time. The state of one’s heart will eventually be shown for how it truly is.

 At the core, the basic need is a sense of  resolve that  comes only from right relationship with God. Therefore it can be said that the individual is seeking a form of peace that will never come from the material that is bought/purchased, but can only come from an internal peace. Like any other addiction the issue is not the outward manifestation,  but is in fact the internal turmoil that is causing the outward affect. A lack of peace and the inability to see what God has gifted the person with besides material objects and economic ability will always leave the person to rely on what they can grasp and that is material and superficial. This all leads to a person who is shallow and superficial. 

Money or material gain is not a guarantee of happiness.  The most current events of the past few years where more and more famous/rich individuals are committing suicide is proof that one's internal state of being is much more important than tangible material gain or wealth. There are some things that every human being needs that money can not buy.

 God wants us to have abundant life, including nice things, but as good stewards of that abundance, not wasteful and overindulged. Because we live in a culture that loves amenities and creature comforts, it’s hard to imagine living a life with less than the newest most fashionable and most desired objects. This is what capitalism is built on, the reliance on human beings to fulfill their depravity with objects instead of seeking internal peace.  People in sales love hurting people because they purchase, they become repeat spenders. As a matter of fact, if more people had the Peace of God, the spending patterns of our entire world would change.

 This is exactly what religious vows of poverty are about, not becoming consumed with being a consumer but actually becoming comfortable enough in the sufficiency of having basic needs met that one becomes productive both spiritually and naturally. Christians should be producers, should be people who seek out ways to help others find peace through sharing the gospel, the good news, but should also live a lifestyle  that reflects the internal peace and the strength to not always needing to follow the trends of obtaining the newest object.

 Let’s be honest money changes a person. There are very few people that are not affected by gaining wealth. or even a higher salary. But the important thing is to remember that the higher salary or the wealth is not the issue,  it is a matter of what this does to the internal workings of the individual. One of the most grounding things that a person can do to remember who they really are is to remain a giver.  Giving to others allows one to remain empathetic, if the individual allows their thought process to remain open and clear about the difference between self and the other person. Spending time around one's old neighborhood and staying connected to everyday life of everyday people can keep one open to receive the realization of how powerful God's sufficiency really is in keeping one resilient (Philippians 4:13).  This is how you learn to be content and remain grateful. One of the things that I heard quite often growing up was the saying “but for the grace of God, there go I.”

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