“Trust God from the bottom of your heart” ~Proverbs 3:5
The usual way of things in Christianity is that a person prays to accept Jesus into their lives and He gladly forgives their sins and they begin their new Christian journey by attending a church.
Along the way, as the person reads the Bible, learns to pray, attends Bible studies and experiences the joy of giving to others, a subtle little extra creeps into their lives. This is the doctrine of “if’s”.
- If you tithe regularly (and give love offerings beyond tithes), God will be very pleased and His pleasure will play out in more money and things for you.
- If you maintain your faith in God during the most difficult trials, He has wonderful materialistic rewards waiting for you just around the corner. God loves giving His followers lots of worldly things to make them happy.
- If you check your brain at the door, use your emotions as a guide, and always ask other Christians what they think you should do with your life, God will reward you greatly; Usually with a form of prosperity to show his gratitude.
The list can go on, including many more damaging ideas often perpetuated on people who sincerely wish to not only follow the Lord but use their lives as a source of light in this dark world. The problem with this line of thought is that it is a blend of God’s truth and human error. The results of following this path are always the same: failure and confusion.
God’s rewards are wrapped in His promise of forgiveness of sins and eternal, everlasting life with Him. God DID NOT send Jesus to die on the cross of Calvary so all who believe in Him will not only have everlasting life but lots and lots of wonderful things on earth.
If we believe God’s love will be shown to us through material blessings, job promotions, healthy lives and unlimited happiness, then what happens when our lives fall apart? How can we be at peace with burdensome debt, being passed over for promotion, imprisonment for our faith, disease or death?
Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do and He will show you the right way.”
Proverbs 16:2-3. “All a man’s ways seem right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your activities to the Lord and your plans will be achieved.”
Many people tend to view the Bible and God’s promises through a filter of material possessions and success. Therefore, as we read verses like Proverbs 16:3, we assume God is referring to material prosperity. We get together and agree among ourselves that God has promised success in all our plans. When this does not work out, we are confused and discouraged. Our faith in God is in danger, especially when we see the world or even fellow Christians prospering.
James 1:5. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.”
James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Our lives on earth will always have challenges and problems. Such is the fabric of our imperfect lives as we await our release from planet earth. However, in the midst of our trials and tribulations, the peace of Jesus Christ is ours if we choose to walk in it. Eternal rest and joy beyond compare await.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth, will be eight u p int he close to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.”