Today, I want to talk about the importance of what influences the actions we take in life on the basis of how we measure ourselves in terms of affluence. Wealth does not always determine the level of someone’s influence over someone or something because not everyone is born to be affluent and not everyone will be affluent in this lifetime. Even if you aren’t born into an affluent family, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an influence over others. The question is what type of influence will you have over others? Will it be positive or negative?
Affluence doesn’t guarantee that a person will be able to hold a positive influence over other people nor does it suggest that they’ll be a negative influence over other people either. However, for those that are born into affluent families or have become affluent in life due to hard work and perseverance, or sheer luck, such people must consider the implications of how wealth can influence the decisions they make, the actions that they take and the character that they choose to embrace as part of their personality after gaining such wealth. Will such people have a positive or a negative character after gaining wealth? Money in and of itself is not evil, but the Bible does clearly state that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), so we should be mindful of the fact that as we start to financially prosper, we shouldn’t allow money to become a substitute for our reverence to God (Jesus Christ). Being wealthy isn’t a sin in and of itself; however, it is what people do with their wealth that counts. Do you use your wealth for good things such as charitable deeds etc, or do you use it in order to rule, abuse, extort and control others? Wealthy people (in particular) must guard their hearts from viewing and deifying money as their “god” since it is the love of money that is the root of all evil.
For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.
If we want to have the mind of Christ, we must take a look at what Christ deems as important to us in terms of our walk with God. Jesus tests the Rich man’s loyalties in order to expose where his true loyalties lie. The rich man thought he could simply follow Jesus as he was, but when it came down to it, he couldn’t part with his money to which he held dear more so than building on having an intimate relationship with Jesus. Money was his God and he didn’t want to part with it in exchange with having a real relationship with the One True God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
If we pursue wealth and riches as a way of life for personal gains and/or ambitions, then can one really influence others to walk in righteousness and peace if greed becomes a factor that causes one to stumble? Now let me be clear and state that I’m not saying nor am I implying that all wealthy people are greedy, selfish etc etc. What I am saying is that, after gaining such wealth, what do you do with it? Do you lead a righteous life after gaining wealth or does it cause you to stumble? Also, how important is your wealth when you compare it with a priceless relationship with God? If God were to ask you to sell everything you had so that you could follow Him, would you do it? Let’s just be real here. Indeed, it is a very difficult thing to do for any rich man/woman to sell off his/her possessions just to follow Jesus Christ. Not many people in their supposed “right” minds would do that. It just wouldn’t make any sense to anyone; however, that is what God requires of us. The true test isn’t in the wealth one obtains, but the true test is in where your loyalties lie. Where do you stand with God? Can you simply obey Him when he asks you to do something difficult? People call on Jesus, “Lord”, “Lord”, but how many will do what He says when the time calls for it? This is something we as Christians need to ask ourselves daily.
[ A Secure Foundation ] “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not practice what I tell you?
It is very difficult for rich people to give up all that they have built and accomplished just to follow Jesus Christ. In fact, it would be radical for anyone even in this day and age to do such a thing since many rich people find it difficult to give up their possessions just in order to follow Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
So why did Jesus ask the Rich man this question in the first place knowing full well that he’d struggle to let go of what he held dear to his heart? Jesus knew what his response would be because the heart of a rich man who has never known lack, wanted to follow Jesus without any sense of sacrifice. Jesus exposed the fact that the Rich man had placed more faith in his wealth and riches than he did in Jesus Christ, Himself. When the rich man discovered his inner issue with respect to what he relied upon as his comfort- zone (his money and wealth), he realized that if he couldn’t relinquish his dependence on his wealth to remain stable, humble and follow Jesus as a disciple by FAITH, then he couldn’t follow Jesus at all. He who has never known lack didn’t want to know it nor experience it at all. The Rich man simply didn’t know the meaning of sacrifice, nor did he know the meaning of having faith in God’s leading. He felt a deep sorrow after realizing that although he wanted and claimed to want to follow Jesus to whom he perceived as a great Rabbi, he simply couldn’t let go of what he truly held dear to his heart, which was in the abundance of his possessions. Jesus, simply wasn’t worth all that to him and he knew that if he really wanted to be real with God, he’d have to let go of what was causing him to stumble in the first place from truly following God’s will for his life.
The Rich Young Ruler
18 A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Honor your father and your mother.’” 21 He replied, “I have kept all these things from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How difficult it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth or status] to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And those who heard it said, “[b]Then who can be saved?” 27 But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”
So, for today, take a look into your own spiritual mirror and assess where your loyalties lie with respect to following God’s will for your life. Don’t claim to want to follow Jesus if you aren’t prepared to sacrifice the things that you hold with high regard in your life as mini “idols” that cause you to stumble and prevent you from fully following God’s will for your life. The moment you let go of the idols you have in your life, is when you can become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. The question is, do you know what is God’s will for your life? If you have no clue or any idea what it might be, then I’ll give you a clue from this verse of scripture:
Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].
Isn’t that Good News!? Now that you know what the will of God is for your life, learn to trust in His leading, yield to His will for your life and walk by faith and not by what you see. Many people can discourage you and throw you off course from obeying what God leads you to do. Sometimes, the things God asks us to do don’t always make sense but when you learn to take a step of faith and just trust in God’s leading through the power of the Holy Spirit that convicts you to move you into action, you will find yourself increasing in your faith as you learn to move by faith and not by what you see. Just because other people don’t see where you are going, doesn’t mean that you aren’t heading in the right direction if you are being led by the voice of the Holy Spirit. You can only do these things by meditating on His Word (The Bible) day and night and by learning to discern when you are heading in the right direction as the Lord convicts your spirit to let go of certain things that are holding you back from fully obeying His will and trusting in His leading for your life. Pursue God and God will lead you in the right direction. You just have to trust Him and Believe.
for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]—
Today, I want to post this song by Hillsong Young and Free called To My Knees. I pray that this song blesses your spirit today. God Bless You Everybody! 😀