Prosperity

February 24, 2016

 

Philippians 4:10-20

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Prosperity

We, in this country, we have become a prosperity oriented people. In some cases we almost equate our outward wealth with our spirituality.  Is that what we glean from this passage that Paul is sharing here?  

We love to quote the word that he gives to the Philippians, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” but what prompted that statement.  It was because the Philippians were all about giving.  They appear to be one of Paul’s primary supporters and as such he speaks this blessing over them.  It was the giving that brought the blessing.  

Now Paul is not a prosperity preacher in the since of worldly goods.  The prosperity that he preaches is the riches of God’s grace and glory in Christ Jesus.   He speaks to the rich things God has for us and that isn’t always gained through the riches of this world.  The truth is when the soul is pampered in comfort, it often doesn’t grow much in substance.  We read about Paul’s training in this principle in the first of this passage.   The training we see God taking Paul through and what He wants to bring us through is that of “being content whatever the circumstances”.  God’s life and purpose are not really found in the pampering of our flesh, but more in the crucifixion of it.  We are actually dying to the outward man and what we perceive its needs and desires to be.  Our Christianity isn’t about living out of the benefits and provisions of the outward man, it is about living out of Christ who gives us strength to endure all trials and find contentment whatever our circumstances.  

I know this kind of flies in the face of the prosperity teaching many of us have sat under.  Indeed God is a God of blessings and most of us can attest to the enormous blessing over our physical lives as well as our spiritual ones.  The thing that we need to understand in this hour is that there are going to be tougher days ahead and it is important for us to know and realize that our life and spirituality does not rest on these outward things.  There is now a depth and treasure of riches we need to search out in knowing Christ.  He alone is the riches that never fail.  He is still that God that will meet our need, but it may not conform to the Christian-American mindset that many of us have developed.  What’s more, is that we are to learn a key principle, the key to having our needs met, is in our willingness to see and meet the needs in others.  This blessing that Paul spoke over the Philippians was birthed out of this key principle.  Our natural inclination when things get tough is to fear and react by hoarding to ourselves.  The spiritual principle is that we see and meet the needs in the body of Christ, as well as blessing those who are in the world.  

If we want to really prosper in this hour, it is to be found in the depth and intimacy of your relationship with Christ.  It is out of Him that you can do all things.  As Paul says here in verse 13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  It is only as we lose our supply that we begin to truly experience His supply.  Let’s get a revelation of what true prosperity is.  It is not in the things that you possess, but in the person that you possess. 

Blessings, 

#kent

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