This morning I was running. Believe it or not I am training to run a mini marathon (please pray for me) so I’m trying to run a little each day. Well, being a technophile I run on the treadmill watching my iPad and discovered that The Passion of Christ was on YouTube. So I thought, “Whoa, why not watch The Passion, and get my work out in.” So as I was watching the first thing I noticed was the fact that Jesus was anti—a lot of what we see in today’s church. One of those things in my opinion would be some ministries approach to prosperity. I mean think about it. The word itself is a wonderful word. It’s a word on par with healthy. Wise. Dignity. But somehow the latter day church (not The Church of The Latter Day Saints per si but the church of today) has given an evil and one can say even a bitter taste to a wonderful word.
One of the reasons why is because there is a cavernous error in prosperity ministry. We have been so attuned to judging peoples success by their homes, their cars and the clothes they wear we tend to transfer that to the body of Christ. After all if you have two neighbors, one wearing the best of the best and living in a McMansion and the other living in a trailer than which one would be thought by most people to be the most successful? Regrettably you cannot judge Gods children by earthly standards. I mean when you think about it, Pimps, Hedge Funds Thieves and Murderers have nice houses. But unless they repent they will go straight to hell.
But can I tell you one of the hidden problems with the prosperity ministry of today? There is also an arrogance attached to it that is like a hidden cancer and lies dormant for years and is only found at times when it is too late. Sometimes we can go higher in terms of this worlds standards and get haughty. Think about it; if we really excel and if everything we want in our lives succeeds beyond our wildest imagination, would we really know how to handle it?
What we don't realize is if you achieved success in a phenomenal way you will receive test in a phenomenal way. Let’s say you have three people in your life that really dislike you now. If you were to win the lottery tomorrow that number would increase tenfold. Can you handle success? Could this be why God does not bless some of us? Could this be why the litmus test of our Christianity may not be measured just in the size of our car?
Paul wrote to the Philippi church, 2:5-11, that God will bless us when we are little in our own eyes but as soon as we start smelling ourselves we will mess round and lose the kingdom. Some people will start out serving God with humility and as SOON as God bless them they trip. Can we stand… to be blessed?
We must understand that often God sees something in our hearts that will allow him to dole out blessings upon us. But we kill it if we show him by our actions that we cannot stand to be blessed.
There is no way David should have been, nor deserved to be promoted to king. Yeah he killed a lion and that was on his resume. He killed a bear and that was on his resume. He killed a giant everyone feared in front of his boys and that was on his resume. In fact in many people eyes he was not even the most qualified in his own family. He was still smaller than many of the other kings. Heck he was even smaller than his own brothers. He did not even know who to bow to; knew nothing about protocol. He did not come from a royal blood line. At the end of the day he was still a little Sheppard boy. A child at heart. So why did God look past all the other more qualified applicants? A little difference that made a big difference to God. David knew how to take his praise and adoration to a higher level. While they were out sword fighting and learning other tongues and being educated, David was up in the mountain singing songs, praying prayers, dancing around trees and giving God all the glory.
What caused one out of every three angels to fall out of heaven? What caused Lucifer to be sent to Hell? The most beautiful angel in heaven, dammed to eternal damnation. So beautiful he was referred to as “The son of the morning,” to fall from heaven? Something called hubris.
What is hubris? It’s defined as excessive pride or excessive arrogance. Having a little pride in who you are is actually a good thing. But it’s when it becomes “hubris” that it can lead to our demise. See Lucifer was not satisfied to be over the worship and praise team. See we have goals and we are pushed towards those goals and dreams by our ambition. But hubris comes in when even the achievement of the goal is not enough. When they feel unfulfilled although they have achieved what they set out to achieve. Some men can set their sights on a beautiful woman who would typically not give him the time of the day. Some people can set their sights on a position at they know they don't deserve and then get it. Some success or prosperity can become a drug and it can cut any throat, step on anyone’s head and become an obstacle between the person and their relationship with God.
They will justify it like the former NBA star Latrell Sprewell did in 2000 when he was offered a three million dollar contract to play a kids game. His infamous retort was, “I got to feed my kid!, I can’t live on 3,000,000 a year.” Well as fate would have it, in 2008 he filed bankruptcy. Hubris occurs when people can never reach a level of satiate.
Lucifer was over praise and worship IN HEAVEN of all places and that was not enough for him. He set his sights on Gods job. “I will set my sights on the most high. I will exalt myself above the most high God. I will ascend into the heavens.” Be careful with your I’s. There are two things that can get you in trouble. Your eyes and your I’s. Keep your eyes’ and your I’s on God and you will begin to be all you can be in the Kingdom of God. But start looking at yourself and saying what “you” can do and you are on the road toward hubris, and that's the subtle hidden danger of the prosperity ministry.
“They don't know who I am?”
“I will do this my way!”
“I don't ever get the recognition I deserve.”
Want to know your place in the Kingdom of God—start by simply knowing your place. Why? There is a man or a woman on I-75 holding up a sign for food that God will clean up and put in your position if you don't remember it’s never about you but it’s always about Him. There is a person in a soup kitchen who can out sing you, out think you, and if you are not taking care of your wife or husband they can out wife or husband you and they will take your position if you don't humble yourself. The bible says it very clearly—“Set your affections on things above, not on things of this earth.” And yes the things of this earth would also include a focus on prosperity.
Even Christ said, “Father glorify me with the glory I had with you.” Not the things here on earth, but the things above. And when he says this does he go to heaven? Not hardly. He went alright. Up on a cross to die.
Have you ever wondered why you go on a fast, and you are walking in your anointing and then the devil hits you in the face with a 2x4 of troubles when you are getting close to God? It’s because we have to understand, in order to receive the blessings of God, before we go up, we must come down. But when this happens… when you feel yourself going down, when you feel that cross on your back, when you feel the nails in your hands and feet, get ready because you are about to go up to a higher level. One higher than you have ever experienced. But to do so focus on God—not on prosperity and you will display to God that you deserve—opps not deserve but you are in fact ready to be blessed.
And believe it I got all of that—while running on a treadmill watching a movie.
Oh yeah, remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.