Have you ever had a time in life where you had in mind the outcome to the problem you were facing – a time where you saw the outcome completely different than what actually happened? What did you do? How did you handle the discrepancy? Get mad? Blame someone or something? Or, take it as part of life and move on? The reality for me is I’ve been there and I have felt all the emotions that I asked above.
Yet as time has gone on and I have gotten a little older (for me to know and you to find out), my theology has changed. Where once I thought God was a part of everything, both good (the blessings in life) and bad (the hardships as God’s discipline), I have now come to realize that God is not sitting in Heaven doling out blessings and hardships. I understand now that just because someone is well-to-do, and favor seems to be on his side, does not mean God is blessing him.
I’ve heard it said too many times, “I must be in God’s favor – living a Godly life – because I keep receiving more and more material and financial blessings.” The mindset is that I’ve got to be doing things right since I keep receiving blessings – I’m wealthier, therefore I’m more spiritual. The inverse of that thought though is that if I am doing things wrong, God will not bless me, but rather punish me. In either case, God does not work in this way – though He can and has, often to remove and expose pride.
The reality is that material and financial blessings in no way make someone more godly and more spiritual than someone who has nothing. Jesus illustrates this point with a poor widow giving to the temple treasury. Luke 21: 1-4 reads: As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Who was more spiritual in the eyes of Jesus – the ones with financial resources and wealth or the one living in poverty? I think you can see my point that prosperity and poverty go hand in hand -meaning God is not concerned with either one, but rather in the person and his/her intent.
The real litmus test of finding God’s favor is in the fruit of the Spirit that are to be displayed in your life in good and bad times. Galatians 5: 22-23 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” You see, God’s favor rests in your soul, your inner being, not in things, and no one or thing can ever take this favor away from you.
So the next time when hardship comes your way, don’t think God is punishing you. Instead think, “God, help me get through this time.” And if wealth does come your way, don’t assume it’s a spiritual blessing until you’ve checked your commitment level to God. Then, remember to thank Him and ask Him how He would have you use it. It’s in these thoughts that God can be glorified. It’s in these thoughts that you will find God’s favor – His blessing – in your soul.