REALITY OF OUR PROSPERITY IN CHRIST 2
In our last article, we saw that it is God’s will for us to prosper materially and financially. However we also saw that if we seek after material prosperity to the extent that we neglect our spiritual well being then that prosperity will not have God’s approval and will cause as it were “leanness to our souls”(Psalm 106:15).
This week, we will see how to prosper in a way that will not bring God’s disapproval.
How to prosper
We prosper financially by using three major principles:
This is because giving and being blessed by God financially is likened to a farmer sowing seed and reaping a harvest:
2 Corinthians 9:6-10 (NIV): Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
How do we sow seed? By giving our tithes and offerings. A tithe is a tenth of your salary or, if you are in business, ten percent of your profit. Your tithe must be paid into the storehouse (Mal.3: 10), which is the place where God is feeding you spiritually.
Malachi 3:8-12 KJV: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
Hebrews 7:2 KJV: To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Hebrews 7:9 KJV: And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
An offering is anything you give beyond the ten percent tithe. It should not be an ill-favoured offering (Mal.1: 6-8): that is, something small or insignificant compared to what God has blessed you with.
Now, since God does not consider ten percent to be ill favoured, I recommend that an offering should be anything from ten percent and above.
This of course could be given spread over a month for a salary earner or given at once for those in business. The scripture also enjoins us not to come before God empty handed: whenever you come to church or any meeting always put something into the offering:
Deuteronomy 16:16-17 KJV: Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
Where should offerings be given? Offerings should be given partly into the storehouse: the local church (Mal. 3:8) where God has planted you and is feeding you spiritually, and partly to other ministries, as led by the Spirit for the gospel’s sake: (Mark 10: 29), and also be partly given to other brethren, as led by the Spirit for the Lord’s sake; (Mat.25: 40).
Mark 10:29 KJV: And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
Matthew 25:40 KJV: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
So tithes and offerings should be a minimum of 20 percent of our income, baring in mind that if we sow sparingly we will reap sparingly, but if we sow bountifully we will reap bountifully (2 Cor.9:6). We should endeavour, over time, to grow beyond giving just 20 percent of our income in tithes and offerings.
It is instructive to note that giving of tithes and offerings is as much a New Testament command as it was an Old Testament command. God instituted it before the Law of Moses was given: Abraham, Jacob and many Old Testament patriarchs worshipped and honoured God with their tithes and offerings.
The New Testament saint is to give tithes to the Lord Jesus Christ our High Priest after the order of Melchisedec by giving it into the local church where God is feeding us spiritually:
Hebrews 8:1-3 KJV: Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
You plant the seed, you water it and then you harvest it. Much has been said in the past about the planting and the harvesting, but not too much about the watering stage. We water the seed by the Spirit of God by prayer and walking in the Spirit.
Psalms 1:1-3 KJV: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Here, we see that prayer and meditation is likened to watering that ultimately brings prosperity.
With respect to prosperity, we must apply the seven steps of faith towards God.
1. Honesty of heart: the most important step for improving the prosperity
of the soul is to tell yourself the truth. It is imperative that truth is acknowledged in all areas of your failure in meeting up with God’s character standards (Gal.5: 22), especially covetousness and discontentment. If you do not renounce the hidden things of dishonesty via the still small voice, and God is not able to get through to you via your bible reading or the pastors preaching or direct counselling then He may have to resort to allowing you to face difficult financial circumstances, just to get you to judge yourself properly at the heart level.
2 You need to pray in the spirit for 1 hour with all types of prayer on a weekly basis concerning your finances. This will give you the wisdom of God and the insight to be able to discern between the doors opened by God and the doors opened by the devil. It will also give you the patience to wait contentedly for God’s answer, no matter how long it may take, without getting agitated with the spirit of covetousness.
3 Bind the devil and loose the angels of God on your behalf concerning the blessing that God is bringing your way on a daily basis.
4 Confess the word concerning God’s provision and His abundant supply daily.
5 Meditate upon the word of God concerning God’s provision and His abundant supply. This should especially be done whenever the thoughts of lack and insufficiency try to plague you. Reply every (2Cor.10: 5) such thought with a thought based on the Word like “My God supplies all my needs”.
6 Do the word. Corresponding physical action should be taken as led by the spirit concerning sowing: giving of tithes offerings and harvesting: things to do that God can bless.
7 Sometimes it may be necessary to fast on the day that you are praying about your finances, especially if the situation is particularly difficult.
We harvest by labouring in two different ways:
1. By doing something God can bless.
2. By investing in something God can bless.
God cannot bless you in a vacuum. The Bible says, “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper…. (Ps. 1:3) “ If you don’t do, you don’t prosper! Occasionally God causes people to give you money, but you cannot expect to live like that everyday. This is why God expects us to find a job, or do some honest business (Eph.4: 28; Tit.3: 14).
Ephesians 4:28 KJV: Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Titus 3:14 NIV: Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.
In addition, God also expects us to invest into profitable ventures that are beneficial to the society. This may involve buying shares in someone else’s company, or providing venture capital for someone else’s good idea.
Tithing your time
For us to make sure the devil does not use the, as it were, legitimate pursuit of business and work to steal our time we should tithe our time the same way we tithe our money.
So we should give to God each day at least 2.4 hours or about 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours each day. We do this by getting up early (4-5am) as Jesus did to put in about 1-2 hours of prayer in the spirit (see format under Keys of the Kingdom) and then 30 minutes to 1 hour during the day as opportunities present themselves for Bible reading, confession and meditation of the Word: therefore always carry your Bible and a prayer guide containing your confessions with you and take advantage of those free times: 30 minutes in the bus or train; your lunch break at work; 30 minutes to 1 hour off your time for watching TV etc. If you find this difficult initially, start with what you can handle faithfully and then increase gradually with 2 hours a day as your goal.
Mark 1:35 NIV: Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Psalms 119:97 KJV: O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
We also make sure we do not neglect regular church attendance on Sundays and during the week.
Hebrews 10:25 KJV: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
By disciplining ourselves to do these things we will truly prosper and be in health even as our souls prosper (3John 2).