Success is something that we all strive for. It is something that we hope that our children and those that we love will achieve. Of course, because we are all individuals we probably define being successful differently.
To much of the world, success is defined by the amount in your bank account and how it got there. If God defined it that way, why would He have His son born into poverty?
Paul warns us in Colossians to be wary of empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking rather than from Christ. It is common to hear people talk about a particular philosophy that teaches that God blesses those that He favors the most with material wealth.
God doesn’t play favorites. I have sat in church and listened to a family praise God and testify that He healed their child of cancer, while a family sat near me weeping because their family member wasn’t healed. A friend who knew that family told me that they felt that God didn’t love them enough and that they must not have been good enough for their prayer to be answered. We don’t know why God chooses to physically heal some and not others, but it has nothing to do with being good enough. His love for you doesn’t stop because you aren’t behaving well enough.
That same logic applies to our material wealth. Just because someone has more money than you, does not mean that God loves them more than He loves you. A focus on being rich on Earth as a primary goal of faithful living just doesn’t connect with what Scripture tells us. Jesus was born poor, and he died poor. While He was here, He spoke time and again about the importance of spiritual wealth and health, but when he talked about material wealth, it was usually peppered with warning us to be cautious.
Some of the people that are teaching this philosophy are just good, charismatic public speakers. Some also have good back stories that appeal to our emotions and draw us in. We, as followers of Christ, need to have discernment and throw out anything that doesn’t line up with what the word of God tells us. It is important that you read the Word for yourself instead of depending on someone else to interpret if for you.
I pray for the strength and courage to love rather than judge. And I can only fully call into account my own thinking as it is translated into behavior. No one else is held accountable for my behavior..just me. I don’t know the hearts of the folks that teach this philosophy, and it is not my place to judge them, but please don’t believe that God loves others more than He loves you and has blessed them more materially because of this.
His love is unconditional for anyone who will accept it. He loves us even though He knows the truth about each and every one of us. It isn’t a sin to be successful or wealthy. We can honor God with our success and with our material wealth along with the gifts He has given each of us by serving others and reflecting the light of Christ to those who need Him.
Focus on the word of God and find your answers there. Spiritual leaders are only human, and all humans will fall short of the glory of God in some way or another every. single. day. Build the foundation of your faith upon God, what He says, and His unending, unconditional love for YOU!
Passages to Ponder:
Colossians 2:8 Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
Ephesians 3: 18 And may you have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.
Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Karen Bromby, Michele Killion and Kim McClure