THE URGENCY OF PURSUING PROSPERITY
God did not deliver us from the devil in order for us to "deliver" ourselves back to him.
Prosperity is not opulent wealth. It is God-given freedom. Freedom from despondency. Freedom from being at the mercy of murderers, tyrants, thieves. And it needs to be pursued URGENTLY. Why?
Poverty has a way of "snowballing". One loss leaves you weakened, which makes you more vulnerable to another loss - until you find yourself at the mercy of the lowest of thugs and barbarians.
Anyone Who Criticizes The Pursuit Of Prosperity HAS NEVER BEEN POOR.
The reason God has provided for our prosperity is that we cannot carry out what He wants us to do if we are bound up by poverty. We'd be too busy fighting off the wolves at the door. But if prosperity is not "opulence", then what is it?
Think back to a situation in which you had NO power over the people you were dealing with at the time.
The worst state of affairs in this physical world is to be at the mercy of your enemies. THIS is poverty. Poverty is NOT living on limited means while you placidly contemplate the universe. That comfort is most definitely a form of wealth. The image of a monk strolling the countryside, writing treatises and disbursing wisdom to the simple villagers has romanticized the image of "poverty" to some Christians. There has to be a protection for such monks - such as their belonging to a religious order that looks after them - or else they would end up doing forced labor in a quarry somewhere instead of quietly scuffing about their monasteries in sandals and robes.
These fantasy images of "holy" poverty are how we get into situations where we cry out ignorant statements like, "What did I do to deserve this?", or, "How could there be a God when life is so miserable?" We have to take control of the gifts God blesses us with if we are going to keep the wolves from devouring our crop - and us. We have to remember what real poverty is so we "Agents of God" will develop a Righteous Hatred for it - strong enough to fight it. The "vow of poverty" might look sacred on a person who is in the public eye, getting plenty of attention for their "selflessness" (ala "Mother" Teresa). And yeah, I know, it's all "well intentioned". But those people are ignorant. They aren't experiencing true poverty. Let them labor in a factory or a mine, unnoticed by the applauding masses. Let them go unrecognized throughout their lives, embracing this poverty that they tell the world is so holy and Godly. Those people are living comfortable, protected lives, and they are getting the additional pleasure of ego-support from their admirers. For a person in the real world, living alone and depending on his own work to survive: to tell that person that prosperity is "evil" is one of the highest acts of satanic activity that a person can commit. (I know, I know, "They're not deliberately evil, they mean well," and all that. Well, so what? A bullet kills whether it was shot intentionally or not.)
This is not to condemn these ignorant religious people. We don't have time for that. This is to straighten out our thinking so that we don't find ourselves in some satanic trap as a result of some stupid "good intentions" of our own. And don't get the idea that God will bless you for avoiding prosperity. If you suffer for deliberately choosing poverty, you're not "suffering for God", but just stupidly inflicting pain on yourself.
Love your freedom as you love the God who gave it to you. Don't put yourself at the mercy of godless people by throwing away the things that keep you free from their enslavement. That's not what Salvation is for. God did not deliver us from the devil in order for us to "deliver" ourselves back to him.
© John Erickson