A good friend recently gave away her car to a stranger believing that God wanted her to have a better one. While this sounds absurd to many, there are numerous Christians who believe that you will prosper financially if your faith in God is strong enough.
There is confusion within Evangelical Christian circles surrounding the issue of living your best life now and what the Bible teaches regarding earthly riches.
Proverbs 13:22 tells us that a good man will leave an inheritance to his children. Psalm 24:1 also explicitly tells us that everything belongs to God and that we need to be good stewards of that which belongs to him.
In essence, it seems like the Bible teaches us the value of our earthly possessions. We need to ensure our houses and vehicles from damage and theft because God ultimately owns everything, and he expects us to be good stewards of what he has given us.
Living in the quiet suburbs of Ontario, the primary concern is not theft but mostly weather damage to cars and property. However, as Christians, we cannot leave anything to chance or blind faith. Christians have a responsibility to their families and communities to sufficiently protect their properties and belongings.
Does God Want to Bless Us with New and Better Things?
Many Words of Faith Christians believe that God wants to bless them with newer, better material possessions because they are his children. They use the analogy that earthly fathers want the best for their children. God, our heavenly father, wants to give us the best because we deserve it.
Although it is correct that God wants to give us good gifts such as an eternal life with him and an earthly life without worry, Christians must understand that these things are not attainable through works. God does not work on a give and take principle.
Unfortunately, the Word of Faith Christian is saddled with huge burdens of guilt that their faith is lacking when their prayers for luxury items are not met. Many fall away from the faith because they don’t believe in God anymore.
Wrongful beliefs that God will reward us with what we want if we do good can cause a lot of harm. A very prominent wrong assumption is that nothing terrible will happen to you if you are a “child of God.”
Looking at Job’s story, we realize that this reasoning is, unfortunately, a false belief. Believers are tested and experience many trials that cement their faith in God.
The Apostle Paul was imprisoned, beaten, and shipwrecked. He eventually died in a Roman prison because of his faith. Along with the other disciples, he did not live lives of luxury and ease, but his faith in God was unshakable.
Similarly, the Apostle Peter was crucified upside down for being a follower of Christ. All 12 disciples faced severe persecution and death for their faith in Christ, which discredits the false belief that we will avoid the challenges of this world as Christians.
What Does the Bible Teach About Earthly Riches?
The Bible in Hebrews 13:5 emphatically teaches that we are to keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with what we have. In Philippians 4:19, we are told to look to God for our provision. He will supply what we need.
I explained to my dear friend, who believes that God will reward her for her excellent works, that good works should be the fruit of someone’s faith. Good deeds should be the evidence that a person is saved.
Good deeds should not be used as a bargaining chip to get good things from God. God’s gift of salvation for sinners is like the roots of a tree that are unseen. What’s seen is the fruit of salvation in the form of good deeds.
Christians don’t escape illness or financial turmoil in this fallen world, but they can look forward to an eternal life with God where there is no sickness or tears.
The Bible further tells us in Matthew 19:24 that it’s harder for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
In Matthew 19:16,Jesus tells the rich young ruler that he should sell all his possessions, pick up his cross, and follow him if he wants to inherit the kingdom of God. The young man could not do it because his earthly possessions meant more to him, and he did not have the foresight or genuine desire for God’s kingdom.
Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:20 not to lay up treasures on earth but rather to lay up treasures in Heaven. The scripture means that earthly material things are temporal but heavenly treasures are eternal.
Although we need to be good stewards of what God has given us on this earth, we should protect and look after the earthly possessions, and remember that they are from God.
We cannot put God to the test by doing good deeds and then expecting him to bless us for it. Most importantly, we need to know what God expects from us by knowing his word and living according to it.