Life is a really disturbing thing, because it lacks meaning. It’s like dedicating all that I am for a race – so that I can win the trophy. But at the end of that race, looking upon the trophy only brings temporary joy. It doesn’t last. Nor does life.
The curse of Adam and Eve speaks of this ending – that from dust we were made and from dust we will return. History sets this straight as we can know without question that everyone dies. And it doesn’t matter how great they were, how accomplished, or how needed they were to this broken world. Men that did amazing things like invent electricity, conquer kingdoms, pave the way for equality and so much more… they all died. All mankind that has ever lived has died, except one… Jesus.
The word of God says that Jesus set free the captives, “who all their life lived in fear of death.” That’s a very eye-opening promise as to what exactly God did when He loved the world so much that he gave His Son. My whole life I’ve heard religious folks tell me about Jesus – the power of his name to overcome anything that life throws my way. And in my own struggles I’ve labored in countless hours of prayer (among other things) to ignite the Fire of God in my circumstances, for my temporary gain. I’ve asked him to fix my finances and heal my sickness – heal my marriage, my relationships with my kids… and the list goes on and on… But what happens when God says, NO.? Does that mean he doesn’t love me? Does that mean that Jesus isn’t powerful enough for my situation?
My situations are of this world. And the thing that changed when God’s love poured out into this place (as found in Hebrews) is that the promise was made eternal, not temporary and the treasures were made heavenly, not carnal.
I’ve heard the stories of Solomon and David and Abraham and so many amazing people in the bible regurgitated countless times with these motivational messages that scream out, “Step into the riches of Solomon!” “Claim your inheritance like Abraham!” “Kill the Giants like David and walk up that throne as King.” Are these not the very stories that were expected of THE TRUE KING as Jesus himself stepped on the scene? The religious folks (Pharisees, scribes and priests), they wanted to see a conqueror of the world dressed in gold and silver, seated on an earthly throne. They thought the evidence of Jesus, as the son of God would follow the stories of old. Jesus would lead armies and slay enemies. They expected him to rule over nations, surrounded by riches and supernaturally exalt himself above all men. But he did quite the opposite. Jesus rode in on a donkey, he was poor, in fact he didn’t even have a home (a place to lay his head). He wasn’t celebrated among the nations, he was hated and persecuted and ridiculed. And in the final day of his life, the religious folks (THE EXPERTS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT) expected a David and Goliath moment out of our King… They concluded, “If this man is truly the Son of God he will save himself.”
So the question is, what did God do when he sent Jesus? Because the evidence of who HE IS was in the resurrection, not in his life of temptation, trial, heartbreak, betrayal, suffering and death. The evidence of WHO HE IS was in the aftermath of his life, as he was raised from death and seated at the right hand of the Father – placed as a King in Higher places than this broken world. Yet, today we chase after the evidence of Jesus in the stories of old, telling one another that God will defeat our lions and make us rich and popular and famous and happy and clothed with all the riches our hearts desire. Doesn’t that make us like the pharisees? mmm….
God so loved the world, he gave his only son so that whoever believes upon Him will not perish but instead will have eternal life. Eternal life has never been here on this earth and even all of the heroes we look upon in the Old Testament that were gifted by God with power to overcome for His Glory – their glory days here ended… they all died… Their temporary bodies all went back into this earth as God said would happen… UNTIL JESUS.
And those who followed Him and were SENT by Him into the world for His name and to spread His Gospel…. well, they were evidence of the change. There’s never been another David or Solomon…. instead the apostles that laid down their lives for the Kingdom of God, had nothing earthly to show for the favor that was upon their lives. They said things like, “To live is Christ to Die is Gain.” Paul was shipwrecked 3 times, beaten multiple times almost to his death, he was hated, thrown in jail over and over and he died badly. Stephen was shown the glory of God as he was being stoned to death. Peter – crucified upside down, as he told the guards “I don’t deserve to be killed in the same manner of Jesus… No, turn me upside down.” Where was Peter’s stones to slay the Goliaths? Where was Paul’s riches and where was the earthly inheritance to be passed down to the children of these faithful men? In HEAVEN – as it is written, an inheritance INCORRUPTIBLE by moths.
God so loved the world, He gave us a way out of it. It’s broken. Look no further than your social media feed to see that people are hurting, their sad, their heartbroken, their hungry, their battling sickness and disease and NO ONE has been granted eternal life in this broken place. We praise ourselves and science like we’re on the brink of discovering the fountain of youth, yet no one has ever or can ever duplicate the one simple life giving thing of the human body called BLOOD….. Ironically the very thing Jesus shed for our sins.
I feel this tugging inside of me, on a mission to combat something that the Lord keeps laying on my heart over and over again and then confirming as quickly as He gives revelation. Believing upon God’s SON is believing upon the resurrection into eternal life and out of this broken world – not chasing after the temporary comforts of this world, while claiming that our temporary blessings are the abundant life promised by Jesus. It’s not the same thing. And when it fails, our faith is then sent into this panic attack of wondering why God’s love doesn’t work for us. It’s not the Gospel of Jesus Christ – it’s something very different. Romans 8:17 says this… “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” —- IF WE SHARE IN IN HIS SUFFERINGS.. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” The disciples asked Jesus if they could be seated with Him at the throne and he told them, “You don’t understand what you’re asking for.”… and then Jesus asked them, “Can you drink for my cup?” and they said “sure we can do that.” and Jesus told his disciples that they would indeed drink from his cup… and what is Jesus’ cup? Well, it was so troublesome that Jesus was sweating blood as He asked the Father to please take the cup from Him if there is a way, but humbly He said to His Father, but not my will be done, YOUR will be done. And God said no. God strengthened Jesus to complete the work he was sent here to do at the cross…. Not a fleshy type of glory that any of us would choose. But a sacrifice of unselfish love for others… That’s the cup the disciples were told they would drink from and the apostles did indeed live a life that none of us would choose in the flesh, with no early riches to show for and with a fairy-tail ending that you won’t find in the stuff Disney is selling.
God so loved the world He gave us Jesus (our forerunner) so that we would have THE WAY (out of here), THE TRUTH (not seated in self-love but seated in love towards others) and THE LIFE, which is eternal, not this thing we do here, that ends in death.
Paul said “TO LIVE IS CHRIST” – look no further than the life of Jesus Christ to understand what Paul spoke of.. and then he said “TO DIE IS GAIN”… meaning those who follow Jesus and live IN HIM will gain the kingdom at the moment they are removed from this temporary body.
The damage of the prosperity gospel is a real danger because it would alienate the very Son of God from His work, had he been sent to walk in our day. The prosperity gospel doesn’t line up with one single apostle or follower of Christ, and sadly as many of us are chosen to suffer with Christ, the churches today don’t speak to our circumstances – and worse – they make the broken, lowly and meek feel separated from God’s love…. When ironically, those are the very ones that are promised by the Word of God to inherit the Kingdom.
When I write these messages that God lays on my heart, I don’t aim to make anyone feel bad about their seasons of happiness and plenty. My hope and my prayer in speaking about the message of the Gospel is to prepare others in truth. Because I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t understand. And it took years to unlearn the false doctrines that I grew up learning about God’s ways and His promises for us… and so much heartbreak along the way. When you find yourself in a season of suffering, know this… God is on the throne and He loves you. He is not against you, the enemy isn’t winning anything and His promises stand today just as they did the day that Jesus prayed over His chosen ones, “that they wouldn’t be removed from this world but that they would be sanctified as he sanctified himself”…. You’re here to be set apart from the world, to be purified. And sometimes that process hurts but it’s for our good. The Lord said that to love this world is enmity with God. He said not to set our hearts on the desires of this place and to love our neighbors “AS” ourselves – a very unselfish state of existence that Jesus himself demonstrated for us all. So be seated in truth. Be ready and under the armor of God when trials come because He is separating you and qualifying you for something greater than this broken world could ever offer.
Love you all..