by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of March 9, 2014
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares The Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" -Jeremiah 29:11
So much as been said about prosperity gospel with an emphasis on financial prosperity. And I do believe that God created Adam and Eve to flourish in the Garden of Eden without sickness and disease, without poverty and without pain. But we live in a fallen world now.
Yes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” according to Hebrews 13:8. God does not will anyone to perish. Not a one of us. He desires we prosper in Him. He gifts us and equips us and lays out His precepts for us to live victoriously, which requires our submission and our obedience to His will. And it is powerful and wise to declare the word of God over our lives. But we also need to recognize that God has a timeline for our destinies and our pathways are a unique process.
Sometimes, we need to be patient and prove out our righteousness and faith while God does a new thing (Is 43:19), a deep work in us, like Job and like Abraham. Sometimes, we need to be courageous like Joshua and Caleb as we take dominion and lead others. And of course, we always need to praise God like David, no matter what we experience along the way.
Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t magic. It is a reminder of redemption, that as we experience life—even the pain of life—God has purposed everything in ways we do not understand. When we feel ready to throw in the towel, we need to remember that God isn’t finished with us yet. The best is yet to come. He has more for us, just as He had more for Job. And God will awaken us to His purposes by His grace if we just don’t give up.
Here are some points to consider along your journey:
- Have you sacrificed your sorrows for the saving grace of Jesus? Or do you continue to carry heavy burdens that God never intended you to carry? Do you cast your cares upon Him and receive His rest for a heavy yoke? Or will the burdens of life wear you down to the point of disabling you from reaching your destiny on earth as it is in Heaven? What do you need to lay down? Have you given up? Galatians 6:9 tells us, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
- 3 John 1:2 tells us "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." Is your health prospering? Do you treat your body like the holy temple God designed it to be (1 Cor 6:9)? What about your heart and mind and will? These make up your soul; and as 3 John 1:2 indicates, as they are pure and uncorrupted, you will be successful. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary tells us, "...Soul prosperity is the greatest blessing on this side heaven. Grace and health are rich companions. Grace will employ health...True faith will work by love." What measure of grace operates in your heart? Do you sincerely believe God's grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9)? Do you really trust God with all things that concern you?
- Does God need to do a deeper work of restoration in your soul before you can receive the greater prosperity He desires you to have? One way He does this is by pruning—cutting away both good and evil from your life (John 15). Pruning facilitates the increase of good fruit. Are you willing to go through a Job-like journey in which Job received a double blessing from God? Are you that submitted to God? Are you willing to fully let go of everything God cuts away for your good?
- Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need." Are there any idols in your life? Is there anything that you unintentionally put above God? Your children? The earthly man in your life? Your work?
- Do you fast when you seek The Lord? Do you understand the value and power of fasting? Are you willing to sacrifice? And if so, do you fast according to God’s precepts in Isaiah 58?
- Have you forgiven everyone who has wronged you? Do you love your enemies? Do you pray for them? Job did. His inner circle of best friends behaved like enemies when he went through his worst losses. They judged him. People spat on him. For whom do you need to pray and forgive?
- Good or bad, increase comes through seed sowing. What kinds of seeds are you planting with your words, your attitudes, your actions, your daily routine, your finances? Are you sowing in good ground? Which servant are you most like in The Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30)? Do you tithe—return to God what is already His? Or do you steal His money by keeping it or spending it? Do you give to the poor?
Pray: Dear Lord, Thank You for Your words of truth in Jeremiah 29:11. Please bring conviction and mercy. I repent of all ungodliness in my life; and I fully submit to You and invite You to have Your way in my life to bare much fruit for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's latest book, "Enduring Grace," to be released soon.