… So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Luk. 12:21
This is the last post in this series.
There is something we read of here called ‘laying up treasure for oneself’ and there is another thing called ‘being rich toward God’. These are two contrary states, and they both reside in the heart of man.
Let us conclude our discussion by saying that this is a battle for the heart of man. Money, or wealth, is the undisputed god of this world; and our God is the God of heaven. One is natural. The other is spiritual. Both are striving for control of our hearts. Mark that, and beware.
This does not mean that Christians are not allowed to become rich or to own wealth. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not about being rich or being poor in the natural. Indeed, the gospel is not natural in any sense. It is something spiritual.
Our father Abraham was one of the richest men that lived in his day. But the fact about Abraham was that his heart was never set on or taken up with the things of this world. He saw something in his spirit for which he was willing even to sacrifice these things.
If you as a born-again believer see something in the spirit for which you are willing to sacrifice everything you have, including your own life, then you are a spiritual person. It is as simple as that.
The Bible says this about Abraham: “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Heb. 11:9). Our spiritual forefathers were extremely rich in the natural, but they dwelt in tents! Long before Abraham was born men were building towers of brick and mortar (Genesis 11:3). He and his sons could have built similar structures. But they chose to live in tents.
Verse 10 tells us the reason why. “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Abraham was not interested in this life. On the contrary, he sought after the things that make a man “rich toward God”. Much is written about Abraham in the Bible and in all of them we see a man of a Godly and noble character:
– He was magnanimous and humble (He allowed his nephew Lot to choose which portion of Abraham’s inheritance to take);
– he was loyal (he went to Lot’s rescue);
– he was kind and generous (his ministry to the angels, whom he initially thought were men!);
– he was merciful (he stood pleading for sinful Sodom in the presence of the Lord). In short, Abraham was rich in the things that pertain to Godliness. He had the heart of God.
In the final analysis, it is not about believers owning wealth or not. It is about making sure that our hearts are not given to the spirit of this world, but are caught by a vision of heaven. It is about not walking in the natural, but by faith. Faith is what sees into God’s Kingdom.
The Apostle Paul was not as rich as Abraham was. And yet in the spirit he lived the same lifestyle that Abraham lived. He lived a life of the Spirit. This was because he lived a life of faith that saw in the spirit. He says: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:20-21).
Notice Paul says that the life he lived in the flesh he lived by faith. That means that even though he lived the same earthly world that you and I are living, he was not bound by this natural life. What a spiritually fulfilling life he must have lived!
Notice he also says he does not “frustrate” the grace of God. That means he does not deny the Spirit’s role in his life. His life was controlled 100% by the grace of God, not by what he had or what he knew in the natural. That is the faith that we ought to have. In every condition, rich or poor, intelligent or less intelligent, whatever our natural state, we are to FULLY acknowledge God’s grace in our lives. That is what faith is all about.
In 1 Timothy6:5, the Apostle Paul warned Timothy about those Christians who supposed that “gain is godliness.” He was talking about people who would equate being rich with being ‘spiritual’. They would think that the more they have, the more they know or are known by God. These are people who cannot see into the spirit and therefore have no faith. We could say they are in it for the money. But their spirits are empty. Remember money is a natural thing. It is not spiritual.
Paul here is talking about the people who subscribe to what is popularly known today as the gospel of prosperity. It is sad, but a majority of the church are in this group today.
Paul tells Timothy, “From such withdraw thyself.”
In other words, he is telling him, ‘Do not allow yourself to be in that group. Do not receive those teachings. Do not be a part of them.’
That’s tough language. But the gospel is all about “the strong meat of the gospel”! Heb. 5:14
He continues in 1 Timothy 6:6-12, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
We could own the world. God has no problem with that. But He wants us to live by faith. Many times we think that only the poor should live by faith. But as we just saw with Abraham, we are all called into a life of faith. Faith is what pleases God. Faith also is what makes us to see into the spiritual kingdom and live out the life of God in us.