In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Proverbs 11:24
Memorise This Verse: Hebrews 6:12 ‘Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised’
Afterwards Talk About This: When Jesus talks about being trustworthy with little things, how does that apply to your life?
Something To Do Before Next Time: If God has shown you anything that is blocking a blessing in your life, ensure that you remove it.
Written Diploma Work: Write one side on the reasons why we may loose a financial harvest
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: Galatians 6:9
Having seen in the previous sections just some of the ways and channels that God can use to prosper us, this section will look at some of the things that will block and delay the good things of God coming to us. Just as the previous section didn’t cover all the channels that God can use to prosper us this section also doesn’t cover every area of blockage. Should an area be applicable to anyone reading this then may Holy Spirit illuminate it to them. It must be stated at the very start that God is forever determined to bless and prosper us if we are not seeing this happen then the problem lies with us, and not God. If you haven’t yet seen the fullness of God’s best in your life, then instead of praying to God to bless you (which he has already said he will do), why not pray and ask God to show you what is blocking it.
Certainly the biggest reason why people are blocking the fullness of God in their lives is that they simply haven’t been faithful in their giving. They want a harvest but they have never sown seeds, they are waiting for their ship to come in but never sent it out in the first place, they are waiting for their bread to come in on the water but they have never cast it in the first place!. It has been rightly said that a non-giving Christian has no business complaining to God about lack of finances. Proverbs 11:24 says ‘Another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty’ any believer who has not been giving and consequently has been withholding God’s money back from him, really has no argument if their lives are tending to poverty.
A further area to consider regarding the motives for giving is the area of love, are we giving to people out of a genuine love for God and love for the people we are ministering to? or once again is it just out of duty. For example, in Luke 11:42 Jesus reveals this about the Pharisees when he says, ‘Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.’ In fact in 1 Corinthians 13:3, Paul makes an even stronger statement about the need to give with the love of God in our hearts when he says, ‘If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing’. Is our giving mechanical, something we have always done every Sunday, or is it a true expression of our love for God and for those around us who will benefit from our giving.
A further reason why a person may not be experiencing the fullness of God’s prosperity is a failure to observe the laws of seed-time and harvest. For example, Genesis 8:22 says that the laws of seed-time and harvest will never cease, but perhaps the people of God have been ignorant of them. For example, would it not be strange if a farmer planted his seeds and then the next morning went looking for fruit? clearly there is a time between sowing and reaping. Perhaps you have sown to God and not yet received your harvest, keep on believing because not only is it a fixed law that the harvest will come, it could be just round the corner!
Furthermore Galatians 6:9 says ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’, three things can further be drawn from this scripture to confirm what has been said previously.
Firstly, it does not say we could or might reap a harvest, the scriptures assumes a harvest because if you have given it will be given back to you, the law that operates this is as sure as the law of gravity. Secondly, it mentions the proper time – again a reference to seasons of seed-time and harvest, sowing and reaping and the need to respect the time element involved. (Hebrews 6:12 shows that we inherit the promises of God through faith and patience and Romans 8:25 speaks of the same thought as well). Finally, it mentions not giving up and hence the need to carry on persevering in faith and having the hope of harvest set ever before us. Let it be said again, if you have given and not yet received your harvest keep on believing and keep on giving, the harvest will surely yield.
Zechariah 4:10 provides a further insight into what could block the fullness of God’s prosperity in our lives and that is the area of despising the day of small beginnings. For example, it could be that you have given and seen only a small and partial harvest, and you are believing God to see a lot more. However, how have you responded to this? with thanksgiving and gratitude or have you despised the day of small beginnings and complained? If you haven’t been thankful with a small harvest you probably will not be thankful with a big harvest. Ingratitude towards God will not release his fullness, instead, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to give thanks in all circumstances.
A further reason why some people have only seen a partial harvest and no more is the way they have handled what money they have seen come to them. For example, instead of using it wisely to give even more into the work of God and spending it wisely to meet their own needs, it has been spent selfishly on worldly goods and possessions. Jesus warns in Luke 16:10 ‘Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.’
Perhaps the people of God need to check their spending habits to see if they are being trustworthy with the little they have, which in return will lead them to be given much. If we are being selfish with our money and are not looking to systematically invest it in the work of the Kingdom of God then perhaps the blessing of God will go to someone else who will spend it wisely to reach people with the gospel.
A final major reason that some of the people of God are not experiencing a high level of prosperity is that it would completely ruin them spiritually in his grace and mercy God is trying to save them from this. Proverbs 10:22 says ‘The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and he adds no trouble to it.’ For some Christians, the prosperity of God is withheld due to wrong motives or a lack of character and integrity or due to the fact it would lead them away from God. James also speaks of this area when he says in James 4:3 ‘When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures’, in light of this should we not carefully examine our desires and motives for believing God for prosperity.
We have seen previously that when the children of Israel were about to enter into the promised land, they were warned several times by God that the good things and prosperity they could enjoy had the potential to cause them to forget all about him.
Perhaps you are seeking the blessings of God much more than you are seeking after God himself? whilst God undoubtedly wants to bless us, should we not seek him for who he is and not just for what he can give us. Surely, when we are mature, faithful and stable in our relationship with God we will see the fullness of his blessing but in the mean time, in his mercy and love he is waiting to give it to us as it could ruin us.
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Fiji
816,905 people, Christian majority but 33% Hindu.
A superficial church has led to growth of marginal groups.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.