The best awaits those who choose the unseen and intangible over the seen and tangible
For true believers, the best is yet to come. The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining ever brighter until full daylight (Proverbs 4:18). What the world has to offer does not satisfy them and that is why, like Moses, they look forward to enduring rewards that await them in eternity (Hebrews 11: 24-27). Just like what apostle Paul says, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, some claimed their rewards on earth, while others had to suffer, were persecuted or killed, and failed to realise their rewards on earth. But, all heroes of faith—past or present—will eventually claim their rewards when they pass into eternity.
But what about ‘prosperity gospel’ teachers and televangelists? They have enjoyed the best the world has to offer—opulent lifestyle, private jets and luxurious mansions set in upscale neighbourhoods. Even their dogs enjoy a better lifestyle than many among the world’s impoverished communities. I won’t venture a guess as to what fate awaits them in eternity—for that is the prerogative of the Ultimate Judge (1 Corinthians 4:5). As for rewards, what can they possibly expect in the afterlife if they have been peddling the gospel for personal gain at the expense of gullible followers? For them, the “best” has already come. They have already experienced all of the “best”. There is nothing more to look forward to.
At this juncture, it would be appropriate, to let this passage indicting those who love the world—epitomised by the proponents and adherents of the ‘prosperity gospel’ —to speak for itself:
“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
The question we need to ask is whether prosperity gospel proponents are really doing God’s will or are they loving the world and using religion as a means to prosper themselves at the expense of their followers? Are they akin to those whom Paul described—people “depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Timothy 6:5)?
In contrast, true believers have a different worldview and mindset. They set their eyes not on what the world has to offer, but what God has promised in future:
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).
So what is our heart’s main focus in life? Where do we lay our treasures?
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
“The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12: 16-21).
How we choose is important. The issue is about where and when we want to claim our rewards. Here and now? Or wait for eternity?
The best awaits true believers—those who choose the unseen and intangible over the seen and tangible, those who choose to collect their rewards in eternity.
In closing, let’s be encouraged by the life of Moses, who turned his back on the world because he knew that the invisible God will eventually reward him for his enduring faith.
“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27).
As believers, what’s the point of having great miraculous power, riches, wisdom and unbridled pleasure at our disposal if we miss out on heaven?
After everything is done and our short sojourn on earth is over, one crucial question remains: “Where we will spend eternity?”
Life often catches us unaware. We cannot peer into the future. We may feel and look perfectly normal. But, the next day, the scenario may take a turn for the worse. Who would have thought that we may just be one step away from eternity?
Some believers may lose their eternal rewards but they are eventually saved. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, did the foolish virgins merely lose their rewards or much more?
PROSPERITY GOSPEL DEFINED AND REFUTED
Definition: “Believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the ‘sowing of seeds’ through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings.” For more: https://www.lausanne.org/content/a-statement-on-the-prosperity-gospel
THE LAVISH LIFESTYLE OF PROSPERITY GOSPEL TELEVANGELISTS
SOURCE OF ARTICLE: http://limpohann.blogspot.my/2016/06/the-best-awaits-true-believers.html
NOTE: This is a personal exhortation from the writer, meant for the edification of readers.
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Dr Lim Poh Ann