A Word of Caution

I am most grateful to the Lord, for in His wisdom, He has taught me many things during my season of financial prosperity, and many other things during my season of financial lack.  Most people are more familiar with the lessons to be learned in times of lack because that’s what we are most acquainted with: lessons such as relying upon the Lord as our source, keeping our eyes upon Him, not upon our needs and continuing to tithe and give even out of our lack.  What I desire to share in this writing are some of the lessons I learned during my season of prosperity.

In many ways, walking in financial prosperity is a lot more challenging than walking in lack.  It requires a continual communication with the Lord and a continual yielding to His leading by the Holy Spirit.  That’s where we, as believers, should be walking all of the time, but it’s a growth process and a continual dying to self that’s required to walk there.  Let’s start with an example.

Caution 1

There was a woman with whom I worked in the ministry for several years before I came into a season of financial prosperity.  She and her family fell upon extremely difficult hard times.  I and a few others continually prayed for the Lord to alleviate one of these difficulties in particular, and after “bugging” the Lord about it for quite some time, He finally told us to stop praying for that.  I didn’t understand why, but I obeyed.  A short time later, I came into a season of financial prosperity and gave to her and her family the portion allotted by the Lord.  I really greatly admired her for not using those funds to remedy their most trying situation, because that’s what many people would have done.  They were doing their best to be obedient to the Lord.  Within less than six months, those funds were gone and they were again in need, several times.  And I was blessed to be able to help on several occasions.  But shortly after that, something changed for the worse and began to manifest.  The wife in this family began to try to manipulate me into “offering” to help them.  She would call me to ask something that she could have easily gotten the answer to elsewhere, but her point was to let me know about her pressing circumstances, expecting me to do something to help them.  The other times that I helped were at the leading of the Lord.  HE was the source, I was just the instrument.  This time, she was looking to ME as her source, not the Lord.  I confirmed my suspicions about this with the Lord.  So, instead of just giving her the money (which I had always done in the past), I loaned her the money (without interest, of course and without a deadline for repayment.)  Immediately things began to manifest.  She went to another sister in the Lord complaining that she had to pay the money back.  After that, the Lord sent much confirmation very quickly, and within weeks it became necessary to sever our relationship completely.  Needless to say, I never saw that money again, so I simply turned it into a seed sown unto the Lord.  I will receive my reward from Him.

There are several things I want to point out in this example.  First, the Lord allowed these circumstances to come upon this woman and her family because He was trying to set her free from those things inside of her that were not right.  We did not know this at the time, so we were praying (errantly) against those circumstances until the Lord told us to stop.  After my financial breakthrough came, it would’ve been very easy to “buy” them out of their circumstances.  This can potentially be a great danger when we possess the wealth to change the circumstances of others.  We must be aware that our wealth, if not used properly and in submission to the direction of the Lord, can cause great harm to ourselves and others.  We can easily interfere with work the Lord is doing in a person’s life if we don’t seek His direction EACH TIME before we act.  At times we will “just know”, but that mostly comes from a daily, intimate relationship with our Savior.  If our hearts are right, they will be full of compassion for people, but that compassion alone must not move us.  Jesus had much compassion for people, and although he was moved by it, the word says Jesus only did and said what he saw and what he was taught of his Father (John 5:19; 8:28; 12:49.)  Therefore, his compassion was submitted under the will of his Father.  We must do likewise, for it is a tremendous responsibility that the Lord places upon our shoulders.  God is much more concerned with the spiritual condition of a person than with their comfort level.  Sometimes God will lead us to take care of a person’s material needs first, but we must always be diligent to do as He directs; nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.  Sometimes it brings that person closer to the Lord, and sometimes it does not.  As long as we are obedient to the Lord, we don’t get the glory when things turn out right and we don’t take the blame when they don’t.  What we desire is to be an extension of the hand of the Lord.  The head controls the movement of the hand.  Jesus is the head of the church and we are His body.  Therefore He must be allowed to control all aspects of what our hands distribute.

Secondly, the Lord blessed her and her family, and provided for them even in the midst of those circumstances.  The Lord loved them and still does.  They did well by submitting to His will, but somewhere along the line, something went awry.  It’s not just our obedience that’s important; it’s also our attitude.  Do we become angry with God if the answers to our prayers are delayed?  Are we envious of our brethren when they prosper financially and we don’t?  Do we allow our personal experiences to make us doubt the truth of the word of God?  I don’t know if any of these were the case with this woman; I only know that her attitude changed for the worse, and it altered her destiny in a negative way.

Finally, at some point, this woman allowed her mind to be completely influenced by a Jezebel spirit (she was not possessed, but willingly oppressed.)  When we truly trust the Lord to take care of us, we don’t have to go around telling people what we need.  We tell God, and only God, unless a) we tell a trusted prayer partner for purposes of agreement, or b) we tell someone at the specific leading of the Lord.  If we are not sure if the Lord is leading us to tell someone, we shouldn’t say anything about it at all until we are sure.  God doesn’t need our “help” to take care of us.  God was very patient with this woman, for my involvement with her was for about five years.  But it did not end well.

Caution 2

Another word of caution that I would like to mention is the harm that we can cause to ourselves.  If we are not diligent to submit our desires to the perfect will of the Lord, we can easily get into trouble, especially when we have the ability to just go and buy whatever we may desire.  As the word says, all things are permissible, but not all things are expedient. 

1 Corinthians 6:12 (AMP)
Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.

In other words, we can trip ourselves up by buying things that can either lead us into sin (covetousness or idol worship), or can take away the time we should be spending with the Lord.  We could easily become “maintenance men,” people with so much “stuff” to take care of that we don’t have time to spend with the One who made all the “stuff” possible.  Or we could spend so much time “playing with our stuff” that we forget the Lord.  Far be it from us! 

Caution 3

The last word of caution that I would like to mention is the danger of shifting our trust from the Lord to “things.”  The word cautions us not to trust in uncertain riches.

1 Timothy 6:17 (NKJV)
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

It’s easy to trust the Lord when you don’t have anything else.  But when you have everything else, it’s just as easy to let your trust slip.  The best preventive medicine that I can offer for this is to get regular check-ups with the Lord.  Ask Him to show you areas in your heart and your life that are not right.  Ask Him to alert you when you’re about to slip or stumble in some area.  He loves you!  He will tell you and He will help you!  Let’s not ever get so secure in ourselves or in our money that we don’t check with Papa about our true condition.  We must ask God to continually shine His light in any dark areas in our hearts and lives to keep us free in Him and usable to Him. 

Here’s a simple test that we can do to see where we are.  When the Lord directs us to give away (sow) a certain item that belongs to us, do we have a problem letting it go?  Do we have an attitude about giving it?  Are we quick to obey or do we drag our feet?  If we have a problem giving ANYTHING that we own at the direction of the Lord, we no longer have that thing; that thing has us!  

A Final Admonition to God’s Distribution Centers

Beloved, many men and women of God have been destroyed by the love of money, the desire for wealth or the failure to use wisdom in handling the finances of God.  Many have started out right and ended up wrong.  None of them planned their own demise, but failed to guard their hearts with all diligence and allowed “other things” to enter in.  Do not allow yourself to become another casualty. 

  • Stay close to the Lord.  Remember your first love.  He’s your Chief Advisor in all matters!
  • Never compromise the word of God for any reason.  Make God’s word your standard.
  • Maintain a sense of your divine, God-given purpose.  Keep your spiritual vision sharp.
  • Run to God at the hint of any impropriety within yourself or your organization.  Ask God to remove the “dross” (the scum, the trash that doesn’t belong in us) out of your life.
  • Surround yourself with a multitude of godly counselors, full of integrity and Godly wisdom – not a bunch of “yes men.”
  • Make yourself accountable, first to God, then to God-appointed overseers.
  • Make no alliances with those who would compromise your honesty or your integrity.
  • Ask God to align you with those of “like-mind” whom He has chosen for you to work with.  He has accountants, tax strategists, bankers, etc. with whom He will bless you.
  • Keep your focus on eternity.  Weigh every decision, every challenge, every temptation with eternity in mind.  Remember that every decision has the potential to alter your destiny, and even your eternity.
  • Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.  Just repent, learn from it and keep moving forward!