A famous preacher posted this on Facebook:
“Don’t listen to the lies that say, “You’ll NEVER lose that weight, break that addiction or own your own house.” Dismiss those thoughts. God is saying, “It’s not permanent; it’s temporary.””
If this was a one-off quote by this preacher, maybe it could be easily overlooked, but their whole ministry is devoted to living their best life now and encouraging others to do the same.
Why does this personally concern me? Because people I love are buying into this heresy.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? My flesh immediately says, “Yes and amen”. However, the Bible tells us, “the heart is deceitful above all things…” Jeremiah 17:9, and that we should “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1. So when someone says, “God says this” or “God says that”, this is exactly what we need to do. After all, we are responsible to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
When the preacher said, “It’s not permanent, it’s temporary”, he was using this line of thought to support our stance on owning a home, losing weight and breaking addictions. This line of thought of permanent/temporary is used in the Bible, only just in a polar opposite context.
People say, ‘God says this’ and ‘God says that’ and it tickles the flesh, but in reality, if they would only open their Bible and seek the truth about what God really says, they would find a very different story – a totally different Jesus. After all, if God really is saying that, wouldn’t His Word reflect it and support it?
Jesus is not a cash cow, an avenue to seek worldly things in a “godly way” (which is not possible), not hopes and dreams of the best life now, but the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is not a golden calf, but our precious Lord and Saviour who never promised the best life here and now where it is all temporary, but in the future, when we are in glory with Him forever and ever – amen!
In fact, Jesus said while we are on this earth we will have troubles.
John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
But these troubles actually help our spiritual walk. (Romans 5:3-5)
He said, don’t look at the material things but look to His Kingdom, which is not found in those things.
2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Colossians 3:2 ‘Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.’
He said pagans (non-believers) run after those things but His children are not to store up things here on earth, but in heaven, where our rewards will never fade or rust.
Matthew 6:19-21, 24, 31-33 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… … “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. … So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
He said people who love money will be pierced with many sorrows. If you are chasing money, the chances are, deep down, you are already unhappy and just hoping that these things will make your life better – but they won’t.
1 Timothy 6:10 ‘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.’
The Bible goes as far as saying that the greedy will not actually even inherit the Kingdom of God. That is a sobering thought. Greed is a form of idolatry; serving money, or having a love of money rather than God. The Bible says that you can’t serve God and money. You will love one and hate the other. If you love money, you hate God.
1 Corinthians 6:10 ..’nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
God doesn’t want us to place an emphasis on earthly things. Let’s not be deceived.
So, getting back to the original message from the preacher’s post, let’s look at this in light of the Bible.
Does God promise you that you will own your house? No. As we explained earlier, He does promise that He will meet our needs, not our wants or wish lists. We must be content with what we have.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
I’m not saying God can’t help us to exercise self-control to lose weight (which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit), and I certainly believe that God can set us free from addictions. He has come to set us free from being a slave to sin, and now we are slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:20) – and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The reason so many people end up getting lured into idolatry is because preachers will use enticing words and part-truth with it, which only adds to the deceit. But leading people into focusing on the things of this world, that are only temporary, is not what a minister should be doing, or a Christian.
So when the preacher said, “It’s not permanent, it’s temporary”, he was referring to the audience gaining what they eagerly desire. However, the Bible teaches this life here is not permanent, it’s temporary. This teaching underpins our walk on the narrow path that leads to life and not the wide path that leads to destruction, and should be the very thought that comes to mind with every decision we make. We are just foreigners travelling through. We were never called to set up camp and live our best life now.
They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Are you looking for an earthly country that will perish – or a heavenly country with better promises?
God bless you as you seek His Kingdom first.
— By Judah Ayling