A recent study shows that 105,000 Christians are killed every year because of their faith. In other words, every five minutes a Christian is killed because he or she is Christian.
This is no surprise because Jesus Himself said, ‘You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved’ (Matthew 10:22).
Whilst many Christians are choosing to believe the modern and false ‘ear tickling’ version of the gospel rather than reading the Bible to check whether it’s true, Christians living in third-world countries will never see the kind of physical riches that many preachers are promising to be ‘what we have in Jesus’ and even that these worldly riches are ‘benefits’ of the cross, which is blasphemy in itself.
Millions of Christians around the world rely on Jesus every day for clean water, food, clothes and other basic necessities and they still share these with others who are yet to be believers themselves.
Does the Bible tell you to place a focus on living your best life now?
We often quote the famous verse, 'I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me’, but how revealing is this verse when we read it in context.
‘Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’
The key part of this verse in context is that by the strength I have in Christ, I can be content with little or much. Rich or poor. The Bible tells us that unbelievers seek after things of this world, when God wants us to seek Him (Matthew 6:32-33). We don’t have to worry about where we will get food, drink, clothes and our daily needs, because God will provide when we look to Him.
The Bible warns us in many verses of the dangers of having a love of money, like in Hebrews 13:5–6 ‘Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,“The Lord is my helper;I will not fear;what can man do to me?”’
The foolishness of chasing excessive wealth is that it will never satisfy the person, whether Christian or not (Ecclesiastes 5:10). We can even deceive ourselves into believing that we are not lovers of money, when in fact our whole life is devoted to working away at our dreams, goals, desires and material acquisition whilst with our mouth we speak the opposite. The Bible says in Colossians 3:2, ‘Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.’
Jesus gives a direct call for the believer when he said in Matthew 6, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
The Holy Spirit directed Paul to remind the believer of this when he wrote, ‘But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. ‘ 1 Timothy 6:9-11.
True discipleship is to obey His commands (John 14:15), but if we allow ourselves to be deceived, God will see right through it. Verse 21 makes it very clear when Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
You cannot serve two masters. You can choose to live your best life now, or you can choose to do what the Bible says and lay hold of the treasure in Heaven.
Questions you can ask yourself
Where is my treasure?
This is easy to answer, your treasure will be where you spend most of your time, as time itself is a treasured gift. The only treasure found in heaven is when we are walking according to the spirit and therefore in line with God’s will – and acting on it (James 1:22).
If Jesus returned today, would most of your treasure be found here in the physical which will be reduced to nothing but ash (1 Corinthians 3:15), or will your treasure be found in heaven, by the means of sharing the gospel, feeding and clothing the poor, loving my neigbour and brother, praying for the sick and all that Jesus and the New Testament writers like Paul, asked us to do?
The Bible is God-breathed and final. All preachers will face God and be all the more severely judged for preaching a different gospel if found doing so (James 3:1, Gal 1:8). But you my friend, are responsible to look to God, not man, and to not allow yourself to be deceived by teachers who have deceived even themselves.
I pray that we all see the truth which is clearly written in the Word.
‘Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?’
— By Judah Ayling