Saturday, 6 April 2013

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

There is a thin line, a balance in life, in virtually everything we do and everything we want to do.  If we get out of balance, we might find that certain unintended consequences follow on.  For example, fast food and ice cream, crisps (potato chips), fish and chips, burgers and fries, donner kebabs and all those takeaway treats taste wonderful, but eat too much of it and your health will decline, and unfortunately your waistline will expand too!  Work too much, enjoy too little, and you will also be out of balance here too.  Too much of anything is probably not good for any human being; so I believe life is all about balance.

I must put myself in this post.  I am a middle aged, but young at heart, aspiring writer who sooner hopefully than later wants to be a published author and of course wants to be earning a living doing what I enjoy doing best, which is writing.  I am absolutely certain that I am not the only blogger who wants to succeed as a writer!  My view is this; as a Christian I believe God wants me to have a decent life, where He will always meet my many needs, needs emotional, physical, financial and most important of all the spiritual need.  Yes, I believe I have a perfect right as someone from a poor and very traditional British Working class background to aspire to bigger and better things, and to work towards my dream of being a published author and successful writer.  What I have understood is this: that God is the perfect source for helping me, and you, to pursue all the things in life we want, whether it’s just to be happier and content, or whether it’s something more in line with a successful career or starting a business, and so on.  God is both the God of the spiritual and the material too.  I have also understood something else too, which can’t be overlooked; we must accept that being a Christian doesn’t mean that God will make us millionaires or billionaires necessarily, even though there is no bad thing in being wealthy.  I now believe that God will take care of it all; if I become rich, then God will have a plan for that, if I just become successful and earn a decent living, then He has a plan for that too.  I have learnt that God will always meet our need, and not necessarily our greed.  But, and I digress, I pray regularly that God will help me to work towards my goals and dream of being a published author.  Equally, we must do our part; a book doesn’t write itself, a boxer doesn’t get fit by sitting in front of the telly drinking beer, and no good thing in life rarely ever comes if we just hope for it without some hard work and aforethought on our part.  You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you just might find you get what you need.  Yahweh says this: Stop your lamenting dry your eyes, for your labour will have a reward, Yahweh declares, and they will return from the enemy's country.  There is hope for your future after all, Yahweh declares, your children will return to their homeland.  (Jeremiah 31:16-17 NJB)


Prosperity Gospel

Some Christians believe that you have to be poor and humble to really be acceptable to God, and perhaps be acceptable to other people too.  Some Christians though believe that God wants every Christian to be wealthy or at least to be praying for prosperity and wealth as part of their daily prayer routine.  In some Western countries both views can be held in certain Christian communities.  What is more attractive, poverty or prosperity?  And, whatever your view, who would rather be poor than rich?  Is there some truth to the idea of a prosperity gospel?  I believe there is, but there is more to God, a whole lot more, than seeing Him as a granter of three wishes.  We also have to be careful that we are not using God, using our professed faith, for our own greed or selfish agendas.  There is a danger that we begin to lose sight of what God wants for us, and what His will is for us, and we become greedy for more when we really don’t need anymore.  No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.  (Matthew 6:24 NJB)  Let us truly know what God’s answer to the prosperity gospel is, and let us be content when He supplies all our needs first, before worrying about what we haven’t got.  Any Christian in dire poverty should in all ways ask God to alleviate that and have faith He will.  Any of us not in dire poverty, and that probably means the majority of us in the West, should first be grateful for every good thing we have already, and then being honest about our dreams and goals.  And remember this; if we take a lot out, we should always look for ways of putting something back.


Love, or Confusion?

I believe that God wants us as Christians, of all varieties and backgrounds, to love each other, to love other people and to love Him, in no particular order I may add.  As a Christian, I think that when we show respect for fellow human beings, be they Christians, or whether they are not Christians, be they our family and friends or even whether they are just strangers we meet on the street or in the supermarket, in the bookie’s or even in the pub, we are loving those people and doing God’s will.  God is love, and we must spread that love any way we can.  I am a fairly big guy from a big, tough city; we are not known for our sentimentality nor are we particularly genteel either.  I am just an ordinary bloke who happens to be a Christian after all.  So, my love for other people comes out in a kind of street way, a joke here, a pat on the back, a friendly way that guys prefer; you may be different.  But I think that when we love, and try to love, other people, it comes back to us, and God is pleased.  We can’t all be highly educated well-spoken vicars and priests, God calls all sorts of people to serve Him, and we can only act sometimes in the manner of the people we are brought up with.  Better imperfect love, than perfect intolerance.  If someone, on the other hand, is becoming a Christian to control other people, to manipulate others in some way, or just to get everyone agreeing that ‘they are right and everyone who disagrees is wrong’, are they really loving their fellow man, and are they really doing God’s will?  For me, this can be what passes for Christianity, but in my humble opinion it is not Christianity at all.  

Popes and archbishops, well-educated vicars and priests may know theology and Christology, they may know all the major events in historical Christianity, and may have spent many years in theological colleges and seminaries, but it still doesn’t mean that they necessarily know God any more than any other common or garden Christian like you and me.  If we are truly called by God, we will be determined to want to be living in the truth, regardless of what someone may say, and we must always be prepared to study the Bible, pray regularly and ask the Holy Spirit to be our guide.  No one ever said we had to lose our common sense when we became Christians.  So for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old order is gone and a new being is there to see.  (2 Corinthians 5:17 NJB)


  1. Hi Tim,
    The Lord is fully able to bring us into what we love doing, and I hope you get your dreams regarding writing. Like you say, we have to do our part too, but I know that God is well able to open all the doors as we need them opened. As far as church gatherings are concerned, I was baptised, became born again, saw all the gifts of the Spirit operating (including miracles, one of which I experienced myself)in a church in Australia where none of the pastors had attended any Bible colleges. The main one was called by God, while working in a post office,to buy a piece of land and put a building on it which became the place the believers gathered together in. When we returned to the UK, I came across an advert in a newspaper, that had wrongfully been put in the second hand adverts,(although it was not wrong according to God because I had prayed to Him to lead me to people who worshipped Him in Spirit and in truth) inviting those who worshipped Jesus in Spirit and in truth to come to a place. I went there and a church was formed from five people and grew to over a hundred in a very short time. The gifts of the Spirit operated there too. The main thing I believe should be that the believers operate in the way that they did two thousand years ago, as it says in 1 Corinthians ch. 12, and that the Holy Spirit should not be quenched. May the Lord grant you your heart's desire Tim, you are a very good writer.

    1. As ever Brenda, you manage to dissect my post expertly and with a spiritual emphasis. I always like to hear your testimony because it is valuable testimony and teaches me a lot, and many other people too I might add. You know, I am going to add, as part of my prayer routine, that God finds me a place to meet and fellowship with other Christians; I expect good things from Him always!

      Ah writing; you are also exceptionally good as a writer too Brenda; I look forward to your final part 3 story of your testimony.

  2. Dear Tim,
    You are absolutely right when you said that a boxer cannot reach fitness by sitting in front of the TV drinking beer. As for writing, as Brenda says above, I think you have a good chance to have your book accepted for publication, as I have read your blogs for quite a while now, and I'm aware of how professional your writing really is, in my mind, the fruit of much practice, like the case of the boxer.
    As for prosperity teaching or advocating poor humbleness, I feel that these are controversal subjects, as I too, for a number of years, sat under prosperity teaching, with much of this stuff originating from America - only to find my soul lacking in spiritual nutrition to the point that I had to move to another church, where to this day I'm more happily settled.
    Paul the apostle seemed to have had the right balance when he wrote to one of the churches that he had experienced both wealth and poverty throughout his life, and from these experiences, he had learned to keep focused on Christ all the time.
    I hope you succeed in getting your book published. God bless,

    1. From all the regulars who comment on my blog, all praise is good because all the bloggers who I read, and all the bloggers who read and often comment, you of course included Frank, are very good writers and I enjoy reading them, partially because they are so well written and partly of course because they help me in my Christian faith and walk.

      Sometimes the gospel can get watered down, even if the add-ons are good; they might not necessarily be something God wants of us. If someone is poor, sure they should pray about this, but being rich is not required for being a Christian. It takes the gospel off on a tangent somewhere.

      Keeping focussed on Jesus is THE prime requisite for all Christians, whoever and wherever they are and whatever background and circumstances they find themselves in.

      Sometimes though, sitting in front of the telly having a few beers is a nice thing!!! ;~>

  3. I am not a wealthy person. I have very little, but what I do have I am grateful for. God always makes sure I have what I need when I need it and I give Him the glory for it.
    You said, "And, whatever your view, who would rather be poor than rich?" When I think about how Jesus said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom, I have to say based on that alone, poverty seems much more appealing.
    Being broke used to suck that's the honest truth, but as my mind is renewed in Christ I see poverty and wealth very differently. I don't envy the rich, nor to I hate them, I just know that it's going to be much much harder for them to get into heaven than the poor. I think poverty and wealth to a Christian is more of state of mind than anything. If you dwell on the little you have and see that others have what you want you will be sad, but like you said if we be grateful for what we already have it would be better. Just last night I was having a discussion with a friend of mine. We were talking about the rich and the poor, I said to him I just can't see a millionare seeing it necessary to trust in God. I can't seem to comprehend how a rich person is able to honestly say He trust in God with (all) his heart. It's simple, he cannot. Maybe I am wrong, and I am then maybe I need to pray on this more. But if Jesus asked the wealthy man to give away all he had and follow Him. Jesus must also want us to understand it's impossible to be rich and truly serve God with all our heart.

    Think about it, God want's us to trust Him with all of our hearts, how can we do that with wealth and be honest we trust Him. Does this not make poverty more appealing than wealth? We look at the physical effects poverty can have on the man, but we don't really as humans look at the spiritual benefits it has on us. Just on the premise that it is much harder for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven and heaven is where we all as Christians want to be, why would we long for something that will make it harder, life without riches is rough enough, and once you experienced being dead broke you know what I mean lol.
    I look at my current state of poverty as perhaps a blessing more than a bad thing. It allows me to have a heart free of many idols and ungodly desires to trust in God the way I should and it may sound strange but I don't want it any other way. Does it mean I want to be poor all my days, I wouldn't say that, it means I don't want to have anything in my heart that will make it harder for me to trust God and enter heaven, and that includes money. This is going to make me sound so crazy right now but lol, I'm actually kind of frightened of wealth in a way, because I really don't want anything to take my heart away from God, and money does that too many, no matter how well we say we know ourselves, God knows our hearts desire money.
    Only because I know what it can do to a person, Christian or not Christian, I don't really have any type of desire to be wealthy. Possessing money isn't wrong but loving it is. And money has a way of making us so comfortable that when we realize we can just run out and get whatever we want God is gradually forgotten. Just like the wonderful scripture you shared brother, we can't serve to masters.

    If God did make a genuine Christian wealthy there must be a reason for that, He did make King Solomon wealthy.

    If any of us were to be 100% honest, all of us would say yes to money because we know what money can do, how much easier life becomes when we have it. But after all that we know as Christians, should we desire money, no. I pray to have a heart that only desires for the nonperishable riches like faith and love and peace and contentment and all the others.

    As usual Tim your post are very thought provoking and you say things many Christians and people in general are concerned about. God bless you Tim. Keep em' coming :-)

    1. This is a really good comment Sateigdra. I think that if God wants us to prosper, and I don't see that as a problem, we should just be grateful. But, as Frank said, there is too much in some Christianity that is obsessed with wealth and making money, when as you rightly say our life should be focussed on Jesus, first and foremost. I believe there is a fine balance to be found on this very topic, and I don't believe that God wants us to be poverty stricken and eke out our days in want, squalour and misery. At the same time, most poor people know that nobody needs millions and millions of pounds (dollars, euros, shekels, yen etc) to live decent lives. What you've written is much food for thought. So, if we aspire to have a business, or be a football star, or musician, or writer, I believe that we focus on being the best we can, and leave the rest to God; does that sound right?

      Can millionaires fully focus on God? I hope so, but I think that for some, wealth would be distracting. I do the lottery, the English Lotto and Euromillions; if I ever win big, I would help out friends, family, strangers and charities I already help out now and then. My first thing to do would be to pray to the Lord asking Him what I should do with the money. And I would listen to what He had to say.

      You wrote: 'Possessing money isn't wrong but loving it is.' That's so very profound and so very true. There are millionaires who don't love money, and lots of poor people who, perhaps ironically! No Christian should ever have their faith in money or what money can buy; it all fades eventually. And what's left? Love, peace, contentment, as you so rightly said.