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Psalm 144:4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

Monthly Archives: May 2010

God wants you to be rich (part 2)

I discussed material riches in part 1 and developed the theme in Chasing Camels, and here is the next step in my thinking.

Luke 12:21
“He lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God”

This partial verse from Luke is from the parable of the ‘Rich Fool.’  Luke 12:13-21

The Parable talks of a man who is basically storing material wealth up for himself so he can “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”

Whilst it is no-doubt sensible to be prudent and a good steward of the gifts God gives by having some money saved for children or to ensure we aren’t a burden on other people, the key phrase in the Luke passage is “rich toward God”, this  means God is my riches.

How does that work?

I think it is twofold.

Firstly that we break our desperate attachment to money by giving more away, James has good advice where and how to start this process.

James 1:27
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

And then, to seek God, not the gifts he offers.  It is more important to remember to ‘seek the giver, not the gift’.

John 17:3
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Knowing God, being completed by God, finding satisfaction, joy, comfort,  gratification, refreshment, serenity in our relationship with God is what being ‘rich toward God means’.

It means making God the most important part of our lives and giving him not only 10%, not even only the best bits but everything.

This is also about surrendering to God, being submitted to God in all aspects of our lives.

God wants us to be rich – rich towards him.

I’m not there yet, don’t think I am saying I’m perfect, far from it, but my day starts with the following prayer, every morning.  Over the years, it has really helped.

Proverbs 30:7-9
“Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonour the name of my God.”

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Influence (part 1)

Acceptance leads to influence.

This is something very observable in relationships.  For example, at school, we had (or have) a group of friends that we have grown closer to and this has happened because they accept us.  A true friend accepts you for who you are, ‘warts and all’, ugly bits and beautiful bits and eventually, real friends earn to appreciate who you are and accept you because of who you are, not just tolerating who you are.

When we are with true friends, we open up.  We drop our guard and they get to see the real us.  We are honest, emotionally bare and, knowing we will be accepted by our friends, things come out that would be hidden elsewhere.

So, in friendship, we drop our guard, we know that we are accepted by our friends, and we are therefore more open with them.

Knowing our friends accept us and vice versa leads to us being influenced by their thoughts and actions (and vice versa again).

When we see our friends like or have accessed / bought something, we are influenced to think that maybe that will be a good idea for us to do it too.
Most of the time, this is harmless and possibly even beneficial. It definitely benefits the companies selling products, but it also has the potential to trip us up!

It is quite possible that we can become influenced by our friends in a way that leads us down a path we were not originally intending or were previously trying to avoid.  Because we are accepted, because that acceptance leads to influence, because everyone around us is doing it and accepting each other for doing it.

So What?

Understanding this rule of thumb gives us a challenge to choose our friends wisely.  Be careful who we open up to, be careful who we mix with especially if we feel we are easily led.

To a certain degree, I believe there are people who are ‘influencers’ and people who are ‘influenced’.  If we are easily influenced rather than people who easily influence others, then we need to be even more careful with whom we choose to drop our guard.

Proverbs 13:20
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

We might not be made ‘foolish’ by mixing with fools, but eventually, we will end up being harmed by their foolish actions or the fallout from them.

Lets choose our friends wisely

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