Monday, March 2, 2009

How to Prosper in Everything

He is like a tree planted beside streams of water
That bears its fruit in season
And whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
(Psalm 1:3 HCSB)
True prosperity is not a function of the economy. It does not come from Wall Street. It cannot be guaranteed by the president or Congress. Therefore, it cannot be taken away by Wall Street, by the president or Congress. It does not arise because of an “up” economy, so it cannot be lost because of a “down” one.

True prosperity comes from God.

It does not come by following the advice of the world, acting the way the world acts, thinking what the world thinks (v. 1). It comes by a radically different path, rooted in a completely different source. It comes by delighting in the instruction of the Lord, the “law” of the Lord. The Hebrew word for “law” is torah and means instruction. God wants to instruct you, to teach you how to prosper.

If you will delight in His ways and let His instruction saturate your heart, fill your thought and direct your path, you will be like the man in Psalm 1:3.
  • You will be like trees planted beside streams of water. This is stability, even in a drought season, because the streams of God do not dry up.
  • You will bear fruit in season. When the season for bearing fruit comes around, you will not miss it. You will not cast off your fruit early, in the unripe stage, nor will it come too late to be any good. It will come in its proper time.
  • You will not wither away. Your supply will not dry up. God is your source and will keep you fresh and green to keep on bearing fruit in His courts (Psalm 92:12-15).
  • Whatever you do will prosper. When you follow the direction of the Lord, your efforts will not be in vain but will produce good things.
Whatever you do will prosper. God makes a similar promise in Deuteronomy 28:8, “The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand.” This, of course, assumes that you are setting your hand to something. Some people focus on their circumstances and let that keep them from doing anything. But if you are not putting your hand to something, there is nothing there for the Lord to command the blessing on. When you sow seed, He can multiply it for the harvest, but when you sow nothing, there is nothing to multiply.

Now, notice that God says, “Whatever he does shall prosper.” It would be wrong to make this just about finances — it is about so much more than that. It is about everything in your life. By the same token, although it might sound very pious and spiritual, it is just as wrong to think that financial prosperity is somehow excluded from the promise of God — whatever includes everything!

This is not just an Old Testament promise, as some have supposed, as if God does not want to do the same thing for us under the New Testament. The apostle John demonstrates the will of God for us when He says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2). The blessing of God on those who love Him is for every area of life today, just as it has always been.

Do not focus on the circumstances, the drought, the famine, the “down” economy. These do not determine the prosperity of your soul or even of your finances. But love the Lord with all your heart, delight in His ways and look to Him for instruction and direction in your life. Focus on Him as your source and supply, and whatever you do will prosper.