18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
If we are upright people who deal honestly with others and work hard, then it is possible for us to build something valuable in this world—as of now in the United States.
However, Jesus makes mention of a better, more durable kind of wealth that we can pursue.
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
People will steal everything we have because of envy, self-righteous indignation, and entitlement. If this causes mass poverty in the United States and in the world, Christians can take comfort in the above idea.
This world can take everything of the world from us, but they can take nothing of the Kingdom of God from us.
It is crucial that Christians are built up in the things of the Kingdom of God, especially when times of trouble arise.
How can we build ourselves and others up in the things of the Kingdom of God, and what does that look like?
I believe this looks a lot like verse 20 from the above section of the Proverbs. We should “lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment.”
If we build ourselves up in the teachings of Jesus—which are righteousness and sound judgment—then we will have everything we need to withstand great troubles and temptations.
We will learn to discern evil from good, not according to the confusion of man but according to the light of Christ. We will love what is right and good, and the more this way of living becomes natural to us the easier it will be to stand firm in these things—even when the rest of the world is going in the other direction.
We will learn what our Lord, Jesus is really about, so that we do not fall for imposters. We will follow the warnings He gave about imposters and how we can spot them—which is to judge the “fruit” of what they bring. We cannot judge “fruit” if we do not know how to properly discern good from evil and if we do not have understanding of basic Christian doctrines.
I take comfort in knowing that the ultimate preparedness against any threat we face rests in the grace and mercy of God. However, I am concerned for Christians in the United States.
Why am I concerned?
I am concerned because the love of money often overshadows love for the things of the Kingdom of God. I am concerned because there are common Christian teachings that are not correct, or at least partially incorrect or incomplete, and these common teachings can easily be used by the enemy to deceive.
I am concerned because many Christians seem to fall for social ploys that call good evil and evil good. I am concerned because many Christians fawn over pastors and prophets who do not teach things of real substance that will stand in times of trouble (2 Peter 2).
I don’t suggest “forsaking the gathering together,” but I do strongly suggest building yourself up in Christ with the goal of placing Jesus and His truth first, no matter what the consequences might be socially.
Above all things, talk to Jesus often. If He really knows us and if we have a relationship with Him, He will teach us and we will grow stronger in our faith. I strongly believe that Jesus is merciful to much misunderstanding, especially if we trust in Him.
However, there are some misunderstandings that are especially disastrous—the most critical in my estimation being the carelessness wherewith many claim the name of Jesus.
If we call ourselves Christians, then we take the name of Jesus upon ourselves. We wear His blood also. If we take His name and wear His blood without regard for living a righteous life, then something is off about our faith. We are taking Him for granted, and that is not love towards Him. How can we say that He is with us if we do not love Him?
We should care about what Jesus teaches, how He wants a Christian to live, and we should put Him first above all things or grow in this regard. We can all grow in these things, and we all struggle because the flesh is weak. However, Jesus said that “it is expedient for you that I go away” so that He could send the Holy Spirit. We need the Spirit within us because the Spirit brings the Kingdom of God to our hearts.
There are differing ideas about a Christian receiving the Holy Spirit, and I don’t think this has to go just one way. I have been confused by some of the things I have seen in charismatic churches. I have been confused by some of the things I have seen in cessationist churches. I think my beliefs fall some place in the middle—as with most things. I think my next article series will deal with this.
The takeaway here is this:
Remember what Jesus teaches about the importance and value of the Kingdom of Heaven and build yourself up there. We all need a measure of prosperity in this world, but that should not be our focus. Our focus should be Jesus and all that He has to offer—which is much. So much that there is no end of seeking Him and building treasures that will never be taken from us.
These treasures prepare us for times of trouble, making us strong in Him so that we can withstand temptations faithfully. This is so important, and I strongly believe that Christianity in the United States is sorely lacking in that which builds up and makes us able to stand in that day.
Therefore I encourage every Christian, regardless of how sincere and long you have been in the faith, the read your Bible and study strongly for yourself.
Maybe you can do like I did. Make a list of every core doctrine you believe. Get a pack of highlighters, assign each teaching a color, then comb through the entire New Testament, highlighting verses that pertain to these doctrines. Do so honestly, even when you come across something that seems to contradict. Once you have been through a couple times, gather the like-colored scriptures and see what you can see, and most importantly, pray about it.
Knowing good teaching is important, and since we have the scriptures we have responsibility to study. Trusting in our denomination leads to our demise because we place man above Jesus.
Our denominations will fall, just as all things that are exalted above Him must fall so that His kingdom can reign. How do they fall? They fall when the false Christ comes and persecutes Christians, and we carelessly welcome this when we place man above Jesus, this world above the Kingdom of God, and take the name of Jesus upon us without proper respect and love towards Him.
That is a hard truth, but this is the cycle that repeats over and over again.
Do I think you should listen to me? I think you should, but I don’t want to be just another ruler over people. I want Jesus to be your ruler. I want you to seek Him above all else. I want to encourage every Christian to learn from Him above all denominational teachings and grow in His righteousness and judgments. He will cause you to “inherit substance” and He will “fill your treasures.”
If I can be of any assistance, or if you are concerned for me and think I am confused or deceived, don’t hesitate to reach out. I love talking about the things of the Kingdom of God, and I appreciate those who are the same even if we disagree.