I want it all, and I want it now! This was the mantra of an entire generation as it belted out in lyrics from the British rock band Queen. It is the foundational principle of the world’s system and it is the summary of everything that opposes The Bible and God’s plan for your life.
Some time ago I put out a message titled Out Of Egypt → Into Babylon. In that message I spoke of two systems: The Mountain and The Tower. The system of the mountain is a reliance on God and His Creation as the source of your needs, whereas the system of the tower is the world’s system where God is pushed away as the source and humanity becomes its own source. In the system of the tower humanity becomes its own god, humanism becomes the driving force of life and religion, and greed and covetousness become the goal men chase after.
I can't help but to think of the Jewish ecological celebration, similar to the secular Earth Day, of Tu B'Shvat and the principle of Tikkun Olam. The holiday of Tu B'Shvat draws attention to the biblical mandate to care for The Father's Creation (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:15). The phrase itself for which the holiday is named means do not destroy. In contrast, the principle of Tikkun Olam refers to a call to repair the world. So as a Believer our focus is supposed to be first on caring for Creation and then on repairing the damage done by the ungodly. In these two concepts are a life satisfied with God's design and provision, not the humanist need to push God out of the picture and seek out more than He provides or desires for us.
I want to take some time to discuss a biblical concept you don’t hear about in most Christian Churches today. It is not a topic promoted by those who oversee religion modeled after the system of the tower and you certainly won’t find it in the agenda of the “prosperity gospel”. I want to talk about being content with what God has given you in a world and a "Christianity" that is built on greed and power.
Understanding the war between worldly greed and godly contentment is critical to the development of a biblical worldview, which should be the worldview of anyone who claims to be a Christian. Sadly, liberal theology and warped beliefs such as the errors of the “prosperity gospel” have crept into most Christian environments today and led the masses into a worldview that is anything but biblical.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I absolutely believe that prosperity is a biblical concept. Psalm 37:25 plainly tells us: I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread. God certainly does not desire for His children to dwell in poverty, which I truly believe is part of the curse of rejecting His Torah (see Deuteronomy 28). But the message being pushed on gullible Christians today is anything but a biblically-based message of prosperity. In order to properly understand the message of prosperity in The Bible you must first have an understanding on what The Bible says about contentment, satisfaction, covetousness, jealousy, selfishness, and greed.
Thou Shalt Not Covet
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. ~Exodus 20:17 (KJV)
Sometimes you just have to go back to the poetic Elizabethan-Jacobean English of the King James Bible, originally translated in 1611. This is one of those times where it just works.
Exodus 20, of course, is the listing of what most people call The Ten Commandments. The last of the commandments on this list is this one about not coveting. It is to this commandment that the Apostle Paul defers to when he is writing to the community of Believers in Rome about keeping Father’s Torah:
What shall we say then? Is the Torah sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the Torah. For I would not have known about coveting if the Torah had not said, “You shall not covet.” ~Romans 7:7 (TLV)
Here Paul is telling us that Torah defines sin for us so we know what not to do. Many today, as they did then, twist Paul’s writings into a counterfeit anti-Torah message. Even Peter warned about those who do this (2 Peter 3:15-16). But here in Romans 7, as he does elsewhere, Paul agrees with John’s definition of sin as the violation, transgression, breaking of Torah (1 John 3:4). Now let’s take a look at a couple of other passages from Scripture about covetousness.
Oy to them who scheme wickedness, who work out evil upon their beds! In the light of the morning, they do it, for the power is in their hands. They covet fields, so they seize them, or houses, and take them away. So they oppress a man and his house—a man and his inheritance. ~Micah 2:1-2 (TLV)
Here we have an interesting passage where the Prophet Micah tells us that it is wickedness and evil that drives people to covet that which another person owns. Clearly anyone who would do anything opposite of the commandment of God is a wicked and evil person.
Do you know that God puts people before you who have more than you have simply to test you? It’s true!
God will place people into your life who appear to be better off than you. No matter how well-off you may be in the natural world, He will set someone before you who has more, a lot more. This is to ensure you always have the opportunity to choose to follow the commandment not to covet. He provides you with the opportunity to choose to follow every commandment.
God will send attractive people who show interest in you (sexually) into your life so you can choose not to commit adultery. He will make sure the buffet at the party hosted by your employer has plenty of delicious looking items that are deemed unclean by Leviticus 11 so that you can choose to follow His food laws—sometimes there won’t even be a clean option, there have been times when I did not eat anything at an event I was a guest at and then ate something biblically acceptable later. Every commandment in The Bible will give you the opportunity to choose whether or not you will obey it, sometimes even daily. This is really a choice in expressing whether you believe God is God.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil practice. ~James 3:16 (TLV)
Here again we see, this time from the Apostle James who was the half-brother of Yeshua, that the fruit of covetousness—jealousy and selfishness—are evil and create chaos. Coveting what others have is the fast track to destroying your life. You become consumed with a desire for what you don’t have instead of what God has already blessed you with. And believe me, no matter how bad you might think things are, if you shift your focus to God and The Bible you will see that you are abundantly blessed!
I don’t follow modern worldly celebrities, but I have seen footage of people who walk red carpets and have their photos taken at major secular entertainment events. This is the life of Hollywood actors and music entertainers around the world. I do not understand the fascination with these people and why so many—a lot of “Christians” included—seem enamored by such things. It’s sad that today a “professing Christian” could tell you all about Kim Kardashian, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, or Tom Cruise but don’t even know who King Josiah, Ehud, Bezalel, Nathan, or Agabus were (or where their stories are found in Scripture).
Sadly, those “Christians” who gawk at these modern celebrities and their lifestyle are typically those who themselves dream of living that way. Do they not realize that such a life is about as godless as it gets?
I know what some people will say: What about those celebrities who are Christians? Look, I truly believe that someone can be a Christian and be blessed with lavish amounts of wealth. But even so, a person who is truly a born-again follower of Yeshua and The Bible is not someone who would seek such a worldly lifestyle. They would loath such worldly filth as you see from those who live in that segment of the culture. Again, this all goes back to the mountain and the tower. The secular entertainment industry is the height of the godless world’s system and it really should not be something attractive to the Spirit-filled Believer who is submitted to the Torah of God. If such people were truly saved they would not be capable of playing the characters or singing the songs they do that completely oppose the God they claim to be submitted to.
Worry, Bitterness, And Your Health
Worry, a form of fear, has been shown to have adverse effects on physical health. According to the article Physical Effects of Worrying published by the popular health website WebMD worry can cause a person to suffer a host of physical problems including but not limited to: dizziness, fatigue, headaches, irritability, muscle pains, nausea, etc These things, according to the article, can lead to major and potentially fatal health risks like a weakened immune system, digestive disorders, memory loss, and heart attack.
In addition to this, research done through Concordia University suggests that bitterness can also have a major negative impact on physical health. Professor Carsten Wrosch, who was involved in this research, says: “Persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that, when strong enough, could effect a person’s physical health.” As such, the professor believes that bitterness should be classified as a form of mental illness.
Bitterness is often the result of worry based on coveting. You see the perceived success of others and you want that for yourself. When you don’t have those things and you don’t see a path to getting them, it causes you to worry if you will ever have more than you do now. From there, you may become bitter at those you see as preventing you from having them—your parents, your employer, your spouse, or even God. You blame those you see as preventing you from achieving your goals and fulfilling your dreams and you develop feelings of hostility toward them. And this has a drastic and devastating effect on your physical and mental health. What does The Bible say about this?
“So I say to you, do not worry about your life—what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your Father in heaven feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. Now if in this way God clothes the grass—which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow—will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the pagans eagerly pursue all these things; yet your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:25-34 (TLV)
Think about that for a little bit. This is a teaching from our Messiah, Yeshua, trying to encourage His followers—then and now—not to worry about the insignificant things this world has to offer us.
Rejoice In What God Gives You
My God will fulfill every need of yours according to the riches of His glory in Messiah Yeshua. ~Philippians 4:19 (TLV)
That may very well be one of the most abused sentences in all of The Bible today. Again, I am not against a biblical message of prosperity, but this statement is talking about your needs being met. Proponents of the modern “prosperity gospel”, however, would have you to believe that because these needs are being met through God’s riches in glory it must somehow mean that “needs” equates to “material wealth”. But you have to understand a little bit about the context of this statement, and for that we look back just a few verses prior:
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me (though you were concerned before but lacked opportunity to show it). I am not saying this because I am in need—for whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned to be content. I know what it is to live with humble means, and I know what it is to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment—both to be filled and to go hungry, to have abundance and to suffer need. I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:10-13 (TLV)
Here we see Paul express that he has learned to be grateful for whatever God has provided him and whatever circumstances he finds himself in. We can look back at the life of this man, what we know of him in the biblical record, and find that he was in some pretty difficult situations. This is a man who suffered imprisonment, attempted assassinations, shipwrecks, and many other tough times. Yet his attitude remained resolute that he was content with whatever God provided him. Look also at what he says in his letter to Timothy, a disciple of his:
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, So we cannot take anything out of it. But having food and clothing, with these things we shall be content. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil—some, longing for it, have gone astray from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. ~1 Timothy 6:6-10 (TLV)
Here we see that we should be filled with joy that God gives us clothes and food, and that is all we really need. I would go as far as adding shelter, water, and air to that equation, but really there is nothing beyond these basic necessities of life that we really need. If you have these things you have life.
I often find it amazing how often I encounter people who seemingly have nothing, people who do not have a place to truly call home, but they find food and clothing and they are full of joy. I understand some who are in a situation like that are not pleasant people, but I find that many are. In contrast, I am often perplexed at how often people of great material wealth are bitter, angry, and unpleasant to be around.
This is always the result of a person’s heart. Those who have learned to be happy with what God has given them are full of joy. The person who covets what they don’t have is someone who will be full of bitterness.
Keep your lifestyle free from the love of money, and be content with what you have. For God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” ~Hebrews 13:5 (TLV)
I mean, it really doesn’t get more clear than that. Living a godly lifestyle is all about being happy with what you have, whatever situation you find yourself in. Because when it’s all said and done either you followed The Bible or you did not. There will be those who chose to follow God’s Torah as the guide for living on the earth and those will be classified as the lawless ones—those who do not guide their life by His Torah.
The Satisfied Life
“Now if you listen obediently to My mitzvot that I am commanding you today—to love Adonai your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul—then I will give rain for your land in its season—the early rain and the late rain—so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will give grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be satisfied. ~Deuteronomy 11:13-15 (TLV)
If you are not familiar with the term mitzvot, it is a Hebrew word that refers to individual commandments from Torah. What God is saying to His people here is that the meeting of our needs is directly connected to the keeping of His commandments.
Proverbs 28:19 says: “Whoever works his land will be satisfied with food, but whoever chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” Think about that for a little bit. A moment ago I shared about coveting what others have, including modern celebrities from the secular world. The Bible tells us that doing this will not gain you wealth, but poverty. Coveting what others have instead of living in the Godly contentment Paul spoke of will make you crazy and drive you into a state of depression.
Ecclesiastes 3:13 says: “Also when anyone eats and drinks, and finds satisfaction in all of his labor, it is the gift of God.” A friend of mine, who I worked with in the past, recently retired from her career of 30 or 35 years. She sent out a message to friends from her time at this job. One of the things she said really struck me. She said that you have to play the hand God deals you.
Now, I am not saying that I agree wholly with the way she worded that, but it does bring up a point. Your job in life, whatever provides you a source of income to support your family, is a blessing from God. When you have provision from Yahweh, you should be grateful for what He has provided. You cannot sit around wondering why someone else seems more blessed than you. Here’s the thing, a lot of people who have great wealth have done so as a result of selling their soul to the devil. This is often the case with those same secular celebrities I’ve been speaking of. Why would you want to chase the wealth of people who gained worldly success by submitting their lives to Satan and, as a result, received their life’s blessing from him, the enemy of God?
Being satisfied and content in the provision of God is the opposite of chasing worldly success. Consider these passages that speak of the destruction greed and covetousness bring into your life:
Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on guard against all kinds of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the material goods he possesses.” ~Luke 12:15 (TLV)
For the wicked one boasts about his soul’s desire. The greedy one curses, reviling Adonai. ~Psalm 10:3 (TLV)
A greedy soul stirs up strife, but one who trusts in Adonai prospers. ~Proverbs 28:25 (TLV)
A lover of money never has enough money, and a lover of wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is futile. ~Ecclesiastes 5:9 (TLV)
That first passage, Luke 12:15, records the words of Yeshua Himself. That should be the type of thing that rocks the world of a true Believer. But sadly I think most people in Christianity today are so brainwashed with bad teaching and misinterpretation of Scripture that they do not even know how to comprehend biblical truth today.
Proverbs 27:20 (CEV) says that death and the grave are never satisfied. The Good News Translation renders the verse this way: Human desires are like the world of the dead—there is always room for more. In contrast, Matthew 5:6 (TLV) says: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
When it’s all said and done, The Bible is such a simple book, it is religion that complicates the matter. The message of The Bible is a message on the difference between those who make Yahweh their source and those who submit to the godless system of this world—which includes all religions outside of Judeo-Christian faith and the atheist religions that claim to worship no deity. If you submit yourself to God, your needs will be met and you will live in the peace of His sustenance. If you do not submit to God, including the masses in religion who are only partially submitted, then you burden yourself with the curse upon this world.
If there is anything I can impress upon you, it would be to submit yourself wholly and holy to God and live content and satisfied in His blessing. It really is the only way to truly live!