101 Questions and Answers about HEALTH AND WEALTH
27. What “glory” could God possibly receive from His people staying disabled or remaining in poverty? This is a question that pertains to human suffering and at the same time to the wisdom of God to successfully work through the weakness of mortals. The world has an earthly mindset of achievement and accomplishment and this is based on the philosophy of riches and pleasures, beauty and health. However, there is another dimension that is called the divine reality and it is founded on the eternal wisdom and judgment of the perfect creator. Every human has a spirit and it is within this eternal identity that God knows every why and every why not. “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” (Proverbs 20:27) Man in his natural ignorance and blindness judges what he can see with his natural eyes and categorizes every person based upon their physical form, intelligence and social status. Living in this way of thinking is to miss the beauty and sovereignty of an Almighty God that uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. The revelation of this wisdom includes the ability of God to receive glory in those that appear to be last but in the eyes of God they are actually first. “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Matthew 19:30) In order to even scratch the surface of spiritual understanding we are to humbly fall before Him and listen intently. The deeper we walk in fellowship with Him the higher we progress into spiritual dimension thinking which the pathway toward the mind of Christ. Knowing or having the mind of Christ does not mean we will know all there is to know but I believe we can know what He wants us to know. When Jesus calls us, he expects us to listen to Him and to begin thinking like Him. Learning to think like Jesus isn’t as impossible as it sounds because the Apostle Paul says we have been given the mind of Christ. “But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (I Corinthians 2:15-16) It is good to pray for God to give us wisdom and the mind of Christ as we mediate upon His Word and listen to the Holy Spirit, who is our guide into all truth. Understanding discipleship as a progressive journey, we realize the more time we intentionally spend with Jesus day in and day out, the more we will become intimate with His likes and dislikes and will be astounded to notice what He sees and recognize what He hears. In this level of awareness, we can know what He cares about and discern what he considers insignificant or distracting.
In first Corinthians the first chapter and verse 27, it speaks of how God has “chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” It is true that when a person is strong and healthy, good-looking and obsessed with their own beauty, they have a tendency to let their flesh rule and develop a “heart condition” of haughtiness and vanity. The same is true when a person becomes immersed in wealth as this also has a tendency to negatively influence the mind and cause us to become puffed up with arrogance. These feelings of power and temptations to be in control are infectious and open the floodgates to further deception. It is clear to see how that health and wealth can distract lost people from God because it nurtures a very powerful attitude of not NEEDING God at all, but what about Christians who are blessed with the pleasures and blessings of the abundant life? Could it not develop the same way of thinking? I have the opportunity at this place in my life to witness the extremes of both ends of this spectrum. I know people that are extremely rich, healthy and beautiful in the eyes of this world and they live in a whirlwind of excitement and indulgence. They are so busy with riding the winds of power and luxury, there is not enough hours in the day to experience all they desire to absorb. They have a staff of workers just to help them accomplish and maintain their jet-set style of living because there are so many successful opportunities each and every day. Do they understand what life is really about? Maybe to a certain extent as it depends on the individual but generally speaking I would say probably not. Why? It would depend if the individual was a Christian because this is the only way people can comprehend spiritual truths. It is also difficult to have sincere sympathy and compassion without spiritual sensitivity. Sadly, it is common for the rich to become so entangled in the worldly chaos of business that they confidently boast about how that giving time for spiritual matters will need to wait until they are ready to give it consideration. When will that be? Most of the time it is when someone has used every drop of energy and spent every dollar and are sitting in a wheelchair looking out the window waiting to die. This is not God’s intention of blessing us and it certainly gives no glory to Him. His idea is to give us strength and prosperity so that we can do HIS work and provide resources to support HIS cause. People may seem to be living the lifestyle of the rich and famous but the consequences of disobedience will not have a happy ending. Some may convince themselves they can give money to charities and use their wealth to feed the hungry or whatever (and this is good) but without agape love and a heart that is dedicated to LIVING for God, it is all sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. I personally believe that it is not the wealth that is the sin – it is how wealth works on the mind and corrupts the heart that makes it dangerous. Can the average person handle great amounts of wealth? Probably not. Can wealthy people bring glory to God? Yes, I believe it is possible but VERY difficult. If a disciplined Christian person was mega-wealthy, I believe they could listen to the Holy Spirit and do many wonderful things for the Kingdom of God when they control money instead of allowing the money to control them.
As far as God receiving glory from those who are sick and poor, I think it depends on what we consider “glory.” The glory of God is the beauty of His spirit. It is not based on fleshly accomplishments an aesthetic beauty or a material beauty, but it is the beauty that emanates from His character, from all that He is. James 1:10 calls on a rich man to “glory in his humiliation,” indicating a glory that does not exalt earthly riches or power but on a reverential fear. This glory is revealed occasionally within man and in the world, but it is NOT of them; it is of GOD! The glory of man is his outward ability, which is fallible and eventually passes away, and is therefore only demonstrated by the mercy and longsuffering of God. But the glory of God, which is manifested in all His attributes, is perfect divine beauty that is eternal and can only be brought forth by the Spirit of God. The glory of God is seen when someone reduces themselves to such a level of meekness and obedience that a glimmer of God’s love can be seen. It was brought to my attention the other day that being healthy and or wealthy does NOT necessarily bring glory to God and I believe this is true and likewise we could also agree that everyone that is being devastated with disease or who climbs in and out of trash dumpsters would not either. The Lord can receive glory in ALL types of situations because it is simply based on God being seen through a person or situation because it is how we LIVE and how we REACT to whatever circumstances we are in.
In John the eleventh chapter and verse four, Jesus was gathered with the family of Lazarus after he had died, “When Jesus had heard that, He said, this sickness is not unto death, but for the GLORY of God, that the Son of God might be GLORIFIED thereby.” In this we can see that God can receive glory through suffering AND through healing. I am reminded of those that have been martyred and have suffered unimaginable pain and torment for their faith in God. They lived their lives giving glory to God AND still remained steadfast in the hour of standing courageous so that His glory was seen in their ultimate sacrifice. Yes, there are countless demonstrations of strength and perseverance through the lives of those who suffer as it comes down to a determination to allow the spirit to rule over the mind so that the body can be brought into subjection for God’s purpose. We can be as a city set upon a hill whether we are rich or poor – healthy, or afflicted! Yes, of course it would be more preferred to live in perfect health and never have to worry about finances but if for some reason we fall into a difficult situation we can still glorify God in the way we think, the words we say and the love we demonstrate. In this light, we can say that God can be glorified in whatever state we are in if we choose His will as our highest priority. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4: 11-13)
28. God did NOT stop Adam and Eve from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Is this the same way He approaches His children when they choose not to incorporate His will about health and wealth? I believe there are unique situations that provide for individuals the same as there are terrible problems. There are blessings and curses that people are born into and many circumstances that challenge us in the way we live. However, we cannot ignore God’s wisdom, spiritual faith and holy obedience because this is how we receive from God. When we learn about God’s general will and arrange our life around His desires, we are promised many things that contribute to a life of peace, security and victory. Through fervent prayer and learning His revelations of truth, we are demonstrating and activating our free-will to trust Him. If we choose to NOT follow His commands, He will not force us to enjoy this life OR the life to come.