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Fixing Our Focus

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Welcome to another blog post. Our blogs aim to find a gem within the weekly teachings of Pastor Richard Harris that are delivered to our Upstream Home Churches around the world. We now have a home church on five continents! We hope these are a blessing. Do please share them with someone you think might need to read the teaching. This week we are continuing in our series called 'Walking in God's Prosperity'. Below are five ways to renew our minds to the truth about God's heart for our prosperity.

God’s abundant prosperity comes to those who are on His path. We need to fix our focus. We need to make God’s will and purpose for our lives, our focus, the main event, the biggest deal, the first thing!

In the 'Sermon on the Mount' in Matt. 6:19-33, Jesus talks about a heart issue. Let's read it.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a]destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

In verse 33 especially, He says "Seek first the kingdom of God and a ll these things will be added unto you." Have you ever tried to focus on two things at once? Do it now! Look at two objects that are even quite close to each other and try to focus on both simultaneously. You can’t do it, can you!? Verses 21-24 show us this truth in a spiritual context. Jesus starts by talking about the heart issue. Where your treasure is, there will heart be also. Then, He clarifies it further by talking about our focus, our attention, our commitment. He says, you cannot do both; serve God and mammon (the world’s system of prosperity).

The Bible tells us not to put our focus in the wrong place. Why? Because God knows that our desire will drift towards our focus. Why do you think they invented shop windows? So you would see what's in there as you walk past. If the shop had no window and you walked past a blank wall, would you even be remotely tempted to buy something?! Probably not. Marketing is all about grabbing your attention. Companies spend millions and millions on figuring out the best way to get people’s attention toward whatever it is they are trying to sell.

1 Timothy 6:10-11 talks about Christians who began to lust after wealth. Let's read:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Don’t be deceived; God wants us prosperous but He does not want us loving money. In verse 11 it talks about what we should do. So, here are five ways in which we can renew our minds toward money and avoid falling into the trap described there in v10.

1. God is generous.

  • This might feel counterintuitive to 'not loving money'. Over the millennia people have thought that to be poor was the answer for avoiding the lust of money. To think that God is stringy and mean and wants us poor is many Christian’s way of trying to avoid falling into that trap. However, it actually works in reverse. If you don’t have money, you covet it! Think about it, if you’re concerned every day that God won’t supply your needs, you will worry about it! Who do you think worries about money more, the rich man or the poor man? The poor man, of course! The rich man doesn’t worry about money! No, the opposite is true; by meditating on the fact that God is generous and will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus you will experience a lack of worry, a joy and a trust that stays focused on God’s goodness instead of on money. After all, it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance (Romans 2:4). The only reason Satan succeeded in tempting Adam and Eve to eat the fruit in the garden of Eden was because they weren’t sure that God would take care of them, they doubted His provision and that He was all they needed. If you don’t know that God is going to take of you, how will you put His will first in your life? You won’t! So believe and trust that God is a generous God.

2. Material things do not and cannot satisfy.

  • Proverbs 27:20 says Death and Destruction[a]are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes. If you believe in your heart that you need material things to make you happy, you will never have enough. Remember the rush of buying something new? A new car, a new outfit, whatever. In 6 months, that feeling is gone! The emptiness begins to set in again. A new car is super exciting, until you’ve bought it. It might be fun for a few weeks, but soon it's just your car now. It's not new anymore. Jesus talks about this in the parable of the sower; the deceitfulness of things, the lust of riches. Genesis 3:6 says When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Emphasis mine) When Eve saw it and it was pleasant to the eyes, Satan convinced her that it would satisfy her ache. But only God can do that. Billy Graham used to say everyone of us has a God-shaped hole in our hearts that can't be filled by anything else. Your deepest desire needs to be pursuing God and His will for your life.

3. All things of this world are passing away but God’s rewards will last forever.

  • This is hard because we can’t see those rewards! Matt. 6:19-20 reminds us of this again. Treasures in heaven folks! Whatever reward you get down here on earth, and there’s nothing wrong with earthly wealth, mustn’t be our focus, our biggest desire. Eternity is forever. The rewards that God gives to those who fix their focus on God will last forever! The return on investment with God’s system is eternal! It’s the best ROI you can get. Have you ever seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul? Of course not. Don't fix your focus on the things of this world. There's absolutely nothing wrong in having those things, so long as they came as a result of your focus being fixed on God.

4. Following God produces true riches.

  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and wisdom is better than material wealth. Psalm 16:11 - when I first experienced the presence of the Lord, I was so excited, I walked around with a smile on my face the whole time! The joy and peace that comes from knowing Jesus is "true riches" and no amount of money can buy it. There is a deep satisfaction in knowing you’re in the centre of God’s will and that you are making an eternal difference. It’s a satisfaction that money can never buy, no matter how much you have! Did you know that a rich man with a terminal illness would give away everything he has to be healthy. But a poor man who is healthy would never accept a terminal disease regardless of how much money you offer him. Here’s the real blessing though; not only do we get peace and joy that comes from knowing God, but He also promises to add ‘all these things’ to us as well (see Matt. 6:33 and Phil. 4:19). Hallelujah!

5. We are stewards of God’s resources.

  • The final point I have on renewing your mind to God's prosperity, is to do with stewardship. What is a steward anyway? It simply means someone who is in charge of property that belongs to someone else. We are all stewards of God’s resources. Psalm 24:1 - the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof. The earth and everything in it belongs to God. Everything! It’s not just talking about trees, seas or mountains, but everything. Everything we take out of the earth, like money or buildings or even plastics are made from earthy resources. So, even man-made stuff belongs to God. After all, God made us! It all belongs to Him, no matter which way you look at it! 1 Corinthians 6:20 says that we belong to God. Our bodies belong to God. They were bought with a price. If you’re own body belongs to Him, how much more any material thing you might ‘possess’. So what are we? Stewards. When you start thinking about being a steward of finances, the purpose of obtaining those finances starts to shift. It becomes about fulfilling the mission that God has given us for our lives. He promises us that as we advance his mission, He takes care of us. See yourself as a steward of God's resources and you'll find yourself being less and less worried about money and trusting Him more and more to provide for you. Listen, if He can get it through you, He will get it to you!

God wants to bless you, folks! He does! He is a good, good Father and He wants to pour out a great blessing on you (Luke 6:38). But He wants your heart first. He wants you to seek Him and His kingdom first, before all other things. When we do that, He will delight in blessing us. That's good news!

Next week, we will continuing with Pastor Richard teaching on Walking in God's Prosperity with an amazing teaching called 'A Generous Heart' in which we learn all about the benefits of being more like God....generous!


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