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The Crises Experienced in Prosperity: Intemperance

Years ago, as a young man, he had faced daily threats on the job to himself and to those in his charge. On each occasion, he called on the Great Helper, and the Lord delivered him. Stalwart in faith, he risked his life to defend the name of the Lord. God favored him; he trusted in God at each challenge and rose steadily to the top. Now, at the pinnacle of power and success, he had others to fight his battles for him. All that he wanted was his. One day, sleeping until late, he saw what he wanted and took it. Without thought of anything other than indulging his desires, David committed three terrible transgressions against God: covetousness, adultery, and murder.

David’s story is a familiar one: not only in its chronicle of his personal fall, but in the archetypal tale of a man who is virtuous in the face of hardship, but slackens and stumbles in a life of ease and luxury. Perhaps it is all too familiar as a chronicle of our own roller coaster ride of faith. The truth is it is difficult for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Mt 19:23). This doesn’t mean that wealth disqualifies you from the heavenly kingdom. But too often prosperity turns your focus from long-term concerns to living in the present moment—and living it to the fullest. As a person of means, you feel you can afford to indulge a few cravings. A little indulgence, however, easily leads to lowered inhibitions. Sensual pleasures take precedence over long-term salvation; before long your feet will be following a path leading away from God, in the opposite direction of heaven.

The crisis for David came when, with no trouble in sight, he sought to gratify his eyes and lost sight of God. The rich young man couldn’t lose sight of what he had in order to see the greater glory of God. On the other hand, when we face trouble, we have little time or energy to indulge our desires. Jesus was able to live a life free of sin by enduring suffering and through constant prayer.

We may not necessarily suffer in our lives, but as Christians, we must have the willingness to suffer. This determination is a kind of spiritual weapon, for it means that whether in prosperity or in tribulation, we stand rooted in our focus on the eternal. We can forgo present pleasures and even accept pain in our confidence in the glorious salvation we will receive. We should allow this determination to temper the times of prosperity with which God blesses us. Through prayer in the Holy Spirit, let us fill ourselves with the grace of God and leave no room for sin.

Publisher: True Jesus Church