WHAT IS YOUR PRAYER? Are you praying for MORE MATERIAL POSSESSIONS? If so, how persistent have you been praying for the increase? Have you gotten passed the wishful-thinking stage and begun praying in earnest? Do you pray for it persistently on a daily or perhaps even several times a day? If you are downright serious about wanting more from God, read on.
It’s no secret that if there is a will, we will make a way. Even a pre-believer knows this. But, as believers, we can do better because GOD WILL MAKE A WAY for us. More on this later as we have now got to establish some bases first.
AVOID UNNECESSARY SPENDING
The first base is to eliminate all unnecessary spending. Just because the products look so good or work so well for this or that celebrity, it doesn’t mean that you must have it, too. Guard yourself against commercials and their subtle messages. Must you really have that beer, or place an order for that equipment to produce your six-packs? Even if there is a sales on at the shopping mall, the same rule applies: AVOID UNNECESSARY SPENDING. (You will have to work on your own though to determine the “necessary” and “unnecessary” for your life and/or that of your family.)
If you can succeed to avoid unnecessary expenditure, then you can stretch your dollars and have capacity for more of what you truly need or want. On the other hand, if you are wasteful, there will never be enough money for you to spend. The more that is given to you will just be wasted on unnecessary items.
SPEND WITHIN YOUR MEANS
The next base is to analyse your spending habits. Do you spend so much on your “wants” that you do not have enough to provide for your “needs”? If so, then make a change and put “needs” before “wants”.
Within your “needs” (e.g. food and drinks), are you over-indulging on expensive food and fancy drinks? Consider making do with simpler substitutes and pay much lesser for them than what you would have otherwise dished out of your wallet. Focus on getting good value for your money rather than paying a premium for the brand of an item or service. Quality is a matter of degree, ranging from what is acceptable to the zenith of your imagination. Settle for a station wagon unless you can really afford a limousine. Fly business class unless you can really afford your own private jet.
Once you can balance your financial budget and live within your means, you will have money in-excess for savings and investment .
MAKE USE OF WHAT YOU HAVE
The third base is to make use of what you have. You may have a garden of your own, but it’s no use sitting around and praying that flowers, shrubs, and trees will flourish in it. Get off your seat, rolled up your sleeves and get on your knees to tend it by doing all that is necessary so as to build the garden of your dream. Do you have an oven? If so, are you putting it to good use for the benefit of your loved ones and friends. What about your car, flat/apartment/house, carpentry skills, communication skills, counselling skills, so on and so forth?
If you don’t use what you already have, what’s the point of asking for more? Do you really expect that you will be ready and prepared (focus, trained and self-discipline) to use the more that God can give to you? In Jesus’ parable of the talent (Matthew 25:14 ~ 30), the two servants who have been faithful in using their respective five and two talents are commended thus: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of the your lord.” Not so with the servant who hid his one talent. His lord adjudged him as ‘wicked and lazy’.
You can already have more if you have savings in your bank account. On their own, the money in your account will be earning compound interest income. Observe the first two bases, and grow your savings pool (never mind, if you can’t quite afford a swimming pool, yet). Then, seek good counsel to use part of your savings for investment purposes. This would be money that you are prepared to expose to the attendant risks associated with any investment. Learn the ropes of investing in, say, quoted securities and enjoy the ride, taking in profits every now and then, and cutting losses when need be.
The aforesaid three bases are well and good in that they help us conserve and grow what we already have with us. The next level would be to CREATE OR PRODUCE MORE VALUE by applying the word of God in our life. People pay more money in exchange for both real and perceived higher value.
We can improve ourselves and generate more value in what we do for a living, or get ourselves trained for some other work where the value generated is more valuable. Better still, catch hold of God’s vision for our life individually and pursue it wholeheartedly. We are only limited by the limits of our imagination.
This then is the good portion for believers, who are in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that: God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. We have the Holy Spirit who dwells with us and shows us the deep things of God(John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 2:10). In Him is light, and we shall no longer be in darkness, that is, we shall receive revelation from God as we walk in the light of His word.
As we cultivate the Power and Presence of God in our life, we can do the good works “which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Whatever God has called us to do, if we do it, His Presence will go with us and He will give us rest. (Exodus 33:14) Look up to God, and stop walking around with heads hang down when we are meant to mount up with wings like eagles.
So, let’s keep a close walk with the Lord, get to know Him like Moses and Paul, and others beside. Our walk can be so intimate that we would experience the truth of Christ’s words in John 8:28: “... I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.”
King Solomon’s parents have taught him well. He asked of God for the principal thing: WISDOM. James 1:5 also urges us to ask for wisdom. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peacable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)
This is the voice of wisdom calling forth from Proverbs 8:
v. 10 – 12: “Receive my INSTRUCTION, and not silver, and KNOWLEDGE rather than choice gold; for WISDOM is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. I, wisdom, dwell with PRUDENCE, and find out knowledge and DISCRETION.”
v. 18 – 21: “RICHES and HONOR are with me, ENDURING RICHES and RIGHTEOUSNESS. My FRUIT is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my REVENUE than choice silver. I traverse the way of RIGHTEOUSNESS, in the midst of the paths of JUSTICE, that I may cause those who love me to inherit WEALTH, that I may FILL THEIR TREASURIES.”
v. 35 “For whoever finds me finds LIFE, and obtains FAVOR FROM THE LORD;”
It is very tempting to ask God for more material possessions. But our life does not consist of the abundance of our possessions but of the abundance of God’s Presence and Power in us. Let’s cover the first three bases and ask for WISDOM from God rather than home-in for more material possessions outright.
As we put God ahead of our other good desires and ask for the WISDOM that is of God, our hearts will begin to learn the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. From this time forward, the fruit of wisdom will be ours to enjoy, share and give. Glory be to God for the things which His Spirit has revealed to us!
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(All Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright 1983 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.)