"Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant," penned the Psalmist in the long ago. Jehovah delights in the prosperity of the whole man. In like manner, the apostle John paid a great compliment to his brother in the Lord, Gaius, in his third epistle, when he wrote, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." Most people need to be as concerned about their spiritual prosperity as they are about their physical prosperity. But Gains was of a different sort. He was already enjoying spiritual prosperity and John's wish for him was that he would be as prosperous in a physical sense.
Could the same be said of us today as it was of the beloved Gains in the first century? Many folks would be starving of malnutrition if their physical diet was anything like their spiritual diet. In fact, some would probably be already dead from want of physical sustenance. Let us, therefore, think about some essentials to spiritual prosperity that we may grow thereby.
A Powerful Faith
To be spiritually prosperous one must have a powerful faith. The faith of the Christian is produced through the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Our faith must be in God and in Christ Jesus. Jesus said, "Except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." We must believe that God "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" in our lives. We must believe in "the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power." Then we must believe that we can accomplish anything we desire for the Lord with his help. Unfortunately the description of Jesus regarding those of his day is all too often characteristic of modern-day "Christians," "O, ye of little faith." Many who claim to be followers of Christ are cringing, cowardly creatures when it comes to working in the Lord's vineyard. When asked to do something, their standard reply is, "I can't." Our question to them is, "Where is your faith?" Our Lord said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." The first step toward spiritual prosperity is a powerful faith.
A Prevailing Prayer
We appreciate the sentiment that says, "Lord, help me to see that you aren't going to let anything come my way that you and I can't handle together." Someone else has said that we need to work as if everything depended on us and then pray as if everything depended on God!
In other words, spiritual prosperity depends on a prevailing prayer. To emphasize the importance of prayer Paul admonished the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing." Jesus commended the prayerful disposition when he spoke the parable concerning the unjust judge and said, "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Prayer is man's medium by which he can talk to God. Prayer gives us assurance and strength. In a world when so many are unconcerned and uncaring about our difficulties we have the promise of the inspired apostle Peter, "casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." Truly there is power in prayer that can bring prosperity.
A Personal Love
"Let brotherly love continue," penned the Hebrew writer. "Let love be without hypocrisy," exhorted Paul in the Roman letter. A popular song says, "what the world needs now is love sweet love . . . ." The truth that love is one of the basic principles of spiritual prosperity ought to be obvious to anyone. If we could love our brethren, our lost friends and our God with the height, depth and breadth of our soul's being, then it would not be difficult for us to do what is right in every relationship of life.
A Persistent Effort
One of the great principles for success in any endeavor is an old-fashioned stick-to-itiveness-the dogged determination that will not quit, give up or surrender under any circumstances. Such an attitude is necessary for one to be spiritually prosperous. How many Christians have begun to fight the good fight of faith, only to lose a skirmish with the Devil and quit in discouragement? Because we lose a battle does not mean we have lost the war. Robert Bruce fought the English six times and failed, but won on the seventh try. History is replete with examples of men in every facet of life who have overcome great obstacles to achieve success in their chosen field. The negative attitude which causes Christians to give up and quit or become lukewarm and indifferent is one of the greatest foes to the Kingdom of God today. Often because Christians are small in number they think there is nothing they can do. This is not true! Sigmund Romberg said:
"Give me some men who are stout-hearted men who will fight for the right they adore.Start me with ten, who are stout-hearted men and soon I'll give you ten-thousand more.
Oh! Shoulder to shoulder and bolder and bolder they grow as they go to the fore!
Then-there's nothing in the world that can halt or mar a plan,
When stout-hearted men can stick together man to man!
Dear reader, do you want to grow and become spiritually prosperous for the Lord? You can. By putting into practice these Bible-based principles, you can change your life. Determine to do so today-do not wait for your spirit to move you, move your spirit!
Truth Magazine XXI: 2, p. 18