This week, Pastor James concluded our I AM message series with his message, I Am Prosperous, in which he challenges the very definition of what it means to live in prosperity. Prosperity is defined as being successful in material forms – or the state of having an abundant source of finances. However, Pastor James challenges us this week by suggesting the material success we obtain is actually a byproduct of our spiritual prosperity – or the process of one’s soul being transformed by their spirit, culminating in a change of his or her actions. In Pastor James’ message, he reveals God’s intention is for us to walk in the world’s definition of prosperity, while equipping us to see our true prosperity is a position of the soul prior to the physical manifestation of material success.
Pastor James’ definition of prosperity finds its foundation in the sanctification process – the process of the Holy Spirit transforming our soul (mind, will and emotions) into a representation of God’s nature. When we accept Christ into our hearts, the Holy Spirit enters our spirit and makes its fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) accessible to our souls, ultimately taking shape in our hearts (Galatians 5:22,23). Prosperity is the outward reflection of our heart taking shape of God’s. Yet, the process of our souls reflecting God’s peace, love and mercy is one that must be intentionally chosen. The conflict between our souls and the process of prosperity is revealed in that we are a product of a fast-food, two day shipping, drive thru speed of service consumer driven culture. Our desire for wealth comes before the desire for transformation.
God wants to turn all things together for our good, but He often uses – and enjoys using – the uncomfortable situations of our lives to lead us into our blessings (Romans 8:28). God uses the lost battles of our lives to increase our ability to withstand more, so He can win the war alongside us. However, just as Paul resisted what God wanted to do in order to lead him towards the grace of Christ, we often avoid our struggles and isolate ourselves from the ones who speak truth in love into our circumstances with the intention of our growth (Acts 26:14). In our fast food mentality, we begin focusing on the blessing and not the blesser, believing our jobs, bank accounts, and houses will satisfy our souls. We miss the truth that regardless of how many full bathrooms our house has, only God can satisfy our souls.
To walk in true prosperity we must first make the decision to focus on the blesser, making God our ultimate treasure, for where the treasure of a man is so is his heart (Matthew 6:21). When we fix our gaze upon God and spend time in His presence, our souls are no longer filled with money and success but with the Spirit of God. His nature quickly becomes automatic in our actions, as we are lead by the Spirit and not our circumstances. In this, our confidence carries into the uncomfortable situations of our lives, stretching us to endure more so we can give more. When we allow God’s Spirit to take hold of our souls, we naturally become prosperous as we take on God’s kindness and heart to be a blessing to those around us; as we become a blessing God gives us more than we need so we can continue to be a blessing.
How would you define prosperity?
Do you honestly believe that God wants to prosper you in all situations?
Have you ever/do you tend to focus on your circumstances instead of God in the trials of your life?
What may cause you to feel the need to control your circumstances rather than turn towards God?
What is the treasure of your heart?
How can you allow the Spirit of God to transform your heart on a daily basis?
How can you be a blessing in your current situation?
Thank God for being Jehovah Jireh, your provider, knowing that He will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory. Ask the Holy Spirit to penetrate the parts of your heart that have yet to be transformed into His glorious nature. Thank the Holy Spirit for leading you in every moment of every day. Ask God for the strength and courage to face your giants. Pray God would heighten your awareness for the moments of your life where you can be a blessing. Thank God that He wants to use you to be a blessing.
Encourage your group to continue to see themselves as God does. Encourage them to embrace the process and remember that it does not happen overnight. Share ways your group has blessed you to encourage them no matter how small an act may be it can still touch the heart of another. Lead your group to scripture that reinforces God is their provider and has all they need set before them in heavenly places.