After Paul’s conversion, he dove fully into the cause of Christ. Because of his education and sharp mind, he could have been very successful from a worldly perspective. Like Moses, Paul chose to suffer with God’s faithful children and for the sake of Christ. He suffered beatings, stoning, prison, shipwreck, hunger, cold, and more as recorded in 2 Corinthians 11:24-33. How was he able to endure all of this?
Read Romans 8:16-18. How was the knowledge that he was a child of God a factor in his faithfulness?
The value Paul placed on the reward of the faithful is what kept him excited about suffering for Christ. He wrote from prison: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, , NKJV).
Read 1 Timothy 6:6-12, which we have looked at already but is worth coming back to. What is the crucial message in these verses, especially for us as Christians?
From the biblical perspective, prosperity is having what you need when you need it. It is not the accumulation of possessions. Prosperity is also claiming the promise of God in Philippians 4:19: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Finally, prosperity is to be thankful for what you have in the Lord and trust in Him in all things.
God does not promise His children that they will all be rich in this world’s goods. In fact, He says that all who live godly lives shall suffer persecution. What He does offer is better than any worldly wealth. He says, “I will supply your needs, and wherever you go I will be with you.” Then in the end He will give His faithful ones true wealth and responsibility and eternal life. What an awesome reward!
Near the end of his life Paul was able to say, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). May we all, through God’s grace, be able to say the same thing, and with the same assurance as well.
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