Are we supposed to prosper? We sometimes feel guilty when we prosper, or worse, we feel we are unworthy to be successful at the things to which we put our hands. We appreciate the role of adversity in shaping character, but we must also live in the confidence that we can succeed and be prosperous in the things God puts in our hearts.
Should We Aspire to Live a Prosperous Life?
I was working out in the garage a few days ago thinking about the many things in my heart. Thinking about the things I want to do and try to accomplish. As I was thinking about the risks, etc. I wondered if the many things in my heart, things I believe placed there by God, would succeed. Psalm 1 came to mind.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalms 1:1-6 ESV
David writes this Psalm. He is making a statement based upon his experiences and observations.
The key to this chapter are the words, “In all that he does, he prospers.”
Prosper (defined)—to be successful or fortunate, especially in financial respects; thrive; flourish
How do we live a prosperous life? How do we make certain that the paths we follow and the choice we make lead us to the right place.
(In the podcast we relate a story of a decision we made to see the Matterhorn at (Timestamp: [8:28]). This story relates the freedom we have to choose the things in our hearts.)
Fear holds us back and we seek the certainty of the right path, the right direction, the right choices.
How do we live the kind of life where it can be said of us, “everything he or she does prospers!”?
Here is the negative progression…
- Do not WALK in the counsel of the wicked.
- Do not STAND in the way of sinners.
- Do not SIT in the seat of scoffers (mockers)
[12:25] Do not WALK in the counsel of the wicked. This is seeking and embracing life advice from those without a Christ-center. Consider your source. We can find wisdom in a lot of places, but we must dedicate ourselves to God’s way. I may learn from those with different values and motivations, but I do not seek or depend upon their counsel for the way I live my life.
[13:17] Do not STAND in the way of sinners. This is conforming to the ways of those who are living life for themselves rather than the Christ-life. You begin to live life for yourself. We sing, “My life is not my own, to you I belong, I give myself to You.” We used to sing, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust him, daily in his Presence live.”
[13:46] Do not SIT in the seat of mockers. Sitting is anchoring ourselves in the values of those who are critical of God, critical of our faith, critical of God’s ways. When you sit in the seat of mockers, you have become a mocker. You have become one of the “wicked”.
- WALKING in the COUNSEL of the wicked… then we
- STAND in the WAY of sinners… then we
- SIT in the seat of mockers… we become one.
“The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
What does a prosperous life look like?
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
Living a life described in this way…
- Planted by streams of water
- Yields fruit in its season
- Leaf does not wither
- All that he does prospers
In the first Psalm, David observed the difference between those who follow the counsel and path of God and those who follow the path of the mockers.
I have observed the same differences.
The differences are not readily apparent, but they lead to different places.
- The diversity of the paths grows further and further apart the longer you live.
- A rocket off course just a degree will will miss the moon my 10,000s of miles.
- A golfer lined up a couple of inches off will miss their mark by dozens of yards.
- This is about the trajectory of the path of your life.
Two Things Necessary For Living a Prosperous Life [18:09]
“…his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
#1… Delight Yourself in the law of the Lord [18:35]
Delight (Defined)—a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalms 37:4-5 ESV
Again, these are NOT ethereal comments, these are observations. I concur with these observations.
If your “devotions” or prayer time, is as enjoyable as going to the dentist, you’re doing something wrong.
It is only when you find your delight in him, and in his ways that you will find the desires of your heart.
- The desires of your heart will align with the desires of God’s heart.
- Jesus speaks of crucifixion.
- Jesus teaches us to follow him we must give up our own life.
- To follow Jesus means trusting that his way is superior to our ways.
- Following Jesus is embracing God’s way in the believe that God’s vision for our lives will be fulfilled.
- Accepting God’s plan for our life is embracing the belief that…
THIS is how I can get on a train and step into a new adventure… I SIMPLY BELIEVE GOD IS GUIDING MY LIFE BECAUSE I DELIGHT IN HIM.
#2 — Stop Being Afraid of Success [23:31]
Can I TRUST God? Do I have a feeling that God wants to punish me and not prosper me! Do I feel I deserve to be punished? This is why the wicked prosper when then righteous do not sometimes. They are mockers, they don’t see themselves as being punished, they release themselves to the possibilities… Us? We cower and fear because we are afraid to step over the line because we do not live in the assurance of God’s plan for our lives.
I was unintentionally and inadvertently programmed to expect the worst, to expect doom, that I had better repent every chance I get because I am barely going to satisfy the desires of a just God.No…I delight in Abba! He delights in me.
- When Jesus came walking on the water to a boat of terrified disciples his message was “fear not, for I am with you.”
- Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
- “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalms 34:4-5 ESV
- “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” Psalms 34:7 ESV
Our problem is we have a misplaced fear.
Calibration Points… Calibrating Our Lives and Lifting Those We Love and Lead [29:14]
- Before you can go for something you have to know what it looks like. What does prosperity look like to you? What does “prosperity” mean? Vision must be articulated and clear.
- When do you feel most creative? What sparks or stirs your creativity? How must you arrange your life to encourage God’s creativity to flow through you?
- How do you find “delight in the Lord?” What does that look like to you? When does your spiritual connect feel like drudgery? When does it feel like delight? What does this observation between drudgery and delight tell you about how you should manage your routines and disciplines?
- In episode 036 we discussed the scripts that run in our heads. In light of this discussion, what about your thinking and the way you think needs to change?
- What do you fear? Is it a reasonable concern or is it irrational? How must you mitigate this fear to keep it from holding you back.
Here is a desirable vision for life: A life described in this way…
- I am as a tree planted by streams of water
- I am as a tree that yields fruit in its season
- I am as a tree whose leaf does not wither in times of drought because I abide in my source.
- All that such and individual does prospers… really!
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