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One of the needs of our hearts is to know that God’s favor is going with us. We can put our hand to the plow of our life’s work for a season, but our heart is always asking the question, “Is God really in this?” Instead of quieting that question, we should turn it into prayer, and ask the Lord to confirm our pathway with some evidence of His favor. Moses did:
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Ex 33:15-16 NIV
Wind at your back – The sense of God’s favor is simply that our life is working financially and spiritually, and that we are really going somewhere. We can go through seasons in the wilderness to confirm our faithfulness to a path, but our hearts are not designed to function outside the presence of God. That has to be a constant – and it can be. Life is not a contest to see how far we can get without God. Quite the opposite, our spiritual vitality and fruit are born in the time we spend with Jesus.
The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Gen 39:2-4 NIV
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:7-8 NIV
The message and the miracles – The gospel of the Kingdom carries a miraculous ingredient. It always has. Jesus and his disciples never ministered this good news apart from the presence of signs and wonders. As we read the gospels and Acts, all the examples include some miraculous gift. That’s the norm for today as well. The way others see Jesus in us is by simply observing His presence in the miraculous, feeling His love through us and in the works we undertake. His presence and our love can be felt, and the miraculous can be seen, and the works can be shared.
So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. Acts 14:3 NIV
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matt 5:16 NIV
Grace – It’s at approximately this stage of the story that most of us look at our lives and offer a silent protest, “I know this should be true in my life, but there aren’t any miracles, I don’t love people all that much, and my finances aren’t working.” I have a secret to share with you. Every believer in every corner of the earth wakes up every morning with that same realization… “Apart from me you can do nothing.” No one has discovered a way to be a Christian without Christ – welcome to the club! Thank God for this sense of inadequacy; the greatest deception is self-sufficiency.
Two Paths – I can wake up every morning with my sense of inadequacy and know that “I” will never be enough, or I can wake up and realize that His grace is working in my life so that God’s part and my part together are always enough. That’s just trusting that God’s part will show up whenever needed, being consistent in doing my part, and staying in His presence with an expectation of faith. The miracles show up as we continue down the path. We can’t wait for them in the sense of time; “waiting on God” is more like being a waiter in a restaurant of worship. We are continually serving Him with our praise and thanksgiving. We expect to be overwhelmed with His goodness and mercy… as we work. The miracles come through our hands because His power is at work within us! The miraculous doesn’t just fall out of heaven sporadically; it happens as we move, do our work and call on it.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:10 NIV
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20-21 NIV
Finances – Many believers have grasped these truths for the miraculous as applied to things like the prophetic and healing. God works through us and signs and wonders follow those who step out and expect them and call for them. There is a certain authority and confidence that comes with working in the presence of God. In a very real sense we learn to work with Him.
It’s also true that we have not generally learned how to apply these same principles to finances. Christians are very prone to being passive in this area (expecting sporadic miracles) instead of “moving” with God’s Spirit in some level of confidence and authority in reliance on His grace and goodness. The promises are just as real… “Abundance” so that every need is met, our cup is still running over, and we are always operating from a position of generosity toward others, always a giver or a lender, never a borrower.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Cor 8:9 NIV
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor 9:8 NIV
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Cor 9:10-11 NIV
Wisdom – It’s wise to spend time with the Lord and understand His part. It’s wise to step out and boldly do our part. Have a plan and allow God to speak into it, guide it and adjust it. But, if you have no plan and no direction, it follows that you will have no miracles and no finances. God’s favor on our lives shows itself in initiative. God is with those who “go.”
Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh 1:8-9 NIV
Learning to create wealth is a spiritual discipline that starts when you try. That means wisdom, creativity, work and a business plan. Miraculous gifts have roots in revelation and are often instantaneous. Wealth has roots in wisdom and is created with diligence over time. Miraculous provisions and instantaneous wealth creation are usually a faith formula for fraud and poverty.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Prov 21:5 NIV