It appears that the faith of many is dependent on their physical and material circumstances. As a result, many people call on God and cling to Him when they are sick and things are hard but forget or ignore Him when they are healthy and prosperous.
We see this every day. Many physically fit people worship their bodies as though their vitality will last forever, forgetting the God who gives them life and strength. Similarly, many rich and famous people will laugh you to scorn if you tell them of their need for a Saviour. They feel self-sufficient, reveling in pride because of their accomplishments and public adulation.
The poor, on the other hand, fill church pews and spend many hours praying (in the day time and in vigils). They attend almost every church and fellowship program, they serve tirelessly and look up to God for a breakthrough. I’m not suggesting that church activity is a very good indication of devotion to God. We may seem to be busy for God while being personally disconnected from Him. But the person so serving is obviously doing it to show his or her faithfulness to God. The sick also calls on God ceaselessly and seek prayer from many sources.
The real question is: What happens after we get the relief and elevation we seek? Do we still honor God and allow Him to pilot our lives or do we drop Him until the next crisis, health challenge or misfortune hits? Is our faith inspired by difficulty, ill health, and poverty alone or is it pure adoration of God for who He is?
Are we imagining that worshipping God is a kind of trade with which we can buy good health, easier circumstances and wealth? If these are the motivations driving our worship, we shouldn’t be surprised if we slack or abandon God completely when they are met.
We need a heart like that of King David. He loved God sincerely and wholeheartedly. He sought his help in his trials and afflictions but because he genuinely ached for God, because he admired the beauty of His holiness, because He was in awe of His majesty, he clung to God even when he was established and flourishing.
David’s heart of worship is clearly revealed in the following passages from the Psalms:
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.” – Psalm 27:4
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.” – Psalm 63:1-4
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” – Psalm 42:1-2
Why did David remain faithful while flourishing? It was because he knew God intimately. He spent quality time alone with God and saw His flawlessness, His loving kindness, and justice. He had a real relationship with God, not a business transaction without emotional commitment. That was why his conquests, his riches, his popularity and everything else could not detract him from worshipping God. Rather, they drew him closer to God because he acknowledged they all came from Him.
One good instance of this was when he, the officials of the people and army commanders of Israel offered huge sums from their personal fortunes to the project fund for the temple Solomon was to build for God. On that day, David prayed to God, in part, as follows:
“Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand, it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
“But who am I, and what are my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.” – 1 Chronicles 29:10-16 (ESV)
You need to examine your heart today. What is your motivation for serving God? Do you truly love God from your heart or are you after what you can get from God? How you answer that question will determine if you will remain faithful when you begin to flourish or your faith will be blown off like a weak flame in the wind.
My Father and my God, I give You glory today for my life and all that You do for me. Give me a heart like David, Lord, to seek and love You sincerely and wholeheartedly. Help me to worship You with all that is in me regardless of my circumstances and to be a light to those in darkness. May I never forget You because You have blessed me. Rather, guide me to grow deeper in my faith and closer to You as you uplift and decorate my life. This I pray, dear Lord, in Jesus’ name.
The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
About the author
Edith Ohaja is a Jesus-loving woman from Nigeria. She teaches Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria. Her areas of focus are writing courses and the ethics of communication.
She shares incisive faith and inspirational writing on her blog, edithohaja.com. Her belief is that the gospel and encouragement for believers can be presented creatively through witty quotes, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, in addition to the usual devotional format. In this way, many who are averse to direct preaching may be touched by God while they are reading evocative stories or rhythmic poems.
Her Facebook page is called Aunty Edith (facebook.com/auntyedith) while her twitter handles are @edithohaja1 (twitter.com/edithohaja1) and @edithsmusings (twitter.com/edithsmusings).She is also on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/edithohaja/) and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/edithohaja/).
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