That’s right, you’re not in this alone. Though the road may be tough, you have the greatest power in the universe on your side. And He promises that we will succeed with money, as long as we do things His way.
Sometimes we like to think about money, success and wealth as mysterious forces that bless some humans and curse others at random. But scripture makes it clear that this is not the case. Prosperity is actually a fruit of righteousness. If we do things the right way, we can count on succeeding, because that’s the way that God has designed things to work.
Let’s dive right in to the Bible and begin working on these concepts. There are plenty of places to find these ideas, but we’re going to start in Proverbs 13:21:
Trouble pursues the sinner,
but the righteous are rewarded with good things.
This verse doesn’t deal explicitly with money (we’ll examine some that do in upcoming articles), but it lays a foundation that helps us to understand the way that our behaviors influence our circumstances. The teaching here is pretty simple, and it presents us with two key ideas: 1) Sin gets us into trouble; and 2) Righteousness brings us good things as a reward.
The reason that this proverb is important is that it helps us to do away with that faulty notion that success and failure are random functions of the universe beyond our control. There are some things that we can absolutely count on. If we misbehave, take advantage of people, lie, cheat and steal, we can be certain that it’s going to lead to trouble. Sin may feel good for a while, and it may even seem to pay off… but only for a time. Eventually, sin always catches up with us in the form of trouble. We always reap what we sow.
Righteousness, on the other hand, will ultimately bring us success. Doing the right thing doesn’t always feel good, and it doesn’t always seem like the thing to do if you want to get ahead in life. But God says that righteousness is exactly the thing to do if you want to get ahead in life, because “the righteous are rewarded with good things.”
As I have grown in my Christian walk, this has been one of the most profound truths that I have come to realize. When I see someone in truly terrible circumstances, I can also see the path of sin that helped bring those troubles on. On the other hand, the people that I know who enjoy truly blessed lives are also the ones who walk upright. Perhaps this seems simple to you; for me, it has been a breakthrough.
Here’s where this idea takes us: We don’t really need to worry about money and success (worry, after all is one of the ways that we become slaves to money). What we need to focus on is living the right way. We need to work hard to stay in right relationship with God, to keep His commandments, and to treat other people with His love. It’s amazing how much trouble we can avoid by living righteously and treating people well. And when we avoid the trouble that sin brings, we get to enjoy the blessing and prosperity that God wants to give us. After all, He is a good father, who knows how to give good gifts to His children (Matt. 7:11).
This truth applies to life in general, and it also applies to financial life in particular. Bad habits like overspending, borrowing or hoarding eventually get us into a lot of trouble with money, and can even make us slaves. On the other hand, good habits like budgeting, saving, tithing and giving help us to stay out of trouble, and set us up to succeed in the long term. You may not realize that each little good decision you make is helping you to be successful. But in the end, the sum of all these righteous behaviors and wise practices is a prosperous life.
The Bible has a lot more to say about prosperity, and we’ll examine some of these things in future articles. We’ll also look at some of the ways that Christians get confused about prosperity and the role that it plays in their faith. But for today, I hope you’ll embrace this idea: God wants you to prosper, because he wants you to live right. And prosperity is a fruit of righteousness.
Photo by Mari Smith. Used under Creative Commons License.