According to Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer, peace and prosperity are the two preeminent values of American Christians. As believers many of us seem to believe God to be the “Omniscient Bellhop” Who roams heaven, anxiously waiting to respond to our every whim.
If you doubt your concern over personal peace and prosperity, analyze the content of your prayers these past two weeks. What percentage of them focused on your personal well-being and what percentage were spent agonizing over the winning of the lost or the maturing of the saved?
But did not Jesus promise us PEACE? “My peace I give to you… These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace… ” (John 14:27; 16:33)
How then do Jesus’ (and Paul’s) other statements fit in with our near obsession for personal well-being:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth… but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)
“We are afflicted in every way… perplexed… struck down… always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus… ” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
Following Jesus means entering Satan’s territory and attacking his strongholds. And that may spell the sacrificing of our personal comfort: Running the risk of trauma over peace; poverty over prosperity.
If you question this to be true:
- Stand up for morality in your neighborhood or at the office. Openly question the rightness of soft porn or abortion.
- Speak out at the office for ethical business practices that if implemented, introduce the real possibility of cutting into personal and corporate profits.
Could it be that at the moment we become openly identified with Christ and His values, we will begin to understand Paul’s unsettling statement, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12). Hardly a recipe for personal peace and prosperity!