I apologize for being so sporadic not too long ago with the Closer to Christ blogs. I’ve been so embroiled in a ebook launch and such a heavy talking schedule this fall (it’s just like the post-Covid dam has damaged and I’m on the street greater than ever). This week we’re taking a break from William Law’s ebook abstract, as a result of I wish to characteristic an incredible part from John Owen (1616-1683) and his basic ebook Of Temptation: The Nature and Power of It. This part stopped me chilly this morning and jogged my memory of why I like spending time within the Christian classics. The “prosperity Gospel” was, and in some locations, nonetheless is all the fashion on tv. Yet John Owen explains how prosperity is notably harmful for believers. What follows is all him, with a couple of abridgements (he writes in an outdated type).
“A season of unusual outward prosperity is usually accompanied with an hour of temptation. Prosperity and temptation go together; yea, prosperity is a temptation, many temptations, and that because without eminent supplies of grace it is apt to cast a soul into a frame and temper exposed to any temptation, and provides it with fuel and food for all. It has provision for lust and darts for Satan.”
“The wise man tells us that the ‘prosperity of fools destroys them’ (Prov. 1:32). It hardens them in their way, makes them despise instructions, and puts the evil day (whose terror should influence them into moral improvement) far from them. Without a special assistance, it has an inconceivably malignant influence on believers themselves. Hence Agur prays against riches because of the temptation that attends them: ‘Lest,’ says he, ‘I be full and deny you, and say, Who is the Lord?’ (Prov. 30:8-9)—lest, being filled with them, he should forget the Lord; as God complains that his people did (Hosea 13:6)…”
“As, then, unto a prosperous condition. I shall not contradict Solomon’s counsel, ‘In the day of prosperity rejoice’ (Ecc. 7:14). Rejoice in the God of your mercies who does you good in his patience and forbearance, notwithstanding all your unworthiness. Yet I may add to it, from the same foundation of wisdom, ‘Consider,’ also, lest evil lie at the door. A man in that state is in the midst of snares. Satan has many advantages against him; he forges darts out of all his enjoyments; and, if he watch not, he will be entangled before he is aware.”
“You want that which should poise and ballast your heart. Formality in religion will be apt to creep upon you; and that lays the soul open to all temptations in their full power and strength. Satisfaction and delight in creature-comforts, the poison of the soul, will be apt to grow upon you. In such a time be vigilant, be circumspect (attentive and cautious) or you will be surprised. Job says that in his affliction ‘God made his heart soft’ (Job 23:16). There is a hardness, an uncomprehending lack of spiritual sense, gathered in prosperity, that, if not watched against, will expose the heart to the deceits of sin and baits of Satan. ‘Watch and pray’ in this season. Many men’s negligence in it has cost them dear; their woeful experience cries out to take heed. Blessed is he that fears always, but especially in a time of prosperity.”
So, it’s not a sin to be affluent; simply acknowledge that it’s a heavy non secular problem as a lot as it’s an earthly blessing. If you’d wish to learn this ebook in its entirety and for your self (which might be an excellent factor to do), I extremely advocate the version edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor, HERE. (Gary Thomas is a participant within the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Church Source Affiliates Program, promoting applications designed to offer a way for Gary to earn charges by personalized hyperlinks to those websites.) They’ve achieved a wonderful job making this ebook extra accessible to trendy readers.