Monday, September 8, 2014

Fame and Fortune

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV).

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV).

In previous articles (refer to The Love of Money and Prosperity Teachers), we wrote quite extensively on the deceitfulness of riches and worldliness. In this article however, we will be brief.

Word of Encouragement

As Christians, often the thought of giving up on our faith arrests us, and when this strikes us, we can hibernate into lukewarm mode. Our mood becomes sombre and we don’t ‘feel’ God. We often blame God for not answering our prayers and we want to avoid all contact with other Christians. If that is where you find yourself today, my brother or sister, jump out of that cycle of defeat. Your faith is dying, and soon wicked carnal desires will prowl on you like a bandit to possess you and gradually lower from being a friend of God to an enemy of God (Romans 5:10). The Bible warns us to “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Therefore, faith in Christ operates by willpower and faith is consolidated by the Word of God. When we feed on the Word of God daily, we will not lack the spirit to stay active in fruit-bearing and obedience to the Lord. The Word keeps our focus on Christ and the Word also serves as a critical guard against our own carnal thoughts, thus ensuring victory against internal struggles and other schemes of the enemy (Ephesians 6:11).

So then, the Word within conquers the seeds of doubt, discouragement and rebellion, and active faith triumphs over trials and worldly desires. Words of inspiration may seem encouraging when we are downcast and in need of uplifting; but Words of faith rooted in Christ have fruit-bearing seeds like hope, faith and love are more helpful (Galatians 5:22-23). I encourage you, the Lord is FAITHFUL and His love for us never diminishes despite our mistakes! (Lamentations 3:22). So, fight to win the war against faithless feelings: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12), so that in the end you can boldly declare in agreement with the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Losing Your Soul to Please Man

“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:25 NKJV).

When we grew up, we were taught that the sky was the limit, and we should dream big and follow our hearts. Our appetite for attention, adoration, and an oversupply of worldly possessions serves as an incentive to realize our goal. Egotistically, everybody loves good things and attention from others, no matter how humble our attitudes. In other words, our glory is displayed through the things we have and the attention we command from others. Brethren, please don't get me wrong; fame and fortune may be acquired legally, and we have no objection to that. What we warn you against is this:
  • Have you not been told that those who amass wealth and attention to themselves are in danger of Hell fire? (Acts 17:22-31; Isaiah 42:8).
  • Have you not heard that the world and everything in it belongs to God, and that your fame and wealth will testify against you? (Psalm 24:1; James 5:6).
  • Was it not told you that the pursuit of fame and fortune is vanity and the greed demon is your god? (Ecclesiastes 5:10; Matthew 6:24).
  • Are you not aware that you should use your riches to serve God and not yourselves? (1 Timothy 6:17; Matthew 19:21).
  • Has your position in this world turned you into a "wonder" or are you being idolized by others? If so, you are in a race competing against truly abundant and everlasting life; only the humble and lowly, i.e. those of no reputation, will have a heritage in Christ (Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5; Philippians 2:5-11).
Strengthen your Heavenly position by pointing your followers to Christ. Pray and ask the Lord for wisdom, and use your wealth to bring glory to Him for the salvation of souls (Luke 16:9). Don't compete for attention from others, but serve God with an obedient heart and a humble attitude; this promises treasure in Heaven (Matthew 23:12).

Unfortunately, today’s society has created a very high demand for fame and fortune. Sadly, the enemy is winning the war against the human soul (Galatians 5:17) and giving people a false sense of self-importance and a desire to make a name for themselves – “self”, for example as in “selfie”, has become the new focus. Today’s Internet-driven technology guarantees almost overnight fame, attention and sometimes fortune. Many voices are going up the airwaves and telecommunication lines encouraging us to pursue our dreams and allow no one, including God, to stop us from reaching our potential.

I know this message is going to offend the brethren who have their eyes on the pursuit of fame and fortune in this world. Their motive is not just to work for a living, but to imitate other worldly and “successful” people before them. In Jesus name, our message is not to encourage you to become rich according to the standard of this world (1 Timothy 6:17); we are sent to you to warn you about the dangers associated with the pursuit of riches. The Lord Jesus Himself warned: "… Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:23-24 NIV).

There are two kinds of rich and famous people: some are proud, controlling, arrogant and abusive, while others portray a down-to-earth attitude and act as friends or champions of the poor; however, they are both possessed by the same spirit of greed and self-importance. Furthermore, most famous and rich people use their status in society to negatively influence the actions of others.

Last year August the Lord showed Charis in a vision that a world-famous person would be dying and going to hell. This individual, like many other famous people who served their own honour and did not fear or reverence God, is being celebrated for his achievements outside Christ. When we draw attention to ourselves or some organisation we stand condemned (Luke 6:26), just like Herod (Acts 12:21-23). Furthermore, the Bible says: “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19).

Finally, if we serve the Lord and use His name to make a name for ourselves and for self-enrichment, we stand to lose our souls. I once attended a service at my previous church and our pastor invited a young pastor over to minister the word of God to us. I liked his preaching, but he was in the habit of elevating himself by mentioning the things he had and who among worldly, world famous pastors and bishops he had met. This kind of pursuit of fame and fortune is VANITY! Our motive in service should never be to seek honour for ourselves, but for Christ. Indeed, “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool” (Proverbs 19:1).

Warning Against Misplaced Trust in Wealth

As an encouragement, the Lord commanded that you read Psalm 49:1-20 (HCSB is quoted below):
1 Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who inhabit the world,2 both low and high, rich and poor together.3 My mouth speaks wisdom; my heart’s meditation brings understanding.4 I turn my ear to a proverb; I explain my riddle with a lyre.5 Why should I fear in times of trouble? The iniquity of my foes surrounds me.6 They trust in their wealth and boast of their abundant riches.7 Yet these cannot redeem a person or pay his ransom to God—8 since the price of redeeming him is too costly, one should forever stop trying—9 so that he may live forever and not see the Pit.10 For one can see that wise men die; foolish and stupid men also pass away. Then they leave their wealth to others.11 Their graves are their eternal homes, their homes from generation to generation, though they have named estates after themselves. 
12 But despite his assets, man will not last; he is like the animals that perish.13 This is the way of those who are arrogant, and of their followers, who approve of their words. Selah. 14 Like sheep they are headed for Sheol; Death will shepherd them. The upright will rule over them in the morning, and their form will waste away in Sheol, far from their lofty abode.15 But God will redeem my life from the power of Sheol, for He will take me. Selah 
16 Do not be afraid when a man gets rich, when the wealth of his house increases.17 For when he dies, he will take nothing at all; his wealth will not follow him down.18 Though he praises himself during his lifetime— and people praise you when you do well for yourself—19 he will go to the generation of his fathers; they will never see the light.20 A man with valuable possessions but without understanding is like the animals that perish.
Have you been in pursuit of recognition, wealth, accolades, positions, and titles in the world? Have you neglected to seek and spend time with the only wise God who can save your soul? If so, please repent and begin seeking Him today. Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Grace in humble service,
Brother Glenn.