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The Way Of The Yielded Heart
It seems to me that God makes use of all kinds of persecutions to test our hearts in the matter of our affections. If our hearts are attached to worldly things - wealth, reputation, the affections of men and a multitude of other earthly comforts, then our reward is here. But if by the proving of various persecutions we gladly suffer the loss of all things, then it is evident that our real affections are in things not of this world. Our claim to the eternal and true riches promised in the after-life is affirmed by our loss of the counterfeits offered by the first. We suffer loss of the first to prove our love of the second. We suffer loss of the temporal to gain the eternal. We lose but a day to gain eternity. "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."
Our brief time on the earth is for the examination of the soul. It is here that we choose for ourselves a place in the realm of eternity. Pity the poor soul who only sees the present day, and spends his life for the things designed only for the testing of his suitability for the next.
I do believe in prosperity. I believe the gospel is a "good news" gospel. But I believe we should "seek first the kingdom of God" in all that we do. I would rather seek the face of God than the hand of God. I believe the promise of prosperity has a purpose of testing the hearts of those who seek it. For "those who desire to be rich" such gain may prove to be to their eternal loss, and pierce their hearts with many sorrows. For those to whom the riches of this earth mean nothing yet to whom such riches come, "fearing God they shall come forth with both of them."
"Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them." If, in the Providence of God they fall your way, your stewardship of it will be required on the day when the hearts of all men are made known. But not having sought after it, the heart is still pure of its gain, and so suffers no loss in eternity for having had its earthly benefit. But those who seek after such things betray the true motive of the heart, and their loss in heaven will be in proportion to their treasure laid up elsewhere. As the first book of Timothy says, "those who desire to be rich fall into temptation ( they fail the exam )..... they have strayed from the faith ( missed the point of being here ) ...... and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." ... if not in this life, certainly the next.
That is why Paul could say in Phillipians chapter 3, "I have suffered the loss of all things. ...what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ." Whatever we gain in this life, whether it be reputation, fame and fortune, comfort, possession and power, whatever we have in this life, we must hold them loosely with a yielded heart, if we are to lay hold of that which is eternal.