I am constantly battling the balance of the prosperity or the world and of the soul. I have often noted that the two are not always equal. In fact, they are typically one or the other. As sinners, we long for the prosperity found in the world. But, as born again, we desire the prosperity of the soul – namely, knowing and growing in the Lord. For this view, I have suffered much opposition – even from those of the faith who say that both are equal in the Christian life since God blesses those whom He loves.
A puritan wrote about this and worded his prayer in such a way that I would word. For this reason, a notation is required. See that he does not condemn the prosperity of the world. But if this prosperity makes him forget God, he does. Therefore, and in his mind as in mine, the prosperity of the world is not first and foremost. In fact, it is not second or third. It is no matter. However, if it brings forgetfulness, it is evil to the Christian. One might say that worldly prosperity is amoral until it causes us to sin. Then it is quite evil.
“May I seek first thy kingdom and its righteousness. May I value things in relation to eternity. May my spiritual welfare be my chief solicitude. May I be poor, afflicted, despised and have thy blessing, rather than be successful in enterprise or have more than my heart can wish, or be admired by my fellow-men, if thereby these things make me forget thee. May regard the world as dreams, lies, vanities, vexation of spirit, and desire to depart from it. And my I seek my happiness in thy favour, image, presence, service.”1
Taken from a note made in The Preacher’s Library.
- “Desires.” The Valley of Vision: a Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. Ed. Arthur Bennett. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002. 195. Print.