Does Where We Live Affect Our Walk With God?

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walk with God

Does where we live affect our walk with God?  Can the prosperity or poverty level of the country we live in impact our relationship with God?

Something that I read yesterday has consumed my thoughts and I can’t seem to shake it. It has definitely given me much food for thought.

‘One time my father, a national leader in a Pentecostal denomination in America, was talking with this pastor. He knew that this pastor lived in horrible poverty in Ethiopia, and he made the mistake of showing a little bit of what he thought would be gracious sympathy. He told this Ethiopian pastor, “Brother, we pray for you in your poverty”.
This humble man turned to my father and said, “No, you don’t understand. We pray for you in your prosperity.” That took my father aback, but the Ethiopian pastor explained, “We pray for you Americans because it is much harder for you to live at the place God wants you to live in the midst of prosperity, than it is for us in the midst of our poverty.’ [pg 29 The God Chasers by Tommy Tenney]

As I began to digest this conversation, I began to realize just how much America has been blessed. Of course, we have many who live in poverty in our great nation….but even our poverty doesn’t compare to those in need in 3rd world countries. Americans find themselves trying to ‘help‘ those in other countries because we want to try to give them what we have available to us, even if it is just a little.
It amazed me that this Pastor felt the need to pray for us….what do they see about us that we cannot, or refuse, to see? He made mention that it is much harder for us to LIVE AT THE PLACE GOD WANTS US TO LIVE in the midst of prosperity….so where is that place exactly? Scripture clearly tells us of ‘that’ place.

salvation

Let’s first answer the question of WHY do we want to be in THAT place….when a Christian talks about salvation, what specifically are we being saved from?

Romans 1:18Romans 1:18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  

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For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

When we accept Jesus Christ as our LORD and Saviour, we are being saved from the wrath of God that will someday reign down on this earth and those who remain here [Isaiah 26:11Isaiah 26:11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them. at...: or, toward thy people  

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, Ezekiel 25:17Ezekiel 25:17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them. great vengeance: Heb. great vengeances  

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]
It is common knowledge that there are many gods of this world….so how do we know that OUR God is the real God? This is a deep discussion, but for time sake, my answer is that my Bible tells me so.

Romans 3:23-26Romans 3:23-26
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; set forth: or, foreordained remission: or, passing over 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  

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23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

We can follow the scripture that tells us what we are being saved from and Who is doing the saving…now it is a matter of whether you believe what the Bible tells us or not. If so, then there is more work to be done.

accept believe and confess

Romans 10:9-11Romans 10:9-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  

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9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

We must first ACCEPT and CONFESS that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in our hearts that he died and arose again to provide us with our salvation.

Mark 12:29-31Mark 12:29-31
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  

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29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

God wants us, ALL of us! Every part of our being belongs to God. Secondly, He wants to rid us of our hatred, anger, doubt, fears and pride and replace it with His love and compassion. Basically, God should be coming first in our life before anything else, and we should LOVE Him as well as loving all others. How many times do we allow emotions to dictate how we treat others instead of loving and showing compassion? Do we put God first throughout our day and night, or are we just giving Him ‘crumbs’ of our time?
For some, this is very difficult to do. They want to be in control of their own life and are not willing to submit themselves to God and allow Him to direct their paths in life.

believe

Romans 8:6-8Romans 8:6-8
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. to be carnally...: Gr. the minding of the flesh to be spiritually...: Gr. the minding of the Spirit 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. the carnal...: Gr. the minding of the flesh 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  

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6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

How can someone who lives a life of the flesh also live a spiritual life with God? Can it be done? No, it cannot. That is plainly scriptural! Are American Christians trying to live the best of both worlds? Are we satisfied and content with our basic needs being met, or do we continuously strive to have more? Why do we feel the need to have more? Is it because it brings social status and recognition to our lives? If we, as Christians, as living our life to do and say all for the Glory of God, then why should we desire social status and recognition? If we believe that God is in control and that all that we have come from Him, why do we have this desire to be seen; to be noticed in this world?

trust

Proverbs 3:5-7Proverbs 3:5-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.  

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5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

God wants our TRUST. He wants us to acknowledge Him in everything in our life and turn to Him for our solutions. How many times do we allow our pride to take precedence in our life, leading us to try to solve problems or issues on our own? Do we lean on God for all of our needs, or just when something dire happens in our life? Are we guilty of putting God ‘on the back burner’ until we ‘think’ that we need Him? Do we seek God only in times that we need comfort, or is He at the forefront of our life during the good times as well as the bad? In other words, are we thankful for everything in our life or do we just spend time with God when we ‘think’ that we need something?

faith

Romans 10:17Romans 10:17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  

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So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

What is FAITH? Hebrews 11:1Hebrews 11:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. substance: or, ground, or, confidence  

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says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So, it is believing and trusting in someone that is not physically seen. How do we develop faith? By believing, trusting, and hearing the word of God. Many Christians go to church each week, hear a sermon, and are satisfied with this as their Bible collects dust as it rests on a book shelf. The Bible is like an introduction book to God and our instruction book for life….why would we NOT want to read it daily and study it in depth? As we eat and drink daily to feed our physical body, why do not have as much zeal to feed our spiritual self? If you believe that a ‘once a week’ sermon is going to get it for you, Satan has you truly deceived.
Let’s look at it this way….if you know someone, but you don’t take the time to get to really know them, what kind of relationship is that? Is that person a good friend or just an acquaintance? God doesn’t want to just be an acquaintance to us….He wants a deep, personal, intimate relationship with each of His children. What other way to get to know Him on that level but to study His Word? It is through His Word and prayer that He speaks to us. This is where He reveals many marvels to us. Why would we not want that experience in our life?

Is all of this enough? There is one very important act that we must accept and that is of confessing our sins and repenting from our old ways.

Acts 3:19Acts 3:19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;  

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Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

1 John 1:91 John 1:9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

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If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Luke 13:3Luke 13:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  

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I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Wow! That is all pretty clear, no?

Now, of course, this is not a check list, but more so coincides together. Many will say “Hey! I’m a good person…I go to church and try to do good things for others. Surely, I’ll go to heaven”.

Ephesians 2:8-9Ephesians 2:8-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  

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8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Titus 3:5-6Titus 3:5-6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; abundantly: Gr. richly  

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5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly though Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Jesus

We can clearly see that it is not OUR WORKS that give us our Salvation, but only through Jesus Christ may we obtain eternal life in heaven.

In a nutshell, we have see why we need to be saved, and what we are being saved from. We have seen that in order to be saved, we must accept, confess, and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. We must submit ourselves to God, placing Him first and foremost in our life. We must put ourselves aside and allow God to fill our souls with love and compassion. We must trust God wholeheartedly. We must confess our sins and repent of our old ways of living. We must grow in our faith by reading and studying the Word of God. And we see that in doing all of this, we develop and nurture a deep and personal relationship with God.

Reflecting back to the conversation I shared between the two Pastors, I can understand what the Pastor from Ethiopia was referring to. When I think of all the hustle and bustle we, as Americans, live in each day with all of our prosperity I can see how God could come second to everything we ‘think’ we need to do in our day. We fill our days with ‘to-do’ lists that consume the majority of our time, leaving so little time at the end of the day for God. When we consider the routine of our day, how much time do we truly dedicate to worship and praise, to prayer, to reading and studying the Word of God? How much time do we spend with God each day, developing and nurturing our relationship with Him? As an American, I believe that we have become a greedy nation….not only wanting more, but expecting more….but what do we want more of? Do we want more of God in our life or are we seeking more of material things? What is it exactly that we are wanting more of?

In writing today, this has been more of a personal assessment of where I am in my walk with God. Many will be offended by what I have written, others will give pause to review their own personal walk with Christ, and still others may just brush this off as a bunch of craziness. Whatever your situation, may God bless you richly with His grace and mercy.

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

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