Lesson 34 - Disaster and Prosperity Testing

Lesson 34 - Disaster and Prosperity Testing

Lesson for August 19, 2012

Christian Integrity

Disaster and Prosperity Testing

Both disaster and prosperity can test the faith and resolve of the advancing believer.  It is not difficult to imagine how a disaster can distract you from living your spiritual life, but it may a little more difficult to imagine prosperity doing the same. 

Focusing on self and your problem to the exclusion of spiritual objectivity can be caused by both disaster and prosperity.  The key to remaining stabilized and spiritually strong is proper thinking.  Proper thinking means Divine Viewpoint Thinking and proper orientation to life by residing in God’s divine power system.  Reminding yourself of God’s character and promises is a key element in passing both disaster testing and prosperity testing.  The result of passing these tests is further advancement toward spiritual maturity.

In disaster testing there is no place for self-pity or fear.  Utilization of the Problem-Solving Devices is imperative in this situation.  Specifically, the Faith-Rest Drill should be used in disaster situations.  Claiming Bible promises refocuses attention on God, and off circumstances or self.  Remember that self-pity and fear are mental attitude sins even in disaster situations.  The stronger you are spiritually the more likely you are to pass the test.

The mechanics of the Faith Rest Technique means that you have made a resolve - a decision as to future action.  This means that you have predetermined in your mind what course of action you will take when a problem arises.  The Faith-Rest Technique is a versatile technique for overcoming any difficult situation, any problem or any disaster.  By faith, a believer applies doctrine logically while resting in the promises of God. By reaching a doctrinal rationale a believer is re-explaining to himself the basic concepts of doctrine that pertain to his relationship with God.  This will be necessary in a crisis because emotion will normally take over and suppress proper thinking.  You must take deliberate steps to reestablish the control of the Holy Spirit in your soul.  Here is how the Faith-Rest Technique works:

  1. A believer claims a promise.  A promise is a guarantee from God that expresses His essence (sovereignty, righteousness, justice, love, eternal life, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, immutability and veracity).  When you lay hold of one of these promises you are able to bring emotion under control, which allows you to think.  Before, you were in a state of panic, but now you have peace.  This, however, is only the beginning of the drill.  Now you must begin to think. (Romans 8:28 - God is working all things together for my good, if I am an advancing believer.)
  2. A believer applies doctrinal rationale.  The application of Bible doctrine requires a believer to recall certain doctrines that have been stored in his soul.  A rationale is the rational basis for something or an explanation of reasons or principles.  It is at this time that a believer explains again to himself the doctrine which is pertinent to the situation.  (Romans 8:29-30 - God has a pre-designed plan for my life.)
  3. A believer reaches a doctrinal conclusion.  This means that a believer is able to take control of the situation.  By asking and answering certain questions pertaining to his spiritual life, a believer takes control and evaluates the circumstances.  He can now make good decisions from a position of strength and take action using the good judgment and the wisdom from Bible doctrine stored in his soul.  (Romans 8:31-35 - If God is for me, who can be against me or separate me from the love of Christ?  Therefore, I can take control using the power of the Holy Spirit to enable me.)

Fear vs. Faith

Everyone is susceptible to fear, even a mature believer.  Fear is a mental attitude sin that shuts down thinking and makes application of Bible doctrine impossible.  When fear catches us off guard, it is important to know the correct recovery procedure.  This is where we put the Faith-Rest Technique into action.  Nice stories and “Christian principles” will not sustain us in times of extreme difficulty or disaster.  We need Bible Doctrine!

We cannot apply what we do not know.  Therefore, we need to be consistent in our intake of God’s Word for the purpose of growth.  Growth means learning to use the Word of God resident in our souls to combat and to control our sin nature and the influences of the world system.  Since fear is a sin, the first step to recovery from fear is the utilization of I John 1:9.  By naming “fear” as our sin, we are forgiven and under the control of the Holy Spirit.  Now we are in a position to use the Faith-Rest Technique.

The best illustration of the Faith-Rest Technique is Romans 8:28-32.  We can easily follow the progression from claiming a promise, to application, to reaching a conclusion.  Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God works all things together for good for those who love Him, for those who are the called ones according to a predetermined plan.”  This is the Biblical promise to those who are maturing in their faith (executing God’s plan for their life). This promise is guaranteed by God.  When a believer claims this promise, it can reduce a very complicated situation into a very simple one.  When we claim this promise, that God is working all things for our good, fear is brought under control because we are now thinking, not emoting.

Once thinking is resumed, we can move on to step two, application.  A doctrinal rationale can be any doctrinal truth that you have learned and stored in your memory.  In our passage the doctrinal rationale is a series of five related doctrines. 

  1. Foreknowledge - God’s awareness of all the assets that He prepared for the believer in eternity-past.  This assures us that God was thinking about each of us in eternity -past.
  2. Predestination - God predesigned a plan for us in eternity-past.  That plan calls for us to be set apart unto God in time and in eternity.
  3. Election - God chose each Church Age believer to be spiritual royalty.  Since Jesus Christ was elected, we share in His election because we are in union with Him.
  4. Justification - God declares believers to be righteous.  God actually imputes His righteousness to each believer, setting up the potential for divine blessing in time and in eternity. 
  5. Glorification - God will give each believer a glorified body and eternal rewards based on the execution of His plan in time.

These five doctrines in Romans 8:29-30 outline God’s plan for every believer of this age.  By recalling these doctrines, a believer can remember his place in God’s overall plan, which is another step in driving out fear.  Finally, in Romans 8:31-32, a believer is able to reach a doctrinal conclusion.  This passage says, “To what conclusion are we forced? If God be for us, who shall be against us?  He Who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up in behalf of us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?”

Reaching the doctrinal conclusion “that God is for us,” allows us to retake control of our situation and restores confidence in God and in our ability to make good decisions.  If the problem is too overwhelming, beyond our ability to solve, we are still able to cope by placing ourselves in the mighty hand of God and trusting Him for the solution. Utilization of this technique restores the most important ability God has given us: thinking.  This technique does not need to be a mechanical, “step one, two, three,” but can be if the situation demands it.  The key is to stop fear in its tracks and restore the thinking process by using the Faith-Rest Technique.

In like manner, there is no place for distraction or preoccupation with self in prosperity.  God blesses you as a result of your spiritual growth and resultant capacity to receive His blessings.  It is much easier to forget the source of your blessings while in a state of prosperity than it is in disaster. 

Genuine humility is the key to passing the test of prosperity.  Genuine humility motivates an advancing believer to stay on track, obey God’s mandates and remain faithful in his growth to maturity.  No believer can afford to neglect the perception and application of Bible doctrine.

It is the desire of God for His children to prosper and be happy while here on earth.  God actually wants us to share His happiness.  Sharing the happiness of God is having permanent contentment as your constant companion. This happiness is permanent because it does not depend on the circumstances in your life.  It is actually God’s own perfect happiness that He shares with the advancing believer as a grace gift.  Sharing God’s happiness is obtained only by consistently learning, believing and applying the Word of God over a period of time.  The more time you log under the power and the control of God the Holy Spirit and thinking divine viewpoint, the happier you are going to be.  Therefore, sharing the happiness of God is not for a novice believer.  It is impossible to share in something that you know nothing about.  Being happy is one of the many spiritual blessings that comes with increased capacity.  Increased capacity to receive God’s blessing of happiness comes only one way - study and application of Bible doctrine. (Jeremiah 15:16; John 13:17)

It is impossible to be happy as a believer in Christ without obeying the principles and commands we find in the Word of God.  Disobedience brings only self-induced misery and discipline from our Heavenly Father.  As Christians, we must learn to make good decisions from a position of strength.  Our position of strength is in direct proportion to the amount of truth we have stored in our souls and the maximum utilization of that truth to our circumstances.  This is what is meant by creating an environment in your soul for happiness.  Bible doctrine is stored in the soul and is accessed from the soul by wisdom (application).  (Proverbs 3:13)

The completed state or mature state of happiness is a matter of spiritual growth.  A believer who reaches this state of happiness does not require overt blessings to sustain his happiness.  His state of happiness does not hinge on fame, fortune, promotion or people.  His relationship with God has matured to the place that he does not need special blessings in order to be happy.  Therefore, God can give special blessings to him, because this believer will not forget the source, or base his happiness on this prosperity.  This believer will not be distracted from his personal love for God by any details of life, whether it is adversity or prosperity.  This believer’s first priority is intake and application of Bible doctrine so that he can know God and fulfill His plan, His purpose and His will.  When your spiritual life becomes more important to you than the details of life, you will be able to enjoy God’s happiness in all situations. This is how you pass prosperity testing.  (Philippians 4:8-13; Revelation 2:1-5)