Saturday, August 12, 2006

the god who 'blings'


Mary J. Blige says she has
found religion, but she makes no apologies for her earthly
materialism. In fact, she says God has willed her to wear bling.
“My God is a God who wants me to have things,” the singer
tells May’s Blender magazine. “He wants me to bling. He wants
me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don’t know what kind
of God the rest of y’all are serving, but the God I serve says,
‘Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I’m gonna
make sure you’re doing that’.”

so mary j. blige doesn't know what kind of god i am serving, if he doesnt want me to bling as hers does.
first of all, i am not out to make a judgement call on whether or not ms. blige is a born again believer in christ. rather, i want to address the sentiment shared by many, and unfortunately a large number of "preachers" that if you follow god, nothing but money, fame, and good fortune will come your way.

i wish i could ask people like ms. blige, t.d. jakes, joel osteen, and others what they do with passages such as :
matt. 5:10-11
10"blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake
of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you,

and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

and john 15:18-21
18" if the world hates you, you know that it has hated me
before it hated you. 19"if you were of the world, the world
would love its own; but because you are not of the world,
but i chose you out of the world, because of this the world
hates you. 20"remember the word that i said to you, 'a slave
is not greater than his master ' if they persecuted me, they will
also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.
21"but all these things they will do to you for my name's sake,

because they do not know the one who sent me.

or how about this one...
19"do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break
in and steal. 20"but store up for yourselves treasures in
heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and
where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your
treasure is, there your heart will be also.

is having wealth bad?

no, not in and of itself. but when we start obligating god to bless us with material things or good health, or saying that being blessed by god is having good things happen to you, we trample over many passages of scripture that speak of the sufferings of followers of christ, and those sufferings are lauded as badges of honor!
did paul not have enough faith? is that why he was beaten and thrown into prison multiple times? were the first christians just bad believers, because they were persecuted and poor?

as believers, we are the most blessed of all, no matter what our social, or economic status, because we as sinners have been declared righteous by the one holy god, whose son suffered the fury of holiness having its way with sin so that he may be glorified in his justice and graciousness, and we may spend eternity with him, and worshipping him.

eph. 1:3-4 states:
3 blessed be the god and father of our lord jesus christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before him

we don't need to be blessed by health, wealth, or prosperity. we have "every spiritual blessing" in christ!

god didnt save us to "bling" us, he saved us to be "holy and blamelessbefore him"

romans 8:34-36
34who is the one who condemns? christ jesus is he who died,
yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of god,
who also intercedes for us. 35who will separate us from the
love of christ? will tribulation, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36just as it is written, "for your sake we are being

put to death all day long; we were considered as
sheep to be slaughtered."

of this passage, matthew henry wrote: (its lengthy, but worth the extra minute)

By the merit of his death he paid our debt. Yea, rather that
is risen again. This is convincing evidence that Divine
justice was satisfied. We have such a Friend at the right
hand of God; all power is given to him. He is there, making
intercession. Believer! does your soul say within you,
Oh that he were mine! and oh that I were his; that
I could please him and live to him! Then do not toss your
spirit and perplex your thoughts in fruitless, endless doubtings,

but as you are convinced of ungodliness, believe on Him who
justifies the ungodly. You are condemned, yet Christ is dead
and risen. Flee to Him as such. God having manifested his
love in giving his own Son for us, can we think that any thing
should turn aside or do away that love? Troubles neither cause
nor show any abatement of his love. Whatever believers may be
separated from, enough remains. None can take Christ from the
believer: none can take the believer from Him; and that is enough.

All other hazards signify nothing. Alas, poor sinners! though you
abound with the possessions of this world, what vain things are they!
Can you say of any of them, Who shall separate us? You may be
removed from pleasant dwellings, and friends, and estates.
You may even live to see and seek your parting.
At last you must part, for you must die. Then farewell,
all this world accounts most valuable. And what hast thou left, poor
soul, who hast not Christ, but that which thou wouldest gladly
part with, and canst not; the condemning guilt of all thy sins!

our god *is* a god who wants us to have things... himself.



Aaron Shafovaloff said...

Thank you for writing this post. It was helpful. You might be interested in helping with the following:

stephen lee cavness said...

thanks for coming by aaron, im glad that you found it helpful.

i don't know that i will have time to help out over at theopedia anytime soon. i am writing seven weeks of bible study material for "collegiate" magazine i have a deadline for, as well as another coloumn to write for the "just" e-zine due by next month. and, classes start back tuesday!! thanks for the links though.

-stephen (i clicked on your link, congratulations on your baby boy!)

Andrew never said...

Wow, you are a famous theologean now.