There is an interesting verse in an obscure book in the New Testament. In 3John 1:3;1:4, we read:
“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”
John is telling his readers of his desire to see their whole being prosper. Then John 3:3;3:4 John shares the secret of being prosperous. He twice speaks of the great importance of “walking in the truth.” The truth leads to our well-being.
I remember a commercial on television where seven and eight-year-olds are flashed up on the screen. The first one says, “When I grow up, I am going to be a heroin addict.” A second one says, “When I grow up, I am going to spend most of my life in prison.” A third one says, “When I grow up. I am going to be homeless.”
We all know that no child aspires to do this when they grow up, but so often this is what ends up happening in people’s lives. Why would anyone choose this for their lives? How do they end up with such a destructive lifestyle?
I think it is because what they believe about life and how life works is false. What they believe about the path that leads to their happiness and well-being is false. This is why David asks God in Psalm 119:29 “to remove every false way from me.”
I think Solomon nails this in Proverbs 16:25 when he says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Solomon is telling us that there are so many pathways that appear to lead to our happiness and well-being, but in the end, leads to our destruction.
The apostle Paul puts it in these words, “We exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship the creation instead of the creator.” Romans 1:25 What Paul is saying is that we falsely believe that we can find more happiness in the things in God’s world than in God himself. We commit what the Bible calls idolatry.
Author Philip Yancey provides some great insight into idolatry. He says that idols are generally good things, gifts from God, that we have elevated to ultimate things. We take something God has intended for good and grant to it a power in our lives it was never meant to have.
Joshua challenged the Jews on which God they would choose to serve. Joshua 24:15. If he stood before us today he would say, “choose for yourselves today whom you would serve, whether the god of wealth, the god of pleasure, or the god of prestige, but as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
Who is the God of your life, who do you serve? We were designed by God to serve Him and follow His ways. This is the foundation of a life that prospers.
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.