“My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you” (Proverbs 3:1-2 NKJ).
I’m not that old yet and not even at the 70’s. And of course, those who know me may shove this article in the trash because I claim to have lived long and peaceful life, but not yet. However, it is the integrity of the Word of God that gives me the authority to share this truth to all who desire to live long and peaceful life.
The scripture above tells us that long and peaceful life will be added to those who keep His commandments (His Word). We already knew that when we obey God, it is guaranteed that we will receive His exceeding blessings (spiritual and material). In the Old Testament, God had shown His goodness to the nation of Israel as long as they remain in obedience to His Word. In the New Testament, however, how much more is the blood of Jesus that cleansed us and redeemed us from sin and from the works of the evil one? Therefore, we can come boldly into His presence without sin consciousness and guilt. We can have our presence in His throne of grace and receive all the blessings that certainly belong to us.
You must realize that long and peaceful life is an additional blessing to the many blessings we already have in Christ. The verse above says, “… let your heart keep my commands.” In short, obey His Word. Be a doer of the Word of God. This is where many believers in Christ have difficulty in their faith walk. They have mental knowledge of the Word but unable to convert that knowledge of the Word into action. To keep His commands in our hearts is to live according to the principles and ways of God. It is living according to the perfect will of God. One of the many reasons a Christian negatively suffers in life (sufferings that do not bring glory to God) is living NOT according to the perfect of will of God.
Take for example financial prosperity which is based on the teachings of Word of God. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that God loves a cheerful giver. No doubt the context of these scriptures is financial blessings from God. In order for you to be blessed financially by God, you must be a cheerful giver. As a matter of fact, the original meaning of the word cheerful is “hilarious.” You must be a hilarious giver to be blessed.
Do we really give hilariously? My stomach crunch every time I hear preacher/s on nationwide television broadcast asking for offerings or donations with a PRICE TAG. Asking a donation or offering in the Name of the Lord with a designated amount is NOT Biblical. Instead of advising the audience to give hilariously which is giving according to their hearts, they rather manipulate (sweet talking and dropping the “… thus says the Lord…” and so forth baloney). Giving is more of the attitude of the heart. You don’t give because you are pressured to give, and you don’t give with a wrong motive.
The bottom line is if you give with a wrong attitude of the heart, you don’t get blessed. When Cain gave his offering unto the Lord, he gave with wrong attitude of the heart, but his brother Abel did what was right. Therefore, God blessed Abel not because of the offering he gave, but on how he gave with the right attitude of his heart. Abel knows how to give with a cheerful heart. When we obey what the Word of God, He blesses us. It is a fact that many have given their financial offerings but remain in poverty. They need to follow the Word of God to give cheerfully, not to give as an obligation or not being happy to give.
Another example is prayer. It amazes me that many believers in Christ have lesser desire to participate in groups or congregational prayer meetings. And then they wonder why they are living in the midst of negative sufferings (sufferings that do not give glory to God), hardships and difficulties in life. The Bible says that, “You have not because you asked not.” This is simple truth regarding prayer, but it seems difficult to understand by many. The Word of God doesn’t lie, and God is not a liar either. God said, “You have not because you asked not.”
God commanded us to pray and to lay down all of our cares into His throne of grace. God wants to answer our prayers, but how can God answer if no one is praying? When God says, “Pray,” He means it. He wants us to pray period. Prayer is a spiritual law just like the law of gravity. Law of gravity is simple, “What goes up must come down.” If you jump, you will fall. You cannot remain floating in the atmosphere, you will go down. We can only have the cares of this world be taken care of by the Father in heaven if we pray. Again, the Bible is blatantly telling us that, “We have not because we asked not.”
Another example is the mistake of compromising our faith with the unbelievers. The Bible says that we cannot be unequally yoke with the unbelievers. “Unequally yoke” means to allow our Christian faith be influenced and be affected by the unbelievers. It is not a wise business practice to have a non-believer as a partner when it comes to building financial security or financial profit in life. I am talking about having a partner that is not a believer in Christ. Although we are still in this world and do business with them, however, as a Christian we cannot afford to be “partners” with them.
To explain further, you cannot be one in the spirit (one in the heart) with an unbeliever. You cannot submit to marriage with an unbeliever. A child of God cannot marry a child of the devil. But many have succumbed to this emotional trap laid by the devil. And the result was devastating. People around them have affected by this “unequally yoke” lifestyle. They bring confusions, emotional sufferings, and broken families. At times, it becomes fatal.
You see, God wants you to simply obey His principles and follow His ways and live according to the perfect will of God. You may ask, “What is the perfect will of God?” The answer is His Word. Obey the Word of God. Read the Bible especially the New Testament (the Epistles) and learn from them. Be serious about the teachings regarding how you relate yourself to God and others.
Remember the Old Testament wisdom in which God has said that He rather wants obedience than sacrifices. Obedience in His Word means a lot to God. It shows respect, honor, reverence, and worship. Obedience means total submission to Him, total trust and faith in Him.