By Alistair Begg
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
There is a great lie about the gospel that is common in our culture and that sometimes we, as churches and individual believers, help to promote. The fatal fabrication is this: Coming to Jesus and believing the gospel means no more fun. The Christian life is a dull life, a lesser life—a disappointing life, even. Thank God, nothing could be further from the truth!
Scripture describes God as a Father who gives good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11), and as the one who “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” and who will refuse “no good thing” to “those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). We must be clear: the testimony of Scripture does not suggest that we can do whatever we want, nor does it imply that God will give us whatever we want. It does, however, repeatedly tell us that we have a generous Father who wants His children to enjoy His many blessings.
Paul’s first letter to his protégé Timothy declares that “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). So the Christian standard is not one of austerity or asceticism, nor consumption or consumerism. No, we are guided by God’s word to set our hopes on God and to enjoy all He gives us as good gifts from Him. This approach to life leads us to a wellspring of unending joy.
Inevitably, this revelation of our Father’s character as the great Giver and our greatest treasure will lead us to a different kind of lifestyle than those of many of our neighbors. As we learn that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), we don’t quite keep as much to ourselves. As we realize that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6), we don’t require the latest gadget or shiniest car to temporarily boost our happiness.
The Christian life is not drab, nor dull, nor ever pale. While our faith may lead us to forgo certain creature comforts in this life, untold riches await all who give their lives to Jesus. And what’s more, those riches in heaven stretch back from heaven to bless us now with supernatural peace and sturdy joy as we delight in good gifts from our heavenly Father’s hand. Be sure not to believe the lie that a life following Jesus gives you less than you would otherwise have enjoyed. Be sure not to promote that falsehood to those around you, either.