“Affluence That Creates Spiritual Fatties”

“Affluence That Creates Spiritual Fatties”

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there is no fruit on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will triumph in Yahweh;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
19 Yahweh my Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like those of a deer
and enables me to walk on mountain heights!  (Habakkuk 3)


When the bank account is empty

and there is no food on the table;

When there are no jobs to support my family

And my children go to bed hungry;

When my home is ravaged by sickness and disease

And my health is taken away and it feels that death itself is marching in;

Yet, I will triumph in Yahweh,

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!

Yahweh my Lord is my strength ….


Pretty astounding isn’t it? That Habakkuk can experience the kind of poverty and destitution rivaling any third-world situation imaginable, and can say with confidence, “Yet I will triumph in Yahweh. He is my Lord and my strength.” I want this confidence in Yahweh to be true of me. That in the midst of the storm, I can raise my head and say, “Yet I will triumph in Yahweh.” To speak into existence the confidence in Yahweh that may, if I’m honest, still be incarcerated by fear. I want to be able to say this.

The truth is, we live pretty comfy lives don’t we? The comfort, affluence and wealth that characterizes American believers is the type that, if left untreated, leads to spiritual fatties. But we’re not promised comfort as Christ-followers. In fact, over 90% of Christ-followers in the world live in abject poverty. So why was I born into affluence when my brothers and sisters around the world struggle to find just one meal a day? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I wrestle with that all the time. I do know that many of my Ugandan friends have told me on numerous occasions that they don’t envy the affluence we have as Americans. In fact, they have stated that they actually pity us. Because apart from genuine suffering, there is something that remains lacking in our spiritual maturation process (Romans 8:17) This is also why prosperity preaching makes me want to vomit in my mouth. As the preachers of this false gospel fatten their wallets and bellies, the poorest of the world, like my Ugandan friends, struggle to make sense of their “lack of faith” as they scavenge landfills and dumpsters for one meal a day, wondering how they ended up on God’s naughty list! But that’s another post for another time. So, the question I’m wrestling with is this: If it were all stripped away, could I confidently say with Habakkuk, “Yet I will triumph in Yahweh!”? I can’t answer that yet. But I pray it would be true of me! How about you?

In the meantime, I think the more pertinent and applicable question for those of us living in economical affluence is this: How will we use our affluence and wealth in a way that honors God and helps to see His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven? How will we fight our propensity toward spiritual obesity that our culture celebrates? If you’ve never wrestled with that question, you need to. And while you do, check out my Dad’s website to learn about ministry opportunities to serve the heart of God in the nation of Uganda and around the world. www.rickvia.org