Before we criticise King Asa, we need to ask whether we are any more faithful than he was

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 8 – Further advice on how we can become more faithful

It is easy to be critical of King Asa, but actually the tests of his faith that he faced in the later years of his long reign were very difficult. It is surprisingly hard to remain faithful for long periods of time and to keep on being willing to trust God. It can mean taking risks, even when you have become wealthy and successful and you have grown used to the trappings of power and of being in office.

I can speak with some experience of how difficult a test that is. I set up a law firm from a standing start when I was in my thirties. At the outset I had no staff, no files, no equipment, no anything. But I had a burning desire to set up a business which God could use for His purposes and to expand the ministry of financial giving, in which I had already been engaged since I was 19.

In the early years of the new firm I faced many different tests and battles which severely stretched my faith. I found it hard. Yet, I found the later years, when the firm was succeeding and prospering, an even more difficult test. In the early years I had no alternative but to trust God, because the firm was small and had no money or strength. But in the end I faced the more difficult test, like King Asa faced, of how to remain faithful, and how to keep on taking risks for God, when I had an abundance of money and when I had a lot of staff working for me.

I will have to find out at the Judgment Seat of Christ how well, or badly, I did. However, what I can say for sure, is that it is much harder to remain faithful to God, to put your trust in Him, and take risks for Him, when you have got power, money and position than it is when you have none of those things.

People might imagine that it must be easy to live the Christian life if you have got power and possessions, but it isn’t. Those things actually become a source of temptation in themselves. In one sense they are undoubtedly a blessing from God and a reward for past faithfulness. But they do also present a real challenge and make it harder, in some ways, to carry on being faithful. That is one reason why it is wise to ask God not to give you more power, money or influence than you are capable of handling faithfully.

You should specifically ask God, in your prayers, not to allow your possessions, power, income, profits, wealth, role or position to become too large for you, such that they might turn your head. Few people ever pray in that way but I really think they ought to. I have done so many times and I believe God has answered my requests.

I could have made even greater profits than I did and made the business even larger, but I don’t think it would have been good. To the best of my knowledge, I believe I stayed faithful to the end. I was helped in that test by the fact that God limited my profits and my success to levels that my faithfulness could withstand. I am glad He did.

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