African Transformation: Towards a True African Identity II

As important as knowing and giving it a positive evaluation is, the tricky thing is finding your true identity. How do I know for sure that the identity I have or think I have is the one I must have? How do I find my true self; my true identity such that I will be able to live my life from this position of being truthfully informed and aware of my identity? That, my friend, is a very tricky undertaking but first, let’s look at possible culprits shaping our identities.

Family Background and Upbringing

This is the most obvious one. They have even invented all sorts of expressions to explain this one. ‘An apple does not fall far from the tree’ and ‘You are just a chip off the old block’, are a few examples. Whether we like it or not, our family upbringing shapes our perception of self. We have the genes of our parents; we grow up eating the food they cook and we are nurtured in a certain philosophy which will probably ring in our ears for life. Later on in life, when we have our own kids we are shocked to find that we have turned into mom and dad! That is not necessarily a bad thing as long as we don’t use our family background, particularly the really negative aspects, to our detriment. Let me explain.

Have you heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? This is a prophecy you make about yourself and find that it actually comes to pass just as you envisaged it. Generally they are associated with the negative aspects of our lives; I don’t know why. There are positive self-fulfilling prophecies but the question is why self-fulfilling prophecies self fulfil?

If you were raised in a family that struggles in the area of wealth creation for as long as anyone in your family can remember, it’s likely that you grew up being told that you would not amount to much in life. At some point because of both constant and consistent reminders that you will die a pauper and the empirical evidence all around you within the family, you begin to believe it. And once you believe it you begin to say it. Before you know it, you actually begin to act in such a way that you squander opportunities that could have lifted you out of that rut. It becomes a classic case of digging yourself deeper into your hole because you are so focused on your surroundings that you forget to look up and see the sky. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One of my friends was going through a particularly difficult period in his life. We met for coffee and he spent a full hour telling me his problems, how he had traced the same problems through the generations and now could see the same things happening in his life. It was depressing. After I had taken it to my ears I stopped him and told him that was why he was exactly where he was. He believed that what he had was coming from his identity, he could not escape it and he was therefore actively encouraging the same problem in his life. This man had his identity totally messed up. So we had to start from there and try to pry him out of this mental stranglehold.

Unfortunately old habits die hard and one counselling session does not begin to suffice.

The same patterns are repeated in abuse victims, failed marriages, family sicknesses and so forth. If you believe that marriages in your families are not meant to last because of some sort of curse, even when you find a really good partner, you find that you will find something wrong with the relationship, so that at the end of the day you can shout, ‘I knew it would never work! Marriages never work in our family.’ You have assumed the identity of your family.

So it’s very tricky to know for sure that the identity you have is truly yours and not one given to you by your family. But this issue is too important to leave to family.

Literature

Depending on what you read, listen to and get attached to, you are likely to start assuming that originator’s identity. A lot of young people have turned into thugs due to excessive influence of music glorifying this thug life. This also goes together with peer pressure and the desire to fit in. In my opinion, we should be well balanced people who are able to listen to anything and critic it before internalising it because we are aware of what it can turn us into especially if it colours our perception of self or makes us feel like we need to assume a new identity.

The influence of literature can be seen in trends, life styles and even religion, depending on the degree of exposure and our ability to filter what we allow to influence us or lack thereof.

Religion

This is a seriously big one. There is nothing more powerful than belief. Belief is at the centre of self-fulfilling prophecies, superstitions and even suicide bombings. Of all the things I can think of that shape our identities, religion is high up there. It does not need proof, it just needs you to accept a certain belief and before long, you have totally opened yourself to all that that particular belief system espouses. You then strive continuously to become what that belief system says you must become. You begin to see life and everything associated with it through the lenses of your beliefs. It does not matter that evidence is all around you to the contrary; you still believe.

At the place I stay, there is a really friendly black cat that likes to pay me visits every now and then. Sometimes it gets in through the window and lies on my bed. I will never forget an episode when one of my friends was visiting and this cat strolled in casually and lounged on my couch. There was pandemonium in the house. A black cat in your house, Raymond, and you are so relaxed? No, we need to do something quick! This is a bad omen of impending trouble. About the same time, an owl started to hoot and that was it for my friend. I was living with witches!

Beliefs are powerful.

I could go on and on but I believe I have made my point. It really isn’t that important dwelling on things that possibly shape our identity, if we are not going to get to the crux of the matter; where do you get your true identity that liberates you to be who you really are? This is where it really gets interesting.

And my answer is inside. Not outside. Inside. Not your family. Inside. Not what the preacher said. Inside. Not what your favourite song says. Inside. Not what your friends are saying. Inside. Not what the self help book says. Inside. Not what the popular trends say. Inside. Look inside.

No one can tell you who you are. That is your job. You need to solve this riddle. You need to process this issue. You need to bring this matter to finality. The moment someone steps in with their perceptions, you have just been given an identity. Don’t look to the west or to the east. Look inside you and you will find your true identity waiting for you.

Why do I say that? Let me explain.

The essence of who you are is contained in your spirit and your spirit proceeds from your Creator, God. I don’t have the time to argue with atheists here because I want to make a point. If God created you, surely he knows exactly what He put on the inside of you. He has hidden you in you. Your homework is to dig inside you and find you in you as your Creator intended. He is the one who created you and He is the ONLY one who can give you your true identity.

Are you tired of searching in all the places for your true identity? It’s time to focus on the inside of you and let God reveal to you who you are. So connect with Him. Spend time with your Creator and take time to know yourself.

You will see that things will become clearer. For the first time, you will see that your family’s story is not your story. Your past is not your future. And once you have established your true identity in Him, you have started on the journey of life in earnest. Who you become, going forth, is who you really are and therefore what your recreate on the outside will change to reflect your new-found self.

What I have simply done is to point you in the right direction. The rest, my friend is your job.

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Lindi Zulu writes for us: Before I say I do

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…Single, never been married.

…Divorced or separated.

…Widows or widowers.

…Recent college graduates or students.

…People who have emerged from same-sex relationships.

…Independent and successful professionals who are aware of the quiet ticking away of their child-bearing years.

…Any of the above with a child or two that was conceived in or out of wedlock, virgins, those who have been around the block a few times, those who made it to the block but didn’t really go all the way around it, the broken-hearted, the naïve and starry-eyed romantics, the sceptics, the love veterans who came back from the battle of their lives, the proverbs 31 wannabes, the desperately seeking, those with hobbies and ministries to keep them happily pre-occupied….

This whole list is broken down into one very simple term in the church… “The Singles” – One monolithic block of inexplicably unmarried people.

Compare these people to the Pastors and Church Elders who have been married to the same woman since the beginning of time, have neat little families all loving the Lord together and looking like bright and shining examples of God’s plan for all of humanity and you can see right away that there’s a cultural disconnect somewhere between the “The Singles” and these people.

Why?

The unprecedented explosion of single adult households that we are currently in the midst of is the underlying cause of the disconnection. It’s one of three demographic changes that the marketing research firm Yankelovich Partners is advising Fortune 100 companies to consider if they hope to “stay on top”.

Seeing single mommies, bachelors well into their forties – still dating, bachelorettes who have it all together but no-one to share it with, etc. is becoming more and more common in society and the dating pool is getting wider and wider, teeming with people who are single and ready to mingle, but quantity isn’t really the issue when you’re looking for a life-partner, quality is.

When society devalues the institution of marriage and writes off its credibility, it’s no wonder that brokenness shows up in the church. With the hands-off approach parents and elders have slowly adopted when it comes to the dating habits of today’s singles, many single adults tend to go adrift in their pursuit of a life-partner, not sure if they should even be asking for help meeting and marrying wisely for fear of looking like they’re unsatisfied, too eager, interfering with God’s divine timing, unable to produce the fruits of self-control and long-suffering etc.

One wise pastor once told a group of single adults that he was sympathetic to the challenges of “Endless Opportunity”. Because he was a pastor, father and husband, the boundaries of his day were fairly well-defined from the moment he woke up in the morning. He knew his responsibilities and the priorities he had to attend to and didn’t have to spend a lot of time deciding what he was supposed to do, when and with who.

Single adults on the other hand have so many options that are available to them each day that making the wrong choice is fairly easy. I mean, unlike a generation or two ago, two singles can hook up, decide to move in together without getting married and not even consider that they are missing out on anything by choosing not to officially tie the knot. They’ll just do everything else without all the heavy commitments.

And this isn’t going to make much sense, but contrary to popular belief, my personal belief and conviction is that as a result of this current state of affairs (no pun intended) marriage is more relevant today than ever before.

Stay with me now, I’m about to explain.

There was a time when marriage was a given due to societal norms. Now it is a choice that is made as a statement of faith in true love despite the depravity of society, a choice borne out of the conviction that the person you love deserves your faithfulness and the security of a covenant that is made before God, both families and friends, a choice that isn’t externally induced by society but internally induced by a need to follow a divine order because you value this union and want it to be the foundational platform for future generations that will be born out of it.
Whether or not it is endorsed by movies and music videos, whether or not your own parents had a successful marriage, whether or not the statistics declare that the odds are stacked up against you, you still take that step, selflessly and sacrificially forsaking all others for one when you could have as many as you want if you’re willing to buy all those drinks at the club.

What I’m realizing is that what were once good reasons to get married in my parents’ time are rapidly becoming irrelevant today. For example:

So we can live together. Many couples live happily together for many years without getting married and it’s no longer frowned upon.

For sex. Please.

Financial Security. Both men and women now have the capacity to earn the income of their choice in relation to their skills to achieve a certain lifestyle without anyone having to rely on the other.

So we can have children. Many couples who live together eventually have children out of wedlock too and that’s no longer frowned upon either.

To make our relationship official. You could achieve that by posting up on Facebook that “…. And I are now OFFICIAL” and tag all the people that really really needed to know that and proceed changing your profile picture to one of those “they’re obviously officially together” pictures.

Cooking, cleaning, etc. Get a maid.

So what are we left with?

Well, marriage makes a relationship divine. It’s bigger than you and your feelings for each other, because marriage introduces God into the relationship and makes Him an integral link between the two of you. Until they are married, a couple’s commitment to each other is a human commitment, with all the limitations of being human. We can’t predict the future, what may change in and around us, how the other partner will wrong us. But the marriage covenant elevates the commitment beyond human limitations. It makes the union sacred.

The world has shown us that marriage doesn’t work.

But of course…It’s marriage our way in our own strength through our own intellect.

Of course it won’t work.

It’s not supposed to.

Only after the wedding is your love rescued from superficiality, selfishness and temporality, but blessed with the divine imprint of eternity.

Not that this ideal is dangling like a carrot at the end of my singlehood. It’s not the reward for being a good single person, for memorising enough scriptures, for praying hard enough, for all the occasions of self-denial I have survived etc.

I’m just willing to accept this ministry if and when it comes, understanding full well that as the steward of my husband’s life, I will release Him back into Our Father’s hands one day with an account of how I served faithfully in the position of his wife with the understanding that it never really was about me…

http://lindiwezulu.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/before-i-say-i-do/

The Ultimate Entrepreneur

There are many brilliant entrepreneurs in this world and a few names immediately come to mind. You have Bill Gates, the man who brought the personal computer to within reach of every person. What about Warren Buffet, the smartest investor around and the holder of the title “Apostle of Risk”? I am reminded of Sir Richard Branson, the first man to build a space ship for commercial purposes and an empire that has got its fingers in records, airlines, gyms, telecommunications and virtually every other industry you can think of. Over there in Mexico is Carlos Slim, currently the richest man in the world with a personal fortune of $69 billion.

All these people are exceptional entrepreneurs.

In Africa we also have our fair share of entrepreneurs, some of whom have gone on to make the world’s richest list. Aliko Dangote squeezed his juice from the sugar cane industry and now has an impressive $11,2 billion stash up there in Nigeria. We have the mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe in South Africa with a ‘modest’ $2,7 billion to his name. Time and space will not permit me to talk about the Strive Masiyiwas, the Cyril Rhamaphosas, the Miloud Chaabis, the Sawiris and a host of other excellent entrepreneurs making their indelible marks across the African business landscape.

The Ultimate Entrepreneur

Because of my fascination with all things entrepreneurial, I began to rake my brains trying to determine who the ultimate entrepreneur could be? How does he (and he represents both male and female) talk, think, relate to people and make his money? What sets him apart from the other very able entrepreneurs in this world? Is it just his personal fortune or good deeds done for the benefit of humanity? And should I seek an audience with him if at all possible in this life, so that I can get titbits on how to get close enough to where he is now?

Then it dawned on me. God. He is the Ultimate Entrepreneur. He is the Ultimate Investor. He is the Ultimate Businessman. How could I have struggled to see something so obvious? Is it because it is only so to the discerning eye? Maybe. And I have my reasons why I say he is the Ultimate Entrepreneur.

The Ultimate Creator

We know that by definition, an entrepreneur creates new products and sells them to the market or improves on existing ones. Following that line of thinking, I realized that God created the heavens and the earth, everything that walks on its surface, the creatures in the sea, the birds of the air and his ultimate workmanship, man.

Those who would reject God as Creator constantly run into Him, trying to explain the complicated laws holding the world together. When I look at creation, I am inspired to reach deep within and produce something that can benefit mankind the same way everything around me was created for our benefit. I have to provide a solution to society. That is what entrepreneurs do and in that regard I am inspired by the Creator Himself!

The Ultimate Manager

Jesus once said that he must work because His Father was always working. What a business principle! God created the universe, galaxies and beyond yet He is still working? We are told that new galaxies are still being created and we can never know how many there are because, let’s face it, where does space end? Can we see into infinity?

A good manager tends his business from conception to fruition. He masters methods and strategies to grow his business, multiply his resources and thereby create more for everyone. He doesn’t fold his arms just because the money is rolling in but seeks new avenues of expansion and works at becoming a better manager with each passing day. I would like to learn as much as I can from this Manager of the universe about managing complex business processes and still stay sane!

The Ultimate Investor

One of the most fascinating things about the way God created everything is discovering that he did not need to create everything all at once from the onset. We are told that all He did was create prototypes and put within them seeds that contained more prototypes that contained seeds that contained more prototypes to infinity. Instead of creating an apple tree forest, He would have created a few apple trees and they would have bloomed and flowered, producing apples that carried seeds of other apple trees. What it means is that if you were holding an apple seed in your hand, you would effectively be holding a forest. Talk about Return On Investment (ROI)!

The same applies to us humans, animals, birds and every living thing.

I would like to master this art of investing that sets in motion self perpetuating annuity-based streams of income while I seek out more.

When that lazy servant hid the coin in the ground, Jesus tells us that the Master was very angry with Him because He at least expected him to put it in the bank and earn an interest on that coin. That tells me that God never throws away resources; He expects a return on everything He deploys; everything. Why then do I have such an ignorant attitude towards resources that I blow every little cent I get on myself and soon I am broke and bankrupt?

I have so much to learn from this shrewd Investor.

The Ultimate Strategic Planner

The earth was created with so many minerals and up to now we are still digging for them and discovering more deposits daily.

To calculate the needs of the entire created population and set in motion laws that would make sure we survived for generations upon generations smacks of strategic planning of the highest imaginable order.

Are we talking feasibility studies, development of the business plan, symbiotic relationships that would ensure the survival, perpetuation and progression of every species? Maybe we should think of the highly efficient computer that is our brains, enabling us to come up with new strategies ourselves and an ability to comprehend processes, situations and future possibilities allowing us to plan in advance. How much strategic planning went into this project earth? When I think of it, I feel the need to invest so much energy in research and planning so that I emulate this great Strategist. If He needed to plan to the last detail and He is the Omniscient God, how much more should I, a human being, implement strategic planning? I am very convinced that if I follow His processes I cannot but succeed in my own business ventures.

The Ultimate Giver

I believe that for every entrepreneur, the icing on the cake has to be philanthropy. There is a reason why some get more talents and abilities than others. Not everyone is born to be a highly successful entrepreneur but those who are have this mandate to create a market for others to sell their skills and thus make their own living. They become financial parents to others.

And when they are wealthy, they must not forget the poor and disadvantaged in society because in most cases monetary resources are crucial to any projects addressing such.

And that God is a Giver is evident. Somewhere Jesus says that God makes the rain to fall on the fields of both the wicked and the righteous. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water and walk the same earth, which is why I can’t understand tribalism, racism, xenophobia and all the other manifestations of bigotry witnessed in our world.

God just gives and I want to emulate that. I want to make dreams come true. There is a young boy somewhere in Radijoke or Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein(Yes, this a real town name, literally translated,  “Two Buffalos Shot ‘Totally’ Dead with One Shot Fountain“) with a dream to play football but unless someone opens an opportunity for him, he will die a herdboy. Can I be that person?

It is my strongly held opinion that true entrepreneurs recognize this great mandate and responsibility towards fellow human beings and actively participate in their core role as the drivers of human perpetuation.

There are many other entrepreneurial traits that convince me that God is the Ultimate Entrepreneur but I could simply never exhaust them. I am talking about extraordinary vision, perfect timing, an innate ability to read seasons, the ability to nurture investments; the list just goes on to infinity. When it comes to business, entrepreneurship, investments and everything that go with this, I have to confess that I know no better person to learn from than this Ultimate Entrepreneur.

PhD (Pull him Down)

I once watched a movie starring one of my action heroes, Jet Li. It was called The One. Besides the fact that I found the movie very entertaining, I made a very curious observation right at the end.

But first a little background to the plot. Two sides of the same person are required to maintain balance in the universe; one personifies good and the other one, bad. Both of them can’t actually die; they can only be banished through some transportation technology that takes them to a different time zone in a different universe. As expected, the bad guy with his devil-may-care attitude loses the final epic battle to the good guy and is banished by the powers that be to a place best described as an otherworld wilderness. There he meets millions of people lazing around in relatively peaceful co-existence.

There is a hill with a platform on top and whoever thinks they should rule this lawless but relatively peaceful world has to climb all the way to the top. When this guy arrives, no one is even making an effort to climb this hill. So he decides he is going to climb it instead. It looked very harmless because everyone was going about their business. The moment he took a step up this mountain the most amazing thing happened. All hell broke loose. Literally everyone abandoned what they were doing and started fighting this guy. It was a vicious fight to the death.

It didn’t make sense. As long as a no one dared climb the mountain there was peace. The moment a visionary stepped onto the platform there was war. You know why? Because they did not want anyone to rise above the societal norm. They fought him until he gave up and if he wouldn’t, until he died of sheer exhaustion. They themselves had no ambition, no drive, no vision, nothing but they couldn’t stand another person, at no personal cost to them, trying to achieve something with his life based on his vision, drive, ambition and principles. They Pulled him Down!

I could not help compare this strange behaviour with a phenomenon that has come to be known as the PhD Syndrome (Pull him Down) by my pastor, Dr. B.V Gamedze. And it’s one of the most lethal assassins of progress in life because it normally comes from people very close to you or who are in authority over you such that you take their words to heart.

My first experience with the PhD Syndrome was when I passed my Math final exam but not well enough to enrol for medical studies at university. I could have gone and done another degree but at this point I wanted to be in the medical field. So I decided to enlist a private tutor, very convinced that this time I would get total points, until my dad said something. He said he didn’t think I would make it studying privately since I had failed to get the total points when full time at school. I felt like a burning sharp knife had been driven into my heart. I was pulled down. But thank God for grace, I proved him wrong and he admitted so. I felt so proud when he said that!

The PhD Syndrome can also be likened to the crab mentality. Have you seen how crabs keep pulling each other back into the cooking pot each time one tries to escape? There is no escape and the result? They all die. That is the ultimate aim of the PhD Syndrome; to kill dreams.

The other day I was chatting with a business partner and he told me the most amazing story that scared the living day lights out of me. His company was offered deals in the millions and it seemed things were going very well. That is, until he told his other business partner about the success he was having.

After this conversation, he received an email from his client saying that all the deals had been put on ice for no apparent reason. On further investigation, he learnt that his friend had gone on ahead and contacted very influential people within the organisation with reasons why the appointed company should not be allowed to proceed. And he lost the deals. I was incredulous.

As it turned out, the business partner had fallen on hard times and was broke. Instead of asking for work from his business partner, this guy chose to block his friend totally so that they could all be the same, penniless and broke. PhD Syndrome.

The PhD Syndrome is pervasive among us Africans and I know every African will say amen to that. Now I can’t change the thinking of a continent in this one article but I can change a few minds.

The PhD Syndrome is very evil in that it is anti-development, is a poverty mentality and costs both the perpetrator and the victim. It refuses to allow others to flourish because it does not realize that the success of others most likely uplifts everyone as well. It is predicated on the thinking that there is not enough and operates on a siege-mentality paradigm.

If Africans, as a race, are to progress well we need to shake off the PhD Syndrome. It’s okay to let others prosper, really. It’s okay to give our support to those who are at least trying rather than relegate ourselves to the role of armchair critics. How draining must it be to live a life based on the principle that says it’s me or no one else? It saps your strength, clouds your vision and you are none the richer after the fact.

The sad thing is the crab mentality is everywhere; at work, home and even church. How many times have you seen a well known prostitute deciding to seek salvation and church veterans are the first ones to spread the word? Or how many times has a sister lacked discretion or done something that went against established norms in the church and instead of getting assistance, they get crucified.

Someone said that the church was the only army that killed its wounded.

And that is why I love God.

They brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in the act of adultery and according to the Law of Moses they were permitted to stone her. They felt so righteous. They had the ammunition from God Himself. But Jesus said to them, “Let him who has no sin, be the first to cast a stone on her.” Then he wrote in the sand. And they all began to leave, from the greatest to the smallest. When Jesus finally looked up, there was no one left. And he said to her, “Where are all those that were accusing you?” When she answered that there were none left, he said to her, “Neither do I condemn you.”

Wow! What a story! So next time before you Pull him Down, remind yourself that his Creator does not. He seeks to heal not to destroy, to love and not to abandon, to uplift and not to discourage.

And should you ever find yourself dealing with a PhD, remember to retreat to a place of quiet and get your inner balance right. It’s okay to admit that you are not handling criticism well. It’s okay to admit you are hurting. As long as you don’t end there. After the pity party, you must get back on your feet; dust yourself up and resume your work. If you were building before, continue to build. If you were studying, resume your studies with new vigour remembering that “Let God be true and everyman a liar.” Man does not define you. God does. You can’t prevent birds from flying over your head but you can prevent them from building a nest.

People will talk about you and say you will fail. The reason they do that is that in most cases, they are not really bad people. They just have a certain frame of reference they operate from based on their experiences and which they then extrapolate and superimpose on the rest of society. If you wear blue sunglasses, to you everything will have a blue tint. But not everything is blue.

I believe that working together we can surely achieve more. That is why we should choose to see the good in people rather than the bad. A true leader finds any reason; any reason at all to unite people while a PhD finds any reason; any reason at all to divide people. And we all have a choice; to be a PhD or PhU (Pull him Up). And we also have another choice; to allow PhDs to pull us down with them or to fight for our dreams.

“When people cut you down or talk behind your back, remember, they have taken precious time out of their lives to think and talk about you. They stopped whatever they were doing to focus on You. You are having an impact. Someone is noticing you. Someone is saying, Hey that brother… Hey that sister…! Keep doing your thing. More Power to you! “~ copied and adapted from Crystal Ayers by Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa

Lindi Zulu Writes for Us: Money Matters

Lindi Zulu is a communications, business and psychology student, a poet, story-teller and worshiper who is passionate about empowering young people to live purposefully and instilling Godly character from a very real and honest Lindi perspective.

Absolutely Godgeous is about inner beauty making its way out.  Its about the everyday ups and downs of a 20 something year old Christian woman. It’s about random revelations, careers, trends and entertainment, relationships, about finding the humor in it all, getting helpful hints and answering life’s question marks with wisdom and grace.

http://lindiwezulu.wordpress.com/

Money Matters

So we’re in the last stretch of 2011 and the bottom line is that the majority of the human population spent most of this year trying to earn a living and maybe squeezed in some time with family and friends here and there, but mostly we were trying to improve our financial situation in some way or the other. Be it through education, our jobs, businesses, whatever.

The logic behind the whole rat race system is that everything costs money and we get that money by working for it. The harder you work or the more hours you put in, the more money you make. If we excel at what we do, we get promoted, gain an impressive title and earn respect by being someone important.

It sounds simple enough, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people think that’s what its all about and that if they start earning truckloads of money all their problems will be solved; when hardly a week goes by without us reading about rich celebrities getting a divorce, getting admitted into rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, while we’re trying to look like them, they’re getting surgery because they have issues with every part of their body, seeing a shrink on the regular or getting caught up in some criminal case.

The truth is, despite all their money, many rich people feel empty. After catching all the riches they’ve been chasing all their lives, they start running around desperately searching for meaning. Some surround themselves with a dozen hangers-on who follow them everywhere so they’re never left alone to deal with themselves. Others get pulled in by New Age beliefs and religious cults searching in vain for something that will make sense of their lives.

Way before I had even caught wind of the “prosperity gospel” all I had grown up knowing was that money is the root of all evil and you cannot serve God and mammon (money). Things really got interesting when I discovered that “money is the root of all evil” is a line from a song by Joan Whitney and Alex Kramer, recorded by the Andrews Sisters in 1946, but it is NOT a line from the bible, as so many people seem to think.

The bible quotation that is found in the book of 1 Timothy 6:10 says “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. Its not the money you have to keep in check, its your own lust for it.

“You cannot serve God and mammon (money)”is indeed a quotation from the bible though in Matthew 6:24 and in order to understand what Jesus meant in this verse, we need to understand what it means to serve God and what it means to serve mammon.

The business of serving mammon is putting the pursuit of money first in your life, and by serving God, we put God first in our lives. What this verse means then is that you cannot/ it is impossible to serve God whilst you are putting the pursuit of money first in your life.

As a Christian, you should never separate God from your source of provision, because it gives your job an eternal context- a purpose other than to pay the bills.

If you make your employer a billion dollars by having to go against everything you stand for in the process, then you have just joined the not so exclusive club of financially successful people in the world who have just declared spiritual bankruptcy.

Gaining all the riches of the world and losing your soul is never worth it. He wants you to prosper as your soul prospers. To prosper from the inside out.

So yes, I’m definitely planning on having an Absolutely Godgeous career and prosper and rule and reign with the dominion He has given me as co-heir with His son, but I’d rather maintain a better relationship with Him than with my accountant any day.

What about you?