In the early 1900s, there was a woman named Hettie Green who was known for her miserly ways. So much so, that she was called America's greatest miser. But Hettie Green was worth a lot of money.
When she died in 1916, she left an estate valued at $100 million. Still, Hettie Green lived as through she were poverty-stricken. She would eat cold oatmeal every day to save the expense of heating water. When her son suffered a severe leg injury, she took so long trying to find a free clinic to treat him that his leg had to be amputated because of advanced infection. She even hastened her own death by not taking proper care of herself.
She lived like a pauper when, in reality, she was a multimillionaire.
In a spiritual sense, Christians can sometimes be a lot like Hettie Green. We don't realize how much God has placed in our spiritual bank accounts. We can experience spiritual malnutrition because we have not taken advantage of the great storehouse of spiritual nourishment and resources at our disposal.
For example, we will pray for things that God has already given us. We will ask God to give us more power, yet the Scripture says, "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness...(2 Peter 1:3 NKJV). Or maybe we will pray for peace, when Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27 NKJV).
It is not that we need more, as much as we simply need to utilize what we already have.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3 NKJV). Paul was seeking to convey that in Christ, we have every thing we need. We are never lacking in spiritual resources.
No Christian has to be spiritually deprived, undernourished, or impoverished, because God's heavenly bank account has no limitations or restrictions. His resources are more than adequate to cover the cost of all of our past debts, our present liabilities, and our future needs.
Christians live in two dimensions. First, there is the spiritual dimension. As we walk in the Spirit, we know God in the Spirit. Yet we live on Earth. Therefore, we need to transfer what we have in the spiritual realm to the earthly realm.
When I travel to another country, I still maintain my citizenship as an American. Several years ago, my wife and I went with a group from our church to Israel. Although we were U.S. citizens and had our passports with us, we still had to adapt to that culture.
When we needed some local currency, we decided to use the ATM machine at the airport. It took my card and listed a choice of certain denominations in shekels. Because I didn't know what the exchange rate was, the numbers looked very high. This made me very nervous, so I chose a number in the middle, not knowing how much I was withdrawing. We spent our shekels in about four minutes and had to get some more.
I had withdrawn money from my bank account in the United States, but it had been converted into shekels in Israel.
In the same way, Christians have resources in heaven that God wants us to start utilizing here. Some of us need to stop living like spiritual paupers and start laying hold of the resources that are available.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been made "accepted in the beloved" (see Ephesians 1:6). Because of our relationship with Christ, we have God's approval. It isn't necessary to earn it. We are loved by God. We are called by God.
As believers, we don't need to doubt our salvation and feel beaten and defeated and unworthy. It is not about being worthy. Rather, it is about Jesus and what He has done for us. We need to understand that and then let it impact the way that we live.
Each of us has been predestined by God to discover His purpose and plan for us, glorifying Him with our lives, with our gifts, and with our talents. Are you utilizing what God has given you? Are you possessing your spiritual possessions? If not, you can start doing so today.
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!