Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Be God Centered - And Not In Yourselves
By Pastor Zac Poonen

There were two trees in the garden of Eden – and they represented two ways of life. The tree of life symbolized a life centred in God – where God would be the centre of every decision made by man. The tree of knowledge of good and evil on the other hand, symbolized a life where Self would be the centre, and where man would live without consulting God and would determine himself what was good and what was evil. God sent Adam and Eve into that garden and told them, as it were, “You can choose now which of these two ways you want to live by”. And we all know what Adam chose. He chose to live a life centred in himself.

All the misery, sorrow and murders and every other wretched thing that we see in the world around us, is due to man having decided to choose for himself what is good and what is evil. He doesn’t want God to tell him. And that is the reason for every unhappy marriage as well – even among Christians. Multitudes of Christians live with Self as the centre of their life – and they reap what they sow.

When God made Adam He wanted him to rule over the earth. Adam was created to be a king, not a slave. And God wanted Eve to be a queen beside Adam. But what do we see today? Men and women are slaves everywhere – slaves to their passions and to the corruptible things of earth.

When God created this earth He made everything beautiful. The forbidden tree was also beautiful. When Adam and Eve stood in front of that tree, they had to make a choice: Would they choose the beautiful things God had created, or would they choose God Himself?

That is the choice all of us have to make every day. If our life is centred in ourselves, we will pursue after God’s gifts (the things He has created) and not after God Himself. Most of the quarrels that take place in homes are over earthly things. Such quarrels arise because the husband and wife choose created things instead of God Himself – and they reap the consequences of their choice. They sow to the flesh and so they reap corruption. Man becomes a slave when he chooses created things over his Creator.

Jesus came to deliver us from this slavery. Man is a slave today to the power of money, to illegitimate sexual pleasure, to the opinions of others, and to many other things. He is not free. God created him to be like the eagle that flies high in the sky. But everywhere we find man in chains, unable to conquer his temper, unable to control his tongue, unable to control his lustful eyes. Jesus came, not just to die for our sins, but also to deliver us from this slavery.

The Bible says that God is Light and God is Love. God’s Love is His Light. In a dark room, the power of light drives away the darkness. God’s power is like that. Life without God’s power, without His love, will only be darkness.

Our whole life on earth is a period of testing and probation, to prepare us for a kingdom in eternity, where everything will be ruled by the law of love. Every situation and circumstance that God takes us through now is therefore designed by Him to test us in one area – whether we will live by the law of love. And that is why God allows so many trials and difficulties in our lives. God is Almighty and He could have made life on earth such that we never had any trials at all. But God in His great wisdom has ordained trials as a means by which we learn to love. If we overcome our selfishness and determine that love alone will guide our life, God will be able to prepare us to be rulers in His coming kingdom. We have to think about that now, or else we will find in eternity that we missed the opportunities that God gave us on earth – and never learnt what we were supposed to learn.

Pastor Poonen evaluates the call to live for God versus self below in examining the error of Balaam, who sought to profit from the gift of God.


  1. Once again, an awesome post! I thank God for your ministry, it has introduced me to so much in a span of one year that has changed my life forever. Thank you for always posting the TRUTH! God Bless you!

  2. Hi Godsproperty,

    May God be glorified for any good from this. I am thankful to Him for the wonderful men and women of faith who often inspire these posts. He always has a word for His children, to encourage us in the way and help us to grow. If anything, this blog is a journal of my own growth in the Lord as I share what He is teaching me. His love for us leaves me speechless. :-)

    God bless you too!

  3. is it really wrong to be paid for being a full time minister? especially in light of 1 cor 9:14 where it says that the Lord has ordained that those who preach the gospel should live of it.
    Of course, we bless God for Apostle Paul's example cause he was able to work whilst being a minister and so avoid any 'criticism'. But there is nothing wrong with being a full-time minister and being paid for this. I guess the most important thing which Jesus sees is the heart, is it to serve self or to serve God?

  4. Hi Esther,

    I didn't take Pastor Poonen's comments as saying it is wrong for ministers to be paid for ministry, but rather that men should not look to ministry as a means by which to make money or live. I think it is able about the motives and intent, or as you say the heart.

    I agree completely that a minister has a right to be supported by those to whom he ministers. And conversely, that people have an obligation to support those who minister to them.

    Yet, I also think it is telling that - although such a right exists - Paul didn't avail himself of it. In reading the text in I Corinthians Chapter 9, it seems like his reasons were more than just not being criticized.

    He did not want such to be a hindrance to people receiving the Gospel.

    "If others share in this rightful claim upon you, do not we [have a still better and greater claim]? However, we have never exercised this right, but we endure everything rather than put a hindrance in the way [of the spread] of the good news (the Gospel) of Christ." I Corinthians 9:12

    He considered it part of his personal obligation in fulfilling God's call to preach the gospel.

    "But I have not made use of any of these privileges, nor am I writing this [to suggest] that any such provision be made for me [now]. For it would be better for me to die than to have anyone make void and deprive me of my [ground for] glorifying [in this matter].For if I [merely] preach the Gospel, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel compelled of necessity to do it. Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the Gospel)! For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have my pay (my reward); but if it is not of my own will, but is done reluctantly and under compulsion, I am [still] entrusted with a [sacred] trusteeship and commission." I Corinthians 9:15-17

    He valued his reward in that the Gospel was being preached freely, without cost to those who received it more than he valued the right to demand support.

    "What then is the [actual] reward that I get? Just this: that in my preaching the good news (the Gospel), I may offer it [absolutely] free of expense [to anybody], not taking advantage of my rights and privileges [as a preacher] of the Gospel." I Corinthians 9:18

    He believed he could win more souls in not doing so.

    "For although I am free in every way from anyone's control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more for Christ." I Corinthians 9:19

    In case it helps to shed light on Pastor Poonen's position, I believe that neither he nor the elders at those affiliated churches request any support from their churches, although there is an offering box in the back where people can give,

    Again, I think he is speaking primarily from a perspective of people who are looking to profit from the Gospel and are misusing Scripture and God's people to justify such.

  5. I think I should add that I have always considered it an honor and a privilege to support the ministry and minister of the church to which I belong. If someone is doing God's work, why would we not want to support that (and them)? Indeed, shouldn't all that we have belong to the Lord to accomplish His will?

    Paul also accepted support from other congregations, although it seems he did not demand it. However, the way that some are fleecing the sheep, it bears note what Paul's attitude was about this right. Likewise, to see others following Paul's example in establishing churches is refreshing.

    So, I don't want people to think that they should not give. Quite the opposite. I would hope that those who give and those who receive would look to God in how to manage such things.

  6. thank you for your feedback, very well put. It's good to give and to do so cheerfully and for the sharing/flourishing of the gospel.


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