A BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER

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CONFESSIONS OF A (FORMER) PREPPING JUNKIE

It never ceases to amaze me that Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights without any preps at all. Not even water. And yet, even after having starved for nearly 6 weeks, he still managed to outwit the devil.

How’d he do that?

People are starting to furiously prep again, like they did just before the “pandemic” was declared nearly three years ago. I overheard a woman today in the dollar store breathlessly detailing her latest prepping acquisitions to a friend she’d run into. She said she got most of her ideas from survivalist videos she saw on YouTube. Her friend was ooh-ing and ahhh-ing over her overfilled grocery cart and congratulating her on her alleged prepping acumen.

Meanwhile, in grocery stores all across Canada and the US, shelves are being emptied out of basic necessities like rice, pasta, canned vegetables, etc., causing food shortages for everyone else. That they’re causing food shortages doesn’t seem to faze the preppers one whit. They’re only interested in their own perceived needs.

Jesus, as demonstrated by his 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness, was no prepper. In fact, he stated his position on prepping quite clearly:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink…. Is not life more than food?”

Jesus was notorious for having only enough supplies at any given time to get him through the day. When he needed food and none was available, he relied on God to supply it. Think of how he fed the thousands who’d come to listen to him preach the sermon on the mount. Even his disciples were at a loss to figure out how so many people could be fed in the wilderness, but Jesus just calmly held up the few fishes and loaves they had, said a silent heartfelt prayer, and God took care of the rest.

Because that’s what it’s all about – letting God do his job while we do ours. Jesus was able to go 40 days and nights in the wilderness with no food or water because God set that task to him and then supernaturally enabled him to do it.

When you prep, what you’re saying is that you don’t trust God to supply for your needs. You’re relying on your own strength and ingenuity and turning your back on God.

You’re showing zero faith in God.

Now before you start huffing and puffing, allow me to let you in on a little secret. I know that God doesn’t want us, his born-again children, to prep, because I was once a prepper myself. I still have around 10,000 pristine tea light candles in storage to prove it (lol). But then God started getting on my case a few years ago. He pointed me to various scriptures to show me that my prepping revealed I had a very low level of faith in him to provide for me in some future SHTF scenario. I got the message loud and clear, and from that point onward I stopped prepping altogether. Instead, because I move around so much and occasionally live out in the boonies, I only buy what I think I’ll need until my next shopping trip.

I know what a buzz it is to prep, because I’ve done it. It has addictive properties, in that no matter how much you buy, you still feel you don’t have enough and have to buy more. Many Christians have become prepping junkies who invest a good portion of their income on food and other supplies they may never actually need.

Imagine if they had instead invested all that money, time, and energy in the Kingdom.

If we follow Jesus, we live as Jesus lived. If he didn’t prep and he relied on God to provide for him, then so should we. I’m not talking to unbelievers here or to nominal Christians – I’m talking to born-again believers. The only prepping we should be doing is spiritual prepping, which means working on our relationship with God, treating other people as we want to be treated, and following ever closer behind Jesus. If unbelievers what to prep, let them. Don’t interfere with them. It’s not our business to tell them what to do. If nominal Christians want to prep, maybe remind them that Jesus was no prepper, and leave it at that. They may take the bait, but whether they do or not is between them and God. It’s out of our hands.

But for us born-again believers, we need to understand that prepping food and other items is not what we do. Prepping shows a lack of faith in God to provide for our needs. We are not in Old Testament times, where prepping was actively encouraged, such as in the time of Joseph, where his job was to prep in order to provide for his family. Let other people prep, if they want to, but we born-agains need to remain faithful to our calling to follow closely behind Jesus, who never prepped, not even when he knew he’d be spending 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness.

Whatever task God sets for us, he will provide for us ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. The “one way or another” part is really important for us to take on, because, like the disciples who wondered where all the food was going to come from to feed the thousands, we won’t always know how our needs will be provided for. That’s where having faith in God comes in handy. You may not be able to see how you’ll be provided for, but trust that God sees very clearly how it will be done.

And it will be done.

I had to learn the hard way that prepping was a no-no for me, throwing out dozens of cans of expired peaches, cranberry sauce, kidney beans, etc., in the process. God doesn’t want us to prep in that way. If he did, Jesus would have been an exemplary prepper. Instead, Jesus prepped in the only way that mattered – spiritually, and for all eternity, storing up his treasures in Heaven, not on Earth.

He taught us and showed us that we should do the same.

Now, if you have a basement or a garage full of preps, don’t throw them out. Use them and share them. And then resolve within yourself not to buy any more than you’ll need until your next anticipated shopping trip.

As born-again believers, we don’t need to be prepping junkies; we need to be faith junkies.

CHRISTIAN SURVIVAL PREPPING

I’m paraphrasing here, but Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) once said that it wasn’t the obscure parts of the Bible that troubled him, it was the parts that were plain and clear and that he knew he wasn’t abiding by.

Jesus taught people in two ways: in parables for those who were still on the spiritual fence, and plainly for those who could handle the truth.

One of the plainest verses in the New Testament is about what to do when you get the order from God to flee. Let’s look at it:

“Let no one on the housetop come down to retrieve anything from his house.  And let no one in the field return for his cloak.” (Matthew 24:17-18)

Jesus says straight out what to expect and what to do. He doesn’t say “if you have time, go back and get what you need”, he tells us don’t even think about going back, not even for your coat.

So how does this plain-spoken warning from Jesus align with so-called Christian prepping? It doesn’t. A whole industry has grown up around “Christian end-time survival” that flies in the face of Jesus’ teachings on fleeing at a moment’s notice and with just the clothes on your back.

Jesus lived the last three years of his life on the run. He was constantly under threat of arrest, he had no possessions other than what he wore, and he never stayed for more than a few days in any one place. And yet so-called Christian preppers are, for instance, trying to sell you seeds that presumably you’re going to need more than a few days to plant, grow, and harvest. Or do you think God wants us to go on the run clutching an armful of potted tomatoes?

Let me be plain here. When things get really crazy over the next few years and the persecutions ramp up against those who won’t accept the “new normal” world order, you won’t be planting seeds, and if you do, you won’t be hanging around to watch them grow. You’ll be on the run, like Jesus, and the only thing you’ll be watching is your back to see who’s gaining on you. Whatever preps you’ve stockpiled you’ll have to leave behind for someone else. God will provide for you on the run, like he did for Jesus. But forget about bugging out to a fully-stocked and fortified bunker where you’ll be left in peace to ride out the coming purge. It ain’t gonna happen that way – not for you, and not for any real Christian.

Christian preppers are living in a fantasy world. Don’t fall for their lies. If you want to survive what’s coming, you’ll have to live like Jesus – ready to leave at a moment’s notice, constantly on the run, and traveling light. And while you’re on the run, you’ll be preaching and teaching and modeling the Word. The prepper lifestyle and the Christian-on-the-run lifestyle are dead opposite.

My advice on how to “prep” for what’s coming? Let me be plain-spoken, like Jesus: We need to do less stockpiling and more abiding by what’s in the Bible.

God Is Not A Prepper

loaves and fishes

Let me say from the outset that I am not an anti-prepper. I believe setting aside some rainy-day funds or supplies is appropriate if you have children, elderly parents or others who depend on you for their daily needs. But if you’re a born-again with no dependents, like Jesus and Paul, then there’s no need to prep, and prepping is also not advisable.

For clear guidance on prepping, as in all things in life, let’s look at what Jesus did during his ministry years. Was there any evidence that he prepped or hoarded supplies or precious metals towards a future undefined breakdown of society or natural/unnatural disaster? None whatsoever. On the contrary, Jesus always advised his followers to be ready and willing to leave town at a moment’s notice, even without the shirt on their back, if necessary. That would be hard to do if you had a bunker full of food and supplies.

As Jesus told us, we’re to store our ‘treasures’ in heaven, not underground.

The sermon on the mount gives us a good example of Jesus’ approach to prepping. After he’d finished preaching, he realized that the attendees faced a long walk home on an empty stomach. A quick inventory of the available food on hand revealed they had just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. How was that going to satisfy the hunger of thousands of people? Undeterred by the seeming hopelessness of the situation, and knowing the people’s genuine need, Jesus did what he always did – he turned to God for help. And God, as always, delivered.

Now I’m not saying you should adopt the attitude that you should never worry about supplying for your own needs because God will always miraculously attend to them. We ask God to provide us “our daily bread”, and so he does, but he still expects us to do our part. The lack of food at the sermon on the mount event was an exemplary situation; the attendees ran out of food not because they were too lazy to work or too careless to bring anything with them, they just simply ended up staying longer than anticipated, so enraptured were they with hearing Jesus talk about the Kingdom. Also keep in mind that they faced extreme hunger that was health endangering; this wasn’t a simple case of a skipped meal. God miraculously intervened because there was a genuine need and insufficient resources, coupled with Jesus’ profound faith that he would provide for them.

But in our everyday lives, we still need to work (if we’re able to) to earn our keep. The apostles agreed that anyone in their ranks who could work and chose not to, should not be given free food and rent. This is a good reflection of God’s way with regard to satisfying our day-to-day needs. Anyone who is willing and able to work will always have their needs met, whereas those who are able to work but choose not to will likely experience hardship.

When you supply the needs of people who are able to work but choose not to, you’re not doing God’s will.

Another example of God’s “just-in-time” approach to prepping is when Jesus is asked to pay a tribute tax (a form of custom fee) for entering a certain territory. He didn’t have any savings other than, I guess, for the money that Judas Iscariot carried with him in his infamous bag. Jesus considered the tax an unfair charge, but knowing that he had to pay it if he wanted to enter the region, he came up with the required funds at a moment’s notice: he told one of his followers to go fishing, and that the fish he caught would have a gold coin in its mouth. The gold coin was of such a high value, that Jesus was able to pay the tribute tax for himself and for all of his followers present. This is one of many instances where Jesus paid our debts with God’s miraculous help.

The story of Jesus and the gold coin gives a clear indication of what God thinks of prepping and saving – he doesn’t advise it. If we’re willing to work and choose to work, we’ll always have enough ‘daily bread’ for our needs – not more, not less, just enough. If someone makes unreasonable and unforeseen demands on us that we’re unable to meet, God will miraculously supply our shortfall.

We know this is true both by Jesus’ example and by faith. Most of us have probably also experienced this personally. I certainly have.

Prep if you want, but Jesus wouldn’t, and I doubt you’ll be able to use your bounty should a disastrous situation arise. Better to share your excess wealth now with those who are unable to earn their daily bread. God will reward you and also provide for you, should the need arise.