Is Preparedness A Sin?
As is the case with many things in life, preparedness could be a sin. It depends on why you do it and where your heart is. God is calling some believers to preparedness, while others may seek it out on their own. Both might be able to prepare with perfect submission, others might not be able to prepare without it soon taking over. At that point they are no longer being prudent, but are consumed with the “what if’s” and the “just in cases”, giving in to fear and letting the enemy take ground.
This is not solely about prepping. It’s about anything that we put between Jesus and ourselves. Any time there is something in our lives we refuse to lay down, to turn from if the Lord asks, or simply put as more important than Him, we now choose to walk in pride and in sin.
There have been times when I wasn’t sure if I was acting out of my own flesh. Psalm 139:23 comes to mind:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
If you’re not sure if you’re being led by your flesh, ask for the Lord to search you. Be willing to hear the answer and be listening for it.
There have been times in my life when I’ve found myself in a bad place, spiritually. I was living in the flesh and didn’t want to listen to the still small voice, so I didn’t give it a chance to speak.
If you close yourself off and do not give God a chance to convict you, or you know you’ve been convicted and you choose to ignore it, this is when self-reliance becomes pride. To prevent this, make Him the center of it, ask and rely on Him for guidance. I pray often to make sure His will is done, not mine; that He blesses me with wisdom to know how to prepare and keep me from reacting out of fear.
In Mark 8:1 the disciples watch as Jesus breaks the seven loaves and few small fish and feeds four thousand people. Just fourteen short verses later the disciples realize they had only brought one loaf of bread with them in the boat. They take Christ’s warning to “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod” as a complaint that they had forgotten food. Jesus then reminds them that he had already fed five thousand and later fed four thousand; that He is fully capable of feeding them.
The reason I bring this up is that it is okay to be self-reliant and provide for your family (true self-reliance is all but a myth, but that’s another story). However, pushing God aside because you don’t need Him and will do it yourself is prideful and we all know how God feels about pride.
While I’m talking about this verse, there are also those who take the verse the other way. They say that God worked miracles and provided food for so many. Yes, yes He did and He could again at any time. But let me ask you this, how many meals did those people listening to Jesus preach that day miraculously get from God in their life? My point is, we should prepare, being wary of self-reliance and leaving room for miracles, but not counting on them.
The Gift and Curse of Fear
There are many modern believers who think it is a sin to have any fear, but I think they’re only half right. I believe that fear is a gift given from God to keep us safe. When we let fear rule our lives it becomes a curse and we enter into sin.
We should use fear to motivate us to take action when faced with danger. When I started preparing I did so because I was afraid that in my situation, if there was even a medium sized survival situation, I could not provide for my family for very long. I could have responded other ways. I could have let the fear shut me down or turn me into an Ostrich. I could have also let it take over, going into debt to purchase things I will never use or need but only gave me a false sense of control.
In short, don’t be afraid of fear. Use it and don’t let it use you.
“Does storing food, water or other supplies show a lack of faith?”
For the vast majority of human history, humans have had to store food in one fashion or another, to make it through a season. The grocery store and the refrigerator are more recent options for storing food.
If it is a sin for us, was it a sin for humans that lived before the modern age?
Another question; what amount of food being stored would be considered a sin? Many people have enough food to last one to two weeks. Is that a sin? The point that I am trying to make is; is there a line that needs to be drawn and, if so, where do you draw it?
I personally don’t think there needs to be one drawn. I thank God for the food I eat, every time I eat. What does it matter if I bought the food five minutes ago or five years ago? The point is my gratitude for it.
How do we know that this compulsion to prepare is from God and not from us, or from satan?
Here is an acid test that you can use on any topic that you have this question on.
Pray and ask for wisdom and guidance
Pray for His will to be done and that He give you the wisdom to see what that is. James 1:5, 6 (NIV)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Ask for confirmation
Ask, if it is God, that He keep pushing and not relent. If it is not Him, to please cast the concern far from you. Ask for confirmation from sources outside of yourself. This eBook could be one such source. On a related note, I have seen thousands of people come to PreparedChristian.net looking for answers to preparedness and faith. I know God is stirring people.
Who does it bring glory to? Mathew 12:25 – 28
25. Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27. And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Does it bring anyone glory? If so, whom? When applying this question to preparedness, most Prepper’s prefer to keep things quiet. If no one knows you’re preparing it doesn’t bring you glory. By being prepared there is a chance you could use your preparations to bring God gory at a later date, by helping someone in need.
Satan won’t ask you to do things that bring God glory. If there is no glory involved or, it gives God glory or, there is potential to bring God glory, it is probably safe to move forward. If it only brings you glory or could bring God shame, I, personally, would not move forward.
I have Asperger Syndrome. This makes it hard for me to “hear” from God. I bring this up because, most of the time, I get no direct answer from God. With the above test, I think you can determine if moving forward on anything is a sin or not.
My rule of thumb is that if it brings God glory or has the potential to, I move forward. If it brings me glory, but God is still glorified, I still move forward. If it only brings me glory or brings God shame, I don’t move forward.
Aren’t we to look to God to provide?
This is one of my favorite questions because when I asked myself the following question, I could have hit myself on the forehead and said “duh!” That question was simply, “am I looking for God to provide now?”
I answered yes, but all of my food is purchased at a grocery store. My clothes wear out and new ones are purchased at a department store.
If God is keeping your clothes from wearing out or providing you manna everyday then praise Him and keep doing what you’re doing. However if you believe all of the money you earn is His and you use it to purchase your daily needs, then He is providing for you now. If you purchase supplies to prepare for the future, He is still providing for you. Just like He provided for Egypt with the seven years of stored grain during the famine that Pharaoh dreamed of and Joseph interpreted.
Here is a quote on the subject that I really like:
“If God gives you a watch, are you honoring Him more by asking Him what time it is or by simply consulting the watch?” A.W. Tozer