There is always the possibility that God’s gifts are valued and sought after more than God Himself. The children of Israel spent 40 years living on the gracious bounty of God and yet the majority never really sought Him and perished in the wilderness.
Also we can see our blessings, material and otherwise as automatic signs of God’s favour while our afflictions are almost always the result of God’s wrath or maybe indifference.
At a time when Martin Luther was quite prosperous he begged the Lord not to “fob” him off as it were, with the things of this world. How many of our “health and wealth” gurus would do the same?
(Many could probably pray that God would not merely grant them the passing “spiritual high” associated with many of our worship services, but rather give them a daily and constant sense of his presence.)
The fact is prosperity brings with it as many problems as poverty. The prosperous Christian is prone to get dizzy with his position and put to must trust in riches and super “spirituality”. The poor Christian is prone to grumble at God’s stinting him in the good things of life or great pleasure of high spiritual attainments.
Either way instead of seeking God first and foremost the gift supersedes the giver. This is something we need to beware of constantly.
John Piper in his book of this name puts the case that our motivation for Christian living comes from faith in God’s future grace to us. I think that he is saying that grace shown to us in the past must give us faithful confidence in God’s giving grace in the future.
We do have a tendency to live on grace we have received in the past and when that runs out we make up the shortfall by extra human effort.
In our superficial spirituality we give little thought to where our continuance in Christianity comes from, so that when we feel dull and empty in the things of Christ we either fall asleep or use artificial means to keep up our Christianity.
None of us likes to live hand to mouth but even in day to day life we must resort to the same sources day by day and week to week.
That God is bountiful and gracious giver is beyond doubt, our part is to be constant in our seeking of him for our natural and spiritual sustenance. Not merely for our own ends but to grow in closeness to Christ and share our grace with the household of faith and the world at large.
God does not change; He can be trusted for grace in the future. Our own sin and mistrust rob us of blessing which strong faith in Him gives.
He will not however let us place anything in His stead ,not even His own gifts.
As in all things the Christian is to be vigilant in self watch over his motives and ends.