Who does not want to be blessed? We all want to be blessed. We all like the good things in life.
The Bible is not silent on the subject of worldly wealth. That’s a good thing because we need the Word of God to give us a biblical perspective on the subject. Our innate desire for the good things in life makes it virtually impossible for us to be objective in that area.
Many preachers today preach the so-called Prosperity gospel. As the name implies, prosperity teachings place financial blessings and material gain front and center. But some church leaders go as far as labeling prosperity teachings as heresy. By that I mean they regard the teachings of the prosperity gospel as contrary to orthodox Christianity.
Of course, God is not opposed to abundantly blessing us with money and material things. But biblical prosperity and the prosperity gospel are not necessarily the same. In fact, the two can be worlds apart because of the wide variation of prosperity teachings that exists among those who proclaim it.
It then behooves us to adopt a biblical perspective on the subject of prosperity in this world.
What the Bible Says about God’s Desire to Bless Us
- It is the will of God to bless His people. In fact, it is He “who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Two key words in this verse: “richly” and “all things.”
- For those who delight in the Lord and His Word, biblical prosperity is inevitable. In Psalm 1, the psalmist says this about those who delight in the Word of God: “whatsoever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3).
- God himself said to Joshua: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8, NASB).
A Biblical Perspective on Prosperity Teachings
Clearly, based on the bullets above, it is the will of God to abundantly bless His people. The problem I have with much of the prosperity gospel teachings I hear however is the unbalanced, sometimes manipulative presentation of those teachings.
As it is with any other area of teaching in the Bible, prosperity teachings can only be balanced if they are taught within the confines of Scripture. Adherence to the following biblical points will help you maintain a biblical perspective on prosperity teachings.
- Your life is not defined by how much or how little money and material things you have. Really? Listening to the prosperity gospel preachers on TV, you could be led to believe that a person’s life is defined by his worldly wealth. “Be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions,” Jesus said (Luke 12:15).
- God will not answer your prayers aimed at satisfying your lust for worldly wealth. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures,” James writes (James 4:3, NASB). We must set our affection on things above and not on things on the earth. The Bible warns, “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (v. 4)!
- “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). According to this verse, the Christian who loves the lofty things and the showiness of this world is a worldly Christian. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (verse 16).
These last three bullets are sobering when we bring them to bear upon the prosperity teachings of our day. What shall we say to these things? It is the will of God to abundantly bless His people. But we should not preoccupy ourselves with the pursuit of prosperity. Rather, we should let prosperity pursue us as we pursue the heart of God.
Copyright © 2019 by Frank King. All rights reserved.