You’ve heard the phrase: Prosperity gospel. Many people cringe at this because they’ve heard the phrase “name it and claim it” and immediately start arguing that God isn’t a genie and it’s more humble to live in need than to live in luxury.
While I agree God isn’t a genie, I also think this belief that poverty equals humbleness is a twisted view of God’s truth. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the belief that poverty is next to godliness is one of the many ways satan keeps people of faith (and even those who are not) broken and unable to fulfill their God-given purpose.
Think about it.
If you’re poor, you’ll barely be able to meet your own needs, let alone the needs of others. Your tithes and offerings will be meager if given at all. You won’t be able to help people in need, nor will you be able to spread the good news of the Gospel since you’re just getting by. Instead of being able to minister the Gospel in a tangible way, you’ll be the one saying, “I’ll pray for you” but never putting action to your words. You’ll be just like the million other people that say but don’t do, mainly because you can’t. You don’t have the means to. And someday when your children are old enough to realize how much they’ve lived in lack, they’ll point back and blame God because you’ve taught them for years that being poor is to live humbly. Worse, you may even be telling them it’s God’s will. Let’s be real for a moment – if you weren’t a Christian, is a God who keeps His children poor and sick the kind of God you’d want to serve? I highly doubt it. It’s no wonder the world questions if we have anything to offer them when they see Christians scraping to get by, all in the name of God.
What amazes me, even more, is that this is a message preached on pulpits across the nation! Pastors ask church members to give because it’s clearly written in Scripture to tithe and give offerings. Giving is what opens the floodgates of Heaven for God to bless us financially. Yet, in the next breath, they talk about how it might not be God’s will for you to prosper and have more than enough. Do you see the dichotomy here? It’s like they want to believe God’s word is true, but out of the abundance of their heart, their mouth speaks. They want to believe that being prosperous is part of God’s plan, yet their experience washes away the truth of God’s word and instead, they choose to preach what they’ve seen.
Friend, let me ask you this. Is it always God’s will for people to come into the saving power of His sacrifice on the cross? Yes. John 3:16 makes that very clear that it is not His will that any should perish, but that all should have everlasting life. Yet, do we know that people still reject Him and go to hell? Sadly, yes that is also true. However, the experience does not negate the truth. People still choose to go to hell, but that does not change His will that none should perish. He gives us free will and allows us to choose to accept death and destruction that comes from satan or to choose the abundant life He gives. (John 10:10).
How then is being prosperous, in every area of life, any different? We see in 3 John 1:2: “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers.” One cannot say it’s not in Scripture, when we clearly see it in many different places. Jesus talked more about money than any other topic. Why? Maybe because He realized the struggle we’d face to accept the truth and reality that prospering in every area is His will.
I’ve heard pastors use the story of the rich young ruler in Luke 18 to prove that you shouldn’t be wealthy, or at least, that it’s not something we can expect from God. Here’s how the story goes: The rich young ruler comes to Jesus and asks how he can be saved. Jesus goes through the commandments and the ruler replies he’s kept them all. Next, Jesus tells him to sell all of his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow Him. The ruler goes away in sorrow because he refuses to give up his wealth. Jesus goes on to say how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. To which the disciples of Jesus ask Him how can they be saved. He responds that in their own power, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.
This is typically where preachers stop because, for them, it proves their point. They want to preach that you can’t have wealth and still enter Heaven. They want you to believe you must give it all away to the poor in order to gain entrance. Worse, they want you to believe that we should be okay living with little, just getting by.
What they often fail to read to the church are the following verses that are part of this story, in Luke 18:29-30. Jesus says, “Mark my words, no one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!”
Woah woah woah. Yes, friends. Not only is He saying that whatever we give up to follow Him will be given back to us in this lifetime, but it will also be multiplied. In Mark 10:30 the same story goes even further to say it will be multiplied one hundred times over! And not only that, but we also get the bonus of eternal life! Jesus isn’t saying to give it all up so we will have nothing on this earth. He’s saying to give it up to show He is first in our lives. Then once we do, He can trust us with so much more than we ever gave up. Even still, additional to any earthly things He blesses us with, we will still receive the benefit of eternal life.
Tell me why this is such a difficult thing for Christians everywhere to get in agreement with? Is it because they don’t want this kind of prosperous living or is it because they haven’t experienced it thus, they don’t believe it’s true?
Here’s what they all fail to realize:
Your experience does not change His truth.
It doesn’t matter what I see in my own life. It doesn’t matter what I see in the lives of others. His Truth doesn’t change. Hebrews 13:8 says He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So if we are not seeing His Word coming to fruition in our lives, that’s not on God.
It’s on us.
We must take personal responsibility for the lack in our lives. Is it due to not obeying the commandment to pay our tithes and offerings? Is it due to not stewarding what He’s given us wisely?
The reason we have so many Christians living in poverty, in lack, in sickness, in depression, etc. is because they would rather see Scripture through the lens of their experience. They would rather think so highly of themselves that they believe their experience dictates the context of God’s Word. How arrogant of us to think we can adjust the meaning of His Word based on what we’ve seen in our lives or the lives of others.
Experiential Christianity has no place in churches, in life, and definitely not on the pulpit on a Sunday morning. Why?
My experience does not change His truth.
The moment we get hold of the fullness of the Gospel, we will see the blockers in our lives fall to the side. We will see the chains break that are holding us back. I will leave you with a verse from 2 Timothy 3:5.
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Take a moment and let that sink in. What good is learning the Word if we don’t believe the power it has to radically transform our lives? What good is the authority God gave to us if we don’t put it into action in our lives?
My heart aches to see churches around the world get a hold of this message. I’m done listening to the poverty gospel so often preached. Those preaching it have made it clear that they value their experience and feelings more than they value the truth of His Word. They’d rather see the Word through their experiential lense and castrate the God-given promises in the process. It’s a devastating thing to witness and no longer will I be silent.
It’s time for us to open our eyes and see the fullness of the Gospel in our lives. That fullness includes health and prosperity in every area – financially, relationally, emotionally, mentally, physically, and everything in between. The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross was not just to save us from our sins, it was also to set us free from death in every area of our lives.
It’s time friends.
It’s time for you to be victorious.
It’s time to be prosperous and healthy.
It’s time to act like the Word of God is true and have it radically transform your life.
It’s time to make the decision to believe and fight for this with everything you’ve got.
It’ll radically change the life you’re living and it’ll be the most incredible adventure you’ve ever been on.
Are you ready?