I believe in a type of prosperity gospel. Before you agree or disagree, please hear me out.
I’ve seen people injured by the so-called prosperity gospel. One man’s friends told him if he believed, his young son would be healed. He believed with all the faith he could muster. His son died anyway. This man walked away from anything to do with God. This kind of “gospel” is not good news. It cruelly adds blame to pain and loss.
But there’s another extreme that doesn’t believe God’s involved or cares about our desires or temporal pleasures. That’s off-based too.
Consider these Scriptures:
- Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2, (NASB)
- Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? James 2:5 (NIV)
The Bible doesn’t equate holiness with lack. It’s not wrong to ask for good things. Jesus said, “‘Ask and it will be given to you … Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? … 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’” (Matt. 7:7, 9-19, NIV). To forget our heavenly Father provides for our needs is to live like an unbeliever (Matt. 6:28-34).
James 1:17 describes God as the giver of every good and perfect gift. Ironically, this verse appears in the context of trials. Trials are one route to prosperity—“so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
Prosperity is knowing, God is for me (Romans 8:31-32).
How do you define prosperity?
Those who equate prosperity mainly with material wealth and physical health overlook true riches. It certainly can include these things, but sometimes it doesn’t. According to this definition many of the heroes of the faith, of whom “the world was not worthy,” missed out (Heb. 11:36-38). But these witnesses testify to a greater gain.
When we forget we’re spiritual beings housed in physical bodies, we end up with a skewed value system. (2 Cor. 5:6-9). “What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” (2 Cor. 4:18, NIV). The physical, fleeting part of life should serve the eternal. Demanding tangible measuring sticks obliterates faith.
God looks at how temporary things affect our eternity. If worldly wealth diminishes our eternal experience, it impoverishes us. If trials strengthen us, they enrich us. God wants you to be eternally RICH!
Remember when David, the overlooked youngest son, faced the giant Goliath? Remember the years he spent in exile hiding in caves from King Saul? We loved this David. When he finally wore Israel’s crown, his character crumbled. David prospered under adversity.
God knows a prosperous soul is the only guarantee to true riches. Glowing health, booming careers, and big bank accounts disappear before or when we die. Paradoxically, those who feed their souls enjoy blessings now and forever (Ps. 1:1-3; Ps. 23: 6). More importantly, they receive eyes to recognize God’s intangible gifts.
My friend Sue is prospering while her body is languishing with stage 4 melanoma. She and her husband, Ronnie, glowed as they shared the supernatural grace they’ve experienced in this torturous journey. “I wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” Ronnie said. “But I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”
“I have two options: be healed, or go to heaven,” Sue said. “Looks like I win either way!”
Prosperity is knowing—whatever my outward circumstances—it will be well with my soul.
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Deborah W. Wilson
Photo by: Sean MacEntee