What do you think about prosperity theology?
Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of success) is a belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, He will deliver security and prosperity. (Wikipedia)
There are many who have called out this teaching as false theology, and I completely agree with them. (Keep reading and I’ll tell you why.)
But even more importantly than just calling it out as false, I think it is something we all need to address in ourselves because I think it just may show up in ways we may not realize.
Let me explain…
Looking back, I think I wanted my own version of prosperity theology.
One that said, “good boys and girls” are blessed and “disobedient boys and girls” had consequences.
It’s simple, right?! It’s fair!
I wanted blessings (not necessarily health and wealth but uncomplicated and stressless). In all honesty, I wanted easy, so I did whatever I could to be “good” so I could avoid problems and complications . . . which meant desperately trying to do what I could to keep everyone happy.
But you know that verse in John 16 where Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble”? v. 33
Yeah, that one.
Well, it just didn’t fit with my world view of right and fair.
However, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy and avoid problems no matter how hard you and I try . . . so, I had trouble. Frustrating, melt-down, what do I do now, outside of my control trouble. Ugh!
And I started to understand that although we will have troubles…
God has a promise greater than any of my troubles.
Since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:14-16
You and I will have trouble but we also have…
Our great High Priest who understands with our weaknesses and knows every need.
He comforts us and tells us, “I understand. I’ve been there. I’ve felt your pain. I know what you’re going through. I care and I’m with you.”
“Jesus, our Savior and Mediator and High Priest, fully understands everything we feel and everything we face.” ~Andy Stanley
The One who cried outside the tomb of His friend, Lazarus, felt intense temptation, experienced the betrayal of friends, was homeless, abandoned hungry, tired, under-appreciated and overworked . . . understands.
There is nothing you can take to Him in prayer that is beyond His ability to understand and nothing outside of His loving care.
He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:10–12
Grace to approach God’s throne of grace with any and every need.
If you and I truly believe that Jesus responds with love and an empathetic, “I know and I care” then we really would “pray without ceasing.”
We’re invited to pray at any time, in any place, about any need. We will never be turned away.
He invites us to come to Him with confidence, trusting the promise that He will give us His mercy and grace. Always.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” Matthew 11:28–29
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7
3. God’s Mercy and Grace
Everything we need to comfort us and see us through times of trouble.
God may not always give me what I want, but He will always give me what I need.
His mercy is evident in His compassion and loving forgiveness and you and I can experience the reality of that grace as He strengthens us to endure whatever life throws at us.
Sometimes God does miraculously save us from our circumstances, but even when He doesn’t save us from – He will always walk us through.
We are never alone. We have the One who is who He says He is, and who is able to do what He says walking with us.
So, I’ve asked myself…
Do I really want a god who will give me the easy trouble-free life I want or One who loves me so much He will allow problems to meet my spiritual needs and pull me close?
Sure, easy sounds wonderful but more than anything I want a close relationship with God through Jesus. I want lasting love and truth more than temporary health and wealth.
God’s plans and purposes are always best.
So, I’ll trust Jesus, pray, and lean into His grace and mercy when troubles come. Oh, and I’ll still try to do my best to follow His will but not to stay out of trouble…
I want to do His will as a response to His amazing grace—sufficient for any trouble-filled day.
“I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7–9
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