Archives For Prosperity

Show Me in the Scriptures…

Corey —  October 27, 2009

       A reader recently left a comment on my post discussing how much you should have in your emergency fund. Frank said:

Could you please show me in Scripture where it says believers are to have an emergency fund?

Thank you.

       I responded to Frank’s question in the comments, but I think this is an important enough issue to address in its own post.

       Not all personal finance advice can be backed up with a specific quote from Scripture. Does that mean it is bad or unchristian? Not in the least. If the advice follows the pattern of teaching and wisdom in the Bible, it can still be considered good advice for Christians despite the lack of a specific Biblical reference.

       For example, is there a specific Bible verse telling you that you should create a will? No. But it’s still a wise thing to do. Is there a specific Bible verse that tells us to update our résumés? Again, the answer is no, but that doesn’t change the validity of the advice.

       This concept doesn’t apply just to personal finance. Is there a Bible verse telling us to buckle our seat belts? Nope. But does that mean you’re trusting your seat belt more than God if you buckle it? What about looking both ways before you cross the street? Do you lack faith because you do this?

       The problem with applying the “show me in the Scriptures” test is that there is not specific advice for every single situation we will encounter in life. There are guiding principles and values that, along with God’s Holy Spirit, will help us discern the wise choices. But you’re not going to find Bible verses telling you to brush your teeth, stop eating at McDonald’s, or to take advantage of an HSA if you’re eligible.

       Scripture does contain many verses teaching us the importance of wisdom in handling our affairs. Here are a couple examples:

       The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

Proverbs 14:15 (WEB)

       The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

Proverbs 21:5 (WEB)

       Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.

Proverbs 21:20 (WEB)

       The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

Proverbs 22:3 (WEB)

       In fact, the entire book of Proverbs points to the importance of wisdom and its place in the life of those who follow God. But what about all the times Jesus told us not to store up treasures on earth? Or when He taught us not to worry about what we’ll eat and drink and wear?

       Tell me, what did Christ mean when He said do not worry or be anxious? What does it mean to worry or be anxious? Those words mean to be distressed, uneasy, and tormented with care about something (material things in this case). Christ’s solution was for us to “seek first the Kingdom of God”. Instead of being worried about how we’ll meet our material needs, we should be worried about how we’ll meet our spiritual needs – how will we serve God and draw closer to Him.

       You can be worried and anxious about material things whether or not you wisely plan ahead. I can have an emergency fund and still be worried about material things. I can not have one and still be worried about material things. Even if I have an emergency fund, I can stop worrying either because I have that money saved or because I trust in God’s provision. That brings us to the other main teaching of Christ about money.

       When Jesus taught about storing up treasures and serving Money what did He mean? What does it mean to be wealthy or rich or to have treasure? All those words denote an abundance, which means having much more than what is sufficient or needed. Jesus’ warnings about wealth were not to tell us that we should never use money appropriately to meet our needs. Jesus warned us instead of the danger in accumulating more than what we really need. He told us not to become consumed with money and wealth.

       There is a vast difference between being consumed with accumulating an abundance of wealth and planning wisely to have enough to meet our needs. In the same way, there is a huge difference between being occupied with worry and prudently foreseeing needs and dangers and preparing to face those situations. These two teachings that Jesus gave us are so often stretched to mean that we should never save anything at all for the future because that demonstrates a lack of faith. The truth is that Jesus taught us to:

  1. Give God and His Ways priority in our thoughts and lives.
  2.        

  3. Avoid storing up more money than we will need. (That is, not to let becoming rich be our priority in life.)

       Proverbs commends wisdom and many New Testament verses speak to the importance of providing for your own family. We are not taught to make ourselves a burden to others when it is within our power to care for ourselves. Instead, we are taught that if there are any among us who cannot provide for themselves it is our responsibility as fellow Christians to care and provide for those people. Jesus’ teachings combined with the rest of Scripture in no way preclude us from saving for the future, using insurance, or utilizing money in any other wise manner. What is forbidden is making Money our god – giving priority to accumulating more money than we really need instead of serving God.

       The real issue then becomes finding contentment in Christ and determining our true needs. The danger we face is allowing the world to dictate our needs and success (a bigger house, a fancy car, expensive clothes, etc.) instead of learning to live on enough (our daily bread). That is the bigger issue here and the battle all of us Christians face. Once we have submitted to God in our discontentment and covetousness, we will be able to make Money serve us and God’s Kingdom instead of allowing it to be our master. But these are all topics worthy of their own discussion (contentment, defining needs, and avoiding covetousness).

       Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you!

       If you missed the earlier parts of this series, you can find them here:

       In this last article on the lies of the prosperity gospel, we’re going to look at the idea of giving to get blessings. This belief is widely held by many proponents of the greed gospel. There are even some Christians who would argue against the prosperity gospel who still believe that God will bless them if they give more. Jesus made it clear that giving was a means of showing our love for each other and accumulating heavenly treasuresnot worldly treasures.

Buying God’s Blessing

       The prosperity gospel preachers claim that the more you give the more God will bless you. Think about that statement for a moment. If that’s true, what they’re saying is that you can buy off God. You can bribe Him into blessing you just by giving money (usually to their “ministry”). They can’t be any further from the truth! You can’t buy God’s blessings – He has already freely blessed us with the Gift of His Son. We have need for nothing else. In fact, Jesus warned us not to worry about our needs but to focus on seeking the Kingdom of God instead.

       The story of Simon the sorcerer is a clear warning against thinking that you can buy God’s blessings. When Simon saw the power of the Holy Spirit working through Peter and John and how they could give the Holy Spirit by laying their hands on people, he offered them money so that he could get the power of the Holy Spirit. But look at what Peter said to him:

       20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart isn’t right before God. 22 Repent therefore of this, your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”

Acts 8:20-23 (WEB)

       Peter chastises Simon the sorcerer for thinking he could by God’s blessing and power with money. Simon had believed and been baptized, but his heart still wasn’t right with God. It’s the same with those who preach the prosperity gospel. They look at the Gospel of Christ as a means of financial gain – for them and their followers. They preach that if you’ll just give you can get God’s blessings. They think the power of the Gospel is in blessing us in this life with all the material possessions we desire and great health and prosperity. But they’ve missed it completely. They’re the ones teaching a different doctrine, as Paul warned Timothy:

       3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine, and doesn’t consent to sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, 4 he is conceited, knowing nothing, but obsessed with arguments, disputes, and word battles, from which come envy, strife, insulting, evil suspicions, 5 constant friction of people of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. Withdraw yourself from such. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can’t carry anything out. 8 But having food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:3-10 (WEB) emphasis mine

       Those who preach and believe the prosperity gospel falsely think that following God is a way of getting money. But Paul says that godliness with contentment is great gain. Following God and being content in this life because you know how fleeting and temporary it is gives you more wealth than any worldly riches can amount to. You’ve conquered death through Christ! No amount of money can do that – which means you’re wealthier than the richest non-Christian in the world. That’s how the Gospel is a means to great gain!

Treasures in Heaven

       When Jesus taught about giving, He never promised financial or material blessings. He promised His followers they would receive spiritual blessings – treasures in Heaven – if they give generously and seek God’s Kingdom. He even warned that doing all the right and holy things still wouldn’t bring us to the Kingdom of Heaven if we’re still focused on worldly riches:

       17 As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except one—God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not give false testimony,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and mother.’” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth.” 21 Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.” 22 But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions. 23 Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, “How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, “Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” 26 They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus, looking at them, said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to tell him, “Behold, we have left all, and have followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News, 30 but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last; and the last first.”

Mark 10:17-31 (WEB)

       You can’t ask for a clearer teaching! Jesus asks the young man to give everything he has to the poor. And then what does He promise? More wealth? No! He tells the young man he’ll have treasure in heaven and that he should follow Him and take up the cross. Taking up the cross doesn’t mean you’re going to have an easy life once you start following Jesus. It means you’re exposing yourself to death and choosing self denial and love instead of selfishness and greed. You relinquish yourself to God’s Will and through His power conquer the temptations of wealth. You count everything a loss compared to knowing Christ.

       Jesus made it perfectly clear that following Him is not a way to wealth, health, and prosperity. If anything, we’ll endure trials and suffering for our faith in Him. He promises that the Father will take care of our needs as long as we seek His Kingdom, but there is never a promise of earthly riches in Jesus’ teaching. Right after He tells His disciples not to worry about their needs, He again teaches that they should give to the poor so they will have treasure in heaven and will be focused completely on the Kingdom.

       33 Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 12:33-34 (WEB)

       It’s very important that we remember verse 34. Wherever we focus on storing up our treasures, that’s where our hearts will be focused as well. To focus on heaven means we focus on building up our treasures in heaven – not on earth. And that means we leave the world and all the things that are perishing with it behind. We focus on serving God and seeking His Kingdom – on doing His good work and saving up treasures in heaven. It’s only when we lose our desire for worldly wealth that we can truly serve Him.

Who Will You Serve?

       The conclusion of it all comes in Jesus’ words to the Pharisees:

       13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren’t able to serve God and mammon (Money).” 14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him. 15 He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Luke 16:13-15 (WEB)

       You cannot serve God and Money at the same time. You must choose one. If you choose Money, you choose the things that are prized and held with high regard among men. But those things are an abomination in the sight of God. They’re worthless!!! But if you choose God over Money, then you can truly serve Him and you’ll amass immeasurable riches in heaven. You’ll enjoy wealth that will never perish, will never disappear, and can never be stolen. You’ll have the unspeakable Gift of Jesus and the unsearchable wealth He has promised. So, who will you serve?

       So far we’ve looked at the greed gospel claims that God wants to make all Christians rich and that poverty comes from a lack of faith. The Bible is clear that these false doctrines hold no truth. Today we’re going to look at the “Name It and Claim It” or “Blab It and Grab It” idea that’s taught widely by many of the prosperity evangelists.

Claim #3: To Get What You Want, Just Name It and Claim It

       The idea of saying what you want and believing God will give it to you is based on a false concept of God as your personal ATM. The “Word of Faith” movement teaches this belief as if God is more or less obligated to give you whatever you ask Him for. But this view of God is not Biblical at all. Yes, Jesus taught us that whatever we ask of God will be done, but does that mean we should ask for riches? Would Jesus have expected His disciples to pray for riches or anything that was against the will of God? Where did He ever teach us such a thing? We are to look to God for our needs, but He is not obligated to give us anything and everything we want.

       It’s really quite the opposite. We are obligated to give God everything we are and all that we have because of His great gift to us. Have those who seek material abundance from God forgotten the gift He gave us in Jesus? How can we need anything beyond Him? Jesus taught us to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first and God will take care of our needs.

       But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33 (WEB)

       This is after Jesus teaches us that we shouldn’t worry. Instead, we should be completely focused on letting God rule our lives and on seeking His righteousness. Pray for God’s Spirit to lead you in His holy ways and to help you live in a way that honors and glorifies Him. Don’t get caught up in praying to Him about getting rich or having great health. Trust that His will is the best for you, and seek only that. Jesus warned that those who get caught up in the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this life will not prosper in the Kingdom of God:

       That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

Luke 8:14 (WEB)

       Don’t get caught up in what the world deems successful or good. Seek God in all things and pray only for His will to be done. Jesus didn’t teach us to pray for wealth or anything that is not within God’s will. In the Lord’s Prayer, we’re taught to pray for God’s will to be done on earth just as it is in heaven. We’re also taught to pray for our daily bread – just enough for our needs – not riches and wealth and prosperity and earthly honor.

       7 In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. 8 Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him. 9 Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’

Matthew 6:7-13 (WEB)

       Jesus even prayed for God’s will to be done even when He knew it would require Him to give up His life. We should emulate Him in this as in all other things. We should pray for God’s will to be done even if it’s something we don’t want.

       41 He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and he knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. 44 Being in agony he prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.

Luke 22:41-44 (WEB)

       God will provide the strength to get us through any trial that comes our way. Even if it results in death, His plan is to have us in Heaven with Him. Only those who value the world and this life would count that as a loss. Those who believe the greed gospel’s teaching that we need only name and claim whatever we want are being misled. God doesn’t just give us whatever we want whenever we want it. We must pray with the right motives.

       You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures.

James 4:3 (WEB)

       Asking for your own pleasure is not a right motive. Asking for more than you need is not a right motive. And asking for anything other than God’s will is not a right motive either. We’ll only have the right motives when we’re seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness above all else!

       Do not forget that the Father knows what we need. Do not be deceived by riches or the cares of this world. Set your heart on seeking God in all things and following His will regardless of your own wishes. Then you will prosper in the Lord and fully know what it means to have an abundant life in Him.

       Previously, we looked at the “prosperity gospel” (I prefer greed gospel) claim that God wants to make all Christians rich. Today, we’re going to look at the claim that poverty comes from disobedience to God or a lack of faith in Him. This idea is preached strongly by Benny Hinn, but it has absolutely no basis in Scripture.

Claim #2: Your Poverty Comes from Your Lack of Faith in or Disobedience to God

       One of the most disgusting claims of the greed gospel is that poverty comes from a lack of faith or disobedience. This idea is not Biblical and is so far removed from the teachings of Jesus it’s heretical. On the contrary, Jesus often praised and blessed the poor and warned the rich:

       20 He lifted up his eyes to his disciples, and said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.

       24 “But woe to you who are rich! For you have received your consolation.

Luke 6:20 and Luke 6:24 (WEB)

       I haven’t found a single place in my Bible where Jesus says, “Woe to you who are poor. If you’d only have more faith and be obedient, you’d be rich. All you need to do is send a seed of faith offering (or love offering) to my ministry to show your faith in the abundant riches God wants to give you!” Maybe you should check your Bible for yourself, but did I miss something in the Sermon on the Mount???

       Jesus never claimed that everything would go well for those who choose to follow Him. He often warned of the trials His disciples would face because of their faith in Him. The only riches He promised were heavenly treasures and spiritual wealth. We only need to consider the apostles and the entire history of the Church to see that wealth and health do not always come upon those who follow Christ. On the contrary, they often give up the worldly riches they could have otherwise gained for themselves. If all those of the most faithful men and women of Christ were not rich and healthy, why do the greed evangelists claim that poverty comes from a lack of faith?

       Throughout the New Testament we see a strong indication that we shall share in the sufferings of Christ. In fact, many have gloried in the fact that they share in Christ’s suffering and are persecuted for His name:

       9 He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (WEB)

       Compared to knowing Christ, everything else is a loss. Riches don’t matter. Health doesn’t matter. Even death in this life doesn’t matter because we have gained Christ and the righteousness that comes from Him – guaranteeing us eternal life with Him.

       7 However, what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; 11 if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:7-11 (WEB)

       And if you’d like to read Jesus’ words on the matter:

       57 As they went on the way, a certain man said to him, “I want to follow you wherever you go, Lord.” 58 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Luke 9:57-58 (WEB)

       I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 (WEB)

       Jesus doesn’t promise wealth and health to those who choose to follow Him. He warns of the persecution they will face and acknowledges that in this life we will have troubles and burdens. But what does He tell us? That we should give money and have faith that God will make us rich? No! He told us to cheer up because He has overcome the world. The Gospel of Christ is not that we were all made to be victors and become rich and healthy because God wants to bless us. The Gospel of Christ is that Jesus died for our sins, rose again, and overcame Hell and the world so that we might have eternal life in Him where the afflictions of this world will never affect us again. In light of that truth, we see that poverty, persecution, and disease have no power over us because they are only temporary conditions. No matter what happens to us in this life, we who follow Jesus have heavenly riches and spiritual health that can never be taken away.

       Poverty is but an affliction of this world. It doesn’t matter for those who are in Christ, for we have riches in a bank that can never fail. Our investments in Heaven will never crash and lose all value. We have a secure hope in Jesus. Lack of faith does not produce poverty. But believing that your poverty comes from God is a lack of faith in His goodness. The Bible and the Church testify to the goodness of God – and we all know the unsearchable riches in the gift of Jesus Christ.

       Do not be blinded by these charlatans who claim to profess the Word of God. They twist and contort the Gospel to make themselves rich, and they will be judged for their actions and words. They will be given the greater condemnation because they are leading so many of God’s people astray! They curse the poor and blast them for their “lack of faith”, but the poor who follow God in their integrity are much more blessed than those rich, greedy preachers:

       Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than he who is perverse in his ways, and he is rich.

Proverbs 28:6 (WEB)

       There are two more false claims of the greed gospel that I want to examine. You can make sure you don’t miss the next two parts by signing up to get free updates to Provident Planning.

       What do Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and Kenneth Copeland all have in common? They’re all proponents of the so-called “prosperity gospel”, a false teaching that proclaims a gospel of wealth and health instead of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Donnie Swaggart once called it the “greed gospel”. I wish it weren’t called a “gospel” at all, so that it would never be confused with the True Gospel – the Good News of Jesus Christ.

       I’ve been reading a lot about this lately, and the Spirit burns with anger inside of me because of the false teaching these people are spreading throughout the world. They would do well to remember the warning Jesus gave the scribes and Pharisees about devouring widows’ houses! I pray that in my anger I do not sin, but I want to look at some of the claims of the greed gospel and show what God’s Word has to say in response.

Claim #1: God Wants to Bless You with Abundant Material Wealth

       One of the primary claims of the greed gospel is that God wants to bless all Christians with abundant material wealth. This teaching is found nowhere in Scripture – it’s a false teaching made up by men. Let’s look at what the Bible really says instead. First, let’s think about the Lord’s Prayer. Do you remember the part about “give us this day our daily bread”? What was Jesus referring to when he said “our daily bread”? We find the answer in Proverbs 30:8-9:

       8 Remove far from me falsehood and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is needful for me; 9 lest I be full, deny you, and say, ‘Who is Yahweh?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:8-9 (WEB)

       The food that is needful for me is my daily bread. It is no more and no less than what I need to survive the day with health. Jesus is teaching us here not to pray for riches but to pray for just enough. If Jesus had wanted us to pray for abundant wealth, He would have chosen a different phrase than “our daily bread”. In fact, Jesus taught strongly that our life does not depend on the abundance of our possessions (our wealth).

       He said to them, “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.”

Luke 12:15 (WEB)

       The Amplified Bible explains this verse by saying that our life “does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above our needs”. Jesus makes it clear that the quality of our life does not depend on our having wealth or lacking it – He points to a deeper meaning, purpose, and value for our lives. Jesus wants to give our lives more meaning than material wealth, but the greed gospel insinuates that we get more meaning and happiness by getting more wealth. The Gospel of Christ contains no such teaching.

       Throughout the New Testament, we see a doctrine completely opposed to the greed gospel. Instead of prosperity in Christ, we see contentment in Christ. Paul teaches extensively on this subject.

       8 But having food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:8-10 (WEB)

       Note that Paul doesn’t say “But having overflowing wealth, we will be content with that.” The requirements for contentment in Christ are merely food and clothing, because our happiness and worth come from Christ and His strength – not our wealth. Those who seek after God and Christ because they want material blessings and wealth will only pierce themselves with many sorrows. Paul teaches that regardless of our situation on earth we can be content in Christ.

       11 Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. 12 I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need. 13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13 (WEB)

       Instead of seeking Christ to find wealth and blessing (material), Paul alludes to seeking Christ to find contentment – the kind of contentment that nothing on earth can offer. No amount of money can make you content in every situation. It may help alleviate your needs if you are poor, but what will it do for you when people betray you and curse you? Only the strength of Christ will see you through all situations. Therefore, we come to Christ not for blessings and prosperity but for His strength and the contentment He offers us.

Does This Mean God Doesn’t Want to Bless Me at All?

       God obviously does not want bad things for His children, but that does not mean all of His children will be rich and wealthy in this life. God does want to bless us, but there will always be lack and want in this life because of the nature of this world. God blessed us through His Son, Jesus Christ, that we might have eternal life with Him and we’ll never lack a thing any more. It’s that gift that allows us to deal with any situation on earth, and it’s that gift that has abundantly blessed us in this life. We have the abundant riches of eternal life that come from Jesus – riches that will never fail us and bring contentment and joy that the world’s money cannot. Poverty is not a sign of God’s disfavor or our lack of faith. In fact, Jesus blessed the poor and warned the rich. Poverty is but a temporary and outwardly state. As Christians we have spiritual riches that no man can truly see or understand unless he is of the Father. In the same way, riches are not a sign of God’s favor or our righteousness. We need only look at all the unrighteous wealthy people in the world to see the truth in this.

Other Claims of the Greed Gospel

       I’m going to stop here today before I exhaust you by going through the other three claims I want to examine. We’ll look at those in separate posts, and I’ll add them here after they’re finished. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. May God open your eyes to see the truth of His Word and give you His Spirit to discern what is true and what is false.