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The Prosperity Gospel
by Gregory John Monroe
4/26/2015 / Education
Seek God. Seek His kingdom. Seek His righteousness. Do these things FIRST, and all else needed, the Lord will provide. The focus in those words teaches us to desire and pursue a godly character above all else. In doing so, contentment and peace in all circumstances is blessedly granted to us through the strength of Christ living in us.
Jesus says that He came to give us life abundantly, and yet He says that life does not consist of an abundance of material possessions (Luke 12: 15). The abundance He gives is that of eternity; of the eternal co-inheritance of all things being subject to us.
But contrary to Jesus' teaching and lifestyle, are those who teach/preach the impression that Jesus is all about financial prosperity and empowerment. That He was/is all about careers, fancy cars, becoming homeowners, and bigger homeowners. They then attempt to buttress and sensitize the crassness of their "riches" gospel by stating that the prosperity they speak of includes achievement in every other area of life too.
But make no mistake about it. What these teachers are really peddling is that God's highest priority for believers is the material increase of wealth. Some even have ministries solely devoted to that idea.
Does God endorse this prosperity gospel? I don't think so because the focus is all wrong. It's about greed and the love for money, a trap that opens into many other harmful desires, and that can lead some into wandering away from the faith (1 Tim. 6: 9, 10). The proper focus, as earlier mentioned, is to seek God's kingdom and righteousness above all else. If that's done, God knowing what we need will give it to us.
The key to His giving is "what we need." For example, if I were to find myself homeless and I could find nothing but dog food to eat, and I wound up living in a shelter; I could gratefully give thanks to the Lord for meeting my need to eat and to have a roof over my head. On the other hand, if I were granted riches, or anything between the extremes, I know that it would be granted because of what's needed to carry forth what God has called me to do.
However He meets the need, it is done because we are His children who care utmost about the advancement of the kingdom, who care about lifting up Jesus.
It seems that these prosperity teachers are really only concerned about lifting themselves up. Watching one of them on TV, the preacher apparently had been criticized about his teaching and ostentatious lifestyle. His defense was that the Bible calls believers priests and kings. So the castle he lives in, and the $500-1000 suits he wears, are befitting of the king that he is.
Jesus, the king of the universe, wasn't concerned about gaining riches and home ownership. He didn't even have a consistent place to lay His head during His earthly ministry.
He, our example, had His focus on the only thing that matteredthe real gospel; the power of God unto salvation that applies even to those who haven't any hope or chance to be wealthy; for instance, death-row inmates.
Jesus' goal was to be and express God's righteousness. He accomplished that by following God's will. As a result, He was given everything He needed to live, and die.
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