Wealth, Health, Prosperity?

“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).

Wealth, health, prosperity.

I want that. Who wouldn’t want that?

But it’s not about want. It’s about what is true. It is about what the Bible tells us.

So, what does the Bible say about our life here?

  • Troubles
  • hardships
  • distresses
  • beatings
  • imprisonments
  • riots
  • hard work
  • sleepless nights
  • hunger

One of these is not like the other.

That’s the problem with the wealth, health, prosperity version of Christianity. It bears no resemblance to the truth revealed in the Bible.

None of the disciples or apostles lived a life of wealth, health, and prosperity. Every single one of them with the exception of one is tortured and put to death for their faith. Jesus did not live a life of wealth, health, and prosperity.

If the only way for Jesus to save sinners was through the suffering and death on a cross, why would followers of this Jesus think that our future is paved with wealth, health, prosperity?

Thank God that it’s not all troubles and hardship. There is much good and glory too. It’s just that when we exclude suffering and hardship from our Christian journey, we negate the faith.

You see, we will all receive health and absolute peace. That is our’s. But, that is our’s when Christ returns. We receive God’s total blessing in eternity. But here, we get both the good and the bad.

Got it?

Be wary of wealth, health, prosperity gospel. It is false teaching.

Don’t Give Me Your Bull!

“I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:9-10).

I wonder if God knew that when he had David pen these words thousands of years ago how amazingly apt this would be in the English.

I bet God knew. I mean, he is God.

When it comes to generosity and giving, God says, “Don’t give me your bull!”

There is nothing in the created world that we can give to God because God already owns everything. Everything is already his, and all we have comes from him.

Giving, generosity, stewardship is not about how much we have or don’t have. It has everything to do with trusting God that God has given to us everything we have. When we start there, generosity and using God’s resources God’s way is a no brainer. Of course we honor God by using God’s resources God’s way. It’s God’s stuff anyway. We are merely caretakers of God’s resources.

I said that there is nothing in the created universe that we can give to God because God already owns everything. But there is something he doesn’t have.

Our hearts.

The only thing that God doesn’t already possess is our hearts. The only thing we can give God is our praise, thanks, and honor.

This is what God desires the most.

Don’t give God your bull! Give God your heart!

Why Forgive?

“Forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…” (Matthew 6:12).

Most of us have prayed the Lord’s Prayer hundreds if not thousands of times. Did you notice that our being forgiven by God is conditional upon our forgiving those who have hurt us?

Yeah. Read it for yourself in Matthew 6:9-13

This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

As if this conditional clause in the Lord’s Prayer is not clear enough, Jesus reaffirms this truth a few verses later when he says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Yikes! This forgiveness is serious business!!!

What’s the deal with forgiveness? Why is this such an essential part of being a follower of Jesus Christ?

Forgiveness is essential because it’s the only pathway to God’s future. You see, forgiving someone cannot change the past. All the hurts, all the pain, all the residual damage and scarring all remain. But, forgiving someone is not about the past. Forgiving someone cannot change the past but it will change your future. Releasing the hurt, anger, disappointment, and loss is the pathway to freedom and peace. You can’t hang on to the past – which cannot change – while wanting to experience God’s grace and freedom. You have to let it go.

That’s what forgiving means. It means letting go so God can heal you, so God can fill you with his peace.

So make room for God’s grace. Make room for God’s peace. Let it go and let God heal you.