The Prosperity Gospel.
Those three words evoke strong emotional responses from Christians around the world.
The idea that God wants to make you wealthy, provide you with the biggest house, grant you a brand new Cadillac, take away every sickness in your body, turn every day into a Friday, make your life comfortable, easy, and full of every possession you could ever want in your life ever (yes, I meant to repeat the word ever) is a bit off base.
And by a bit, I mean a lot.
Yes, God wants to bless us.
Yes, He came to heal us.
Yes, He will provide everything we need.
But that doesn’t mean He always does.
Sometimes, He doesn’t heal our sicknesses. Sometimes, we can’t make ends meet even when we carefully steward our money. Sometimes, we have to go without.
The prosperity gospel does a lot of damage in those instances where God says no — because the resounding reason behind the prosperity gospel for God’s no’s is nothing more than a lack of faith.
If you have enough faith, God will make you rich.
If you aren’t rich, you clearly don’t trust God enough.
But there’s an even bigger amount of damage the prosperity gospel brings into our lives: It causes many Christians to swing the pendulum to the opposite extreme.
We’re pretty good at doing that.
Because of the health and wealth promises of the prosperity gospel, many Christians simply hear someone mention God’s blessing, provision, or miraculous power to heal and change lives, and immediately write it off.
You came to Jesus and were instantly healed of an addiction? Prosperity gospel.
You prayed once and were immediately pregnant? Prosperity gospel.
You spent a week praying for your family and they came to know Christ? Prosperity gospel.
You were suffering from cancer and God healed it after one prayer? Prosperity gospel.
In an effort to avoid the fallacies of the prosperity gospel, we have limited our view of God’s power. Tweet this
Does God always heal, miraculously provide, and answer every prayer after the first time it’s been uttered? Of course not.
We all know that following Christ doesn’t mean our lives are magically better overnight, or that we will become millionaires and drive around in Cadillacs because God wants us to be rich.
But it doesn’t mean God won’t do that, either.
This is the creator of the universe we’re talking about. The One who simply spoke, and everything came into being. The God who humbled Himself to live and die among us so we could forever be with Him. The God who caused water to stand in a wall so His people could cross without getting wet. The God who healed an 89 year old woman’s womb so she could give birth. The God who spoke through a donkey, made Abraham wealthy, allowed the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians, turned a poor shepherd boy into a king, held the sun in place, routed armies, destroyed kingdoms, and raised people back from the dead.
Healing your sickness, providing for your needs, miraculously breaking an addiction, making someone wealthy (who has the character to handle it), answering an audacious prayer instantly, giving someone a vehicle for free (I’ve had three given to me) is a normal day for our God.
The only difference between the prosperity gospel and believing in God’s miraculous power — the former believes we deserve it and God owes it to us, the latter understands God will bless us as He sees fit, and believes and trusts in Him either way.
Don’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water.
Our God is powerful — and still operates in miracles and signs and wonders today.
How has the message of the prosperity gospel hindered your view of God’s power? Leave a comment below.
[Image via Zach Dischner cc]