CHRISTIANITY LITE ?
The Prosperity Gospel pervades Christianity in America today. Even those who know something about it and say they want nothing to do with it have unknowingly adopted some of the foundations of the prosperity gospel into their daily thought and practice. It can be as seemingly innocuous as "following the American dream" or it can be as overt as blatant materialism. But whatever shape or form it takes, there are two very important things to consider.
IF in fact God wants each and every one of His children to be healthy and wealthy, then:
Those that are not healthy and wealthy are second-class Christians?, or backslidden Christians?, or immature Christians?, or not even Christians at all?, or
There is a lie being promoted by which a few are able to become wealthy and the rest are being deceived.
What does the Bible say?
JESUS - "And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20)
PAUL - "Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness" (2Corinthians 11:25-27)
OTHERS - "And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted,were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us." (Hebrews 11:32-40).
I mentioned Christianity "lite" in the opening section. What we fear is that numerous people have built their house on the sand instead of on the Rock (Matthew 7:24-25). For many people into whose lives the "seed" of the word of God has been sown, that seed has fallen on stony ground, or has been choked by the deceitfulness of riches (Matthew 13). There are too few that have really been ROOTED and GROUNDED in such a way that their faith will withstand the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16) as well as withstanding all the rest of what comes at us in our lives. If all that we prize, cherish and cling to is removed, then what?
JOB - Job lost ALL of his children, his possessions, his health. Things got SO bad that his very own wife asked him why he doesn't just curse God and die (she knew enough to know that cursing God has serious consequences). But Job had faith that could withstand - the kind of faith I want and need - the kind of faith we should all be nurturing and building. He was able to say "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him"! (Job 13:15) WOW! - can YOU say that?
HABBAKUK 3:17-19 - "Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls -Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills." Can YOU say that?
Dave Wilkerson raised these questions in "Last Days":
"How many of us would serve Him if He offered nothing but Himself? No healing. No success. No prosperity. No worldly blessings. No miracles, signs or wonders.
What if - once again we had to take joyfully the spoiling of our goods?...
What if - instead of painless living, we suffered cruel mockings, stoning, bloodshed, being sawn asunder?
What if - instead of our beautiful homes and cars, we had to wander about in deserts in sheepskins, hiding in dens and caves?
What if - instead of prosperity, we were destitute, afflicted, and tormented?
And the only better thing provided for us was Christ?"
Closing Thoughts from Colossians 1:9-18
"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence."(NKJV)