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Christian Prosperity

The Biblical Balance

The Lord has promised to bless the obedient, believer with all heavenly and earthly blessings. All things that pertain to life and godliness, prosperity of soul and health of body as well. (2 Pet 1:3, 3 John 1:2) With blessings such as true internal peace, spiritual courage, increased desire for Him, holiness, emotional and physical healings and everything in between! The possibilities of receiving great blessings from God are almost limitless. Oftentimes, the only thing that stands as a barrier to receiving anything and everything from God is our lack of understanding on the biblical truth concerning prosperity and a lack of faith and patience.

Let us apply the Word to our lives and christian experience.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7:7)

" ..ye have not, because ye ask not"(James 4:2b)

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. (Mark 6:5,6)

The objection or confusion may come in at this point from those who say: "But, what about those who are suffering for Christ?" They don't seem to be in prosperity and they seem to be in God's Will. Well, the answer to that is quite simple: In whatever sphere or circumstance God has placed us, we may seek to prosper in those specific areas wherein we see needs of one kind or another. Secondly, whenever our desires are holy, the Lord is pleased to gift us with abundant answers to our desires as well. Some think with mistaken piety that we are not supposed to have any desires of our own which God may be pleased to grant. No, He loves to answer us also by way of material or physical blessings which we may desire as well.

Again, let it be God's Will to say, "No" to something we desire if He sees fit and never a false piety or misunderstanding of Scripture or lack of faith on our part.  Yes, let this be true even for those who may be involved in missions work in places or among peoples that are in the clutches of awful penury or in the midst of extreme persecution or disease. We can still ask and receive much in the way of the miraculous from the All-Sufficient (El-Shaddai) God in any predicament. This is not to say that suffering cannot be a, "hidden blessing." However, we must move with God and His Will for us at any given moment. What does He want me to ask Him for right at this instant? You see, we may well impede our own spiritual progress or Divine Deliverance due to wrong theology and unbelief. Deliverance from poverty, physical danger and harm and miraculous healings are not personally experienced by many because of unbelief. Yet, the Bible is replete with such occurrences due to someone praying and asking.

It is most unfortunate that many are bound by certain, unbiblical schools of thought which teach that we need to be poor, economically in order to be spiritual. The only thing to say to such an assertion is that it is untrue, unless one is of such a constitution that they cannot, "handle" certain forms of prosperity. "Handle", in the sense that they are weak in this department and easily lured into a worldly or carnal mindset when blessed with certain things. However, that is an individual decision perhaps, and something that one has to overcome in order to receive and enjoy what God has for us. This must not be a teaching for all others to blindly have to subscribe to.

It is of course true that not everyone has the same calling and position in life and we must realize that God is Sovereign and His Will is first. What we are simply bringing forth in this article is the truth that unless one knows for certain that God, at a particular juncture of their christian experience wants them (for His Sovereign Purposes) to suffer a temporary lack, absolutely barring them from asking for certain forms of prosperity from Him, then they had better check whether their understanding of biblical prosperity and their level of faith measures up with the Word.

The Word of God teaches us to be grateful to God when He showers us with any kind of prosperity and to be liberal to others, while cleaving unto the Blessor who gave the blessing and not the blessing. These are the only conditions He places upon the beneficiary.

Part 2

Spiritual blessings ought to be the main focus of our desires and requests to God. To deny that is to advocate a psuedo-christian experience and faith. We are be heavenly minded always, longing to, "be with Christ." (Phil 1:23b) There is trouble, however in certain circles again, where a false piety has set in, which goes to an unbiblical exteme in this vein. The remainder of this article then, will focus on this aspect in the hopes of delivering those bound by this philosophy.

Some say that experiencing an increase in material goods never indicate Divine blessing or prosperity. However, when one is in the Will of God, it is hard not to witness that God blesses all around! Those who think that Christian prosperity is just, "spiritual blessings" are mistaken. Though spiritual blessings are the greatest blessings and ones that have to do with Eternity, God has also promised to bless us physically and materially right here in this life and in this world. We often get locked into a chosen mindset which can prevent the full blessing of God on our lives. The right attitude should be: "Lord, whatever you are willing to give me, I'm ready, willing and believing in order that I may receive it from at your Hands."

It is when we have faith like a little child that we are able to receive and joy in all the provisions our Good Heavenly Father supplies to us. A little child usually has little requests like, "Daddy, I want some candy or I want to go the zoo", etc. Will the daddy become indignant and refuse saying, "Now, now little child of mine, there are much more important things to ask for, so please don't bother me with these trivial requests!??"

Not at all. Those are desires of a child which mean everything for him or her! Any good father would recognize this and be delighted to satisfy those requests of his child that are good for him or her and which is in his power to do so. Have we forgotten that our Heavenly Father is most gracious and delights greatly in His obedient children? That, unlike earthly fathers, He is all-Powerful and possesses all things. He is rich in every way!

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. " (Psalm 34:8-10)

Let us not be like that wicked king Ahaz, who upon the Lord's request to seek from God a miraculous sign, said in unbelief and rebellion, "I will not test the Lord?" Test the Lord? When, God commands us to request of Him something He wants to do for His Glory and for our good, let us never reply with such a cowardly and faithless answer!

"Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,  'Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.' And he said, 'Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?' " (Isaiah 7:10-13)

God wants us to be like a little child in faith and expectation!

"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." (Psalm 37:4)

Sure, the priority is to get the lasting, spiritual treasures, qualities and gifts from Him. Things that are directly conducive to building our character in Christ. Such as assistance in overcoming temptation, growth in patience, godliness and wisdom etc.

However, in a world that does not believe in God, ever think that the "smaller" miracles such as acquiring things that are material and physical such as, a car or a house or healing against the odds (one's visible means) and just by trusting in the Almighty Jehovah-Jireh, wouldn't immediately catch their attention? One of the reasons why the Lord did miracles was for this only. The manifestation of sudden (quite unexpected), miraculous Divine intervention would attest to His Godhead and His Love and Power. The Apostles (and those who would believe after them doing greater works), show quite obviously that the godliness that is manifest within and expressed without, sometimes must be accompanied by signs in order to make a statement for the Lord! That's God's way. Just read in His Word about the works of Moses and Elijah and the Lord Jesus and the Apostles.

Indeed, sometimes it is feared that under the pretense of being, "super-spiritual, heavenly-minded", many find themselves preaching against some of the pleasures God likes to give us here on earth. However, the biblical balance and priority is clear:

1) Spiritual or Heavenly blessings and then

2) Physical, material or Earthly blessings

It is the author's conviction that the reader would have come to the plain conclusion that the article's intended purpose was to present Biblical Truth on this oft-confused topic. That it was done in order that the believer may not be robbed of any blessing, however small it may appear in comparison with others, but rather, be enabled to enjoy his/her great inheritance to the full which begins right down here in this life and continues on into the next, world without end!

With the riches of any blessing comes the admonition to be spiritually responsible. However, to lament the great responsibility and reject the great blessings which God has to offer us, is to reject His Will. Let's keep everything in the proper biblical balance, including our understanding of Christian prosperity.

"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy" (1 Tim 6:17)

Amen.

© 2006 Pastor Pradeep Emmanuel Stephen

[Permission is granted to duplicate this article in its entirety, but only without additions, alterations or omissions of any kind, including the author and ministry name at the end.]