Living in Prosperity
“But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Deuteronomy 8:18
“For you are recognizing [more clearly] the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [His astonishing kindness, His generosity, His gracious favour], that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich (abundantly blessed).” 2 Corinthians 8:9 AMP
Mention the word prosperity in your greeting to anyone, anywhere in the world, and people will lap it up. They like it when you wish them, their families and their loved ones “All the best, for the future”. But, use the word prosperity in a church setting and suddenly, the very same people who were happy to receive it outside are preparing to have a conniption; their hip-pocket nerve twitches and they rock in their seats as if you’ve just hit them with a 2 by 4. Such is the mindset that has infiltrated the church of God’s people. Use the word prosperity and people flip straight to money. You may not be anywhere near a discussion on the subject of finances. But, in their mind, you’ve just gone to digging around in their wallets and purses.
Before we proceed any further I am going to give the scriptural definition of Prosperity. I am placing it here, front and centre, so that, as we move further into this subject, you can come back to this definition and clarify exactly what is being spoken of here. Agreed?
Prosperity: is the ability to use the power and the anointing of God, to meet the needs of humanity — regardless of what those needs may be.
One of the most controversial subjects in the church is the subject of wealth. The moment you utter this word you can sense the tension in the air. There are so many ‘opinions’ as to what a Christian should aspire to in relation to this topic; so many sincere people living on information that is contrary to basic common sense, nevermind contrary to scripture and what God actually has to say on this subject. Mention prosperity and it’s like you brought up “the evil eye”. As I have said, there a many Christians with sincerely held opinions on these topics; but they are sincerely wrong, if not outright deceived.
In more recent history one of the greatest deceptions perpetrated upon the church is the concept of honour in poverty. Using misinterpreted scriptures and creating the image of a Jesus that promoted poverty and sickness as virtues and a work that might purge the sins of a life unworthy of the Love of God. By constantly reminding themselves and meditating upon the foibles of a life dominated by the senses and thereby, the flesh, as opposed to following the promptings of the recreated human spirit, the people of God have developed confidence and thereby a perverted form of faith in Sin, Sickness and Poverty (all regarded as part of the curse of breaking the Law, as promised to Moses) as their expected way of life. This flies directly in the face of the substitutionary work of Christ, who was made a curse for us, in our place, so that we could receive the blessings as the seed of Abraham [Galations Chapter 3].
The misguided belief that if someone has wealth they must have gotten it by ill or elicit means; the concept that the only people who have it are bad people, is deceptively connived, by men, as a way to manipulate and control those who are poor, to freely accept that state, for fear of, at the very least, appearing to be bad people. This has been done through by using half-truths, misappropriated portions of scripture and outright lies, perpetrated by the very people they, the poor, were supposed to trust with their eternal souls; the clergy. Ask anyone in the English speaking world if they’ve heard that: “Money is the root of All evil”. Even if they’ve never set foot inside a church, they will have heard that one. But, this little piece of deception has robbed the church of God from the very blessings that God desires they to enjoy, in this life. The full verse that has been twisted, in the same way, that the serpent deceived Eve, actually reads:
“For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.” 1Timothy 6:10 AMP
As you can see for yourself this is not so much about money, itself, which is neutral, as it is about the desires and the focus of the intent of the individual pursuing it. What is their motivation; their reason for following after it? In fact, the scriptures go on to say that:
“A good man leaves an inheritance [of moral stability and goodness] to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner [finds its way eventually] into the hands of the righteous, for whom it was laid up.” Proverbs13:22 AMPC
It’s abundantly clear that the God who made the Heavens and the Earth and is the owner of the whole of creation is not a poor God; not a God that is withholding from his children. But, rather, he is a God who has laid up a sufficient inheritance for his children who only have to ask for a need to be met, in faith, believing that he who has promised is faithful to fulfil his promise, and he is happy to, not only meet the need, but to do so, in a way that meets it, in abundance, with sufficient to be able to give to someone else who doesn’t know to come to God to meet their needs. We have developed a “Tradition of men” that has made the covenant that we have, with God, as believers, of no effect; in the same way that the Pharisees and the Sadducees, in Jesus’ own time, had made the covenant promises of Abraham to his covenant people:
“You disregard and give up and ask to depart from you the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men [keeping it carefully and faithfully].
And He said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting [thus thwarting and nullifying and doing away with] the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition (your own human regulations)!” Mark 7:8-9 AMPC
A classic example of this can be found in Jesus healing the woman, bowed low 18 years, in the synagogue on the sabbath and his rebuke of the leader of that synagogue, who, Jesus pointed out, should have known that there was a promise, from God, under that Old Covenant, to provide her healing [Luke 13:10-17]. That they had been robbed of their faith, in the covenant, by their traditions was plain to see and the establishment of power structures, of authority and a self-serving hierarchy to maintain those traditions was enforced by a regiment of temple guards and temple police. They had lost their way, under a covenant that they were incapable of fulfilling, because of the nature of sinful flesh, which only served to remind them of their state and it was easy to fall into that trap, allowing the small amount of authority they had to corrupt them.
But, the church is another matter entirely. The church is made up of “Born Again” creatures that are born of the very spirit of God himself. They have the capability and capacity to overcome the desires of the flesh. They have also been made equal, no-one standing over anyone else as being greater than anyone else. Those who choose to follow Christ’s example, instead of Lording it over others, become their servants. Stark contrast to the example set by the religious hierarchy of Jesus’ day.
Yet, over the past 2000 years the hierarchy of what has been called the church, although maintaining the language (the right lingo), using the jargon, have been calling themselves ‘servants’ yet delivering the contrary; establishing themselves and the traditions of “mother church” and “the Doctors of The Church” as the authority, rather than God and his word; catechising and indoctrinating ritual and superstitious mystique, over the application of the power and authority and the establishing of the Kingdom of God. Instead of pursuing the power of God, they have exchanged the true power; craving, instead, for the fickle power of human politics attempting to prize back the Earth bringing the name of God into disrepute as they did so and failing, dismally. The institution of the church became the kingmaker. No monarch could rule without the authority of Rome.
To do this skillfully the introduction of the concept of a purgative way; the payment of a penance and pilgrimage; the removal of access to the scriptures, by both limiting that access through language (an exclusive language Latin) and restricting education only to those regarded as the elite; combining with those methods, the action of physically hiding the scriptures away in monasteries and seminaries, creating a mystique around the physical page, or book (the object as a focus of worship, rather than what it contained) and then creating the illusion that the priest’s role was the method of protecting the ‘unconsecrated’ from that which is holy and thereby dangerous and a threat to the ‘eternal life’ of one who contravened these traditions; the stage is set to “call that which is evil, good and that which is good evil.” [Isaiah 5:20]
Even after the reformation of the church in the 16th century, the use of fear and superstition made it possible for Rome to withhold the vital food of the word of God from its faithful, by ascribing the notion that the scriptures, the word of God, were solely reserved for clerics to understand, or interpret. Or, as in the case in Ireland people who did read the bible were regarded as either mad or ‘strange’.
All this while those in the protestant churches had gained free access and even a requirement for church members to ensure they maintained a relationship with their bibles. Yet there still remained a form of established hierarchy there, as the masses were excluded from education only available to the rich. The adage of “Knowledge is Power” rings true when you consider the manipulation of the faithful. That power, in the hands of carnal, mortal men corrupts, flows on from there. It is only when the heart is changed and Holy Spirit is given access, that the human use of that power is effectively used to benefit everyone and not just the elite.
It is no wonder then, that we come to the 21st century bearing the burden of religiosity that has undermined the truth behind the Gospel of Christ, after centuries of supporting Empires and the doctrine of Colonialism preaching the virtues of poverty to the native populace, while supporting and enabling the invaders to claim and rape the resources, under the very feet of those, they have cajoled into both submission and servitude, in the name of God and His Christ. Such is the nature of the treatment of the Australian Aboriginal people and the declaration of Australia as Terra Nullius (Nobody’s Land).
I am, by no means trying to undermine the genuine Christian Faith of those who have been brought up in those traditions but have developed a real relationship with Christ, nonetheless. However, It is important to provide some insight into the reasoning behind the criticism, by the ‘religious authorities’, and those it continues to indoctrinate in its seminaries (I refer to them a cemeteries.), of those who would teach God’s people, in opposition to this accumulated tradition that has enabled plague, pestilence, and famine to be maintained, by governments, in a world producing sufficient resources to feed, clothe and house the global population multiple times over, while at the same time spend trillions on ways and means to maim, kill and destroy and then in the next breath claim they are doing it in the name of a ‘Christian” nation. To then attack churches and organisations that teach biblical prosperity as a part of the New and Better Covenant promised by Jesus himself puts them in the class of Hypocrites that Jesus called out in his own earthly ministry:
You [spiritually] blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the plate[examine and change your inner self to conform to God’s precepts], so that the outside [your public life and deeds] may be clean also. “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. So you, also, outwardly seem to be just and upright to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:26-28 AMPC
I have to come back to the biblical definition of Prosperity: “Prosperity: is the ability to use the power and the anointing of God, to meet the needs of humanity — regardless of what those needs may be.” There are those, in churches who will fight you and tear you down if you mention that you are teaching on Prosperity, or that God desires that his people prosper. There are those who will stand on the belief that Jesus was a poor man, the disciples were poor men, the parents of Jesus, poor. They will misquote scripture to say Jesus said the the rich could not enter the kingdom of God. They will deride those that have wealth, with one breath, and then unfold their dreams of what they would do if they won the Lottery, or they inherited wealth. As I said before there is no honour in poverty. A wealthy man may be a major philanthropist, giving everything he can to enable the poor to rise up in social stature. While a poor man may see the ring on another’s finger and wrestle him to the ground to steal the ring and take the proceeds of his wallet to boot. Which of them is affected by the “Love of Money”? As it turns out the answer to all of the statements about Jesus, his disciples, and the teaching of Jesus are negative.
Jesus was born in a stable, but not because his parents couldn’t afford a room, there were no rooms available. The Gospels go to great lengths to also point out that Jesus parents were of royal lineage and connected with the temple (even though Joseph was his stepfather, his personal lineage is still important). Joseph, as a carpenter, of repute, was a businessman; able to pay his way. They most certainly weren’t poor when they 3 Magi had been and gone; they had sufficient resources to flee, as refugees, to Egypt and cross the Red Sea. They certainly had sufficient money to pay the mohel and afford the sacrifice required for Jesus’ circumcision.
Jesus, like Joseph, grew in stature and also learned the family trade that would have ensured both income and financial security for the family.
The disciples were either independent businessmen. Or, as in the case of Matthew, lived off of the incomes of local businessmen, as a tax collector, the rest were members of those families. But, none did without. Judas, the one from Iscariot, was the ministry treasurer and keeper of the purse, which he was able to steal from undetected; such was the kind of funds that were there for distribution to the poor and needy. Since after Jesus’ death Peter was able to go back to fishing, so easily, demonstrates that he owned his boat. But, it is highly unlikely that he left it idle and to rot, in the years he was walking, in ministry with Jesus. His business was required to maintain his wife and her family, who lived with them; someone had to keep the business going and maintain the boats Peter owned.
When Jesus declared “it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven….” Mark 10:25-26, it says that the disciples were astonished and asked: “who can be saved then?” They were definitely thinking about themselves when making these remarks.
Jesus, never once said it was good to be poor. Instead throughout the chapters of Matthew, that we refer to as the sermon on the mount, Jesus reference to poverty was to those who were poor in spirit and that they would be filled. The whole crux of his teaching in those chapters is the abandonment of our grasping need for self-reliance and selfish achievement and to replace it with an abandonment and a total trust in God’s ability to provide ALL that we need, and then some, since you cannot give to someone else,unless you have first received yourself, that’s not poverty, that’s wealth, that’s prosperity. Matthew 6:33 “Seek First of All Right Relationship with God (Righteousness/Right-Standing) and The ability to be led by the Spirit of God (have a craving for him to be IN YOU [something that would eventually be possible to be fulfilled once Jesus had died and returned to the Father]Which is the Kingdom of God) AND ALL THESE THINGS, not just a few, not a mere smear, but ALL of the things you NEED, will be yours. But, no, we plucked out a few verses and called them the Beatitudes and allowed them to become platitudes. That is why when Jesus sent out the 12 and then the 72 disciples he told them not to take anything extra with them. They were to trust completely, by faith, in God’s ability to meet their needs, and by their own testimony, he did; they lacked for NO GOOD THING.
There is so much more that is clearly Indicated throughout the Gospels alone; John 10:10 is but one example. But, the fact that Wealth, Healing, and Social prosperity were all part of the Blessings Old Covenant, made with Abraham and the Curse for breaking that covenant was threefold: Poverty Sickness and Spiritual Death, Paul goes to great lengths to demonstrate throughout the Epistles, but particularly in the letter to the Galatians and chapter 3; that Jesus became all of the curse, for us, who are Abraham’s true children, because of Faith, so that we could become the inheritors of ALL of the blessings of that Covenant, without the curse; as a part of the New and better covenant he produced for us and outlined in the Letter to the Hebrews. Yes, I’m repeating myself. But, It is important to drive the point home.
Jesus was made to be poor. At the Cross, he was stripped naked, totally (forget all the loincloths, there was no dignity in death for those crucified) his garment was so precious that the soldiers decided not to tear it, but to throw lots for it, it was such a precious garment. Yes, he was made poor. But, the same scripture says that he did so to make us rich 2 Corinthians 8:9. Now, those who are affected by that old nasty “Love of Money” will be the first to say “But, that was spiritual wealth, for the hereafter.” The problem I
have with Weasel statements, like those, is that they’ve missed the whole point of God’s desire for his children to be wealthy; in all 5 areas of their existence and that is “You can’t give something to someone you haven’t received yourself, first.” If you are a giver God is able to trust you with wealth. So much so, that Jesus said: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” and that was straight after a session of teaching about how to handle the resources of the Master. Note, that the extra was given to the most productive of the 3.
Sadly, Jealousy, Envy, and The Love of Money run rife, throughout the churched; creating division and mistrust, all in the name of religion. So much so, that if a brother or sister appear to prosper financially, there are plenty, ready and willing to tear them down, judge them and declare them heretic, or fanatic, or at the very least cast suspicion about their message. But, they neglect to think, or to even turn to the word, where they would find sufficient instruction from God, himself, about judging another man’s servant Romans 14:4; or to pray FOR that brother, or sister Galatians 6:1 before even thinking about approaching them (They spend more time criticising others, rather than spending time with God to find out what he has in store for them, and forgetting that they don’t know what God has either called that person to do with what God has given them, or what ministry that God has called that person to do; because they cannot hear God for the other person).
Some will even be audacious enough to take what I’ve said here and declare that I’m judging them. But, I haven’t named any names here, I haven’t pointed to any particular individual, and I can’t take credit for what either Jesus has said, or for what is written in the bible. Holy Spirit has stated that:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
Holy Spirit doesn’t convict those, in Christ, It is those without that are Convicted regarding Sin and their lack of Righteousness. However, He does use his word to guide and correct believers, he does reprove and he will, in love, try to get us to rethink. If while reading this you are sensing any form of judgement. It is not from me. It is not from Holy Spirit and thereby not from God. But, there needs to be a serious rethink about the cavalier approach that so many ‘christians‘ have toward Prosperity and the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Audio: LIVING IN PROSPERITY