Don’t Let the Prosperity Gospel Message Fool You
- Monday, March 19, 2012
In light of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you, you should exalt Him rather than yourself and be willing to make your own sacrifices for the sake of His kingdom.
Pray the right way. Although the prosperity gospel presents prayer as just a tool believers can use to try to get God to do what they want, the Bible reveals that God does not answer selfish prayers that don’t honor Him. Real prayer isn’t asking God to fulfill your will; it’s asking God to fulfill His will in your life.
Understand what faith is and isn’t. Unlike what the prosperity gospel claims, faith isn’t a magic formula that releases everything you want into your life. According to the Bible, faith is confidence in God. So place your faith in God Himself rather than in your own efforts to try to obtain what you want.
Let go of false assumptions about wealth and poverty. The prosperity gospel’s message that your material wealth is tied to your spiritual health is false. People who are spiritually rich can be financially poor for a variety of reasons, including choosing to follow Jesus’ own example of divesting themselves of wealth to help meet poor people’s needs.
Give for the right reasons. Rather than giving something in order to get something (such as donating money to a ministry and hoping to be financially rewarded for it), you should give simply to express your love for Jesus, who has given everything for you. While the goal of giving according to the prosperity gospel is to serve yourself, the biblical goal of giving is to honor God and serve people in need. God wants you to give joyfully and generously, without expecting anything in return except spiritual (not material) blessings.
Adapted from Health, Wealth, and Happiness copyright 2010 by David W. Jones and Russell S. Woodbridge. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.kregel.com.
David Jones (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of more than a dozen articles and books that cover a wide range of moral issues. His PhD is in the field of financial articles.
Russell Woodbridge (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is an assistant professor of theology and church history currently engage in missions work in Eastern Europe. He is a former vice president for Equity Derivatives trading for Salomon Brothers AG in Frankfurt, Germany.
Whitney Hopler is a full-time freelance writer and editor. You can visit her website at: http://whitneyhopler.naiwe.com/.
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