You are a good person. You treat people well, obey the rules, you give to your Church regularly, and even selflessly volunteer your time for the benefit of others. Yet even though you are a “good Christian” and seem to do everything right, you can’t seem to get ahead. You look around and it seems like non-believers are prospering everywhere and your Christian friends are barely getting by. Is this your story?
If the Bible says that God wants to bless us (which it does) and that His will is for us to prosper and be in health (which it is) then why is this so often not the case in the lives of Christians?
In this teaching we will look at the reasons for this, as well as the truth about what God expects in order to appropriate the blessings that He has promised us.
We will do this by reviewing these key points:
- God is Just
- You have clear and definite opposition to success
- Appearances are not always reality
- How to gain prosperity from God
Acts 10:34 – Peter said …Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons…
This is a powerful verse. God does not “play favorites” or offer any sort of favoritism to one person over another. Let’s look at another verse showing the fairness and just nature of God:
Matthew 5:45 – …for he [God] maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
God makes the sun to rise, and the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike. He makes no distinction between race, color, creed, or nationality. The only thing that God is a “respecter of” are the conditions of his Word. The only way that we can see the promises in the Bible come to pass is if we believe them and act accordingly!
Ephesians 3:20-21 – Now unto him [God] that is able [and willing] to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him [God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
So if God is indeed “no respecter of persons” then why does it seem like people in the world prosper and God’s people have a hard time getting by? If God promises “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” then why does it seem so difficult to imagine having that?
The reason for this is because we have a clear and definite opposition to success.
John 10:10 – The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
I Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
I Timothy 2:26 – And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
The cause of this seemingly backward state of affairs is due to the fact that we have an adversary who seeks to destroy the work of our hands and wreck our finances.
God’s goodness is there for all to enjoy, but the adversary (being God’s enemy) wants anyone who loves God to fail. That is why he tries so hard to instill negative thoughts in our minds, to attempt to convince us that the blessings that we deserve as God’s people aren’t real, or are not available. This is not the truth, God PROMISES “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)
Therefore if someone who does not believe in God wants something in this world, why would the adversary hinder that? The person is already influenced by the ways of the world, is controlled and influenced by the enemy, and does not have eternal life. Of course Satan will want that person to appear prosperous. He wants us to think that the world’s way is better than God’s way. He makes it seem like the people who do not live for God are doing great.
Appearances are not always reality
You may look around and see people who appear prosperous but on the inside they are concerned about a pile of bills and how they are going to pay them. This is not God’s desire for us. God wants for us to live debt free. If God commands it, then it is most certainly available!
Romans 13:8 (NIV) – Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
The only “debt” we should have is the love we owe to one another. Living this way will certainly bring us the most fulfillment, joy, and blessing. Whether you agree with that or not, I’m sure you can agree that paying bills to creditors does not make you happy.
Financed success is no success at all. God’s desire for us is to have our finances in order, to eliminate and then avoid debt, and rely on him for all of our needs instead. He is to be our sufficiency if we want to truly obey His Word as noted in 2 Corinthians:
II Corinthians 9:6-8 – But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work
God’s desire is that we have abundance in our financial and spiritual lives so that we can give. It’s difficult to give (especially money) when we can’t pay our bills or we are lacking in a category of life. When we have our needs met, it’s easy to be able to give to our churches, charities, and those who need help.
Warren Buffet is credited as saying: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” and this is certainly true of both businesses and individuals. When we get upside down in debt, it’s a recipe for disaster. Repossessed cars, foreclosed homes, bankrupt businesses, and so on. When we trust God to meet our needs and live debt-free, those things just don’t happen because we own our things, they don’t own us.
We know better. God’s way is ALWAYS better. As born again believers, we belong to God. The adversary has no legal right to interfere with our abundance at all. We are bought and paid for by the accomplishments of Jesus Christ!
So how do we attain this promise of Prosperity from God?
There is only one instruction to follow to obtain this exceeding abundance. Yes, just one!
The one single principle that we are to follow to reap this abundance is shown in Malachi 3.
Malachi 3:6-10 – For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
We are not going to stop reading there because God not only tells us what we should be doing, but WHY we should be doing it!
Malachi 3:11-12 – And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
God expects his people to give the tithe which literally means “tenth” and applies to every category of life, but the context here is financial. These are the benefits of giving the tithe:
-The devourer is rebuked (The enemy is turned away, kept back)
-The fruit of our ground is not destroyed (Our work and effort is prosperous and can’t be touched by the enemy)
-All nations shall call us blessed! (It will be obvious that God’s hand is in our lives!)
Malachi 3:9 says “prove me now herewith” and this is important – God wants us to prove that he backs up His Word with this principle. There is always a blessing in store as we give the tithe and trust that God does that which he promises. We will see the benefits listed in verses 11-12 in our lives.
Let’s also look at the record of the “Widow’s mite” in Luke 21:
Luke 21:1-4 – And he [Jesus Christ] looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
The context here is not that we should necessarily give all that we have (although there are multiple records in the Bible where that is done) the important key is that the rich people were giving, but they were not giving the tithe, and they were not relying on God as their sufficiency. They were only giving a small percentage of their wealth so that people would see that they put their offering on the plate, but the Widow gave much more. They were not following the Word in this category. The widow on the other hand trusted God so fully that she was willing to give her last two coins (which were thought to be of the lowest Roman currency denomination at the time) knowing that God would bless her gift and multiply it back to her. She fully trusted that God was her sufficiency.
We have rights in Christ to claim prosperity. But we have to do the one requirement that God asks of us before we can expect his blessing. We cannot pray for abundance or expect God to do his part unless we have done our part by offering at least the tithe (10%) to Him. The tithe should be given to the ministry that teaches you the Word. This money is for God’s work. If you don’t have a ministry or church, then give to a charity or someone who is in need. The point is that you give. And 10% is only the minimum, you can certainly give more!
Each one of us has to make the decision for ourselves. Collectively we work together as the body of Christ and have great strength, but it is still up to each individual to decide.
These 4 principles will help you remember what God desires for your life:
-God is Just
-You have clear and definite opposition to success
-Appearances are not always reality
-How to gain prosperity from God (operating the principle of the tithe)
Let’s encourage each other to claim what God has given us. Let’s give of our abundance more and more. Let’s PROVE the word for ourselves. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of us in the coming days, months, and years!
God Bless You!
From a March 2008 Teaching [brackets indicate my comments] All scriptures from KJV Bible unless otherwise noted Based on the book "Christians Should Be Prosperous" - American Christian Press chapters 3-4: Chapter 3: Plain Logic Chapter 4: Why do non-Christians prosper? Image source: Wikipedia
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