Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Health and Wealth Prosperity Gospel

What is the biblical definition of success? Joshua was told to obey all that was commanded – for then he would be prosperous and have success (Joshua 1:6-9). Do you think God’s view of success is anything like ours?

I’m relating this passage to Psalm 1 – it also promises success and prosperity if we mediate on and follow the “Book of the Law”. However, my mind is filled with images of Paul, chained to a stone wall in a dank, dark prison cell. Prosperity and success…? Paul successfully witnessed to the jailor and his whole household was saved. He was rejoicing for the opportunity to share the gospel with a captive audience while in prison (Acts 16: 22-34).

I’m also remembering the blessings poured out on Job after he withstood his trials – but before those blessings came, and none were promised to come, Job’s faith stood fast. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21). Job saw his relationship with the Lord in much the same way as a marriage covenant – in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer – regardless of our circumstances, we are to love the Lord and bless His holy name.

I guess the bottom line is this, if I were obeying God because of His promises of success and prosperity, it wouldn’t really be obedience at all. God commands that first of all, we love Him with all our hearts, our souls, and our minds (Deuteronomy 6:5).