Why would you limit your success to money only? Success is not just about money. If you limit your prosperity to money alone, you are seriously missing out on much.
Sure, finances can be a part of prospering, but finances alone will never bring true prosperity.
Money Isn’t Everything.
There are some people on this earth today who have millions of dollars available to them, but there are areas in their lives where they are not satisfied. Clearly money isn’t everything.
I have heard on more than one occasion of ‘wealthy, successful’ people, who have confessed that they would give anything if they could just experience more love in their immediate families. Many of these people have worked very hard at making money, saying and believing that it is for the benefit of their families. Yet they end up with families full of hatred, jealousy and anger. All their lives they spent hours and hours, days upon days away from home, chasing their dreams. But they missed out on all the highlights while their children were growing up.
Their marriages often end up in divorce, and their children don’t want anything to do with them. How many times have you heard a child saying to a parent; “Where were you when I needed you? I didn’t want your money, I needed you.”
As I have heard someone saying; “A man with lots of money in the bank, but no love in his family, is just a poor man with a lot of money”.
At this point, all the money in the world will not bring you any joy, unless you can find a way of reconciliation. No matter how much money you have, you cannot put a ‘price tag’ on your family.
You Can have All the Money You Desire, and Still Have An Empty Life.
My wife told me recently about an individual who became friends with someone she knows. This man finds himself working in a key position with a major international company. Although he is based in South Africa, his work takes him all over the world and he earns his salary in American dollars which is in excess of a million dollars per year. That is massive, and at the current exchange rate, it is an astronomical income in South Africa. The downside is that he travels extensively and he is hardly ever at home.
In spite of this massive income and an extravagant lifestyle, he openly admits that he is an unhappy person because he has no time with his family and he is missing out on all the highlights and achievements of his children, because he is never there to share in it.
Living this kind of lifestyle, many of these ‘successful’ individuals are often battling with major health issues due to all the stress of their busy life style. They might be able to afford the best healthcare, but it’s not getting rid of the problem. It is merely bringing temporary relief, as they often suffer from permanent damage or conditions such as negative stress, high blood pressure and heart disease. Once again, money might bring temporary relief, but it cannot heal you.
Success Is Not Just About Money.
True prosperity is more than just financial blessings. It includes divine protection, healing, favor, wisdom, success, well-being, having peace and every good thing you could possibly need.
We often hear about the ‘prosperity message’ being preached today and much is being said about it. But we also hear many warnings against the prosperity message. So, where does it leave us today? Who and what should we believe?
It Is Our Responsibilty To Educate Ourselves and Make Informed Decisions.
I believe we should be educating ourselves by finding out for ourselves what God says and then make our own decisions. And if you make the right choice and ask to be led by the Holy Spirit it becomes easy. God will assist you in making your choices – the right choices. James 1:4-8 (NIV) says “4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
Sure, there are preachers out there who are chasing after popularity and profit by spreading a so-called ‘prosperity message’ which is shallow and false. We are being warned about this in 2 Corinthians 2:17 (NIV) where it says “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit…”
2 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV) says “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” Read the rest of the chapter in 2 Peter 2 to see how God will deal with this.
Who Can You Trust?
In today’s society we hear many messages preached to us. The only way to distinguish the truth and know who we can trust is to be diligent and to study the Word of God. Test everything against the Word of God.
We also have many preachers who are sincere and spread the true Gospel. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (NIV) says “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”
They are spreading the aroma of knowledge of Him everywhere and to God they are the aroma of Christ (verses 14-15). Yet, they often get labeled as ‘the so-called prosperity preachers’. They get criticized negatively and people get warned against them. In Mark 3:21-22 (NIV) even Jesus got falsely accused by His own family as well by teachers of the law when they said…. “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
But take note of how Jesus handled the situation in verses 23-29 when He (Jesus) “…. called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
It is Dangerous to Just Go by What Other People Says.
It is dangerous to just go by what people says, or even what people say about other people when it concerns the Word of God.
While doing some research on this topic recently I read about an influential theologian who became somewhat sarcastic when referring to the ‘Prosperity Gospel’. He claims that the ‘prosperity gospel’ is calling on the Old Testament. He refers to people such as Abraham who was a rich man, Job that started rich and ended rich, David who ruled over Israel in glory and Solomon who was rich and powerful.
He says that these were nothing out of the ordinary, but just normal blessings that God would shower the nation with if they were obedient to Him. He then refers to the unbelievable material blessings that are promised to an obedient nation as found in Deuteronomy 28:1-14.
Then he moves over to the New Testament and says that prosperity and wealth is only possible in the Old Testament and in the New Jerusalem, which will be after the return of Jesus. He says “and as the Bible begins, so it will also end”, and he makes the statement that the wealth of the New Jerusalem is overwhelming.
He quotes Revelation 21:18-21: “18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.[f] 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.”
He then makes mention of the time when he took part in a radio talk-show with two men of ‘this theology’, as he calls it. It was about Ethiopia, where there was severe lack and desperate need due to drought and miss-management at the time. So his somewhat sarcastic question was; “…so what now?”
Apparently the response was that the nation of Ethiopia should repent and that God would then make them prosperous.
He then argues that prosperity and wealth can be found in the Old Testament and in the New Jerusalem. But he claims that there is a time between the Old Testament and the New Jerusalem (which to my knowledge is called the New Testament?), which he calls the ‘in-between time’.
The ‘In-between Time’
He explains that we are living in the ‘in-between time’, and asks the question; “Did prosperity preachers forget about the fact that we are living in the in-between time?”
He refers to the time between the Old Testament and the New Jerusalem where those who were faithful to the Lord, got persecuted and tortured. He points out how Paul and Silas were put in prison and how they got beaten and tortured because they were faithful to spread the Gospel. He mentions the Jew from Nazareth (Jesus), who got persecuted, tortured and crucified just because He was the Messiah. He points out how the New Testament is full of warnings about how the children of God will get persecuted because they are faithful to the Lord.
He goes on to quote Jesus in John 15:20 as saying “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” He further quotes Revelation 2:9 as saying “I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!”
When Christians Get Persecuted, It Is For Their Faith. It Has Nothing To Do With Their Possessions or Bank Balance.
My question to him will be the following: “Can you not see from the same scripture you have just quoted, that prosperity is not about money alone?
Secondly, when will you read the rest of the New Testament? Or have you missed John 10:10, 3 John 2, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 and Philippians 4:19 to mention only four of many scriptures where God makes His will known for our lives – in the New Testament, right now, right here, in the present tense if I read those scriptures correct.”
Thirdly I would like to know why he most probably leaves his office in the comfort of his vehicle and drive to the luxury of his own home after he has finished his day of work at the university? You don’t have to be sitting in a jail cell, or get beaten up every day just because you are living in the ‘in-between time’, as he calls it.
When Christians get persecuted (even today), it is for their faith. It has nothing to do with their possessions or their bank balance.
When You Get Blessed, Recieve and Be Grateful, Because the Lord Is Your Provider.
I do not say that we are exempt from persecution and even torture for the sake of our faith. But when you are blessed to live in peace, and you get blessed in other areas of life, there is no reason to feel guilty about it. Receive it, be grateful and praise the Lord for it because He is the Provider.
I also find it very interesting what I have recently read in an article about Ethiopia being on track to become Africa’s industrial powerhouse? So…. what now?
There Is No Reason To Be Confused or In Doubt.
There is no reason to be confused or in doubt. God makes it perfectly clear in his Word what His will is for our lives. Test everything against the Word of God and you will eliminate all doubt and fear. Secondly, someone who is sincere will also practice what they preach.
There is nothing wrong with being successful and having money. Just guard against becoming a slave to money. There is so much more to success in life than just money. Success is not just about money.
I have also written a guest post over at Empowerment Moments Blog about How Christians Can Enjoy the Good Life (Without Feeling Guilty). Head over there and read it now.