Prosperity theology, which is sometimes referred to as prosperity gospel, is what drives many to church, many to follow certain preachers and ministers and many to worship Jesus.
Prosperity theology advocates faith in Christ as an avenue for financial blessings and physical healings. This switches the emphasis away from worshipping our Lord and unto achieving personal gain. The Apostle Paul warned us of prosperity theology when he said beware of, “men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness” (1 Timothy 6:5).
Paul warned of the pursuit of personal gain and the “love of money” and refocused us on our true purpose-Jesus Christ! “…follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called” (1 Timothy 6:11-12)
We have a much overlooked example of people pursuing Christ for temporal, personal gain purposes when Jesus and His disciples sailed to Gennesaret.
“And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole” (Mark 6:53-56).
Matthew Henry, the 17th century theologian puts things into perspective.
“We do not find that they were desirous to be taught by him, only to be healed. If ministers could not cure people’s bodily diseases, what multitudes would attend them! But it is sad to think how much more concerned the most of men are about their bodies than about their souls” (Matthew Henry 1662-1714).
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary adds more.
“THERE is a condition of mind which readily accepts the temporal blessings of religion, and yet neglects, and perhaps despises, the spiritual truths which they ratify and seal…. Thus we find these two conflicting movements: among the sick and their friends a profound persuasion that He can heal them; and among those whom He would fain teach, resentment and revolt against His doctrine. The combination is strange, but we dare not call it unfamiliar. We see the opposing tendencies even in the same man, for sorrow and pain drive to his knees many a one who will not take upon his neck the easy yoke. Yet how absurd it is to believe in Christ’s goodness and His power, and still to dare to sin against Him, still to reject the inevitable inference that His teaching must bring bliss. Men ought to ask themselves what is involved when they pray to Christ and yet refuse to serve Him” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
If the reason why you are worshiping Christ is to be healed or financially blessed, then your purpose isn’t Christ at all. Your purpose is personal benefit and gain. What are you going to do when the blessings arrive? Once you get what you were after, what purpose is there for Christ in your life? There isn’t any. The people of Gennesaret didn’t continue to touch the hem of Jesus’s garment after they were healed. They stopped chasing after Jesus. Why would you continue to follow Christ after you got what you were after if gain, not Christ was your purpose?
In Psalm 73, Asaph, the singer and writer of the psalm puts things in proper order when he sang, “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Psalm 73:26).
Asaph looks past his temporal condition and unto the perpetuity of his forever portion with God.
Jeremiah also puts God first and proclaims Him as his share, his lot, his eventuality and his everything.
“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:24-26)
Can you honestly say that, “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup” (Psalm 16:5)? Or are you trying to use the Lord as a vehicle to get what you want?
Luke gives us a wonderful example of those pursuing gain versus those pursuing Christ our Lord.
“And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:11-19).
10 lepers. All came to Jesus to be healed and they were. But only one, after being healed continued to glorify Christ.
God does bless some with financial blessings and/or physical healings. But our purpose should always be Jesus Christ. He is our lot and our portion.
This life, this world is temporary. It is filled with troubles and turmoil. It is the domain of the devil. Jesus warned us that, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). The devil wants us to concentrate on the here and now, the present trials and tribulations so we will take our eyes off of Christ and eternity. Put your focus and faith in Christ and not on this worldly, temporal life!
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Notice that God will supply for all of your “need”, your necessities for this life and the next. He does so through “his” (not ours) riches in glory by Christ Jesus!
“riches in glory by Christ Jesus” is more accurately transliterated to mean “fullness and abundance in the magnificence, excellence and preeminence in the anointed Messiah, Jehovah our salvation”.
That’s where our true prosperity and religion rests, in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.