If indeed the reason for getting saved, reborn, converted, born again or whatever you want to call it is predominantly to GET physical healing, financial prosperity and oodles of friends in this life; then the message promoted in one "mega church" after another is right on. If the more abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10 is to be interpreted as referring to physical healing, financial prosperity and having oodles of friends; then the message promoted in the so called "prosperity gospel" is correct.
I grew up in a ministry which promoted the notion that the reason for getting saved was to have more meaning in ones' life, receive physical healing from all diseases, become if not wealthy then at least very well off, have a harmonious family life free of conflict and disagreements and have oodles of friends. This cozy message of course was well received, especially by the poor, sick and lonely. Of course someone is going to say they accept Christ if it means instant healing and secret information regarding the winning lottery numbers.
The same situation keeps arising over and over again among Christians. When one of them gets sick, falls on hard times financially or battles depression; almost immediately there is impatience among those who adamantly believe none of these things are supposed to ever afflict a believer. In due time this impatience spills over into a sanctimonious and condescending attitude that becomes more or less equal to a child being scolded for being "bad".
"How dare you get sick, brother" is the refrain sounding from the lips of those who believe a Christian should never so much as suffer a cold lest they degrade the good name of Jesus. When a poor Christian suffers from a serious ailment such as cancer or heart disease the chorus of judgment and condemnation grows to that of a roar. "You have been healed, brother; so just act like it" has been yelled into the hearts and minds of countless broken believers for ages. All such screaming does is make the person feel worse. You can't help a person receive healing by yelling at them to have more faith.
Of course anyone reading this knows that I absolutely do not believe for one instant that Jesus Christ came and gave His life just so that we, living 2,000 years later, could never be sick and have huge bank accounts (and oodles of friends). Although it is certainly available for Christians to be physically healed and prosper financially, it is not guaranteed nor is it necessary to manifest the more abundant life.
Over the years I have grown very weary of those who find and magnify one or two verses in the entire Bible to substantiate their position on any matter. This is exactly what has happened with the version of the Gospel which demands Christians walk in good health at all times and have tons of money in their bank accounts. Some of the most difficult people to get along with are those who demand that everyone succumb to these beliefs on this subject.
Dramatically missing through most of Paul's, Peter's, James' and John's writings in the New Testament is any message which could be construed to imply that every believer is to walk in perfect health at all times and make tons of money to give lavishly to their church or ministry but NEVER to the poor or indigent. Paul traveled many times with his own personal physician (Luke) and illness along with poverty were constant companions of all who strove to preach the Gospel in the First Century.
Jesus did not travel around the Holy Lands in a huge bus with his disciples waiting on him hand and foot. Jesus did not eat at only the finest restaurants, ride on only the finest camels and stay at only the finest inns while wearing only the finest robes. No, to the contrary Jesus was born in a stable, never owned a home and spent many a night sleeping on the ground or on tiny ships tossed to and fro by raging storms.
Jesus did not need any of things associated with wealth to live the more abundant life. Paul did not need any of the things he gave up in the material realm to live the more abundant life. Peter did not need anything of material consequence to oversee the business of the church in Jerusalem. The more abundant life is not measured in dollars and cents or how few aches and pains you have. The more abundant life is INTERNAL and is available because by Jesus' striped we were healed of the scourge of sin that kept us from having fellowship with God.
Many people who have taken vows of poverty are the healthiest and happiest people I have met. For those who have been freed from the bondage of this world, their hearts are able to be more fully focused on God. There are far more good things to come from having little than having much and the responsibilities that go with it.
Is it any wonder that the people who can manifest the most compassion for the sick or those facing financial disasters have been there and gone through similar situations themselves? I thank God that He has allowed me to understand by experience what it means to face daily physical problems and to live in a financial straitjacket. I thank God for allowing me to have a heart of understanding so that I can offer encouragement, comfort and empathy to those going through life's battles.
In no way would I dare complain for even one moment about all I have gone through physically and financially the past year or two. I look at these times as preparation for open doors to come in the future where I can honestly say to someone hurting, "I feel your pain", I really do.
Brother Kirk, it takes one who have the experience to understand what another going through the same experience would feel. It takes the Son Himself to become a man to understand all our human sufferings and hardship that He can understand and help us more.:wink:
When an individual goes through trials and hardship, one can never fully understand the reasons. But in due time and in due season, he or she will see and understand the reason and the wisdom of it all.
In His time, God make all things beautiful, in His time. [img]http://www.freesmileys.org/emoticons/emoticon-object-088.gif[/img]
Thanks for sharing
From Hwa [img]http://www.thesmilies.com/smilies/office/fountainpen.gif[/img] Silverpen
I am afraid far too many people have given up following Christ because they were fed a lie. Yes, I will call it I lie. They were told that if they followed Him, they would no longer experience any sort of hardship in this world. Exactly what do we think Jesus means when He says we must take up our cross daily and follow Him? Do we think carrying a cross is a simple matter; an easy thing? Do we realize what this meant to Jesus' listeners? This was a symbol of shame, suffering and even death... and Jesus wanted them to carry it? This was so shameful a thing that Roman citizens were not crucified!
Great crowds had followed Jesus... while He was doing miracles but where were they at the cross? While I believe God can and does perform miracles (my neurosurgeon tells me I am one :wink: ), I do not want to follow Jesus because of what he does... I want to follow Jesus because of who He is!
I believe that when Jesus says "the son of man has no place to lay his head"...(my loose quote). He is not complaining or putting down the people of the town that he is in. I believe that statement is a command of sorts. He did not have a place to lay his head, so those that follow him are to give up there stuff and live as HE did. We are to loosen our grip on the very things that imprison us not the opposite.
Well said brother. No ruffled feathers here...need to figure a way to actually loosen my grip on some stuff though.
I am praying for you today.
In my life, I have experienced many physical problelms. Since committing my self and my life to Jesus Christ, within a week I experienced direct divine healing that I believe physically saved my life. My physical heart was restored. I have been led by the Holy Spirit to pay attention to divine healing, learn more through His guidance and have, without belonging to a healing ministry, participated in healing miracles.
It IS wrong to push lack of faith upon people. This is counter productive and can certainly do more harm than good. Actual lack of faith, I do not believe is the problem. In reality there are a number of reasons why people do not walk in good health or receive the manifestation of divine healing.
One of my challenges and desires here on CB is to share more about receiving the manifestation of divine healing and learning to walk in health. It certainly is a journey I am on. I have been learning much along this journey that I hope to share here on CB as the Holy Spirit leads me.
The Church and many teachings are pretty messed up. So, in reality, many, many do not walk in the fulness God has provided for through the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessings to all,
Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Whatever amount of faith any of us have comes from Him alone. Our faith will grow as we abide and trust in Him.
Sometimes our focus is on self. Self-focus causes depression. Selflessness brings joy not only to the receiver but to the giver. The ministry we have and service we give to others is not something we can boast about. It comes from the Lord and all glory for it goes to the Lord. It's not in saying that I can help you because I know what you are going through but in saying Christ can help you through me because He knows what you are going through. I help people who are terminally ill, but I have never been terminally ill. I have never died. My ministry does not come from me, it comes from God.
We all have blindspots--sins that others see in us but that we do not see in ourselves.
May we seek His righteousness and never our own righteousness.
Dear B2Y--Excellent blog, my friend. Well written and well said.
It was by going through times of affliction and pain that I came to realize God does not waste suffering. Nor is He arbitrary or "unfair" in either causing or allowing it into the lives of His children.
Illnesses, injuries and calamities are merely parts of the human condition. Believers and unbelievers alike.
God did not draw me to himself to make me a spoiled brat, but that his mercy and grace may be put on display as I experience the same ups and downs of life that everyone else experiences. That is made clear in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.
The real difference between the unbeliever and the believer in times of affliction is this: The unbelieve is going THROUGH something. The believer is going TO someone. And the someone we are going to is Moses' Great I AM.
Be blessed, my brother. Ron
An excellent truth of scripture.
I blame the growth and continuation of these teachings on people not reading scripture with prayer and guidance by the Spirit for themselves. If all I do is go to Church to hear what ever is being Preached any given day then all I know is what I just got from that Preacher - right or wrong - in the end it an individuals responsibility to seek God in truth and know the difference of those that teach truth or teach false.
Thank you for a great blog.