Paul vs. The Prosperity Gospel

One of the current realities in much of the church today is prosperity teaching.  That is, teaching that promises people an earthly reward for having faith, or enough faith in God.  This teaching, and its prevalence really serves to irritate me.  As if, our faith in Christ is a means to make us healthy and wealthy.  The Gospel of Jesus extends way beyond the increase of our own heath and wealth. God is not a magic genie who really wants to see us get a bigger house or a nicer car.

In fact, most of the New Testament warns us that to truly follow Jesus means that you will have to sacrifice and actually suffer for the name of Jesus:

[34] And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. [35] For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. [36] For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? [37] For what can a man give in return for his soul? 

(Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Anyhow, prosperity teaching had been a sore subject with me for quite some time now.  So naturally, while reading through Paul’s first letter to Timothy, my attention was grabbed by one of Paul’s warnings about false teachers.
In 1 Timothy 6:5,  Paul was describing what some of the false teachers looked like and he finishes by saying that they “(imagine) godliness is a means for gain”.
Now, that sounds like the main thrust of the prosperity gurus….they imagine godliness to be a means of great gain.  They proclaim that the right amount of faith/ giving/ planting seeds, etc… will activate God’s blessing on that person.  
But Paul then writes:

[6] Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,

(1 Timothy 6:6 ESV)

Paul destroys the message of the prosperity teachers.  He teaches us that there is great gain in godliness with contentment.  Godliness and Contentment? But how can we be content just living our lives for the glory of God? Shouldn’t we always be looking for a pay raise?  Shouldn’t we always be looking to climb up the ladder of success? Shouldn’t we be praying for God to bless us?
Paul says: “No!” Seek to live in a godly manner and be content with that.  Be happy with what God has given you. 
He goes even further:

[7] for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. [8] But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

(1 Timothy 6:6 ESV)

All we need is food and clothes to be content.  The reason this is the case is because every Christian’s contentment is found only in Jesus and not in our possessions and health (Philippians 4:11-13).
  Are we content in our relationship with Jesus?  Is He enough for us? He must be, because only Jesus satisfies.  Only Jesus will eternally quench your thirst (John 4:14). If we want more than Christ, chances are, we really don’t have Him to begin with. 


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