|Question / Comment - Does God want to financially prosper all Christians?|
Are you totally against the belief that God wants to prosper all Christians financially/materially or is it the undue emphasis that most churches/evangelists place on it that is the problem?
God will and does prosper Christians. Every good gift comes down from the Father of lights. He gives some the gift of giving also and gives them the resources by which they can give. Great. But material prosperity is not a rule, it is not something that would should set our hearts on, and I don't believe that God 'wants to prosper all Christians financially' - In fact there are numerous warnings in the New Testament against the love of money and setting our hearts on such things. Let me put it this way:
The Old Testament (specifically the Mosaic covenant) was a covenant of blessings and curses. Obey the law and God would bless (prosper) the nation of Israel materially, financially. He will send rain on your crops, He would bless your offspring, your harvest, your livestock, peace from enemies etc. The opposite was listed in the curses if they disobeyed. Have a read of Deut chapter 28. You'll see what I mean.
Deuteronomy 28:11-12 "The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the
offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the
produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your
fathers to give you. (12) "The LORD will open for you His good
storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and
to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many
nations, but you shall not borrow.
The blessings and curses were physical and material. This is what life was like under the law. It seems good (if you can obey) but being under the law became a curse because no one could obey it all! (Which is what large portions of Romans and Galatians are about).
The New Testament's blessings are primarily SPIRITUAL!
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly places in Christ, (4) just as He chose us
in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and
blameless before Him. In love (5) He predestined us to adoption as
sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention
of His will, (6) to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He
freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
In contrast to the Old Testament the blessings are now primarily spiritual and are given by GRACE through FAITH instead of by obeying the law.
So what does this mean? That God doesn't bless and prosper us financially anymore? No. He can. But as I said at the start, it isn't something that we are to set our heart on. Here is an important thing... in the New Testament, the KEY word in this regard is CONTENTMENT. A love of riches and prosperity does not lead to contentment. It leads to covetousness, which is idolatry (Eph 5:5). Paul knew what is was to have plenty (God's physical/material blessing if you like). He also know what it was like to have a lack and go without. But look at what he says:
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. (12) I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (13) I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
1 Timothy 6:3-11 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, (4) he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, (5) and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. (6) But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. (7) For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. (8) If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. (9) But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (11) But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
Did you notice that it says that it is men of depraved mind, devoid of the truth, that suppose the godliness is a means to get gain. You want great gain? Then learn the same contentment that Paul had. Then you will truly have gain spiritually speaking. But Paul warns Timothy to flee from desiring the material things and pursue the real things - righteousness, godliness, faith, love etc.
Hebrews 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"
Can you see the emphasis on contentment? Then, if God desires to prosper you materially, great. Your focus will be on the giver and not the gift - the blesser and not the blessing. Financial prosperity should never be our goal. Contentment in Christ is our goal and we should be more interested in our spiritual blessing in Christ and eternal rewards than any temporal material blessing. I should close by saying that Paul doesn't say it is wrong to be rich, but we shouldn't set our hearts on these things... and if we are rich then we should be rich in our generosity.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. (18) Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, (19) storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
That is more than I expected to write. Hopefully it answers your question! I hope : )