“God will open the floodgates of heaven for you. He will bless you abundantly. Blessings and prosperity are already yours. Just claim it, declare it, speak it and prepare to be amazed!”
We all love to hear this message from preachers.
Sure, it is Biblical. Jesus did say that whatever we ask for in prayer will be ours if we believe that we already have it. We are indeed told that God will open the floodgates of heaven for us. Jesus told us not be concerned about our daily needs because we have a Father in heaven who knows what we need. (Mark 11:24, Mal. 3:10, Matt. 6:31-32)
But, this is not all that the Bible says.
The problem with prosperity preaching, is that it shows people a distorted picture of who God is and where we stand in relationship with Him.
The distorted picture looks like this: I have the right to be blessed and to live a prosperous, trouble free life because I believe in God. Therefore He must do and give whatever I ask for in prayer. God is there for me.
There are a few things wrong with this picture.
First of all, we are not in a position to claim the right to anything. We are saved by grace. Eph. 2:9 (NLT) says: “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” All that we have are because of grace. (Eph. 2:8-9)
Secondly, we should not expect a trouble free life. Exactly the opposite is true. Jesus warned us that we will have trouble in this world but that we can rejoice in the fact that He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) He didn’t say we will not have trouble because He overcame it. He also instructs us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him if we want to be His disciples. (Luke 9:23) Deny ourselves of what? The lusts and desires of the carnal man. (Gal 5:19-21) And what is the cross I must take up? It is our rejection by the world. (John 15:18-21, Matt. 10:22)
The third problem is that God is under no obligation to give us what we ask for. He is the Almighty God and He knows more and understands more than we can even imagine. He sees the big picture. (Isa. 55:8-9) Of course we may pray for what we want. In fact, throughout the Bible we are encouraged to pray and to make our needs known to God. But, then we must trust God’s judgement. Will you give your child a whole chocolate cake to eat all by herself just because she keeps on asking for it and declares it as her chocolate cake? No, because as an older and wiser person, you know that it will make her sick and because you love her, you don’t want that to happen to her.
Lastly and most importantly is the idea that God is there for us, that He is like a servant waiting to adhere to our instructions. And, if He doesn’t follow our instructions we become angry and label Him an unfaithful, unfair God who doesn’t keep His promises.
The truth is that God is not there for us… we are there for God.
You see, what the prosperity preachers usually leave out of their messages, is that we also have a part to play. And I’m not talking about the “declaring my blessings” part.
The Bible says that the righteous people will be delivered from all the problems afflicted upon them. (Ps. 34:19) The righteous people. We obtain righteousness through the blood of Christ, but the righteousness mentioned in this scripture means to live right before the Lord. We are also instructed to live righteously in numerous places throughout the New Testament. You must make certain commitments and sacrifices in your life. If you are not willing to make these commitments and sacrifices for the Lord, how can you even dare to demand anything from Him? He already gave you His life. What are you doing for Him? Read my posts: “How to live righteously” and “Practical ways to create a Christ-centered home” for more in depth discussions on this important subject.
We will receive what we ask for in the Name of Jesus in order for us to bear fruit that will glorify the Father. Go and read John 14:12-13 and John 15:1-8 very carefully. It’s not about the great works we do or about receiving what we want. It’s about glorifying God.
There is a condition to receiving all the promised blessings found in the Bible.