I will preface this blog by stating that prosperity is an innate state of being God has placed in all human life. God has got no problem with us prospering at all, indeed and in fact He rejoices in seeing us prosper. This blog is simply designed to bring prosperity into perspective and highlight moments, teachings and practices which may not lead you to a place of prosperity.
1.When it dominates the pulpit at the expense of Christocentric preaching. This is a major challenge with 21st century preaching, Christ is being pushed further and further back and ideas and concepts of how to get rich are taking centre stage. The word is clear, “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, and all things shall be added” (Matt 6:33). Prosperity preaching that is devoid of Christ is simply poverty disguised as gospel.
2. When it is used as a big stick to keep you in line. A reality with money is, that it gives you influence and a voice, in any setting. The one with the deepest pockets usually has the final say. In the church world however it becomes dangerous when the personal wealth of a pastor is now used as a tool to keep people in line. When you hear statements like “that’s why you are broke” as a justification of what the preacher is saying or doing it is very problematic.
3. When money is a ticket for promotion or preferential treatment in ministry. Ministry is a calling from God and needs to be handled in a manner that is spirit led. In Acts 14:23 , Paul and Barnabas were promoted after much prayer and fasting. In 21st century church, you can give your way into lofty places in leadership. We must be careful not to use ministry positions as a membership retention strategy. Riches must not accelerate the processes of how an individual is raised or promoted in the ministry.
4. When it creates a keeping up with Joneses spirit. When we prosper we must safeguard against boasting disguised as testifying. People must be taught to stay in their lane and believe God without looking to outdo their neighbour. There can be an unholy spirit of competition that emerges in a church, where the rich want to outdo each other and the not so rich want to look rich at the expense of building up their finances steadily.
5. When it has no financial strategy beyond ‘Just Give”… It goes without saying that, giving must be an inherent value and attitude of a Christian. The premise of the Gospel is the deep love of God for us, that made Him act out on that love, by giving His only begotten son. My concern is that most prosperity preaching centres around giving without teaching anything on productivity, fiscal discipline, investing, entrepreneurship, markets or on financial literacy. The thinking is just give and you will be rich.
6. When it creates man of God dependancy. This is one is a hot topic because one of the principles we see and hear leans towards making the pastor the source of blessings and not the conduit or vessel. God is the source not the pastor. Depend and totally rely on God for your blessing not the pastor.
7. When it has a “If you leave me you lose your blessing” clause. Anytime you hear preaching that states “If you leave me, or leave this church, you will lose your blessings or worse you are cursed”, it’s excessive control and very problematic. Pastors and churches do not have unlimited power and authority to control the destinies of man. If you leave a particular church or pastor, it’s not the end of the world and now you shall be swallowed by the earth and be a pauper for life. What is important is when you leave a church, leave honourably and respectfully.
8. When it never talks about education. Education is a powerful key for empowerment and needs to be promoted and encouraged in the house of God. Most ministries are silent on the need for education and some go as far as mocking or deriding education altogether. Which is a fatal error. Child of God education yourself!
9. When it has a freebies mentality. One of the common phrases we hear in the house of God is “so and so just blessed me with a phone” or “so and so blessed me with a car”. Sometimes the thinking becomes “the blessing means I must expect to get given material things for free.” It is possible for God to impress on someone’s house to give you a thing, but you cannot live your life waiting on divine handouts. The mentality we need is how to increase your buying power, or your ability to buy the things you need. The blessing of God positions you to buy and not spend your life waiting for miraculous handouts.
10. When it has a narrow definition of prosperity. Our definition of prosperity in the church, is copious amounts of luxury goods. Prosperity is broader than just the things you have. Prosperity is manifesting the full potential what God has placed in you, prosperity is having enough to fulfil your purpose, prosperity is peace with God and man, prosperity is knowing who you are in Christ, prosperity is a healthy relationship with Christ, prosperity is using your gifts and talents to finance your life, prosperity is enduring struggle and still believing God, prosperity is being a faithful servant, prosperity is building a business, prosperity is being a great employee, prosperity is passing your school exams, prosperity is failing your school exams and getting up and trying again, prosperity is every new day that God gives you, prosperity is believing God regardless of your negative circumstances, prosperity is wider and deeper than just luxury goods.
God bless you,