God wants to prosper you — just not the way you think

Kate Mardis

Hearing that God wants to bless you with riches, health, and success is an enticing message. The problem is that isn’t always the case. 

The Bible is full of stories of people who loved Jesus with all their hearts but never experienced prosperity the way we would expect.

  • Jesus Himself led His closest allies, the disciples, into a storm (Mark 4:35-41). 
  • Noah experienced prosperity by working for 120 years so that his family could be spared in the great flood.
  • Paul experienced some of his greatest moments of prosperity in a prison cell writing letters to area churches.
  • Jesus experienced prosperity through letting His Father be glorified through His death on the cross. 

Whenever we hear something that doesn’t line up with the truth of God’s Word, we can always rest assured that it’s the world that is lying to our hearts.

7 Lies Christians Believe About Prosperity

1. Christians aren’t supposed to suffer. 

Job was a blameless, righteous, Godly man. He was wealthy by all standards and never wanted for anything. One day Satan asked God if he could take away everything, including Job’s family, from him to show that Job wouldn’t be faithful if he lost everything. The Lord knew Job’s heart, so despite losing every material possession and family member, Job maintained his worship and faithfulness to the Lord.

Job was more righteous than most of us could ever hope to be, but he suffered more in a short time span than many suffer in a lifetime. If Christians weren’t supposed to suffer, Job’s blameless life would have been blessed with only riches and health.

2. If you haven’t been healed, you just don’t believe enough. 

The Bible tells us faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). A mustard seed is tiny, typically only 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter. If God hasn’t healed someone yet, it’s because He isn’t done writing that part of their story, not because He’s waiting for your faith to “be big enough.” For example, Jesus' friend Lazarus died, not because he didn’t have faith, but so Jesus could show His power (John 11). If Jesus desired to show His power through the death of one of His followers 2,000 years ago, who are we to say that He doesn’t want to do something similar today?

3. If life isn’t going the way you planned, you must be doing something wrong.  

Job never planned for his land to be destroyed, for his home to burn, or for his family to die. Yet, the Bible says Job was blameless and a man of complete integrity. In other words, Job was getting it all right. God’s will for our lives rarely has anything to do with how we planned or didn’t plan for something to go.

4. If you do the right things, you’ll always be blessed. 

Hard times are a way to grow our faith, not a judgment on our faith. The apostle Paul wrote extensively about the value of trials and hardships in a Christian’s life. He reminded the church in Rome that “endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:3-5). 

To grow in endurance, character, and hope is a blessing more valuable than a life of luxury or ease. Sometimes, God’s blessing comes through a mystery check in the mail. But the greater, more lasting blessing is the depth of relationship that comes from going through something hard together. 

5. Poverty is a failure of faith. 

Money is a tool God works through, not the sole reflection of God’s favor on our lives. Most Jesus’ closest friends and followers were not wealthy. They were ordinary working-class guys. 

Jesus Himself told us not to worry about money or stuff. "For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!" (Luke 12:22-24)

You can be faith-filled and poor just as easily as you can be faith-filled and rich. Faith cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Like so many of the struggles we face, poverty is not a failure of faith but an opportunity to grow our faith. It can grow our reliance on God as our provider, our confidence in His faithfulness to provide for us, and our understanding of what it means to be in need (Matthew 10:29-31).  

6. Wealth will increase my joy. 

If this were true, then we would never hear of celebrities turning to things like drugs, alcoholism, and suicide. We can have millions of dollars at our fingertips, but without Jesus, life still lacks meaning, fulfillment, and joy. 

7. If you want something, you just have to “name it and claim it.”

On the day Jesus was to die, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane and wept. He told God, “if it’s possible, take this cup from me.” That’s about as “name it and claim it” as you can get. But even Jesus was not above awful, painful death happening to Him if it was the Lord’s will.

No matter what you may see or hear on TV at 4am, the Lord does not always reign down gobs of money and success on us. Because God knows the money and success we want might not be what we need or what’s best for us. 

Does God want you to have joy? Yes! Does God bless us financially and materially? Absolutely! 

But the next time you’re tempted to believe the Lord doesn’t love you because your bank balance is missing some zeros, turn off your TV and ask God if you’re believing any lies about how He wants to provide and work in your life.

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