Intoxicated By Prosperity Preaching
If timing is everything, prosperity preaching makes me want to control time. I had no idea how much discontentment hearing it caused me. Always desiring more—more money—more recognition—never feeling satisfied with what God had already done for me. I was under the impression that accepting what I had in my 30s wasn’t enough. I needed to have my own business—have multiple income streams, get a promotion and have a full calendar that demands me to show up and dominate my industry of choice. I had to find successful people and network to get to the next level, which Jesus desired me to do.
I started to believe that following Jesus meant I would acquire the best—of—the—best and inherit all I wanted by faith. Prosperity preaching inspired me. It motivated me to desire more out of life and go after my dreams. At first, it didn’t hurt me. Like drinking alcohol, it starts off fun, but if you drink too much— it impairs your judgment and puts you in unfortunate situations.
I listened to prosperity preaching frequently, making my life a blur. I started to devalue my present circumstances and deem them NOT enough. “God had greater for me—He had something more desirable.” I’d recite to myself. Therefore, my life as it is —isn’t enough. “God, give me more.” I’d pray.
It wasn’t until I was on short-term disability, without a job, that I realized—prosperity preaching intoxicated me. Having in-depth conversations with my wife and family and hearing from the Holy Spirit revealed this to me. The Holy Spirit showed me how every blessing God had given me wasn’t enough. I’d celebrate and, shortly after— desire more. Amid my prayer, I’d listen to another prosperity sermon and declare from a good place, “God, bless me again, do something bigger and better for my family and me.” I’d get a promotion and hear a message that says, “if you are faithful over this, God will give you more.” So I had my mind set on more—yet again. I was no longer content—I needed more.
When I realized I was influenced by prosperity preaching, I repented and told God, “I’m sorry for my discontentment.” I began to ask the Lord to give me realistic expectations and to help me appreciate what He has done —without putting demands on Him for more. I began to thank God for my life and what Jesus did on the cross. I began to ask for His will to be done in my life. I am now cautious when listening to prosperity messages. I can identify them right away. Critical elements of prosperity preaching are:
- Making scripture about yourself: “God gave Peter more fish; he will give YOU more.”
- Declarations: “ I shall have more, gain more, become more, and do more!”
- Repetitive statements about money: “I will have more money, I’ll have a promotion that gives me more.”
I know you’re probably thinking, what’s wrong with that? It’s encouraging. My response to you is—you’re right. The problem isn’t the encouragement or sharing that blessings come from God. The problem comes from staying on that subject when it’s only part of the Good News.
If people only hear one aspect of God’s story, they are not equipped to face life when low moments come. It is essential to know that suffering is a promise as well. The Bible says, “we must bear our cross and follow Christ.” It also tells us that long-suffering is a fruit of God’s spirit. Therefore, we will suffer as well as be blessed. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness.”
Furthermore, the Gospel requires us to live a righteous lifestyle. We must change our behavior and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. These components of the Gospel are equally as important as prosperity. Furthermore, the Gospel is about Jesus and how good He has been by dying for us. It’s not so much about all the blessings He will give today. His sacrifice was enough to last us a lifetime. He doesn’t owe us everything we want.
As believers, we need to hear the whole story. We need to know the parts that will convict us of our sin and bring us towards repentance. We must understand that trouble will come, and God is with us in those moments. We must embrace scripture that tells us, “Godliness plus contentment is great gain.” We need the whole Gospel to equip us for everyday life.
With that being said, I’m in Prosperity Preaching anonymous—PPA. Yup, I created this myself. I am no longer staying fixated on one part of God’s message. I am embracing it all. The goodness, suffering, repentance, accountability for righteousness living, loving my neighbor, and reverence for what Jesus has already done. I am content in every season. I am grateful for every blessing. I am hopeful for God’s will more than my own. I am prepared to suffer, to give, to worship Jesus for what He has already done. I am sober.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10 NIV
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 NIV