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Hey, Christian reader. You may already know this, but you can become anything, achieve anything, if you embrace your vision, your dream, and find your purpose. You need a vision, of course, because “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18).1 Don’t think too long about that verse. Just get a vision because it’s good, and everybody needs one because we don’t, um, want people casting off restraint. You’ve gotta find your purpose because, well, everybody knows that God has a purpose for your life, right? Like Stephen who was stoned to death in Acts 7, or James, the apostle John’s brother, who was beheaded in Acts 12. Speak positive things over and in your life and stop confessing things that are negative like, “James was beheaded!” because Jesus said, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). You don’t want to be an evil person, do you? So, don’t say things like, “I’m sick.” Eww. Really? Don’t you believe that Jesus heals people? Don’t say things like “My asthma.” Really? You possess asthma? Well, it’s yours, then. When people say, “The flu is going around,” say, “Well, it’s going around me.” Get it? If you get your vision, find your purpose, stop saying and thinking negative things, and keep believing, with God’s help, nothing is impossible for you because God is on your side and with Him, all things are possible, like Jesus said: “‘Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.’ When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:24–26). You can be prosperous and wealthy. Stop confessing your poverty and saying you’re poor, because “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:10). Look. God wants what’s best for you. Jesus came to the earth, lived, and died so you could have an abundant life. He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). How on earth is being sick or poor living a life of abundance? Listen. Once early in our marriage when we were struggling financially, our pastor asked for a special offering. I only had five bucks in my wallet, but I gave it. The next morning, a man showed up at our door with $5,000.00. That’s what happens when you’re faithful.

The paragraph above is a satirical narrative about how to live a life of Christian victory within the word-of-faith and prosperity-gospel world. But it’s a dangerous world to live in. Why?

First, the Word of God is twisted and abused. If you can’t tell how the passages above have been twisted, I encourage you to find out. You are vulnerable.

Second, the focus of your life with the Lord moves from Him to you. If you speak positively, if you confess your healing, if you give, God will supply for you. The focus is on you, what you say, and what you need, not the Lord God Almighty who faithfully provides all things to those who ask, who promised that if we seek His kingdom first, all things will be added to us (Matthew 6:33).

Third, the word-of-faith and prosperity doctrines are deadly legalistic. The narrative implies that if you’re not experiencing health and prosperity, you are doing something wrong or inadequate. “Stop the negative confessions! Begin positively confessing your healing and prosperity!” Can you imagine being in a fellowship where you felt you could not say you were sick because if you did, the people would chastise you? I’ve experienced this. What bondage.

We should ask questions like, “Who taught this in Scripture? When Jesus healed people, did He challenge them because they had negative confessions and said they were sick? Did Paul or anyone else in the New Testament instruct Christians to confess their healing or their prosperity?”

We are to pray about sicknesses. “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14). We are to pray about our needs—“Give us today our daily bread”—believing that God knows about them and will provide for us in time of need. “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:31–32). That is the biblical model. It’s humbly presenting ourselves to the Lord who loves us. It’s relying on a loving Savior. God gives freely by His grace. All things we ask for are not given us, but we trust in a God who knows all things perfectly, who can do all things—after all, He created the universe and all that is in it—and who knows what is best for us. Ours may be a life of deprivation at times. Of more-than-adequate provision at times. Sometimes times of sickness; sometimes of health. The endgame is not what or how much was freely bestowed upon us or not, but what we did with what we were given and the condition of our hearts when we did or did not have possession of it. Read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19–31, or the account of Job, the quintessential truth of gain and loss.

Lord, please open the eyes of Christians to the truth of Your Word. Keep us from error and legalistic bondage.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy giphy.com.

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