Monday, December 2, 2019

Lies Religious Tradition Taught us: Poverty is a blessing

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.                 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been in a new series studying the lies religious tradition has taught us. Ideas and concepts heard so often they've become strongholds in our thinking. Points taught in such a way that if anyone dares question it appears they are countering God Himself and therefore promoting heresy. 

 We've exposed the lies taught that God is the author of sickness and pain. That God sends disasters and storms. That all events, even death, and tragedy are somehow designed for our good. Today, it seemed good to dethrone another lie. The concept that poverty and lack are somehow pious, and a blessing for the Believer in Christ. 

 Before I continue, I must qualify where I am going in this study. For those who've followed this blog for a time they know I have in the past come against the "prosperity gospel". In all those posts I endeavored to explain the Biblical objection to what is taught in some circles. The issue isn't God desiring to bless His children. The issue was the performance and condemnation this teaching created. The idea if you lived basically perfectly you would be rich and never have a problem again. 

 With any Gospel truth, there can exist excess that can formulate into error if left uncorrected. Under Grace, some think that any act of service, or giving, or discipleship is somehow legalism and counters Grace. That is not the truth. Under Grace, we don't serve or give or grow in our walk, in order to gain God's favor or love or blessing. No, because of Christ we already have His love and favor and blessing, and because of this we freely give and serve and grow in Him.

 So it is with prosperity and blessing and the abundant life in Christ. God never promised all believers would be millionaires. Understanding this, we can still believe and receive His abundant blessing in all areas of our life. 

 With clarity given let's address this religious lie. Where the prosperity excess is that all will be millionaires and never have a problem, the religious lie is that God hates financial abundance and favors lack and poverty and wishes His family to abide in squalor. That somehow for some mysterious reason God desires His own to be poor and poverty-stricken.

 What is of interest to note that the religious leaders and those under their influence with a voice that rail against the "prosperity" message are very well off people who live in affluence. One such leader, who rails against Charismatic Christianity and Joel Osteen, has a net worth of $14 million! I guess he means to say prosperity for me and not for thee!

 Religious tradition exalts itself over others and tries to regulate what is "right and wrong" for believers today, (not speaking of what is clearly written in Scripture that counters our new identity; sin, unforgiveness, bitterness, walking out of love), that is what is acceptable or not. The power of God, the Gifts of the Spirit today, healing, prosperity, praying in tongues, all these are "bad" and "unacceptable" for today.  

 Religious leaders and their disciples with a platform like to pronounce how wrong and heretical any message of prosperity is. That the idea that God wants the best for His kids in all circumstances is somehow false teaching. Yet, they sit in affluence, well dressed, well off and their own children clothed, fed, and in comfort. In their distorted religious minds, they think it's good and right and just that God wants His own children to live in lack and squalor. In essence, they are really saying they are a more loving, more caring, more compassionate and giving parent than God Almighty. 

  Religious tradition distorts the Goodness of God. 
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2

 This is God's will concerning blessings and healing. This is God's highest and best for all His family. This passage doesn't say there won't be any weapons formed against you, but we know no weapon formed will prosper against you. It isn't saying all will be millionaires. It just says God desires above all things after you're born again and Spirit-filled that you'd be prosperous and healed. 

 With so much controversy surrounding this passage, and the objections religious tradition fashions to explain it away there is an insight to help better understand this verse. The Word speaks so much of our inward man. What does Paul say in Colossians

 We are complete in Him. Paul also shares the prayer of Epaphras;
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Colossians 4:12 NKJV

  A better understanding of 3 John 2 is found in Colossians. God declares we are complete in Christ. The heart cry is that we stand perfect and complete in all God's will. 3 John 2 echos this sentiment. What John is saying and declaring over us is that God desires us to be complete outwardly just as we are already complete inwardly.

 To be complete outwardly is God's will and best for all of us. If poverty is God's best then why is Heaven, the abode of God Almighty lavishly laden with the splendor of gold and pearl and sapphires and emeralds? Why is God sitting on such a majestic throne? Why is Jesus given praise this way in Heaven?

12 saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12 NKJV

Poverty, lack, sickness, and disease are not outward completeness but outward brokenness. God wants us whole. God desires we be complete outwardly just as we are inward.

 In summation, God is a Good Father, we never see Jesus making people poor and poverty-stricken. He provided for Peter's tax bill supernaturally. All those who were defrauded by Zacchaeus the tax collector had their losses restored. Jesus fed the five thousand. Provision is God's best. Don't accept the lie that poverty is good and prosperity is bad. God meets the needs of His family. 
image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

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