PROSPERITY OR MATERIALISM? PART 2

In the precursor to this article last week, I narrated how I became a Pentecostal and a believer in the prosperity message. However also ending with what I consider my current standing on the subject matter. The purpose of wealth is clearly Evangelism and Poverty Alleviation. No doubt God gives us all things freely to enjoy, but we must be careful not to live our lives in a way that exalts money to a pedestal that obscures our christian witness or provokes resentment towards it. The excessive emphasis has raised a generation who see financial prosperity as the purpose of salvation itself and with this, the line between God’s blessing and unacceptable wealth has become blurry.

Let us look at instances in scripture where wealth was considered unacceptable.In Genesis 14:21-23, Abraham refused to take a dime of the spoils of war upon returning from the rescue of Lot so that the King of Sodom may not take the glory for his prosperity in the future. Any form of wealth that will give a human being the power to boast as our source should be avoided or rejected altogether. Only God deserves all the glory, honor and power for His blessings upon our Lives.In Genesis 36:6-10 is the popular story of Joseph’s escape from the immoral advances of Potiphar’s wife. Compromise on his part would have guaranteed temporal comfort but he refused at the peril of imprisonment. Any wealth with sin at its source is not God-given and must be condemned. If corruption, smuggling, extortion, drug dealing, sexual immorality, Internet fraud, lying and deception, cheating or any other sinful behavior is at the root of it, it is not God given prosperity at all. In Daniel 1:8, Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the royal cuisine of Babylon because it contravened the mosaic law. He would have had to eat unclean animals forbidden in the old covenant. It is not God’s blessing if you have to sin to get it.In 2 Kings 5:14-17, the offer of money by Naaman the Syrian for his cleansing from leprosy by Elisha was supposed to be a payment for the miracle.

The gifts of God are freely given and should be freely offered. The merchandise of the anointing of the Holy Spirit through the sale of miracle oil, handkerchiefs, demanding for seeds for miracles and other similar practices are unscriptural and compare to the greed of Gehazi. In Acts 8:19, Simon the sorcerer offered money for the gift of laying on of hands and Peter rejected his money. God’s power is not for sale and yet, from television to social media, from pulpits to the printed page, massive efforts are continually made to offer miracles in exchange for money. The gimmicks are numerous and the shame non-existent in many christian ministries.In Matthew 4:8-9, satan offered Christ all the kingdoms of this world and their glory (including wealth) and Jesus rejected it because it was at the cost of worship.

Worship acknowledges the worshipped as God and enlists the worshipper in covenant. People engage in satanic worship around the world today in order to be rich. Ritual killings are widely known about in Nigeria for instance and it’s nothing but a self-centered quest for money. In search of economic and political power, many have sold their souls and pierced their hearts with sorrows.According to Deuteronomy 8:18, God gave the children of Israel power to get wealth for the establishment of his covenant.

Our financial resources ought to be focused on the establishment of the new covenant on the face of earth today. Such devotion to God certainly does not necessitate any of the various compromises enumerated above. Compromising in any of the above ways is doubtless materialism and not God given prosperity and therefore unacceptable. According to Proverbs 10:22, God’s blessing will makes us rich and add no sorrow with it. I see you blessed, healthy, successful and peaceful at the same time.

Today, we see lots of compromises being made by Christians in order to be wealthy and it has dulled our Christian witness. Worse still are the open displays of obscene wealth by some ministers of the gospel which has cast a negative shadow on Christianity. We must rise with courage and correct our excesses to arrest an exodus of young people out of our churches and stop the increasing resentment towards the Christian Church. May our eyes open so much so we can see ourselves in the light of the Word of God.To be continued…..

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