Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)
Prosperity is perhaps the most misused, and even abused, promise in the Bible. Few other concepts have the same power to distract the child of God to a focus on self, to a focus on the blessings rather than ‘the blesser’, and to an erroneous assumption that promotes entitlement rather than grace.
I believe absolutely and completely that God desires to bless His people. After all, there are promises after promises throughout the Bible. All of these, however, should be taken in context rather than as individual, ‘stand alone’ promises. The correct perspective is from the cross.
This prayer of Paul beautifully defines God’s heart on the subject of prosperity, and the key lies in the words: ‘as your soul prospers.’ First and foremost, God’s concern is with our spiritual prosperity. His desire is that this should be object of our desire. ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Then all these things shall be added.’ God’s blessings are not simply a ‘feel good’. He is not a divine vending machine for our personal self-gratification.
When we seek after God, the blessings – the abundance, the prosperity – will come, according to His plans and His purpose for our lives. Seeking these is not wrong. Seeking them outside of the way of the cross is. Jesus told us to first lay down our lives. He told the rich man to sell everything he owned and give the money to the poor.
To prosper in the full biblical sense, we must put prosperity in proper perspective. We must first come to the place of having nothing and being surrendered to and dependent on God. As we grow closer to Him and further from self, He will manifest true prosperity – the total and complete provision of the cross which includes so much more than material blessings.
Forgive me, Lord, for the times where I may have put the blessing above You. Help me to seek Your face, to come to You always by the way of the cross, and to trust that whatever blessings You bestow are those that are perfect in Your will and purposes, not mine.