“You will have that car by end of the year in Jesus name.”
“Ooooh, your granary shall fill in no time in Jesus name.”
“You serve a rich God, you should not be poor.”
“Poverty is a curse.”
“If you are poor, and claim to be Christian, then you do not fully serve the living God.”
These are some of the statements that I have encountered in my lifetime in church. For the longest time, I believed that God purposed me to be rich. I knew that my life would be smooth flowing with milk and honey. Well, it flowed with bitter herbs for quite a long while.
On Wednesday, I posted this on Facebook
I got several reactions on social media and the WhatsApp groups am in and actually, a friend told me that she will be praying for me because all sorts of words will be thrown to me after this article.
For the longest time, I never went to church. I hated church, I felt that the church was more of a human institution than God’s altar.
I never went to church because of what was preached, most churches promised that because am a Christian, my life will be stress-free, I will live a life so easy and sweet because Jesus lifted that burden.
It never worked that way. The more I got deeper into salvation, the harder my life became and I kept asking God why do I do so much for him but He lets me live miserably.
The churches I used to go to taught that Christianity bundled ultimate material gain, freedom, and happiness. Even in crusades, they said that my life will never be the same again. They touched on what struggles people undergo and said that they would all be lifted if Jesus was in the picture. And many received Christ for the wrong reasons.
I am glad, I read my Bible and it taught me to live in the spirit and I can now discern what is of God and what is not. In that, I found a church in which I am fully soaked in ministry. Not going to church was not the solution me finding the truth was. It shall always be absolute.
I once watched an American preacher, Creflo Dollar on God Tv and he said that if you are sick or poor you are cursed and that we should not allow any curses in our lives. We have been set free, free from poverty and diseases. I later saw a clip of him on YouTube dancing on money in the altar.
I recently went to a certain lunch-time fellowship and the preacher was preaching from Ezekiel 37 – dry bones. I sat patiently and listened with an open mind. He then started giving promises to the congregations which he termed to be words of blessing and prophecy.
“Your kids will have good jobs.” “You kids will have good allowances.” “Your bank accounts will be full of money.” He said. “Just like how the bones came together to form a being, today I prophesy that the fragments of your struggling situation will come together and form something worthwhile.” He continued.
He ended the service with a prayer. He told people to get their wallets and ATM cards terming them to be dry bones and he prayed that they will be filled with money. My spirit was disturbed and I couldn’t take it any longer. I walked out.
Can a Christian be poor? Is being poor a curse?
I have a question, who did Jesus disciple first? Why did He go for poor fishermen? Why didn’t he go the rich and the elite? Why did He further teach that it is easier for a camel to go through the needle than a rich man to see the kingdom?
Jesus went for the poor fishermen, the lowly, why? Because these people were humble, life humbles you when you have nothing. If Jesus went to the rich, they would probably have asked, ‘What have we lacked so that we abandon everything and follow you?’God still tries to reach us today and most times, He has to humble us so that we could hear and act on His call, otherwise, we would ask him, 'Old man, what have we lacked so that we can hear from you?' Click To Tweet
I am not insinuating that it is wrong for a Christian to be rich. Actually, my second question is, ‘Should a Christian be poor?’ No! A Christian can be poor but it is not a must that they should be poor.
Is it God’s will that ALL Christians should be HAPPY and WEALTHY?
Absolutely yes! God wants all of us to be happy and wealthy. He wants us to live happily but we have our own definitions of happiness. We also have our own definition of wealth.Our hearts and minds have been corrupted by this world that we have become greedy and we always think that our will is God's will and what we want is also what God wants so long as we are Christians. Click To Tweet
Do devout Christians die from diseases? Are we cursed because we are ill?
Nabeel Qureshi was an American Christian convert from the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam. He worked with Ravi Zacharias as a Christian apologetic and I loved how he defended the faith. It was sad that he died from stomach cancer on September 16th last year.
He died at 34 years of age. A young Christian convert with a heart for God. Someone will ask, “Why didn’t God give that cancer to devil worshippers, evil persons and people who have disregard for God?” Well, Nabeel could have answered you that but he is no more.
Was Nabeel cursed? How many devout Christians have died from diseases? Is that God’s will? This is a tough one but maybe I can shed some light with my personal story.
I am an epileptic young man who was so bitter about it in the past but I have embraced my condition and I asked myself, ‘How is God to be glorified in my condition?’ This drove me to form the Mind My Mind Movement (#M3Movement) that has helped to so many young people suffering from mental illnesses. Check our website out.
If I never suffered from that condition, that depressed young man could have cut his life short. That young girl in the balcony at 4:00 am making that distressed phone call to an #M3Counselor would have taken her life. This is because #M3 would not have existed.
I love James 1:2 as it has made me appreciate any trials, struggles and temptations of all kinds. I appreciate all the days I slept hungry, I appreciate all the days I was jobless. I appreciate all the days I was too sick to lift my head up from my bed. I appreciate all the days I felt like giving up because all these has produced much wisdom, much patience and I can sit in to help others. That means that all these situations were working for His glory.
The book, ‘Thorn in The Flesh’ by R.T Kendall opened my eyes wide and I really understood why God wouldn’t let some situations out of your life because He wants to keep you from being conceited. He wants to discipline you and not let you destroy yourself.
If I had an incredibly good job immediately after campus, maybe I would be drinking my life off by now. The world would have felt my impact. I would have been so proud or maybe dead by now.
So can God put a thorn in the flesh in your life to keep you from being conceited?
2nd Corinthians 12:8-9
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
God gave Paul a thorn in the flesh a torment, and he prayed for three times so that God may remove it but God said His grace is sufficient for him.
In his book, ‘Thorn in The Flesh’ R.T Kendall says that Paul’s thorn could be poverty because he was a tent maker who had to make ends meet. So is it possible that some people’s thorn in the flesh is poverty? Aren’t we all tested according to what we can endure?
Can we say that even the poor have God’s grace which is sufficient for them? Can we say that people who teach prosperity Gospel are wrong in their analogy that poverty is a curse? Am just thinking out loud.
Paul confesses that he was poor as in 2nd Corinthians 6:10
as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
What if Paul’s thorn was sickness? What if my thorn is sickness? That I may be able to speak and influence a Godless generation who think God has forsaken them because they are sick? Is it still for his glory?
Take a keen look about God’s people in the Bible, they underwent all sorts of trouble, pain and affliction. It was not a smooth ride for them. Abraham had it all but never had a son. Joseph underwent all manner of distress. Moses took a whole army of people through the wilderness but never got to see it, though said to be the most humble person ever lived.
David cried to the Lord tons of times. Solomon had it all and said all was vanity over vanity. Take a look at prophets, Hosea had to marry a prostitute, Elijah, I pity this guy. Jesus, though his father owns everything, He had to be born in a manger, he had to get the lowliest of persons to work with and died a shameful death.
The less said of the poor disciples’ lives and death the better, the less said of Paul and Peter’s lives the better. Yet you want to tell me that all this work was for me to have a wallet full of cash? You want to tell me that Jesus died to that I would have the world all by myself, to live and enjoy my life to the fullest? My best life now? Isn’t there much more than that?
What would these verses mean then?
Luke 18:25For 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. Click To Tweet
Hebrews 13:5Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Click To Tweet
1 Timothy 6:10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. Click To Tweet
I do not say that it is a crime for a Christian to be rich or pursue wealth. It is not bad for a Christian to wish that they were wealthy. I wish that every day but in all these, I say, if God is to be glorified in my state of lack then let it be because it is much better to have nothing but God than have everything without Him.
I know I am greedy, all people are, because it is our nature to want more. They say God gives and forgives but man gets and forgets. A dangerous prayer I make is, ‘Lord, I do not want wealth that will trouble my mind. If you are not in the wealth that comes my way, I do not want it.’ Why? Because when I count the days that are impactful in my life, they were when I had nothing.
So what about the pastor who tells you that you are a child of God you should not be poor? That you are a child of God you should not be sick? What of those who tell you that you are cursed or are not doing right because of the misfortunes in your life?
What of those who tell you that money is the solution to your problem? What of those who tell you to get out your ATMs and Wallets for prayer? Are they really from God? Would Jesus preach material prosperity? Click To Tweet Would He tell people to get their wallets out for prayer? He instead taught about seeking ye first the kingdom and everything shall be added unto us. But what is everything?
Paul, while in prison wrote about his financial needs
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
He gave the answer of being in need – contentment. But what do we learn from preachers who teach prosperity? That we should refuse our current situations because it is not from God, we should refuse our poverty, our troubles, our struggles because that is not what God has in store for us. That is not His will.
They forget about what Daniel said. That there was a possibility God might not save them.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[a] from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
We make demands for God because prosperity preachers tell us that it is a MUST that God blesses us. We forget that even in the blazing furnace Daniel with all his faith had the option of saying, ‘Even if he does not.’ We have made the Bible a binding contract instead of a guide.
What if in every situation we said, ‘Even if you don’t do this for me you will still remain to be God?’ What if our prayers shifted from, ‘Lord you said you will do this and that’ to ‘Lord I do not know what is best for me, so instead of me giving you demands and telling you what to do just lead me?’
What if we beat our flesh and strived to live in the spirit so that we can discern what is from God and what is not? What if we never focused much on material wealth but on the kingdom so that all these can be added unto us? What if we stopped seeing the Bible as a binding contract between us and God for his promises and made it our guide? Just what if?
To wrap this up, I say, Click To Tweet
And how else could we end this article, if not from a quote by John Piper, Prosperity cannot be a proof of God's favor, since it is what the devil promises to those who worship him Click To Tweet
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