Health, Wealth, and Happiness: An Honest Look at the Prosperity Message

Did Jesus die for our health, wealth, and happiness? Some would say no. They would say that Jesus died for our sins, but He never promised us an easy life. If you were to ask someone who believed in the prosperity message, however, they would say yes. Jesus did in fact die for our sins, but He also died so that we could find healing, prosperity, and true happiness in this life (not just in eternity). So which view is right?

 

Health, Wealth, and Happiness: An Honest Look at the Prosperity Message | alyssajhoward.com

 

 

The prosperity message teaches that we can achieve financial wealth and perfect physical health through the process of faith, declaration, and giving. The more faith we have, the more we positively declare our wealth and health, and the more we give to Christian ministries, the more wealth and health we will enjoy.

 

The prosperity message has been met with quite a bit of opposition over the years. Many of today’s leading prosperity teachers preach a message that, in all honesty, seems to contradict Scripture and minimizes the truth of the Gospel. How so you ask? Well for one thing the message presents God as if He was Santa Clause or a magic genie. With this kind of thinking, our prayers can easily morph into wish lists rather than honest prayer and intercession.

Another issue I have with the prosperity message is its distorted view of sowing and reaping. Yes, the Bible teaches that we reap what we sow, but there isn’t a magic formula to giving and receiving. And this concept of sowing and reaping extends far beyond our finances. Our giving shouldn’t be seen as an investment plan. We shouldn’t be giving simply because we want to get something in return. Giving is giving, and we need to be doing so with the right heart.

And finally, I worry that the prosperity message takes away our individuality when it comes to all that God has called us to as His children. We each have our own unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Some are called to live in wealth because God has great plans for that wealth. Others may be called to poverty as missionaries in foreign lands. And did Jesus heal everyone exactly the same way throughout His ministry? No. His methods were specific to the situation and to the people involved.

 

God desires the best for His children; and since we are all created uniquely with divine purposes, God’s best may be different for each one of us.

 

Now with all of this being said, I’ve seen many throw the entire prosperity message to the wayside based on the fact that some teachers take it to the extreme. In their attempt to come against this teaching, I’ve heard many pastors swing the pendulum completely to the other side of the issue. Just this past week, I was listening to an amazing teacher whom I love and respect. She proceeded to tell us that Jesus didn’t come to bring us health, wealth, and happiness; rather we should expect sickness, poverty, and suffering as part of the Christian life.

Both viewpoints are extreme to say the least. They contain some truth, but they are both seriously flawed when it comes to the issue of faith.

 

Here’s an honest look at the prosperity message and what the Bible really has to say about our health, wealth and happiness:

 

Health

All throughout the Old Testament, God referred to Himself as “our Healer.” We also know that throughout His ministry, Jesus was the in the business of healing. And then there’s the following verse:

 

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. – Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

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While some teach that the word “healed” in this passage could be referring to an emotional or spiritual healing, I don’t believe the original Hebrew meaning backs up that theory. The word used here is rapha’ meaning “to heal, make healthful.” It’s mainly used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the physical healing of illnesses and diseases.

 

I have personally witnessed the healing power of God. Sometimes it happens in an instant, and other times healing comes after a period of standing in faith. Either way, we are called to stand in prayer because God is our Healer.

God longs for us to be physically healed. To say otherwise questions the goodness of our Father. So are we automatically healed every time we pray for physical healing? No. And I’m not going to pretend to know the answer as to why that is.

But I do know two things for certain: God is our Healer, and He desires for us to continually believe in prayer for our healing.

 

Wealth

Now we know that the love of money is not of God, but that doesn’t mean He intended for us to be poor either. And while Jesus never promised us a million dollar home, He did promise that God would take care of our needs. He dresses the flowers and feeds the birds, and He will certainly do the same for His kids.

To say that Jesus didn’t die so we could be rich is actually contrary to Scripture. (2 Corinthians 8:9) But wealth isn’t just about earthly possessions. We are storing up “treasures in heaven,” and His death and resurrection made this possible.

 

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. – 1 Timothy 6:17-18 (NLT)

 

Happiness

Did Jesus die so that we could be happy? Yes, I do believe so. Let me explain…

When we are born again, we are given the Holy Spirit. And do you recall the fruit of the Holy Spirit?

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

 

When the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, we have access to all He longs to produce in us – this includes joy. Don’t get me wrong, we will encounter trials and difficulties in life; but we can experience joy and peace beyond understanding while in the midst of those trials.

 

So did Jesus die for our health, wealth, and happiness? Let’s look at the facts…

  1. By His wounds we are healed… (Isaiah 53:5)
  2. He became poor so that we could be made rich… (2 Corinthians 8:9)
  3. His salvation and His Holy Spirit bring us great joy… (Psalm 51:12)

 

While I don’t adhere to “formula mentality” of the prosperity message’s teachings, I do believe God intended for us to prosper in this life. He has great plans for His children, and He longs to see us be successful and carry them out to completion. Will we encounter trials? Yes. But we grow in them, rejoice in them, and be thankful in them. We learn to rely on God for strength as we carry out His call on our lives.

And one day, all will be brought to completion on this earth. All of His children will be healed (we will have our new bodies!), all will experience the riches of heaven, and all will experience a joy that can only be found by being in the presence of our Creator.

 

Health, Wealth, and Happiness: An Honest Look at the Prosperity Message | alyssajhoward.com

 

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2 Replies to “Health, Wealth, and Happiness: An Honest Look at the Prosperity Message”

  1. This is SO well written, Alyssa! I like the way you brought everything back around to the truth of God’s word; what it REALLY says about our life of faith!
    My beliefs are like yours and I’m thankful to find another faithful follower that I can without hesitation cheer on!

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