A very common theme among churches today is to preach a gospel without a cross. The popularity of the prosperity gospel has continued to grow, especially across the United States. The gospel without a cross is the message that if you do X, Y, or Z God will bless you. The problem is the prosperity gospel will leave you wanting. Here’s five reasons why.
You Can’t Buy God
Outside of it’s lack of Biblical standing, this is the second most important reason the prosperity gospel will leave you wanting. You simply cannot buy God. Let’s take a look at Simon the sorcerer.
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
You see, I think we can all relate to Simon in the fact that we want to know what we have to do to “earn God’s favor,” but the problem is that there is no formula to God. You can’t say, well I said 3 prayers, read 47 Bible verses, and I didn’t say a cuss word today, therefore God should bless me. Wrong!
We have to begin to understand that favor and blessing come through experiential knowledge and understanding. We must walk with Him, and yes sometimes that walk may include suffering.
You cannot buy God off with good deeds, money, or a manipulated gospel “formula.”
You Can’t Guarantee That Bad Things Won’t Happen
Another reason the prosperity gospel will leave you wanting is that you cannot guarantee that bad things won’t happen. In another article, Why Does God Allow Suffering, I Discuss various reasons why there are difficulties and suffering in the world.
Yes, while God does intervene miraculously on certain occasions, you cannot guarantee this every time, although it should not stop you from contenting for God’s kingdom to be made manifest in that situation.
Going back to point one, there is no formula to God. You can’t say well I did X, Y, and Z therefore I should get a certain result. Which brings me to the next point.
Sometimes You Sow and Don’t Get a Return
Go ask any farmer if they have ever had a bad year. They may have done everything “right” for the crop, but it just didn’t produce. Or ask the businessman who invested in a company and it failed. This is the same understanding spiritually.
The prosperity gospel likes to utilize scripture to say if you “plant a seed,” you will automatically reap a harvest of 30, 60, or 100 fold what you put in. In reality that scripture talks about seed falling on various soils and sometimes nothing happens except loss. To see exactly what I mean go read Matthew 13.
This is just another prime example of how the prosperity gospel will leave you wanting.
There Is Nothing You Can Do To Make God Love You More
Understand this friends, there is nothing you can do to make God love you more. Paul tells us in Romans,
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Christ may give you greater responsibility as an ambassador, or He may give you greater understanding and insight into the unsearchable riches of Christ, or you may walk in a deeper relationship with the Father but that is simply because of experiential knowledge of Him.
This comes about because of spiritual maturity, not because you have worked out the ultimate formula to God’s favor. Just like with your spouse, the more time you spend with them, and the more intimate conversation you have with them the greater your relationship becomes.
Your walk with Christ is an intimate relationship that only grows through time, intimate conversation, prayer, and a breaking of the outer man to allow Christ to live through you.
You Have Not Learned Contentment
Finally, one last reason the prosperity gospel will leave you wanting is because you have not learned contentment. I discussed this in the article 3 Reasons More Will Never Be Enough.
Even as you gain more money, more things, or more prestige it will never be enough because you have not learned to be content with what God has given you.
This is not to say to never have any ambition and drive to be and do greater. What you have to learn is to be content with what you have, whether success comes or does not.
Stop trying to buy God’s love and favor, He is not a prostitute, He is not a magical genie, He is not your fairy godmother here to make all your wishes and dreams come true. When we try to make God fit into a formula we distort the truth of the Gospel, and minimize God down to variables and outcomes when in fact it is a relationship that must be nurtured.
A gospel that promises gain without relationship, a Christ without a cross, is a prosperity gospel that will leave you wanting.
What are your thoughts on the prosperity gospel? Let me know in a comment below.