All Christians can live in abundance:
No Christian has to live like a spiritual beggar when God offers riches beyond all imagining. To move from poverty to prosperity, however, believers must first listen to and meditate on what God’s Word says about their true standing, and then access it and begin living it by faith. There is no other way.
For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Josh. 1:8).
Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul that you may live. (Deut. 30:1–6)
Jesus said that He came to give us an abundant life. (See John 10:10.) When we think of abundance today, many people use the word prosperity.
One of the foremost concepts you need to understand about prosperity is this: biblical prosperity relates to your entire life. A person can be rich in money and still not be prosperous. When you think of blessing and prosperity, you must think in terms of life’s whole—a harmony that has spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, financial, and relational dimensions.
Many people have the mind-set that “my spiritual life is my spiritual life” and “my business life is my business life.” They separate the two in their thinking and in their behavior. God, however, does not. From His perspective, the two are virtually and intricately connected. It is not possible to be fully prosperous in life if your spiritual life is lacking, just as it is not possible to be fully prosperous if you have a material or financial lack.
God is not opposed to your having money. Rather, He is opposed to anything that you make an idol or a false god in your life. He is opposed to your worship or love of money. Paul wrote to Timothy, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10).
Conversely, God is for your having your needs met. He receives no glory from His people suffering from lack of provision. Some people have misinterpreted the Word of God to believe that God condones poverty and has a special blessing for the poor. There is no blessing attached with poverty in the Scriptures. Jesus wants His followers to care for the poor, give to the poor, and recognize that the poor are with us, but His greater desire is that all men and women be blessed and made whole, including having financial needs met.
God has placed a number of rules regarding prosperity in His Word; among them are these:
• We are not to covet the wealth or possessions of others (Ex. 20:17).
• We are to stay away from greed (Prov. 1:16–19; 15:27).
• We are to shun laziness and work diligently (Prov. 20:4; Eccles. 9:10).
• We are to give generously to those in need (Luke 6:38; 1 Tim. 6:17–19).
• We are to avoid debt (Prov. 22:7; Rom. 13:8).
• We are to trust God fully for our provision and our prosperity (Prov. 11:28; 16:20).
• We are to recognize always that God is the Source of our total supply of provision (Ps. 34:8–10; James 1:17).
Prosperity is far from a matter of receiving only. It is related to your giving, your trust of God, and your attitude toward possessions.
The Blessing of Work
Part of God’s blessing to us is work. Each of us has been given specific talents and abilities that God expects us to use in labor for His kingdom. Some of us are required to labor in full-time ministry. Some are called to be God’s witnesses in the workplace, in the medical world, in the school systems, or in a wide variety of other careers. We are to use our talents fully and to trust God to multiply the fruit of our labor for His purposes.
Your place of employment, your employer, your supervisor, your clients, your patients, your students—all are blessings from God to you. They are His tools of provision for your life and also the ones to whom God desires to give through you. Again, they are part of God’s plan for wholeness and total prosperity in your life—just as you are a part of His plan for wholeness and total prosperity in their lives.
One of the prayers I believe we are all wise to pray is that God will enlarge our usefulness—our capacity and ability to work. We do well to heed this proverb:
A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth,
And the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him. (Prov. 12:14)
God desires that we be rewarded fully for the work that we do.
The Lord also desires that we “increase more and more.” Paul wrote to the Thessalonians,
We urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. (1 Thess. 4:10–12)
Part of increasing lies in your learning how to work smarter, faster, and more productively and efficiently. I firmly believe that God imparts His wisdom to you regarding your work whenever you ask Him.
God’s desire is for your good. He loves you enough to prune you. And he does so in order that you might increase and come to greater prosperity and wholeness.
His book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh. 1:7–8 nasb).
Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:7–8
The world may think it has discovered this idea or that idea about success, but in truth, God is the author of all success and the Bible is the foremost “success book” you can ever read.
One of the key words that the Bible uses to describe success is prosperity. To prosper in all you do is to succeed in all you do. To be prosperous is to be successful. Any time we read in the Bible about the Lord prospering His people, we can be assured that the Lord is helping His people to succeed in all ways.
Another key concept related to Bible prosperity is whole-person prosperity. We read in 3 John 2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” To prosper in all things is to prosper materially, socially, naturally, financially, materially, and also to prosper emotionally, spiritually, and in every creative endeavor.
God desires for the success principles of His Word to touch every aspect of your life—your spiritual walk, finances, vocation, service to the Lord, health, and relationships with family members and friends.
A third Bible concept about success that is important to recognize as you begin this study is this: We are told that we, as the Lord’s followers, will prosper outwardly as our souls prosper. Inner prosperity and success and wholeness lead to outer prosperity, success, and wholeness.
Many people approach success from the outside in. They look at the external trappings of success and conclude that a person surely must be experiencing inner peace, joy, hope, love, and faith. Not so. Genuine success begins on the inside and works its way out.
How many of us truly want to prosper to the degree that our souls are prospering? I suspect very few. Most people are seeking to prosper in their finances and material lives with very little regard to their souls prospering. The challenge of the Bible is to place greater emphasis on the inner state of our prosperity than on the outer.