God loves you, and he has a special plan for your life. It just might not feel very special; actually, it can feel pretty awful.
To illustrate this, we need to look no further than the earliest saints. Peter left everything to follow Jesus, and he was crucified, upside down. Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, and he was shipwrecked, three times. Moreover, many first Century Christians were martyred, by the tens of thousands.
Trials and hardships are an inevitable reality of the Christian life. And when we fail to embrace those moments, we’re actually buying into a subtlety deceitful version of the prosperity Gospel. We think that as long as we’re not praying for mansions and limousines, then our faith is rock solid. But let me ask you, when you get angry with God because your car broke down (again), why are you mad? You’re angry at God because he has failed to meet your expectations. And he’s failed to meet your expectations because, at some level, you buy into the prosperity Gospel.
Does this mean that we should reject the prosperity Gospel altogether? No, it just means we need to change our understanding of what it means to prosper. We need to redefine the prosperity Gospel.
In James 1:2-4, the Apostle James exhorts us to, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Here James presents the true prosperity Gospel. The Gospel prospers, not when our circumstances conform to our desires, but when the essence of who we are conforms to the nature of God.
In his classic hymn, Henry Lyte wrote,
“Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain”
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Well, that sounds awfully fatalistic.” And you might be right if it were not for the fact that Lyte concludes with this biblical principle.
“I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.”
Believer, God is working all things together for your good and his glory. And that is the prosperity gospel redefined. Embrace it that truth today.
Blessings, Pastor Dan
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
I Kings 20 – 2 Kings 25
Last Sunday’s Sermon
Wednesdays In The Word
God’s Most Prized Creation
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We will be hosting another Food Drive to help benefit The Christ Life Center at the Lakes Region Vineyard Church. Drop off times are Friday 4/24 4pm-6pm and Saturday 4/25 9am – 11 am.
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