I know most of you have seen those guys on TV telling you that God wants you to prosper and be rich. Why, the Bible even tells us that! Well, that is what I refer to as twisting and distorting the scripture. These people preach this message for various reasons and one is to get you to send your riches to them! Jesus is not our sugar daddy. He is not available for us to simply use as a cash cow. This teaching has so misled people in all walks of life and has caused Christians who get caught up in this false doctrine to eventually fall into a tailspin and come out so confused, they are not sure which God they are serving. They are angry with God because He didn’t provide the riches which was promised by these false teachers. They don’t know where they stand with God any longer; they want to walk away but they don’t know where to go or where to turn. When we consider Jesus as our sugar daddy, we are not in a right relationship with Him. Knowing that Jesus is not our sugar daddy is knowing He is so much more than a walk-up ATM. Jesus is our savior. He died on the cross to pay for our sins. Yes, He provides for us but not what we want, but what we need. When we come into this relationship with Jesus as our savior, it is not considered a lottery jackpot, it is a relationship based on unconditional love and it is for eternity. He has taken our sin upon Himself when He went to the cross and He paid the price and settled the debt which we couldn’t. There is no contract saying He will provide all our financial needs or will provide us with riches so we can live the good life. Those are all lies provided by the false teachers of our day. Of course, this is not a new teaching, it has been around for a long time. It just has a new spin or twist applied from generation to generation. The teaching basically says we can tell God what we want and we will have it. Some will go as far as to use the words, demand it. (Outside of those teachings, it is often referred to as “name it and claim it”) I am not going to demand anything from God! He has given me what I don’t deserve, salvation by His grace. If I were to demand from God what I do deserve, I am asking for eternity in hell. So, my advice is don’t demand anything from God. By His grace we receive salvation, freely; by His mercy, we don’t receive what we do deserve, eternity in hell.
Another of these lies is that illness in the life of a Christian is because of a lack of faith. In other words, if you have any kind of illness or disease, regardless of how common it may be, you have a lack of faith in God and it has caused this illness to come upon you. Well, I have a news flash, this is a lie! We have a body which was born with a sin nature. The blood running through our veins is contaminated by that sin and therefore our bodies are prone to disease and illness. Why do we age? The contaminated blood running through our veins has brought about an aging process which causes a deterioration of the physical body. It has nothing to do with lack of faith. If that were the case, every person not saved would be disease riddled and be in constant poor health. But, if they say this only applies to Christians, what does make God? Does it make Him a God of legalistic perimeters? “If your faith moves outside of this required area, you will be smitten with disease and serious illness!” says God. I don’t find that god anywhere in the Bible. When I see one of these guys teaching this stuff and he is wearing glasses, I want to ask him about his lack of faith since his eye sight is weakened and requires eyeglasses to correct his vision. Well, that may sound silly but it shows how silly this teaching is. How can it apply to those being taught but not those doing the teaching? It is a false teaching and those who are believing it are believing a lie. The devil loves this stuff because it brings distraction to the life of a Christian and will keep them from doing the true work of God.
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. 1 Tim. 1:3-4 NKJV www.biblegateway.com
So, if Jesus is not our sugar daddy and does not bring the affliction of illness and disease for lacking faith, does He provide and does He heal? The answer is yes. But Jesus is not there for our beckoning call; He is not the pay day loan guy and He is not a dealer in snake oil. Jesus will provide for needs and He will heal whom He chooses to heal. How many Christians do you know who died untimely deaths? Why did God choose not to heal them or revive them? We don’t know; that is God’s business. Who knows the mind of God? Only God.(1 Cor. 1:11) How do we know that Jesus will provide for our needs? I will tell you this, read through the gospels and see if Jesus ever turned anyone away who came to Him with needs. Regardless of healing, raising from the dead or providing food, Jesus turned no one away. But, He always provided a teaching in the process of providing. Jesus provides for our needs; He knows what we need not just what we want. There is a big difference. He knows we need to eat and be clothed and if we are destitute and not able to provide for ourselves, He will provide. We need to seek after Him first, go to Him first and not to the world. The world always has strings attached, Jesus gives freely. Seek Him first.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Mt. 6:31-33 NKJV
We should never worry and allow the world to take advantage of us. We should keep our eyes on Jesus because He will provide. When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness and complaining, God sent the fiery serpents among the people and they were bitten and started to die. When Moses prayed for the people, God told Moses to place a bronze serpent on a pole and tell the people to look at it and they would be saved (Num. 21:4-9). This represented Jesus on the cross and when we look to Him we will be saved. When Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, he asked if he too could walk on water and Jesus told him to come. Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking on the water in the direction of Jesus. But, he was distracted by the storm and began to sink. As he cried out to Jesus, he was rescued from sinking (Mt. 14:22-33). In both of these examples from scripture, the key is keeping our eyes on Jesus. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we are living our lives in a way which pleases Him and we will know His will for our lives. Also, we will not be so quick to ask of Him what we want but instead, what we need.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 Jn. 5:14-15 NKJV
When we go to Jesus, He provides because we ask according to His will, not for our wants but for our needs. He knows what we need. Asking according to His will means we are clued in to what He will provide for us. We will not be asking for the big winner in the lottery, or for the bigger car or house we really don’t need. But, if you are in need of food for the next day or this day, He will provide. A good example of this type of faith and living in the will of God, is George Mueller¹. His life is one major testimony of God’s provisions to meet his needs. He started an orphanage with basically nothing and the Lord provided every meal and every stitch of clothing for every child. George Mueller kept His eyes on Jesus and lived his life according to the will of God. We too can live this way. We don’t need to think of Jesus as our sugar daddy, we simply need to trust in Him, seek His will for our lives and ask.
When the Church is involved in the type of wrong doctrine and false teaching which says God wants us to be wealthy and healthy, it is detrimental to the proper spiritual health of that local church. Why is this teaching so harmful?
When we turn our focus away from sharing the Gospel message and promote the promise of prosperity in health and worldly wealth, we are clearly forgetting the purpose of the Gospel. Jesus said if we want to be his disciples, we must to take up our cross daily and follow him. The phrase take up your cross means that you will face suffering in this life. http://www.faithandfinance.org/2011/10/why-the-prosperity-gospel-is-wrong/
So, the situation in the world today may provide a reason for Christians to pursue this false teaching on health and wealth but it should also encourage a Christian to seek the truth of the scripture. For me, just listening to some guy spout off about how God wants me to be rich and healthy, doesn’t take care of my needs. This is one more reason why we need to be in God’s word. We need to know what His word says so we can identify these wrong teachings when we hear them. Don’t be deceived into believing the lie that God wants you wealthy and healthy. The Bible teaches us that He will take care of us but He doesn’t want us distracted by the materialism of this world. If serving God was a money maker and a source of wealth, everyone would be a Christian and there would be no need for retirement accounts. We would all be rich. But, the Bible doesn’t teach this. In fact it teaches the opposite,
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 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. 6:9-10 NKJV
The verse before that passage talks about being content with having food and clothing (6:8). If we are living in the will of God and know that Jesus is not our sugar daddy, we will be content. Divine health and wealth is only a false teaching which comes from twisted and distorted scriptures, not from the truth of the Bible. Jesus is our Lord and savior; He will provide for our needs but He is not our sugar daddy.
¹George Mueller, Faith Coxe Bailey, Moody Press, Chicago, IL