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GOD'S PLAN FOR PROSPERITY (PROSPERITY OF GOD)
by Fred Price
A series of examples indicate the price of following the way of faith; unselfishness, service, sacrifice and offering. A line of sacred power is observed from Abraham to the apostles. But another thing is obvious - the treasure of God's blessings is prepared for his dedicated servants. He has promised: 1)blessing, 2) prosperity, and 3) abundance. The law is inextricable written in divine order: Faithfulness in offering and service is repaid with abundance, and this prosperity continues while faith and the offerings are maintained. Frederick K. C. Price, of Ever Increasing Faith Ministries, has defended this principle, at the risk of being misinterpreted as a follower of "cheap" prosperity. But examining his teaching about this truth, we find biblical evidence that supports it; nevertheless, the way of prosperity is the way of discipleship, and it has its price.
1. The plan of prosperity includes the tithe (Mal. 3:8-10)
Many people are incapacitated by their own poverty and this is often caused by their disobedience to the Word. This disobedience is manifested in many ways: one of them is stealing from GOD! This passage clearly tells us that those who retain their tithes and offerings are stealing from GOD. In consequence, they also deprive themselves of the blessings that GOD wants to grant them. When one ceases tithing he is violating the Law, and if he violates the Law, then it can't work in our favor.
Nothing will make a wise believer stop offering and tithing, but he or she should never tithe or offer with the objective of obtaining something. Rather, the action of giving proceeds from obedience and GOD always rewards obedience!
2. The Law of Divine Return (Luke 6:38)
There is a universal law of divine reciprocation. You give; GOD gives to you. When you sow a seed, the land offers a harvest. That is a reciprocal relationship. The land gives to you, if you give to the land. You deposit money in the bank and the bank pays you interest. That is called reciprocation.
However, there are many people who wish to receive without giving anything, especially when dealing with the things of GOD. They know that reciprocation is fundamental in the system of the world. And, nevertheless, always expect GOD to send them something when they haven't invested in the kingdom of GOD.
If you aren't investing your time, your talent, your dedication and your money, why should you expect to receive something? How can you obtain anything when you haven't sown any seed? How can you expect GOD to honor your desires when you haven't honored his commandment of give? Prosperity begins with investment.
3. Prosperity is a result (III John 2)
It's clear that GOD wishes that his children prosper. How can someone dare to deny this? However, prosperity shouldn't be an end in itself, but the result of a quality of life, devotion, dedication and action that corresponds with the Word of GOD. In this verse, the word "prosperous" (Greek, euodoo) literally means "to help get under way" or "to have success in achieving". It clearly implies that divine prosperity isn't a momentary or passing phenomenon, but rather a continual and progressive state of good success, of well-being. It's applied to all areas of our life: spiritual, physical, emotional and material. However, GOD doesn't wish us to place undue emphasis on any of these spheres. An equilibrium is maintained.
4. Happiness, health, beneficial and peaceful (Psa. 35:27)
GOD rejoices when his servants prosper! The Hebrew word, translated as "peace" in this passage, is full of significance: "security, happiness, prosperity, abundance". When our needs are satisfied we have peace. Furthermore, if GOD rejoices in the prosperity of his servants, how much more will he rejoice with the prosperity of his progeny: those who have been bought with the blood of Jesus and adopted by Him? Think how that must please GOD that we, his sons and daughters, prosper in all aspects of life.
5. Things are to be used, not to be loved (Mark 10:17-27)
GOD is not opposed to Christian owning material things. However, he is opposed to the material things "possessing" or dominating Christians. In this passage, the young rich man had kept the Law all of his life, but his riches dominated him; he wasn't able to renounce material things, not even to the end of obtaining eternal life.There is no reason to doubt that if he had been prepared to dispense with those things, Jesus would have said that he could keep them. This episode constitutes a sad example of what can happen when people put their trust in material goods, instead of depositing it in GOD, who gave them.
6. Riches are a responsibility (I Tim. 6:17)
This verse clears up much of the misunderstanding that exists about the acquisition or possession of material goods. Paul tells us to not trust in the uncertainty of riches. Here, the word "hope" (Greek, elpizo) signifies "to hope" or "to have an expectation of something". We mustn't deposit our hope in riches, or expect that they will bring us security or freedom. Why does the apostle say that? Because riches are truly transitory. Values change, and earthly riches represent only a passing value. What has value now could be worthless tomorrow; thus the wise thing to do is to deposit our trust, that is, our hope, only in GOD; believing that He will make provision for us. Even more, we must never permit the possession of riches to make us think that we are better than others, or that it gives us the right to be irresponsible or negligent. It is a responsibility, a serious responsibility, to be owners of a very great fortune; and we must always remember that "to whom much is given, much will be demanded" (Luke 12:48).
7. Riches are not to be trusted in (Phil. 4:12,13)
Let's permit these words to become a light that makes us comprehend GOD's will about the theme of prosperity. The biblical passage contains a yes (we may obtain wealth), and a no (don't trust in them). Provided with the perception of Christ (see Phil. 2:1-5) we must always remain humble, if we come to be blessed with riches. Here we are assured that if our lives seek the direction of the Word of GOD, then, through Christ, we may enjoy financial prosperity or temporary setbacks, but we stand firm in our life, and all because our trust will rest solely in the LORD. If the economy falls apart tomorrow, GOD's people won't remain with their hands tied, that is, inactive, ineffective, because GOD is our provider, our assured aid. The LORD can protect us in times of need, just as in times of abundance. He fed Elijah sending crow to bring him food in the morning and afternoon (I Kings 17:2-6), and can do the same thing now. GOD is the same today as he was before.
8. Prospered in order to bless (Deut. 8:18)
This text tells us that riches exist to verify the covenant, and shouldn't be squandered selfishly. Obviously, GOD wants our needs to be satisfied and wishes to satiate the desires of our heart, but once our needs are satisfied and hour heart satiated, what should we do with the excess of his blessings? Can we live in more than one house at a time? GOD wants us to use our abundance to bless others.
GOD wants us to have wealth, but money is only a part of it. A person can have billions and still be poor in health, peace and friendships. Wealth is more than money and possessions. We need wisdom: 1) to receive the covenant of GOD's prosperity; (to receive fortune without it controlling us), and 2) to appreciate his achievement and purpose in our lives: that health, wealth, peace and friendships help us to serve others. The prosperity promised by GOD in his covenant is always a means toward an end, and not an end in itself.
9. Abundant life (John 10:10)
John 10:10 Life in abundance, PROSPERITY. GOD's covenant with mankind provides life in abundance. From the beginning of time itself, the Scriptures show us a GOD who wants our happiness and prosperity. In Genesis, GOD is revealed to us creating all things and declaring that they are good. Later, he gave this beautiful and abundant land to Adam, and granted him the authority to exercise dominion over all creation (Gen. 1:28). GOD's plan from the beginning was to enrich and prosper the human being. Here Jesus declares his intention to recover and restore what the Father offered to the human being; and to destroy the devil's attempt to hinder GOD's blessings from being dispensed to his creatures.
10. God demands responsibility in the plan of prosperity (Psa. 1:1-3)
"And all that he does will prosper". This includes everything: family, progeny, marriage, negotiations, employment and health. It signifies that GOD desires to fulfill what he says: everything will prosper.
But no promise of GOD is exempt from some responsible action on our part. No one will prosper without doing what GOD says. Many people want the promised results without the responsible obligation that accompanies it. But none of us will gain something worthwhile instantaneously. Don't expect divine answers to adjust to your itinerary. Remember that his answers come when you put his Word into action. Just as a period of intense study precedes a university degree, through the patient pursuit of his promise we can expect GOD's Word to ripen in our lives.
11. Definition of priorities (Luke 12:15)
Life is much more than obtaining and possessing material things. GOD wants, rather, us to enjoy a full, complete and balanced life; and has made provision through his Word so that we may enjoy the life that we receive from Him. The LORD has promised to supply our needs (Phil. 4:19) and has promised to satisfy the desires of our heart (Psa. 37:4). But he also wants us to clearly define our priorities: "Seek first the kingdom of GOD". In this way, leaning as much on GOD's promises, as on well-established priorities, we can trust that "all these things will be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).
12. Do everything the LORD says and you will prosper (Phil. 4:19)
This verse tells us that GOD will supply our need clearly and conclusively, "according to his riches in glory". By declaring this, GOD makes it very clear that he isn't stingy when providing. His "riches" embrace all creation, so that there's nothing that we need that He can't provide! This verse doesn't can't be cited or interpreted mistakenly. It doesn't say that GOD will supply all your needs; rather it says that he will supply your need. That includes all the time, and it is possible because He does so according to his riches. This verse can't be taken our of the biblical context, because it refers to all the things that the Scripture tells us that we must do in order to prosper. If we do what the Bible says, GOD will provide abundantly.
13. God's desire is that his people prosper (Gen. 12:1-3)
In this passage, GOD promises greatness for Abraham; and blesses him in many ways, including material blessings. In 3:1,2 it can be seen how much he was enriched. See also 24:35, where his servant states, "Jehovah has blessed my master greatly", and enumerates the material blessings that GOD gave him. The dynamics of this historic act has validity for the believer today.
In Galatians 3:13,14, GOD promises to give all believers the blessings of Abraham, and tells us that Jesus became a curse for us so that we may receive "the blessings of Abraham". This, of course, begins with our rebirth, becoming new creatures in Christ Jesus. But the "blessings of Abraham" imply other things also. The LORD wishes that we prosper spiritually, emotionally, physically as well as materially. The blessings are ours because of his promise, and we don't need to excuse the fact that it includes material prosperity.