There is a cancer in the western church today. A cancer that is spreading like gangrene, and destroying the faith of some (2nd Timothy 2:17-18). This cancer goes by the name “prosperity theology,” a name and movement that will be defined in a moment. This is not surprising, since the contemporary western view of Christianity is the oft-repeated (and biblically inaccurate phrase), “Life goes better with Jesus.” The simple fact is that this statement betrays a woeful ignorance of true Biblical theology. Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:25: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (ESV). And do not forget: "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22 ESV). Based on verses such as these, and the theme of the Scriptures, it seems that true disciples of Jesus Christ (all true Christians), are called to give up their claim to an easy, worry-free life. So many people become disillusioned based on the teachings of “Prosperity theology.” A simplistic way of defining this movement could be as follows: Jesus died to give you a worry-free, prosperous life. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Seems to follow John 10:10: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (ESV). The real question is, what does this statement truly mean, especially in view of the rest of the Bible’s teachings on the subject of the Christian life. It seems that whatever Jesus meant here, he did not mean an easy, worry-free, materialistic life, for that would contradict all His other statements on the subject of how one can expect a life of following Christ to go. Jesus perhaps spoke here of the fact that following him is the ultimate joy, and nothing else can truly satisfy like it can.Life here on earth, when we are truly following God, can be joyous beyond compare, but it is hardly free from trouble.
Don't forget that in the world’s eyes, Christians are complete fools. Why? Because they give up the worldly pleasures that prosperity theology promises to those who would only pray a prayer. Those who truly know Jesus give up the desire for money, power, and stuff, and instead pursue Jesus with all their might.
Please do not come to Jesus expecting a life of comfort, ease, and wealth. If you come expecting that, not only will you be disappointed, you will end up in hell. Does this sound too harsh? It shouldn’t, for it is biblical. For no one who comes to Christ for some sort of worldly gain will end up in Heaven. Come to Jesus for Him, for the desire of Him is the only true way to be saved and go to heaven. Reject prosperity theology and come to know the real Jesus. Only He can save you, and it will definitely be worth it.
To close, a thought from the Apostle Paul (who definitely had hardships- see 1 Cor. 4:8-13 and 2 Cor. 4:7-18): "If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Cor. 15:19).
Grace and Peace,