I roll my eyes at advertisements that seem to promise the world for only $199.99. I hate when others are told, or even expected to seek riches in a quest for lasting joy.
I hate the false claim that a luxury car is a sign of a true Christian.
I hate the prosperity gospel.
I hate that others miss the Prize because of its teachings.
But In my fuming thoughts surrounding this crime, I realized that its also more than chasing luxury vacations. Its also a mindset that is little more ordinary and subtle. Its something I’m guilty of and learning to hate.
I’m mad at myself every time I chase hard after something that I believe will bring a lasting sense of joy or purpose. Yet in the end I feel ripped off, manipulated.
I’m embarrassed that I spent so much energy on something so disappointing.
I battle every day between finding true joy in God and finding it in my future plans.
I hate the prosperity gospel.
And I hate that I live like its true.
I want to write about why I hate it. Why I think God hates it.
I want to point you to the Higher.
I want invite you, to invite myself
to be satisfied and know
Christ is enough.
You cannot trade mud-cakes for Majesty. As C.S Lewis explains,
God offers so much more.
Why would you promise garbage to someone who can know Glory?
They say seek all you could want.
Go and be happy in your wealth.
But in your efforts to get more stuff
your soul is starving.
Your heart is longing for abundance
but you know your in the slums.
God does not guarantee levels of income.
Wealth is not a sign of righteousness. It is not a fruit of good works.
A rolls royce is not a sign of deep faith.
If it were– then Jesus was not walking in obedience to His Father.
“And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Matthew 9:20
But its more than that.
I hate the prosperity gospel because its an injustice. It is a false trade-off.
Why chase riches if you don’t think they will fulfill?
Why chase anything if it won’t satisfy?
Its an injustice to promise that a car can bring fulfillment.
Its an injustice to think that a location satisfies your soul.
Its a guaranteed let down. An empty promise. A lie.
There is no exchange of wealth for receiving Christ’s forgiveness.
Its garbage for Glory. No competition.
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:8
The last five words are no small add-on.
He doesn’t just say the wealth of this world is nothing to live for.
He doesn’t just invite us to a life undistracted by the gods of the temporal.
Instead He offers a feast of Glory- in knowing His love.
He affirms to us the Greater thing.
He tells us what is INFINITELY better-
Picture yourself living in life long bondage. You have battled the weight of guilt on your back for what seems like all your life. You’ve battled thoughts that you are not enough, you never will be enough. That one time when you acted against all warning signs, all feelings that said you shouldn’t but did, has haunted you. You never forgot what it felt like to wake up the next morning only to realize that it wasn’t just a horrible nightmare. It was more real than anything you can remember. And you feel like you’ll never live a day forgetting who was guilty for it.
Or maybe your me and your just down. You feel empty and want joy but you don’t know how much you’ll have to buy, where you’ll have to go- to find it.
How much will I have to try to finally be satisfied?
Even your pastor says chase to it… “Cause its out there to be had-
the satisfaction, comfort, and happiness in the next buy you make.
You deserve it, so go and get it”
So you go and try to get it.
You chase satisfaction.
You chase freedom.
You think, maybe I can drown out the weight of it all.
I’ll get a new car.
Others see you hurting and want to help. They fund the process of discovering the better, comfort filled-life.
You get some spurts of adrenaline. The car made you feel cool but at the end of the drive, it always seems to fade.
They told me that this was the sign of a good heart
They told me these things are expected of the righteous.
They promised me these when I was good with God.
Instead you feel guilty, more empty, more hungry.
The tears start to come.
You feel robbed.
They promised fulfillment.
And you got depleted.
You throw up your hands, your heart, your strength.
Your gas tank is empty, you’ve run out of fuel.
A still small voice.
Right there in the new car- Christ rushes in.
He tells you He has grace for you because He paid your sentence.
You felt dead every day because of what you did.
Christ says He died for what you did
so you could live.
You felt lost and alone, searching for help
Christ says He never took His eyes off of you.
He says Come.
Live in freedom.
Live un-shackled from the pulls of their promises.
Live in total surrender to My ways, they are far better.
And you believe Him.
You trust His words, you know His voice is more real than your breath.
You believe He is worth knowing-
worth losing everything for.
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25
So you lose your life.
You give Him all plans, pursuits, dreams. Placing them in their proper place:
at the cross where He died.
And you find all the riches, all the fame, all the short-lived thrills
are really no trade-off at all
for a life found in Him.
“The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Psalm 119:37
A peace rushes in like you’ve never felt before.
You confess the search, the waste, the sin.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
You taste forgiveness.
You taste enough in Christ.
The tears flow, good and fast.
But they don’t suffocate this time.
This time they are a breathe of air.
This time they cry forgiven.
Because Christ calls you that.
They are different from the tears of empty promises. From the riches that you were told were right to chase. From the riches that they said were a sign of a good life.
Now you look to Christ.
When You call Him “Abba, Father.”
You know there is nothing better in the world.
Now you know Gain.
Now you know Wealth.
Gain in Christ, because you have just met Him for yourself.
Wealth because it can’t be taken away.
Your heart soars, because of newfound joy and perfect peace.
A treasure of the universe, given in Christ, with infinitely more in His grace.
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
You have Riches that cannot be exchanged.
You smile because they are yours in Christ.
Maybe you still have the Royce.
Maybe your still making 6 figures.
Maybe your still in that city you wanted to live in so badly.
But you now you know the Satisfier.
Your soul is no longer starved.
If you say you know these riches, and still chase mud-cakes for nourishment
how well do you really know Him at all?
He has grace for you, He has grace for me.
He sent Christ to die for you, to die for me- so we can see that
His arms are open wide to enter into His forgiveness.
Maybe its not a Rolls Royce your seeking
maybe its not a luxury home
Maybe its approval, maybe its a location
I know the tune well. They are promising you the world.
But I pray that you know the World Former who offers you the Kingdom
Right where you are.
You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19
Not out there in the next “best thing”
But at the foot of the cross of Christ.
Welcome to the Kingdom.
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-2
There is nothing in this world
not one single thing
that competes with knowing the King.