Friday, January 17, 2014
The real prosperity gospel is the belief that God will — must? — keep things at a level where it is still possible for us to follow Jesus without overt appeal to rewards in this life. The real prosperity gospel is revealed not in the promises of a yacht or a large home, but in the unspoken approval of a level of prosperity that allows us to live the Christian life on our own terms. It is the ratification of our private, sometimes entirely secret, arrangements with God of what his “goodness” means.We are prone to confuse "good" with "happy" or "prosperous." God has promised us a good life, but often good lands us in difficult circumstances. Sometimes it is martyrdom. Sometimes it is not so grandiose. Sometimes it is just the consequences of a difficult decision, well made. Suppose your employers asks you to do something unethical or illegal. The good decision is to refuse and perhaps resign. That mean you lose money, but you have done good.
… We evangelicals apparently need to believe a version of the prosperity gospel where, at the least, none of us are below an understood “line of credibility” in Christian experience. And if we happen to go below that line, don’t expect instant encouragement. You may be surprised at what happens to you when you become walking evidence that not everyone is as happy, blessed, obedient and satisfied as they are supposed to be.
… The “real prosperity” gospel especially appeals to the idea that the church is fixing things, people and situations. In this kind of thinking the church has a repository of wisdom and power that can actually cause us to live in a different world than our neighbors, a world with different rules and a different outcome to the usual situations.
Sometimes we do not just lose, sometimes we suffer from decisions made that are good decisions. Certainly that was the case when Christ said "Not my will but Thine," and it happens to many of us on a smaller scale daily. Good is good, but sometimes it costs. Salvation is indeed a free gift, at no cost, but its consequences are often costly. The value of what you get for that cost is inestimable if you are willing but to look at it properly.
Are you willing to pay the cost of being good?
cost goodness grace