The Prosperity Promise
The promise of prosperity. The secrets of success. Live your best life now and if you declare it over yourself it will come to pass! Think good thoughts to get good results! The power of positivity! Health, wealth, success, and prosperity are at the tips of your fingers – believe it so you can see it! This stuff seems to have a heavy focus on me, myself, and I. My comfort, my money, my health. If our lives are meant to be a living and holy sacrifice (Romans 12:1) because our lives are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19), are we really in control of any of that?
The Bible does promise prosperity and success. It does not promise that every believer will be wealthy and healthy. My hope is to challenge the brain's natural connection of prosperity and success to health and wealth with a spiritual one. An eternal and kingdom-based definition of prosperity and success. Time to get into it!
A definition for prosperous is: enjoying vigorous and healthy growth; flourishing
A definition for success is: having the correct or desired result; ending in success
With those definitions in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of pieces of scripture.
Joshua 1:8 - AMP
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, so that you may be careful to do [everything] in accordance with all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be successful.
Psalm 1:1-3 - AMP
Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers).
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.
And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season; its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity].
In both Joshua and Psalms, two things stand out. The first is reading and meditating on Scripture. The second is a statement that if done so, there will be prosperity and success. There will be vigorous and healthy growth with the desired result by meditating on Scripture. It doesn’t say that if you go to church every week it will go well for you. It doesn’t say that making moral choices will bring prosperity. It doesn’t say being a good and nice person will bring growth. It doesn’t say speak it, believe it, and receive it. It clearly says to delight in reading and meditating on Scripture (Book of the Law, the laws of the Lord), and doing so brings prosperity and success.
Matthew 6:20-21 - AMP
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.
Are your prosperity and success based on material things or eternal and heavenly things? Is your heart more worried about paying the bills than it is sharing the Gospel? Is hearing the latest news on the next generation of phones more exciting than hearing from God? Wherever your definition of treasure lies, that’s where your heart, your energies, and your desires will focus.
Psalm 37:4 - AMP
Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.
Romans 8:28a - NLT
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God
There’s that word delight again. I hear many people quote these verses but seem to leave out the key parts. I hear “The Lord gives us the desires of our hearts” and “He works all things for good”. That’s not exactly what these verses say. They aren’t catch-all promises for anything and everything we want. We are sinful beings and our hearts can’t be trusted – hence the need for the cleansing of them through the washing of the Word and the sacrifice of Christ (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 5:25-27). Washing isn’t a one-time thing, it’s an everyday thing. We wash our hearts daily by reading and meditating on Scripture. This is the key to having our hearts focused on treasures in heaven. If our hearts are focused on heavenly things because we delight in the Lord and love God then yes, He will give us the desires of our heart and work everything together for good – because our heart, energies, and desires are focused on Jesus.
John 15:4-5 - AMP
Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
We can only remain in Jesus by spending time with Jesus. Period. There’s no secret way to Him that’s hidden from all but the elite believers. There isn’t some formula that has to be figured out before it can happen. Taking time to sit down and read the Bible is spending time with Jesus. Pondering and meditating on a particular verse throughout the day is spending time with Jesus. It’s during these times He washes us with His words and transforms our hearts. Without that time together we are a stale, flavorless church that has no impact on the world around us because we aren’t producing fruit if we’re not spending time in the Word. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts, about it. The fruit you were producing two years ago by spending time with Jesus will not carry you through a year of not spending time with Him. It is a daily practice and necessity to be a light in the world (Matthew 5:14-16). Without Jesus at the center, we only glorify ourselves.
John 15:16b - AMP
…I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.
Galatians 5:22-23 - AMP
But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Jesus said that whatever we ask of the Father will be given to us – as we abide in Him and bear lasting fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 is a list of fruit that is the result of His presence within us, Him abiding in us as we abide in Him. So what does all this have to do with prosperity and success? Earlier we defined prosperity as vigorous growth and success having the desired result. Let’s take those same definitions and add something to each of them.
Prosperity is: enjoying vigorous and healthy spiritual growth by staying connected to the vine and bearing and continuing to bear the fruit of that relationship
Success is: having the correct or desired result of being prosperous – building up the kingdom of Jesus and it’s people
TL;DR - The Prosperity Promise is:
Read and meditate habitually on the Scriptures day and night, delighting in the law of the Lord, His precepts and teachings, abiding in His presence. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be successful. You will be given the desires of your heart and all things will work together for good because you will have the heart of Jesus. Like a tree firmly planted, a branch connected to the vine and fed by streams of living water (John 4:14, John 7:38), producing fruit in its season with leaves that don’t wither; in whatever you do, you will prosper.
Written by Aaron Crosson