Well hello again!
I’ve missed you! If you have been following along with me on social media then you already know that summer has been a crazy busy season for me, so writing has been super slow. But I’m excited about this topic and that I have finally had the chance to get it out to you.
I actually became really passionate about this topic back is April, just after Easter, because I had heard some people saying things that just didn’t align with scripture. I heard seasoned Christians telling new believers things like “Through God you will reach all the things you’ve ever dreamed of” and “now that you believe, all your troubles are going to go away” and (I kid you not) “God is going to help you lose the extra weight”. WHAT?
I understand that as a seasoned Christian, you may not realize the wrongness of statements like these to a new believer. But I am here to tell you why statements such as these can dangerously jeopardize the growing faith of a new believer. As a veteran, you probably understand that yes, God can accomplish those things, but that’s generally after a seasoning process or trials, tribulations, and spiritual warfare. 1 Peter 5:10 tells us “and after you have suffered a while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you”.
Let me start by pointing out what the prosperity gospel is, because I honestly believe that many of us don’t know. The prosperity gospel is commonly known as the “health and wealth gospel” meaning that so long as you give to God, he will give to you physical and material gain. It is believed that it was God’s will for people to thrive financially and that those blessings mean that these individuals have earned favor with God. The prosperity gospel teaches that Jesus died for the atonement of our sins including curses such as poverty and sickness which will be broken by faith.The prosperity gospel is commonly known as the “health and wealth gospel” meaning that so long as you give to God, he will give to you physical and material gainClick To Tweet
Has anyone ever tried to get you to “join their team” for some sort of fad multi-level company? We all have those friends out there hosting parties to tell us just how amazing their products are, why we need them, and why we should “join their team”. Whether that be clothes, makeup, health, or home products, many times these promoters are good at hooking your interest. They convince you to sign up by showing you all the success stories and telling you that by joining their team you will be on the road to success, all your dreams will be at your fingertips, and you won’t have to worry financially anymore… all you have to do is “buy in”.
A new believer is much like the person you are trying to convince to join your team, the team being “the body of believers”. By selling them the gospel in ways that simply don’t align with contextual scripture, you’re ultimately cheating them from reaching their full spiritual potential, similar to the multi-level business owner that isn’t telling you just how hard it was to get to the financial stability they’re at today.
By saying things like, “if you tithe ten percent of your monthly income, God is going to bless you with a big house, a fancy car, and a boat” people are going to believe you. And then when that isn’t the reality that they experience? Who are they going to blame for that? Not you. They’re going to blame God for not blessing them the same way He blessed you. By saying things like “all your troubles are going to go away”, when that doesn’t happen, they’re going to think God doesn’t love them enough to take away their troubles, so why should they continue seeking to love Him? And by saying that “God is going to heal you”, the new believer is going to be discouraged when the illness or injury overtakes them and doesn’t get better. They’re not going to blame you, they’re going to blame God.God never said that life on this side of eternity, life would be easyClick To Tweet
God never said that life on this side of eternity, life would be easy. In fact, he says “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” John 16:33. In the entire New Testament, Jesus warns us of the troubles of this world. He warns us to guard our hearts, souls, and minds. He encourages us to seek sound judgement and good teaching. And we are warned to protect ourselves from the spiritual warfare that accompanies us the moment we decide to follow Jesus. Every Christian can testify to the fact that immediately following salvation or baptism, we were under spiritual attack from the enemy. There is a war for our souls, and we need to be prepared for it.
I certainly understand wanting to share all the glories that God does give us. Being in relationship with Jesus has certainly been more life giving and fulfilling for me than doing things my own way. I love to share testimonies about the miracles I have witnessed, how God has transformed my life from my relationships, to my finances, to my health. All of it. We love to share about the good stuff, because that’s what gets people interested. I’m not saying that we stop sharing about the miracles that God is capable of. I just want us, as the body of believers, to be careful of making false promises on behalf of God. That’s not our place. We are not all born to be prophesiers, which means, we don’t actually know the plans that God has for another person.We love to share about the good stuff, because that’s what gets people interested.Click To Tweet
It is biblically wrong to promise prosperity, whether that be in health or wealth, to anyone, especially to someone who doesn’t understand how God works yet. God is not a magical genie who grants wishes in the form of prayer. Sometimes His greatest gifts to us are unanswered prayers, because of how he molds us in the process of bringing us to something greater. As a new believer, this concept can be difficult to grasp, or understand, if God is leading them through a valley on the way to their next mountain top experience.
So what do we do now? I’m so glad you asked.
If you’re going to give a Christian friend, or new believer, a pep talk, make sure that what you’re about to share with them is backed up in scripture. Make sure that even if you find a portion of scripture to support what you’re saying, that in context, it actually means what you are trying to share with your friend.
Second, if you want to encourage them and love on them, tell them that even when they’re struggling, Jesus loves them. Let them know that some storms last longer than others, but God gave Noah the rainbow as a promise.
Third, pray with them. Prayer is no guarantee that what we are asking God to do in our lives will happen, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, and ask again. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing”Encourage others by seeking sound doctrine, and praying on the word of GodClick To Tweet
My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I encourage you to be mindful and prayerful about how you approach the gospel to our newest members of the Christian family. I encourage you to seek sound doctrine, and pray on the word of God, so when your young Christian brothers and sisters come to us for advice, encouragement, and motivation in faith we can give them truth based off of what Jesus has said to be true.