The health, wealth, and prosperity Gospel might be a little bit mixed up. It puts a lot of emphasis on the Bible’s promise that God will prosper you. Unfortunately, people take that to mean that if they get saved, then Bam! They become prosperous.
But that’s not going to work. Just because you accept Jesus, that doesn’t mean you’re instantly transformed. So when the newly converted don’t become prosperous, they lose hope in God. “Well, obviously there’s no God. See, I’m not prosperous. They said I was going to be wealthy and prosperous, and my life’s still just as bad as it’s always been.”
There’s more to the lifestyle of Jesus than taking that first step. Yes, you start by loving Jesus. Yes, you embrace what He stands for. You accept His sacrifice for you. But the time still comes when you have to figure out who you want to be, in Christ. You have to decide who you want to be, in Christ.
There are the Pauls in Christ, there are the Peters in Christ, there are the Doubting Thomases in Christ. There are the Marthas in Christ, the Marys, the Davids, the Josephs, the Joshuas. They all represent a different skill set in Christ. And we need them all for the church.
The Bible says we’re all part of it. Some are teachers. Some are preachers. Some are evangelists. They’re different people, just like the parts of the body are different. (1 Corinthians 12:4-12) Everybody can be who they want to be in Christ. There are so many different skills sets in the world, and it all comes together to make the church body work.
But you have to figure it out. You have to decide, and you have to ask. And once you figure out who you want to be, then you need to be truly open to becoming that. And once you do that? Once you open yourself to God? There’s a fire you have to go through. God won’t let you just be it. You have to become who you want to be, in Christ.
And that’s why people are fearful of saying, “Okay, I’m ready. Make me who you need me to be.” I understand! I don’t wish trials and tribulations on anybody. I’ve heard people say that they look forward to the fire. They say, “I welcome the trials and tribulations, because I know I need them to get to my next level.” Well, good for you, buddy. But I don’t look forward to the fire.
I mean, I know that when I come out of it, I’m going to be better. But I’m not looking forward to going through it. Paul said, “Be joyful in trials and tribulations because it makes your faith stronger.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) I think this means I can try to find joy in the midst of trials, or ask God to give me joy while I’m going through the fire. But it definitely doesn’t mean that I can’t wait for my next trial!
Still, the way that God’s love stirs in your soul? You won’t be able to help yourself. You’ll find yourself asking Him to change you, to make you into who you want to be in Christ. And when you ask, He takes you up on it. This is a good thing! It’s the fire that makes you stronger. It really is a very good thing once you take this step. And God has so much for you in the end. But He waits for you to ask.
I’ll say just a little more on this next time. See you Wednesday.