God Wants Us To Prosper and Be In Health
Sent Wednesday, April 20, 2011View as plaintext
by Roger Himes, The Gospel Coach
GOD WANTS US TO PROSPER
AND BE IN HEALTH
AS OUR SOUL PROSPERS
"I wish above all
things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers" (3
John 2). Above all things God wants us to prosper-- and to live healthy lives.
FIRST, We know this is not talking about just financial prosperity. God doesn't
want to make us all monetarily rich. "Love
of money is the root of all evil." If our focus is always on money, we love it
too much. Prosperity
means spiritually -- which can then lead to monetary and other types of
SECOND, notice it says health, not healing.
The big focus of the church today is on healing, not on health. Many, many
Christians don't exercise enough, eat right, sleep right, work right -- or do
other things that would produce good health. But then if something happens that
they don't like, they want God to heal them anyway.
The Gospel Produces Health
I often quote Colossians 1:5-6: the gospel
is the process of God that produces good fruit in our lives. Good fruit can be
anything, but it's good. It includes prosperity and health, and many other
we live the gospel, good things happen. The New Testament says this in many
gospel produces good! It's called 'the good news.'
We cannot prosper
and be in health living in LAW, because it is the ministry of guilt,condemnation and spiritual death (Rom 3:19,
II Cor 3:6, 9).
So Paul puts a CURSE on those who do
not preach the gospel (Gal 1:8-9). So many Christians live by Old Testament
law, which Paul says produces a curse ON US (Gal 3:10). See it:You can't live in prosperity and health, and other things (like
healing) if you have a curse on you. Living outside the gospel causes a curse to exist -- the only
curse since the cross. So Jesus says to repent of everything else and believe --
which means to livethe gospel of the
Kingdom he came to bring (Mk 1:14-15). It must be preached in all the world
before the end will come (Mt:24:14).
But polls say fewer than 10% of us live the
gospel. They are too committed to living by law, because it's easier to
understand and relate to by means of human thinking.
God Wants Us To Be Hot or Cold (Rev
I see this verse
differently from most, like I do many verses. What does it mean to be cold? --
and why would God say he prefers us to be cold over lukewarm? Our minds say
lukewarm is better than cold.
The whole New Testament, including much of
Revelation, compares the Old Testament law with the New Testament gospel. I
think 'cold' here at least partially means living by the abandoned, discarded,
abolished Old Testament (Col 2:14, II Cor 3:6-9, 14-16, Heb 10:9, etc.).
Lukewarm would be mixing the Old with the New -- mixing law with grace --
"pouring New wine into Old bottles," as Jesus says.
I think what this is saying is that God
would prefer to see us totally COLD, in the LAW, than mixing the two and trying
to live in both law and grace. Why? Because if we're cold, disillusioned,
guilty, condemned, and buried under piles of laws of religious do-do, it draws
us to Christ (Gal 3:22-25). If we are lukewarm, and living life in both the Old
and New, God says he vomits us out of his mouth. Yet this is how so many live!
Very Few Christians Live Gospel
Not many are very
good living by the law, or in gospel grace. They dabble in both, mixing them,
and are lukewarm. Many folks traffic in so-called '7 deadly sins' -- (a) anger,
(b) greed, (c) laziness, (d) pride, (e) lust, (f) envy, and (g) gluttony. We
struggle with forgiving others, and we cling to our resentments, bitterness and
unforgiveness. We eat and drink too much. We're couch potatoes and watch too
much T.V., instead of exercise.
Many don't honor their parents (holding
grudges and resentments), but honoring parents produces a promise of (1) things
going well with us, and (2) a long life (Eph 6:2-3). Remember 3 John 2 speaks
of (1) prosperity and (2) health. How can we live in prosperity and health if
we aren't even doing the basics, and are angry, prideful, lustful, and eat too
much? Plus, we live by both law and grace.
We traffic in
hurts, fears, anxieties, stress, unresolved relationships, poor health,
conflicts and strife in this world, -- plus we're double-minded and unstable
spiritually: lukewarm instead of hot or cold. This is why Paul says to ONLY live a
New Testament life (II Cor 3:6). This means living a life of gospel grace and
gospel truth (John 1:17).
When Something Bad Happens, We Panic
We develop a
sickness, disease, cancer, -- or our finances fall apart and we're in deep dept,
-- or we lose our job, or our spouse of 30 years divorces us, -- or whatever.
Then we get spiritual and want God to 'fix it.' We call this living by faith:
expecting God to change the course we created.
We try to believe in one promise but God
says we have ALL promises (II Cor 1:20). We want one blessing but God says we
have ALL blessings (Eph 1:3). We want to experience the Kingdom of God when
Jesus says we have been given the whole Kingdom (Luke 12:32). We don't live in faith in what God
SAYS, but then try to live in faith for what we want him to DO for us in the
natural. Too often it just doesn't work!
The Gospel Process Leads Us Into
Living By Faith
If we truly believe
the gospel, we are the just (the righteous) who live by faith (Rom 1:16-17).
This is being 'hot.' Our 'job' is to believe in Jesus and his finished work
(John 6:29). Our faith is meant to be in GOD (Heb 6:1, Rom 10:8-10, etc.). Our
faith is not meant to try to change natural, earthly circumstances. If we don't
live in godly, gospel faith, our faith often doesn't work in the nitty-gritty
circumstances of life. But
living in gospel faith produces a better natural life in all ways: it produces
prosperity and health.
We must learn to put the first things
first, and then we will have the faith of Christ in us to help overcome
natural, worldly stuff. Faith doesn't cause us to avoid worldly stuff, but to
triumph over it. So Jesus says repent and believe the gospel. He says seek
first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. If we don't get our gospel
priorities straight, then life is haphazard and uncertain. If we let the gospel
transform us, then our prosperity, health, and other things we desire more
often work out for the best (Rom 8:28).
Do This Often In Remembrance of Me
I shared in another
Gospel Tip that I take communion at least once a week, and usually more often.
I've done this for over 20 years. The body of Jesus is living bread to me, like
manna. His body produces health and prosperity. His body was broken and bruised
so mine doesn't have to be. I enter the fellowship of HIS sufferings for me
(Phil 3:10). His blood washes me from ALL sin. He became sin for me. God
forgets my sin (Heb 8:12, 10:17). Christ's blood is a transfusion of his life
into me ("Life is in the blood"). The gospel shows us the power of communion.
Take it seriously and often.
This is one way of
becoming ONE with Jesus. This is living in faith and trust. This is part of
RECEIVING all things of God's that are ours. When you have the life of Jesus
coming INTO you regularly, and all sin, wrong and bad things being flushed OUT
of you regularly, health
and prosperity just seem to happen more regularly too.
The Gospel Life Is Simple and Easy
Paul speaks of 'the
simplicity of Christ.' He says he chooses to know only ONE thing: 'Christ and
him crucified.' Jesus says, "My way is easy, and my burden is light."
It is living by law that makes things hard.
It is living in anger, guilt, fear, stress, too much food, conflict,
unforgiveness, and other negative things that makes life hard. The gospel makes
life easy. All you do is RECEIVE God's grace and righteousness (Rom 5:17). You
receive ALL things that God gives us. It begins here. Then, what you do is
RELEASE all the bad stuff you hang on to -- all negative things. You especially
release sin. Sin produces spiritual death, and it is produced by trying to live
by law (Rom 3:19-20, I Cor 15:56, Heb 7:16, I John 3:4, etc.). The Old Testament made people
sin-conscious; the New makes us righteousness-conscious. The Old demanded what
it could not produce; the New produces in us what it does not demand. They are
two total opposites.
But, Our Soul Must Prosper
God knows this life
can be hard. Jesus promises problems, suffering, and being offended by people.
If you haven't experienced any of these, just wait because you will. The gospel produces health and
prosperity in us, even in the midst of unwanted life circumstances! But 3 John 2 says our soul must
prosper. As I see it, this side of the cross, our soul can only prosper in the
gospel. There is NO other way. It can't prosper mixing the Old with the New,
and being lukewarm. And if you're a sold-out legalist, great! This will eventually
draw you to the gospel.
P.S: A current song, BLESSINGS by Laura
Story, communicates this reality.