I am continually amazed by the number of intelligent people who believe the lies of prosperity preachers. By intelligent people, I mean those people who are capable of reading, interpreting, and researching what they hear. When they plan an investment they research and study out the company they desire to invest in, but when choosing a pastor they choose one who tells them that God wants them to prosper materially. While I despise the message of the prosperity preacher who leads people down the path of destruction and seeking material possessions, I cannot understand how the intelligent person can sit in the pew week after week listening and believing this message -- do they not read the Bible for themselves? The Bible repeatedly speaks of how difficult it is for the rich man to become a believer. It also speaks of men who love and obey God who live their lives with nothing. Even Christ, the Son of God walked upon this earth with no material possessions, no home to live in, and nothing to call his own. If God wanted us, his children, to prosper physically, would he not have had his own Son prospering to the greatest extent.
James 1:9-11 discusses the poor man and the rich man.
"Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits."
Continuing in his discussion of trials, James discusses the trial of the poor believer who is exalted. Even though this man has nothing to his name, he is able to boast in his spiritual standing before God and the hope that it brings. The rich man however faces a different trial. The rich man must face the trial of being able to rejoice in losing his riches and accepting his humiliation as his ability to partake in the sufferings of Christ. Riches come and go, the poor man can be made rich quickly, and the rich man can be brought down to nothing. However, our spiritual standing in Christ is far greater than any riches and can not be taken from us as our material possessions can be. Let us as believers not boast in the things we have or the things we do not have, but let us boast and rejoice in the hope of our future with Christ. If we are blessed with material things, let us use our possessions to bless others. If we are blessed with poverty, let us rejoice in how God provides our daily needs and share this blessing with others.