And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. [Romans 5:2]
Aha! There it is! We are to boast in our wealth, our homes, our cars, and our pretty wives or handsome husbands. Oh, wait, that’s the prosperity gospel according to Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Paula White, or TD Jakes.
If you’re a part of the millennial generation, you’ve been marinating from birth in the American culture of “get-rich-quick” schemes and “fame and fortune” mentality. This means you have been bombarded your whole life with notions that you are entitled to be wealthy, and that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Because this world view has been pressed on your mind, your heart, and every fiber of your being, you have unwittingly developed a worldview that constantly filters out everything that contradicts that view.
You mind, your education, your emotions, your deepest desires, your friendships, the movies you’ve watched your whole life, the advertising that has been put in front of your eyes your whole life, the messages the rich and famous in Hollywood have been sending you, and your favorite musicians and entertainers all have fit the mold of an American culture that wants you to chase fame and fortune with everything you have and everything you are.
It would only be natural that you would be likely to totally reject what the Bible says on this subject. In fact, it is unlikely you would even pick up a book like this one with this title and read it or listen to the audio version. If you are a millennial reading this book or listening to it, you should consider the probability that God has drawn you to this subject for a very important reason.
For most millennials, hearing what the Bible says on this subject of prosperity will be like being told, “Everything you’ve ever been taught is a lie.” It will be very hard to take.
What does the Bible actually say about life and money and possessions? “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” The glory of God? What about my new car? I’ve already texted photos of it to all my friends and family. They have been praising me for my choice and expressing their jealousy. This has made me feel so good about myself.
“Stop the train!,” you say. “You mean I’m not supposed to work most of my life, chase wealth and prosperity of all kinds, and acquire lots of things and a massive retirement fund to travel and have even more fun and fulfill all my fleshly desires as long as I shall live?”
Well, with whom would you prefer to entrust your eternal life after you die—Osteen and Robbins, or God? There’s only one correct answer, and you don’t want to get this wrong.
If you want to be sure you understand a verse in the Bible, read it in context (the verses before and after). Immediately following Romans 5:2 are these verses:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. [Romans 5:3-5]
Wait, it doesn’t say we are to chase health and prosperity! What? Sufferings? Perseverance? Character? Hope? God’s love? Oh my!
You may have thought that you are entitled to be wealthy, happy, successful, and to have lots of fun. That’s what this world teaches, but that is definitely not anywhere in the Bible, and it is actually contrary to what God teaches in the Bible.
It gets even more interesting with this verse:
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. [1 Timothy 6:6-10]
Our hope is not in this world, and it’s not in health and prosperity. Our hope is in the Living God, and that path does not escape suffering. Has the world fooled you? Did you think health and prosperity were entitlements for the Christian? It’s not in the Bible my dear friend. Seek God and His Kingdom, not this earthly kingdom. The difference will reverberate throughout eternity for you.
Taken from Chuck Marunde’s book, Living For God: Pursuing Christ With Passion.