In this series, I am going to teach you how to live in God Privilege. In other words, I am going to show you how to walk in the promises of God.
There is so much available to you as a child of God. So many promises, so many gifts, and you are most likely leaving most of them on the table because of ignorance or wrong thinking.
Ignorance is easy to overcome. Someone tells you the truth and now you know. Wrong thinking is a bit more challenging. You have to be willing to admit you are wrong in order to receive the truth.
Even when you know that you are wrong, it’s hard to admit when you are wrong. I mean, just ask a kid to apologize when they hurt someone and you’ll see what I mean.
Let me be honest. This series is going to rub you the wrong way at least once, if not every week. It’s going to stir up some religious demons that have been family pets for a long time.
I’m telling you ahead of time so that when it happens you’ll at least consider the fact that you might be wrong. I’m just asking you to consider it, because being open will lead to breakthrough.
The promises of God are vast. They are huge. They’re endless. In this series we are going to focus on three of them: wealth, health, and protection.
We are going to start with God’s promise of wealth. And this is going to take several weeks because if there is any one subject that the church struggles with the most, it is money.
Most of the time, when pastors talk about money, all they talk about is generosity. And it is important to talk about because that’s how God’s financial system works.
But we’re going to talk about more than generosity. I am going to teach you to see money from God’s perspective.
This is not only going to cause you to prosper; it’s going to set you free from things that have been holding you back from fulfilling what God has called you to do.
Let me start by establishing the truth that God wants you to prosper. This doesn’t mean we will all have the same level of prosperity, but we are all called to prosper.
I am going to prove it to you in scripture, but first let me give you my definition of godly prosperity:
Godly Prosperity – More than enough for my family plus an overflow to accomplish everything God asks me to do.
Now, let me show you in scripture:
II Corinthians 9:8 NKJV – God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Let’s break this down. What does the word ‘sufficient’ mean?
Let me show you the definition of the Greek word used in this verse for sufficiency:
Autarkeia (ow-tar-ki-ah) – a perfect condition of life in which no aid or support is needed; sufficiency of the necessities of life.
This is what it looks like to live in God privilege. You ALWAYS have ALL sufficiency in ALL things. Not a day goes by without more than enough to take care of all of my needs.
Say this: God’s undeserved favor is pouring into my life and providing everything I could ever need.
And that’s only part of the scripture! Let’s look at it again:
II Corinthians 9:8 NKJV – God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Not only do you always have sufficiency in the necessities of life, but you have an abundance for every good work! You have way more than you need to take care of yourself so that you have the extra needed to help others.
That’s how you know if you are living in the promises of God. If this scripture doesn’t describe your life, then you better listen closely over the next few weeks so you can make some adjustments.
Can you see that God wants you to prosper? Can you see why He wants you to prosper?
He wants you to have a perfect condition of life. Nothing missing. Nothing lacking. No debt. No government aid needed.
He wants this for you because He loves you. He wants to take care of you first. And once you are taken care of, He is going to equip you for every good work.
Let that soak in. God doesn’t expect you to go without because you are doing good works. No, He wants to make sure you are taken care of first. He wants you to always have everything you need.
We serve a good God who cares for us, who calls us His children. He wants us to be blessed so much that we don’t even have to think about our own needs. There’s more than enough.
He wants us to get to a place where our only thought about money is, “What do I do with all this extra provision?”
God’s promise of wealth is nothing new. It was even available to those who lived under the old covenant before Jesus. Take a look:
Deuteronomy 28:11-12 NKJV – The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them.
Prosperity has been God’s idea from the very beginning. He wants you to have more than enough for your family plus an overflow to accomplish everything He asks you to do.
Say this: God wants ME to prosper.
Why do Christians struggle with prosperity?
Knowing that God wants His children to prosper, why do so many Christians struggle with prosperity?
Let me ask you this. Do you think God is scared for you to prosper? Maybe He’s concerned about money taking over your life so He makes sure you stay nice and humble?
Or do you think Satan is scared for you to prosper? Because, if you have an abundance for every good work, you are going to be making quite the impact for the kingdom of God.
Does God steal from you? Or is it Satan that steals from you?
Does God provide for you? Or is it Satan that provides for you?
I ask you all these questions to help you get to the bottom of this. Who is the one behind making Christians believe that prosperity is a bad thing? Satan.
He doesn’t want you to prosper. He wants you to spend your entire life worried about meeting your own needs. He wants you to struggle so you don’t even have time to think about helping others.
That should make you mad. All this time you thought it was God keeping you from prosperity when it has been Satan lying to you all along.
There’s not one of us that hasn’t been influenced by Satan’s attempt to keep us from godly prosperity. We’ve been trained by the church to be poor. We’ve been trained by culture that business is bad.
Let’s dig into this. I want to expose the lies of the enemy so the truth can set you free. Let’s start with a challenging question:
Is the pursuit of money evil?
The church seems to have a love-hate relationship with business leaders. Churches want the tithe from these high-earners but they speak down to those who focus their life growing a business.
We think the only way for them to be redeemed from the evil of business is to give loads of money to charitable causes. I mean, all they do is take from society, so they better give back.
Let’s use Apple as an example. It is now valued over 2 trillion dollars. This is larger than the economy of most countries, including Canada, Australia, and Mexico (to name a few).
Apple should be ashamed of themselves for creating a business that big. We should probably get the US government involved to take most of their profits and give them to the poor.
This is how most of America thinks, because we’ve been trained to think that way. We’ve all been indoctrinated to believe money is inherently bad and it starts at a young age.
Think of the high school teacher who asks her students to stand up and tell the class what career path they are interested in and why.
One boy stands up and says, “I want to become an environmental scientist so I can ensure clean air and water for all.” Everyone cheers.
The next student informs the class they want to become a medical researcher to help find a cure for AIDS. Everyone cheers.
Another student reveals she wants to become a teacher so she can help challenged students fulfill their dreams. Everyone smiles in adoration of this honorable pursuit.
Finally, the last student is asked of his plans. He hesitates and says, “I want to create a profitable business empire so I can supply products and services that make life better and provide jobs to my community.” To which most of the class responds with a confused and judgmental look on their face.
Then we watch movie after movie after TV show that portrays the business CEO as a jerk who takes advantage of all the employees and earns his fortune in illegal activity.
The “Evil” Corporations
This is something that has progressed over time. Before 1965, television shows portrayed businessmen as good guys twice as often as bad guys. This was reversed in the 1970s when you would see two business villains for every good guy.
These days, I don’t know if there are any shows that portray the businessman as a helpful contributor to society. Instead, big business has become Hollywood’s favorite villain.
Last week, we talked about God calling our church to go into all the world through the seven mountains of influence. I explained how these seven mountains determine the culture of a nation; they shape how we think and what we do.
One of these mountains is entertainment. Can you see how Hollywood has shaped how we think about business? Because of all these movies and TV shows, most of us think that almost all business owners are bad people.
Now let’s go back to Apple. How have they become the most valuable company in the world?
Culture wants you to believe that it’s because they take from society. Yet, I don’t know anyone that’s ever been forced to buy an iPhone. We are willing to buy an iPhone because we want one.
Apple is wealthy because they’ve created products that are helpful to society. They enable us to work faster, communicate better, and even have a little fun while we’re at it.
What’s their reward for contributing great products to society? Money. And the reason they have lots of money is because they’ve added lots of value to society.
Why do you get paid for your job? Because you contribute to the business and your reward is, you guessed it, money. And the amount of money you earn is in relation to the amount of value you add to the business.
If you work a job that anyone can do after just a few days of training, then your contribution is much smaller than someone who has spent years developing a skill on their own time.
That’s why the doctor gets paid more than the janitor. The janitor doesn’t have to spend years developing a skill, or pay for continuing education. They don’t even have to think about their job when they go home.
So, let me give you a tip. If you want to increase your income, it starts at home. You have to invest your own time into developing skills that will add more value to the business you are working for.
You are going to have to turn off the TV, get off the couch, and spend your evenings learning something new.
The Price of Skill
Learning new skills is frustrating and tiring. Watching TV and playing video games is easy and fun. And this is why most people live a barely enough life, because your income is a direct reflection of the value you add to the business you work for.
For example, let’s contrast two different photographers. One purchased a nice camera but only uses it when getting paid to take photos. She shows up to the shoot, takes pictures, does a quick edit, and then she’s done until the next paid photoshoot.
Another photographer bought the same camera. In between photoshoots, she spends her free time taking her own pictures, learning from her mistakes, and trying again.
She enrolls in courses that teach her how to edit the pictures, remove blemishes, and get the coloring just right. She offers free photoshoots just to get more practice.
Who do you think is going to end up earning more money in the long run? You know what the answer is. The second one, because she put in the time and effort to serve her clients better.
The Jewish Mindset
Let me show you how a Jewish Rabbi, Daniel Lapin, explains this:
“Deep within traditional Jewish culture lies the conviction that the only real way to achieve wealth is to attend diligently to the needs of others and to conduct oneself in an honorable and trustworthy fashion.” -Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Although there are people who get rich by taking advantage of others, there are far more people who get wealthy because they do a tremendous job serving others.
This is hard for us to wrap our heads around because we’ve been trained to hate business because profit is evil. So let me take this one step further so you can see that I am telling you the truth.
Over the years, U.S. culture has been trained to be more judgmental about money than any other human pursuit.
You might not read People magazine. Actually, I hope you don’t, but a lot of people do. This means that what you see in the magazine reflects the values of a large part of the United States.
They once had a cover story called, “The Greatest Love Stories of the Century”. Believe it or not, more than half the couples in this list were committing the old fashioned sin of adultery.
For example, one of the couples mentioned was Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner. However, they failed to mention Frank Sinatra’s wife and three children at the time of his adulterous relationship.
Exactly two weeks later, Newsweek published a story entitled “Corporate Killers”. The story concerned layoffs and said, “You lose your job, and the CEO gets a fat raise.”
Newsweek mentioned how 137,000 workers had lost their jobs in the companies mentioned in the story. But they failed to mention that the U.S. economy in that time was adding 137,000 new jobs every three weeks.
In other words, there was a heck of a lot more good business going on than bad business.
Here’s what our culture is broadcasting:
“If you cause pain to others while in pursuit of sexual pleasure, you will find understanding and sympathy. However, if you are a businessperson causing even the slightest discomfort to others, you are condemned and immoral.”
So, American culture celebrates almost anything in pursuit of sex but tolerates very little in pursuit of money.
This begs the question, do you really want to look to culture to determine what is moral and what’s not? I hope I’ve convinced you today that this is a bad idea.
Actually, most of the time you can just look at what culture defines as moral and assume it’s not. On the flip side, you can look at what culture defines as immoral and assume they’re lying to you.
The Love of Money
Back to our question. Is the pursuit of money evil? Let’s turn to scripture for the answer.
1 Timothy 6:10 NLT – For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
You’ve likely heard someone use this scripture to scare you away from money. They say, “Money is evil! Stay away from it!”
But that’s not what it says. Money is not evil. The love of money is evil.
Let me ask you this. Do you have to have money to love money?
Are there rich people who love money? Yes. Are there poor people who love money? Yes.
You can’t determine if someone loves money based on the amount of money they have.
Although, we like to think we can. We’re really quick to condemn a Christian who drives a nice car or lives in a nice house, especially if they are a church leader or a business owner.
Can I be honest with you? If you get upset about someone else having nicer things than you, it only reveals that you love money. And this love for money is expressing itself through jealousy.
This is one of those religious demons I was telling you about. It might feel like we’re killing a family pet right now. But these things have to be revealed for you to move forward.
Let’s do another one. Did you know that poverty is just as evil as greed? They both spend all they have on themselves.
Poverty might just be worse because not only do you spend all you have on yourself, but you think you have a right to what others have as well.
Because of this, we should be just as passionate about eliminating poverty as we are about eliminating greed. They are both evil.
Yet, somehow we’ve bought into the idea that a vow of poverty is spiritual; that we are somehow doing God a favor by accepting poverty as our life sentence.
That’s why you hear things like, “I’m not looking to be rich. I just need enough to feed my family.”
Could you be any more selfish? I mean, you might as well just say, “All that matters is me and mine. Screw the rest of y’all.”
The idea that God expects us to be poor doesn’t even make sense. God commands us to care for the poor. And one of the poorest ways to help the poor is to be poor.
It’s not that God doesn’t want you to have money. He just doesn’t want money to have you.
And get this. Not all who love money become rich. You can be poor and love money. You can be middle class and love money. You can be rich and love money.
The opposite is also true. You can be poor and not love money. You can be middle class and not love money. You can be wealthy and not love money.
Money is not evil. Pursuing money is not evil either.
Building a profitable business is not evil. Providing a good life for your family is not evil.
Let’s take it a step further. Firing employees who don’t do their job well is not evil. God would even go so far as to call them wicked and lazy on their way out the door.
But the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Loving money will lead you down a path of complete destruction.
How do I know if I love money?
It’s when money replaces God in your life. It’s when your identity is tied up in how much money you have or don’t have.
Some people pride themselves in being poor. Some people pride themselves in being rich. Both of these reveal a love of money.
When your trust in money exceeds your trust in God, you’ve been infected with the love of money.
When you ignore what the Holy Spirit led you to do in order to protect your income or bank account, you’ve been infected with the love of money.
Have I killed all the family pets yet?
If you don’t get what I’ve told you today, you will never walk in God’s promise of abundance. Why? Because, if you believe that making money is selfish, it will undermine the promises of God.
But, if you kill that sacred cow and embrace the truth that earning money is a sign that you are serving others well, you will end up in God’s promise of wealth and prosperity.
Some of you feel guilty for earning money. Use what you’ve learned today to shake off that guilt.
Some of you need to ask your boss for a raise, but that demonic spirit of poverty has sealed your mouth shut. I break that off of you today and ask God to reveal your tremendous worth.
Some of you have been stuck in poverty because you’ve been griping about everyone who has more than you. You think they should give you what they have. You need to repent. You need to turn from your wicked ways so God can prosper you.
Let’s wrap this up with a few confessions:
I refuse to think or speak negatively about those who have more than me.
God wants ME to prosper.
I expect opportunities and favor.
I have the power to create wealth.
I am a conduit for what God wants to do in the world.
This is why it is so important for every single believer to walk in God Privilege. We can’t accomplish what God wants us to do if we refuse the promises of God.
It is going to take great wealth to go into all the world and make disciples of the nations. The amount of wealth needed might freak us out, but God doesn’t even blink.
God is willing, God is able to get this tremendous wealth to us. But we have to get to a place where we can receive it. We have to put in the effort to get out there and generate this wealth.