Friday, November 13, 2015

Generic Goodness

Here's where our understanding of God's promises leads: either to the riches of God's glory or to man's prosperity "gospel."

When we buy the idea that God "promises" us these generic things like peace, good, blessing, joy, and all the other things the tv preachers tell you that God wants you to have (and He does, but they aren't promises), you turn God into a God of good things, rather than a God of glory.

I can't tell you how many of my friends spend their time posting and re-posting the words of these prosperity preachers all over social media. "God has seen you struggling, and He wants you to know that He's bringing victory!" or "God is promising you the gift of wisdom for today!" or "God rains down His promise of peace right now on your life. Whatever you're going through...."

And therein is the key. "Whatever you're going through." 

That's not a biblical phrase. That's not a word of promise God has given to anyone ever. God doesn't look down and say, "Whatever you're going through today..." No. He says, "I see exactly what you're going through today. It's _______" and then He fills in the blank with exactly what you're going through! 

See, the prosperity gospel makes this subtle shift in our theology. What it tells us is that we have to pay extra special attention so that we pick up on the things God is doing...because God is not paying so much attention that He really knows what's going on. He knows, maybe, that something is going on. He knows, maybe, that you're going through something today, but the prosperity gospel puts it in your hands to figure out what He's doing about it, based on all these generic "promises" God never actually made to you. 

When you find joy, it's because you were looking for joy. Not because you were looking for God. When you find peace, it's because you were looking for peace. Not because you were looking for God. Maybe you do find victory over your struggle today, but do you know where that victory came from? Probably not. You were looking for victory, not for God.

And where is God?

God is right there next to you. Right here. God is whispering in your ear the actual things He's going to do, right down to the very thing. He's not saying He's going to bring you peace; He's telling you how He's going to calm the storm. He's not saying that there's joy just around the corner; He's planting joy in your very heart. He's not saying that there's victory somewhere for you; He's drawing up the battle plan of how you're going to get there - together. 

Then, when these promises are fulfilled, you find yourself looking right back at God and in a hushed wonder, declaring, That was amazing. Because it was. It is. It is grace. 

Grace is amazing.

So be careful of false preachers, of those who are espousing the prosperity gospel by getting you to buy in to promises God never made you. So-called "promises" of so-called "good" things. He's never promised you such generic things. He's never promised you anything that you have to figure out on your own. That's not His style. 

But He's promised you amazing things nonetheless, things that you would never believe if He hadn't told you - a nation, a redemption, a reconciliation, an inheritance, a throne, a Savior, a Spirit. He's promised you things that are nothing short of amazing.

Never settle for "good." 

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