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Since text doesn’t always carry tone very well, I want to begin this post by saying I’m not trying to be mean or snippy at all, rather I am gently pointing out something important.

I think that people who believe in “prosperity gospel” don’t read the whole Bible. If you believe that God will bless you with lots of wealth and health based on your actions of goodness because you believe in Him, you might have only noticed carefully selected verses.

The entire New Testament was written by people who were unpopular and even persecuted for believing in Jesus and doing what He told them to do. Many were martyred. Paul wrote letters to the early churches from prison. In the Old Testament we could point out Job. He had it all, then lost it all. His friends told him it was because he had done some great and secret evil, but Job knew otherwise and soon God proved it.

While God will certainly bless you for obeying Him, not all of those blessings will come in this life. Some of the blessings that do come in this life won’t be as monetary or physical as we would like, and some of them won’t look like blessings at all. But whatever way you receive the blessings, the point isn’t your own goodness. The point is God’s goodness. As good as you can try to be, you can only be truly good with God’s help.

We owe God everything in a very literal sense. God created us in the first place, then He sent Jesus to pay for our sins and save us. He is God of the first life and the second one. God didn’t even have to do any of that. God doesn’t owe us anything, but He gives to us anyway because He loves us.

At this point we need to be careful not to overstep ourselves. God loves us and will give to us, but that doesn’t mean we should be brats about it. Good behavior can be, is, and sometimes should be rewarded, but good behavior doesn’t necessitate a reward. Good behavior is taught and expected. Most of the time the reward is the ability to enjoy each other’s company more. It’s not very pleasant to hang around people who feel entitled to everything, but it is pleasant to hang around people who are kind and willing to help.

The point of serving God isn’t what we get out of it, though He purposely does make it more than worth it. The point of serving God is Him being able to show through you what He is like. The point is God’s glory and goodness. He still gives us good things along the way and for the future, and while these things may not always be what we originally wanted (like perhaps difficult character growth), they are actually not just good, they are the best things.

God wants you to prosper, He just has the best definition of what that means.