Beloved, I WISH above all things that thou mayest PROSPER
and be IN HEALTH, even as thy SOUL PROSPERS.
- 3 John 2
Aside from the Gifts of the Spirit, prosperity is probably the most controversial subject in the Body of Christ. I say that because it's true. I don't think I've ever heard as much criticism on one subject as I have on prosperity. Many ministers today are labeled as "prosperity preachers" because there are people who believe all they talk about is money. However, if you will go and visit their websites (or ministries for that matter), you will readily see that's not the case at all.
I believe the problem exists in the fact that the subject of prosperity is greatly misunderstood. The primary reason why is because people in general have not defined what true biblical prosperity is. Biblical prosperity is not just about financial wealth. That's only one manifestation or result of what occurs when a person is walking in biblical prosperity.
In our opening text we read that the Apostle John by inspiration of the Spirit of God is speaking prophetically when he says "Beloved, I WISH above all things..." The word "wish" in the Greek is the word euchomai, and it means "to pray". In other words, God is speaking by His Spirit to us through the Apostle John saying that He is praying above all things that we would prosper and be in health. Another connotation of the word "wish" is desire. Understand this my friend, God does not desire for you to be broke or sick! Contrary to popular belief, is not His will that you live in sickness or poverty. When you finally get a revelation of that you'll stop praying unscriptural prayers like "Lord, if it be thy will to bless me you will". Really? When you find out what God's will is you're going to see that it's not about some misguided interpretation of His sovereignty. It's about what God really wants to do; and that's to bless you in every area of your life!
Let's go back to our text in 3rd John and notice what the Bible says about our prosperity. It says "Beloved, I WISH above all things that thou mayest PROSPER and be IN HEALTH, even as thy SOUL PROSPERETH." The last clause of this verse says "...even as thy SOUL PROSPERETH." Remember what I said in our previous lesson on Divine Healing? Your financial and physical prosperity CANNOT EXCEED the prosperity of your soul. Why is that? Because prosperity doesn't come from the outside; it comes from the inside. Your soul must prosper before you can experience financial, physical, or any other kind of prosperity. What does it mean for your soul to prosper? That's a good question. I'm glad you asked.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and RECEIVE
WITH MEEKNESS THE ENGRAFTED WORD, which is able to SAVE YOUR SOULS.
This verse of Scripture is embedded in a chapter that's full of examples of how Christians get off into error. James refers to the error as "...filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness...", because all of it slanders God's character. He then he tells us how we're going to steer clear of doing that - RECEIVE WITH MEEKNESS THE ENGRAFTED WORD, WHICH IS ABLE TO SAVE YOUR SOULS.
Let's first of all talk about receiving the Word of God. This verse exhorts us to receive God's word with meekness. The word "meekness" does not mean to be mild or weak. Instead, it means humility in the sense of being teachable without disputing or resisting God's truth. So we are to receive the engrafted word with a teachable spirit. The word "engrafted" means implanted. The connotation of this word is that of a seed becoming rooted and grounded in the soil. Notice the effect it's going to have when it becomes rooted and grounded in us: "...which is able to SAVE YOUR SOULS."
Religion has taught us a great deal of tradition throughout the years; traditions of men that is. The problem with traditions of men is they have a tendency to create clichés. Sometimes those clichés end up getting mistaken for the truth of God's Word. Not the word of the truth of the gospel, but another gospel (Colossians 1:5 / Galatians 1:6-7) Well, one of those clichés takes the words "soul" and "spirit" and uses them interchangeably. That cliché goes something like this "Praise the Lord, souls got saved in that revival last night!" Yet, souls really didn't get saved last night. It was their spirits that got saved. The Bible makes a clear distinction between them in I Thessalonians 5:23. Here's the divine order: #1) Man is a spirit; #2) he has a soul; #3) and he lives in a body. Man's spirit makes contact with the spiritual realm. Man's body makes contact with the physical realm. That only leaves one other part; his soul. Man's soul makes contact with the mental realm.
The only part of man that experiences salvation in the new birth is his spirit. The Bible calls that regeneration. The body will experience salvation at the rapture (when Jesus comes to take the Church to heaven). That's called glorification. The soul, however, must continue to experience salvation until Jesus comes. That's referred to as sanctification. Now that I've laid that foundation for you, let's go back to James 1:21 and look at the last clause of that verse. Notice that it says "...which is able to SAVE YOUR SOULS."
The word "save" in the Greek is the word sozo, and it carries a five-fold meaning: safety, preservation, soundness, wholeness, and deliverance. I believe the definition that applies here is preservation. The word "preservation" means "to maintain, to uphold, to protect from decay". Remember, the Apostle James wasn't writing his epistle to sinners, he was writing to the Church. Therefore, we know that he wasn't referring to salvation, in terms of the result of the born again experience. He was talking about maintaining, upholding, and keeping something from decaying. Romans 12:2 exhorts us by saying "...be not CONFORMED to this WORLD, but be ye TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING of your MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, WILL OF GOD."
The word "conformed" is the Greek word suschematizo, and it means "to become adapted to". The word "world" is the Greek word aon, and it means "age", referring to a dispensation of time. In other words, God does not want us to become adapted to this age, which is governed by the spirit of Babylon. Babylon, my friend, is a system. Just like the kingdom of God is a system (God's way of doing things - Matthew 6:33, Amplified Bible), so also is Babylon a system. It's the world's way of doing things. Romans 12:2 goes on to say "...but be ye TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING of your MIND..." The word "transformed" is the Greek word metamorphoo, and it's where we get the English word metamorphosis, which means "to undergo a change or transformation from one stage to the next". How do we experience this transformation? The next part of Romans 12:2 goes on to say "...by the RENEWING of your MIND..."
The word "renewing" is the Greek word anakainosis, which means "a complete renovation from the ground up". The picture that the Holy Spirit is trying to paint for us with this word is that of a building being demolished to the ground and then being rebuilt all over again from scratch. Sometimes when an old building is deemed a historic landmark and is scheduled for demolition, people and organizations may rally together financially to try and restore the building to preserve it if at all possible. However, it's important to note that eventually the building will have to be torn down and rebuilt. It's the same thing with our mind (soul).
The renewing of the mind takes place through the meditation of God's Word. As we study and meditate in God's word, we begin to change the way we think, which in turn changes the way we believe, which in turn changes the way we speak. That is how our soul prospers. When our soul prospers, everything else will begin to change. Why? A prosperous soul produces a prosperous image. When you understand that it's God's will for you not to live in poverty, sickness, and death, your soul is prospering. That prosperity will eventually manifest on the outside, in your health, your relationships, your finances, etc. However, it starts by getting rid of a poverty image. How do you know if you have a poverty image? Simply by what comes out of your mouth. The Bible says in Matthew 12:34 "...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak." (NKJV) What's in your heart is what's eventually going to come out! And the Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." So you need to take the trash out, and put the Word in! That's how you renew your mind.
Your whole thinking process has to change in order for you to live in victory and success. I'm not just taking about sin either! I'm talking about religion. Many of us were raised in a denominational setting and we've been brainwashed to believe a bunch of religious junk! The things we learned are keeping us in spiritual bondage to where we can't receive what God has already blessed us with, because we've accepted wrong teaching as the truth.
As I close, let me give you one last example. There are Christians that believe "Well, God will just heal me in His time". If that were true, then why did nineteen recorded miracles in the Gospels occur after Jesus told the individual "...According to your faith, so be it unto you"? I'll tell you why, because it's not up to God, it's up to you! God's not the one who needs healing or deliverance, you do. And the words "according to your faith" are not a reference to how much or how great your faith is. It's a reference to using the faith you have NOW!
There is no denying that God wants you to prosper. There is no denying that it is God's will to prosper you. The question that remains is do you want to prosper? If so, then it's high time you get on board with God's will for you. His word is full of it from Genesis to Revelation. Here are a few examples:
But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: FOR IT IS HE THAT GIVETH THEE POWER TO GET WEALTH, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. - Deuteronomy 8:18
This book of the law shall not depart out of THY MOUTH; but thou shalt MEDITATE therein DAY and NIGHT, that thou mayest OBSERVE TO DO according to ALL THAT IS WRITTEN THEREIN: for then THOU SHALT MAKE THY WAY PROSPEROUS, and then THOU SHALT HAVE GOOD SUCCESS. - Joshua 1:8
Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, LET THEM SAY CONTINUALLY, LET THE LORD BE MAGNIFIED, WHICH HATH PLEASURE IN THE PROSPERITY OF HIS SERVANT. - Psalm 35:27
THE LORD SHALL INCREASE YOU MORE AND MORE, YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN. - Psalm 115:14
Blessed be the Lord, WHO DAILY LOADETH US WITH BENEFITS, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
Fear not, little flock; for IT IS YOUR FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM. - Luke 12:32
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, THOUGH HE WAS RICH, yet FOR YOUR SAKES HE BECAME POOR, THAT YE THROUGH HIS POVERTY MIGHT BE RICH. - II Corinthians 8:9
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, BUT IN THE LIVING GOD, WHO GIVETH US RICHLY ALL THINGS TO ENJOY... - I Timothy 6:17
Get your mind renewed to what the Word of God says about prosperity and start becoming increase minded. When you do, you will never live in poverty again. In addition to that, you will learn what to do with your prosperity. And that's to establish God's covenant in the earth.
CONFESSION OF FAITH:
Heavenly Father, I thank you that I have been redeemed from the curse of the law. Poverty and lack are a part of that curse. Therefore, as the seed of Abraham, I declare that I am the head and not the tail, I am above only, and not beneath. I am blessed coming in, and I am blessed going out. I am blessed in the city, and I am blessed in the field. The blessings of Abraham are overtaking me. The God of my salvation loads me daily with benefits, because He has pleasure in my prosperity. It is His good pleasure to give me the kingdom, and the kingdom is where all my needs are met. As I meditate in the Word of God day and night, I observe to do all that's written therein, therefore, I make my way prosperous and have good success in life. Thank You Father for giving me the ability to obtain wealth, so that I can establish Your covenant in the earth.