Two Doctrinal Extremes Regarding Material Wellbeing and Prosperity

For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:18, KJV)

Christianity often grapples with material well-being, prosperity, and happiness. Does God want us to thrive physically and financially in this life? This question has birthed two extreme doctrines: one renounces material well-being while the other chases it.

Starting with the more popular belief today, more and more Christians view material well-being as Christianity’s ultimate goal. This dangerous doctrine ensnares both leaders and followers. New believers are often indoctrinated to seek God mainly for wealth and material prosperity. Some ministers enter the ministry primarily to make money, gain influence or become famous. For them, Christ’s Church is a lucrative business to receive an endless flow of millions from Christians or a platform to pursue personal ambitions.  Although God wishes for our physical health, turning material prosperity into our idol leads us astray(Philippians 3:19). In doing so, we either serve money (Matthew 6:24) or our selfish desires (Romans 16:18).

Conversely, another perspective wrongly claims that God doesn’t want us to prosper materially. Adherents believe that Jesus’ sole purpose was our spiritual salvation. They argue that God doesn’t wish to heal us, alleviate our pains, or bless us with wealth. It is baffling that some Christians still believe God is glorified when we are sick, impoverished, or materially destitute. Such Christians spiritualize every promise of material or physical well-being. For them, “by His stripes, we are healed” must not mean bodily healing but exclusively healing from sickness. A scripture like 2 Corinthians 9:8, which clearly says God wants us to have “all sufficiency in all things,” will be twisted to mean spiritual sufficiency, not material sufficiency. Beware not only of unbiblical prosperity teachings but also of this damaging doctrine of “godly misery”.

To navigate these extreme beliefs, focus on the Bible’s teachings. Christ’s sacrifice addresses both our spiritual and physical needs. He offers healing and wants us to lead abundant lives. But, He also cautioned against the love of money—a warning that modern prosperity teachings often overlook.

Avoid these extremes. Don’t suffer needlessly or let materialism erode your spiritual essence.


Which extreme do you lean towards?

Apply the Word

Let the Holy Spirit guide you towards a biblical balance, unburdened by traditions or biases.


Seek the Lord’s wisdom in balancing spiritual and material prosperity in your life.

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