Health and Wealth - Isn't That What the Bible Teaches?

Introduction

I normally do not watch a lot of television,, but I did catch a show the other day that got my attention. A "pastor" made the statement that no one should ever suffer physically. I couldn't believe what she just said. Did I hear her right? Apparently I did because her partner sitting across the table chimed in that she was absolutely right.Together they went on to downgrade the biblical doctrine of health and suffering.

The thinking behind the many erroneous statements that were made was that if someone is sick, it is because of a lack of faith on their part, or perhaps unconfessed sin is the culprit. Although I know there will be those who just do not see it, the Bible is very clear on the topic of health.

The word sick appears39 times in the Old Testament and another 50 times in the New Testament. To be sure, there are many accounts of sickness being attributed to sin in the Bible The same can be said for today. If someone smokes a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, they may find themselves with lung cancer. It could be that someone given to alcohol may end up with liver disease. These are sicknesses we bring about ourselves, many times knowing the possible results.

Source

The Apostle Paul

But other diseases often attack the very healthy. It is inherent to the human race. So why do we insist that if someone is suffering they are not walking with God; that they are out of God's will?

One of the greatest church leaders to ever live, the Apostle Paul, suffered greatly even though he was walking side by side with his Lord. Paul says of himself In II Corinthians 12:7-10, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Let us look closely at these verses. First, we must agree that biblical context shows us that Paul was a godly man, a man seeking after Christ. Other than Jesus Himself, Paul may have been one of the most godliest men to ever exist. He kept a close watch on the life he lived. When sin did enter the picture, Paul was quick to confess it and make it right with his Lord. Still, we see Paul suffering.

First, notice that Paul was given "a thorn in the flesh." We realize that the thorn is not literal, but rather a messenger of satan. We also see that the "thorn" was applied to his body, his flesh. God allowed satan to attack Paul's body with an illness. He refers to this as an infirmity in verse 9. The word infirmity here means an illness, disease, sickness or weakness. In other words, he was suffering from a health issue. Here we have a very godly individual taken in bad health.

Paul does not elaborate on what that illness may have been. Some believe Paul may have had a vision problem as he was temporarily blinded on the Road to Damascus. That is possible. Paul does not tell us the particulars, just that he physically suffered.

He suffered at the hand of satan. Some believe that because satan is involved that Paul is talking about a habitual sin problem. Again, this an attack on the body, not the spirit.

Paul asked the Lord three times to remove his infirmity, but each time God answered "No". It was for Paul's good. God allowed this infirmity to follow the apostle for the rest of his life. Why? Because Jesus says in verse 9, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." It was God's will for Paul to suffer so that God might shine forth.

What about Paul's wallet? It was empty. He spent most of his time suffering in prison for the cause of Christ.

A Modern Day Example

I remember years ago hearing an evangelist by the name of Tim Lee preach. His message was super powerful. By the time he was done there was not a dry eye anywhere. The simple reason for this powerful message was simply that he lived what he preached.

You see, Tim Lee was a Viet Nam veteran. He lost both legs and both arms while fighting for his country. He hobbled up to the pulpit on two stumps that were once his legs. He held himself up at the pulpit by supporting himself with the two stumps that were once his arms. He used no wheelchair. He maneuvered just like anyone else with the exception of his extremities. He was physically weak, but God was made strong that day through his earnest message.If Tim Lee was perfectly healthy, his message would not have had near the great affect that it did. . .

Source

Job

God's choice servant Job was blessed tremendously. In Job 1:3 we read, "His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east." Job was wealthy even by today's standards. He had both great wealth as well as health. We know that he followed his God for we read in verse 1, ". . .was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil."

We know that he suffered greatly. In the first two chapters we see that Job lost the family business. All of his children died, and his body is infected with a loathsome disease.Job's loving, comforting wife tells him,to ". . . curse God, and die." His world completely fell apart. Again, this was brought about by satan and allowed by God. Still, we see a servant of God suffering both the loss of health and wealth.:

Source

A Third Example

If health and wealth were meant for everyone, then we have a serious problem. No human ever suffered like Jesus, nor were any ever so poor. Speaking of Jesus' bank account, Jesus Himself says in Matthew 8:20, ". . . The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." Jesus' life was a life of homeless wanderings.

Source

HIs suffering far exceeds that of any human.But the suffering of Jesus had a different purpose - a purpose that only He could fulfill. His purpose was to save mankind from their sinful condition. It has often been mentioned to me that a loving God would never send anyone to Hell. This is true. Man sends himself to Hell if he rejects the only hope he has.

A sinner cannot pay the price of another person's sin. but the sacrifice also had to be human. A lamb could never pay the price for a human's sin. Let's face it. We all have sinned and separated ourselves from a perfect, holy God. But God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die in the place of the sinner. That involved excruciating pain and suffering.

Still, the choice is ours. We can continue in our arrogance and pride to refuse to believe we need a Savior substitute, thus separating ourselves from God forever. Or we can turn to Him and accept His great sacrifice for our sin.

It is not about religion. It is not about being a good Samaritan. It is not about keeping the 10 Commandments. After all, we haven't. My only hope lies in the One who came to take my place and paid for my sin on an old, wooden cross. I have made my choice. Now you must make yours. By the way, to not make a choice is to make a choice. You are still accountable, just as I am.

Peter tells us in I Peter 2:21, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." You are not called to a life of ease; to a life of health and wealth. It just is not found in the Bible.

You are called to walk in Christ's steps, steps of suffering. We are to live by His example. His example was a life of pain. I do not mind saying that the health and wealth philosophy found in many churches today is anti-biblical. A Christian's life in many ways is a life of pain and suffering, and that is what is to be expected, not a life of ease and carefree days. If you choose to serve Him with your whole heart, know that there is a heavy cost. Are you ready - are you willing to pay it?

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Comments 17 comments

Shadrack2 profile image

Shadrack2 9 months ago

You are right. Suffering has been part and parcel of mankind since the fall of man. It happens to bad and good people a like. And it may not necessarily mean that the victim did anything wrong.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 9 months ago from Pacific Northwest

Excellent! No doubt this couple are filling their coffers with tons of money they convinced vulnerable, gullible, or Bible illiterate people to send in order to show their faith.

I grew up in the Christian Science church, which is neither Christian nor science. Sin, sickness, and evil were not real. Christ's death was an unfortunate circumstance. I was told He did not suffer nor even bleed because God would not allow that. However, apparently He allowed Him to be crucified by sinless people for what purpose I've no clue. My grandmother was a CS practioner. I would listen to her counsel people on the phone telling them that sickness and hardship were "error." When we would cough She would say "liar." Never knew if she was speaking to us or the cough.

Interestingly, I have noticed that Christian Scientists get sick and die. Even their guru Mary Baker Eddy did. My grandpa died of cancer and grandmother died from Alzheimer's I think. My aunt just died feeling guilty for being gravely I'll several years ago. Sad. We need to keep telling the truth, the good news.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 9 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Shadrack2,

Glad to meet you via HP. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. It;s much appreciated!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 9 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks for the input Lori. i know of a woman who used to attend our church. She has some serious medical problems, cancer for one. A woman stopped by and prayed for her. She claimed to be healed and started to go to her church. Two days later she's sick again. I know of a woman who used to use a cane regularly. I saw her everyday, and one day I noticed she didn't have her cane. She said she went to a healing meeting the night before and didn't need her cane any more. Within a short time I noticed she was using her cane again.

God can and does heal, but when He does it's complete, and there's no charge either. That's why I question if Paul's thorn in the flesh was really an eye problem. I believe if he were blind *which we know he was) and God healed him (which we know He did), then my guess is that he could see pretty good.

Thanks for the visit. As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Hope all is well in the PNW.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 9 months ago from Pacific Northwest

You bring up a good point that God heals completely and not for a few days or hours. I walked into a brand new church in our community. Another visitor was there who was pastor to a tiny little church elsewhere with liberal theology and really caught up into charismatic antics (drunk in the spirit and other disorderly shenigans). I had a cane due to an mild ankle issue. I was halfway through the door and he came right up to me and in a loud voice "Oh sister, let me pray for you." I didn't get a chance to answer. With much volume and boldness and his hand on my ankle he prayed for healing. When He was done He asked how I felt. I told him the same. Oh sister walk around and show God's healing. I told him no thanks and Sat down to his embarrassment. No doubt he was into himself not Christ and apparently looking to lure people away to his own church. I did get better through rigorous physical therapy.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

I am wealthy without money, and I grow wealthier daily. How cool is that, Bill? :) Of course I agree totally with the spirit and message here.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 8 months ago from southern USA

Wonderful topic for a hub, Dear Bill! Oh, my, about the false teachings/preaching of that pastor. What is scary is that people who watch them may believe them, if they have not been in the Word. Well, God does give a warning to those who do such ...to not add to or take away from His Word on the very last page of the Bible.

Nowhere does it say that a child of God will not suffer from trials and tribulations in this life. I do know of His healing power and grace as He healed me of breast cancer. I would have been okay either way because I know I would have gone on to my true home. However, I am still here for a reason and I praise Him.

Thank you for this hub.

Peace and blesskngs


lifegate profile image

lifegate 8 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Lori

,

It's really not a laughing matter. I feel sorry for the man, but I have to admit I had to chuckle over your response. He needed to be put in his place, and I'm sure you did a wonderful job! Thanks for sharing this one.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 8 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

We're all plenty wealthy if we have the Lord, Bill. What else could we ask for? A personal relationship with the God of the universe - how cool is that? Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read md comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean

Pastor Bill, I heard of a preacher who preached this same message and when he got sick, he asked to enter the hospital through the back entrance. Funny, but not funny.

There are many promises for the sick in the Bible; seems God knew that some of His people would get sick sometimes.

What the Bible does teach is that we ought to beware of preachers who compose their own philosophies which have nothing to do with His. Thanks for tackling this topic.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 8 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi MsDora. Hope your Sunday is going well. Thanks for the added story and information. You're rioght = "funny, but not funny." The sad thing is not only are these people teaching heresy, but they're making big bucks off of it.

If they're not making money off of the so-called healings, they're selling books. I saw a program a while back where the "minister" was asking eacj person watching to send in $1,000..

It's time God's church gets real. Thanks again for stopping by!


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 8 months ago from Southern Minnesota

Hi Bill,

Interestingly upon my return from prodigal living, it was the above mentioned type ministries teachings that I began with. Through the years the Lord has refined me through the understanding of His Word and truth and have since moved away from these types of teachings.

I think this is the problem with these kinds of ministries...Not knowing the scriptures in entirety and in context. "Lifting" verses is common and this confused me when I began to search the scriptures for myself and learned that the applications they had given to certain portions of text were not in concert with the larger themes and surrounding concepts and patterns.

Sadly many people are only getting their knowledge of Biblical truth from television ministries and content to do so.

These ministries also make their appeals to the "self" in all of us and becomes the entire focal point, rather than glorifying God as is the main point of all of scripture. It preaches the Gospel of personal "happiness" and comfort filled existence on the planet. It teaches a very "this life" focus rather than an eternal one.

Blessed and informative read.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 8 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

"It preaches the Gospel of personal "happiness" and comfort filled existence on the planet. It teaches a very "this life" focus rather than an eternal one." I think that sums it up. Nothing else need be said. Thanks Tammy!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Bill

Amen bro! Many of those who preach the 'health and wealth' doctrine often forget things like Paul telling Timothy to "take a little wine for the stomach" and a few other instances.

I enjoyed this 'refreshing' hub!

Lawrence


lifegate profile image

lifegate 8 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Lawrence. You made a good point about Paul and Timothy. Thanks for adding that. It shouldn't be overlooked. Now I need to get over to your page and see what I've missed. It's been a very busy week, but now I have some time. As always, thanks for stopping by!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 8 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

I am so glad you started following me, otherwise I would've not known you. I sat glued to your message. I was brought up in a Pentecostal environment. My grandmother, Minnie died with diabetes because she believed taking medicine was a sin. My mother struggled with religion her entire life, and so did I, but I finally realized that religion is just a word. I asked God for forgiveness and started attending a church and I am happy. God knows our heart's. No one is perfect and we do get sick sometimes, and it's true, we are our worst enemies when we do not take good care of our bodies'. Thank you for a thoughtful message. You have a new follower.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 8 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Glad to be following you, Ruby. Not doing much at TCE these days but will enjoy following you here.

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