As a Christian and a child of God, hasn't God promised me good health, money and wisdom? Don't I simply have to name it and claim it (as some pastors preach)? And if the answer is yes, why are so many Christians poor, sick and lacking in education?
Well, you've probably already figured out that what appeared to be an easy "yes" isn't so easy. What does God want for "His" people? What exactly has "He" promised us?
Many people are surprised to read that Christ told his followers: "These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Far from guaranteeing that his followers would be healthy, wealthy and wise, Jesus promised them that they would have trouble in this life.
He continued: "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, 'The servant is not greater than his lord.' If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your's also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
That sure sounds like a promise of persecution to me!
Paul wrote to the saints at Corinth: "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed..." (II Corinthians 4:8)
What's up with all of that stuff? Didn't Christ say "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly?" (John 10:10) Yes, eternal life in God's Kingdom (notice that this doesn't necessarily apply to this life).
In his epistle to the Christian Church of the First Century, James wrote: "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." (James 5:14) Oh, so Christians can get sick!
We read in the Gospel According to Mark: "Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!' This amazed them. But Jesus said again, 'Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!" (Mark 10:23-25, NLT) Ok, I guess that wealth is not a common characteristic of God's people!
In speaking to the saints at Corinth, Paul wrote: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise..." (I Corinthians 1:26-27) Oh, I guess that most Christians are not graduates of the world's great colleges and universities!
Brothers and sisters in Christ, God wants you to receive salvation through Jesus Christ and have an eternity of happiness, wealth and bliss in His Kingdom! That's what God has promised you. As for this life, don't forget your seat belt!