Once, on a 2,000-mile road trip across the American West, I made it a point to listen to Christian radio all along the way. What I heard revealed much about the secret motivations that drive many Christians. Some of the broadcasts would have been hilarious if they weren’t exploiting the gullible—hawking health, wealth and success in the name of Christianity.
Some speakers offered holy oil and lucky charms to those who sent in money and requested them. One said he would mail holy soap that he had blessed. If used with his instructions, the soap would wash away bad luck, evil friends and sickness. Again he promised “plenty of money” and everything else the user wanted.
Christian magazines, TV shows and church services often put the spotlight on famous athletes, beauty queens, businessmen and politicians who “make it in the world and have Jesus too!” Today, Christian values are defined almost totally by success as it is promoted by Madison Avenue advertising.
What Were Your Expectations?
But in contrast, John says in his first epistle,
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17).
The typical media testimony goes something like this: “I was sick and broke, a total failure. Then I met Jesus. Now everything is fine; my business is booming, and I am a great success.”
It sounds wonderful. Be a Christian and get that bigger house and a boat and vacation in the Holy Land. But if that were really God’s way, it would put believers living in anti-Christian countries in a pretty bad light. Their testimonies often go something like this:
“I was happy. I had everything—prestige, recognition, a good job, and a happy wife and children. Then I gave my life to Jesus Christ. Now I am in prison, having lost my family, wealth, reputation, job and health.
“Here I live, lonely, deserted by friends. I cannot see the face of my wife and dear children. My crime is that I love Jesus.”
God does promise to meet our physical needs. And He does, indeed, bless His children materially. But He blesses us for a purpose—not so we can squander those resources on ourselves but so we can be good stewards, using our resources wisely to lead others to God’s saving grace.
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia has been serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. GFA supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. GFA is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through GFA’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.
Read more challenging messages from Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan to help you live like Christ did.