“All these things will be yours. That is God’s promise to all who believe in him.” This was the recurring line from a passionate preacher on popular Christian radio in Zambia. He explained that the Lord wants to give his children the best things this life has to offer. Only whether we get them or not depends on us. In other words, he promised that if you have enough faith, you can have your best life now.
The preacher promised that if you have enough faith, you can have your best life now.
The preacher repeated that phrase, over and over. “All these things will be yours,” he energetically declared. As I listened I wondered which biblical text he was referencing. So I decided to look it up. It is an actual verse in the Bible. You can find it in both Matthew and Luke’s Gospels. More specifically, however, you’ll find them on the lips of Satan (Matthew 4:9; Luke 4:7). For he spoke them to Jesus, as he tempted him with the things of this world. As someone once remarked, ‘That was a sermon, straight from hell.’
Does Poverty Indicate That I’m Missing God’s Blessing?
Most cultures associate wealth, affluence, and comfort with God’s approval and blessing. By implication, we ascribe poverty and suffering to the evil one. Even the smallest sample of prosperity preaching doesn’t only bear striking similarities to self-help and motivational material, it also reveals the tragically popular notion that you must live your best life now.
Most cultures associate comfort with God’s blessing. By implication, we ascribe suffering to Satan.
For those who aren’t aware, the title of this article plays on the title of a bestselling Christian book. In it, the author claims that if we live out the seven principles he prescribes we’ll be on our way towards a prosperous, happy, healthy, and trouble free life. The assumption behind this sort of teaching is that if you are financially comfortable and physically well then the Lord is blessing you. On the other hand, if you’re struggling or aren’t materially prosperous your life isn’t under God’s blessing but Satan’s curse. This thinking is prevalent in many churches.
We Underestimate Satan’s Schemes
Unfortunately, most of us also have a very stereotypical view of Satan and how he works. In addition to picturing an ugly monster, or a devil with a pointy tail and pitch fork, we believe he wants to make our lives miserable, uncomfortable, and impoverished. But this isn’t a fully rounded biblical picture of Satan.
Yes, Satan is the prince of darkness. He is the lord over witchcraft, sorcery, and various other manners of darkness. However, it is also true that he is at work in places of comfort and abounding affluence. So we wrongly correlate comfort and wealth with God’s favour. This is worldly, materialistic thinking.
Satan’s aim is to destroy God’s people. How he achieves this is immaterial to him.
A quick Bible survey reveals that sometimes the most ungodly people bask in material bliss. Indeed, many are living their best life now. This is not to say God’s people must be poor. Nor am I suggesting that poverty is a badge of honour. The point is this, the evil one uses both pain and pleasure to tempt, deceive, and blind. He schemes to make us foolish and blind. For his aim is to destroy God’s people. How he achieves this is immaterial to Satan. Thus we can say that he is just as much at work in the spiritism of the Nchelenge district in Zambia, the voodoo worship in Haiti, or the material prosperity of New York.
The Christian Life Is Spiritual Warfare
The reality of the matter is that the life of believers is war, spiritual war. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. For the enemy is “the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world…the accuser” (Revelation 12:9-10). He is “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31), and “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Thus we’re at war with a powerful and deceitful enemy. Daily he works, seeking believers to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Whether you live in unbearable pain or abundant pleasure, we are all called to fight a good fight.
Therefore, whether you live in a place of unbearable pain or abundant pleasure, we are all called to fight a good fight (1 Timothy 1:18). We must fight the enemy (1 Peter 5:9; James 4:7), resisting his temptation (Ephesians 4:27), vigilantly standing against his various schemes (Ephesians 6:11). For this we need the grace of God.
You Can Live Your Best Life Now And Die Without God
“All this will be yours.” These are Satan’s alluring words of deception to every believer, whether rich or poor. For the devil is scheming and at work among all people, across social and economic brackets. So instead of jumping at Satan’s deceptive offer, find confidence in the solid truth that our Father has bestowed us with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). Furthermore, we know that in whatever situation, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).