During a period known as the Healing Revivals of the 1950’s, prosperity theology first became prominent in the United States. Yet, the origins of the prosperity gospel can be traced back to the New Thought Movement which began in the 19th century. Based upon the teachings of Malachi, referencing the storehouses of heaven, those who embrace this theology emphasizes that God will deliver his promises of the Bible for those who believe. Unfortunately, this mindset differs from the ministry of the apostle Paul.
I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents, Acts 20:19.
In a meeting with the elders of Ephesus, Paul gives a farewell address, preparing church leaders for a time when he will longer be with them. Paul’s description of his service is interesting, similar to words shared in Philippi. To avoid becoming prideful, Paul felt led to pursue meekness. Despite the victories Paul experienced, he admits that ministry can be painful, especially when someone you love abandons or leaves the faith.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12.
Warning a community of believers from complacency, Paul suggests to diligently work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Sure, part of the journey of faith is to pray for and cling to God’s promises. However, genuine faith involves overcoming hardship, leaning on God’s grace in times of trials. Thus, as this new year continues, may you follow in the footsteps of the apostle Paul by practicing humility and crying out to the Lord in prayer.
by Jay Mankus