I’m sure you’ve come across a couple of believing folks who think that prospering in material things is not a proof of godly living. They often have a cynical disposition towards other believers who live in financial abundance.

What’s more, they attribute any indication of wealth (be it acquiring a bespoke ride or a vast piece of property) to dubious means. In their opinion, whoever must serve God and live a holy life must need endure hardship on earth. He/she must suffer lack and go through all manners of adversity. This, according to them, is the true test of a believer.

Well, here is good news: God is not interested in anyone’s poverty neither does he take joy in a fellow’s misery. Instead, a man’s lack or otherwise is a function of his will/choice.

The bible is the source of inspiration for believers and it informs our manner of thinking and conduct. Hence, when it is misinterpreted, it results in misapplication. Hence, many a heresy has been birthed because people took biblical passages out of context. Let’s take a look at a couple of scriptures many stay-away-from-riches believing folks have misconstrued.

Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch

22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

In the passage referenced, Apostle Paul tells the Christians at Antioch that “we must through much tribulations enter the kingdom of God”. Many have taken this verse out of context to imply that the only way we can make heaven is through suffering or want. On the contrary, Paul was not talking about lack of material things here. Note that he uses the word tribulation.

When properly interpreted, the word ‘tribulation’ speaks of trials and persecutions, particularly for the sake of the gospel. Just in the preceding verses, Paul himself experienced such tribulation when he was stoned almost to the point of death while preaching at Lystra. Hence, that verse is saying “in the course of preaching the gospel and living a godly life, we will encounter persecutions and maltreatments from those who do not believe.

Here is another one:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows – 1Tim6:10.

Many have equated the statement to mean “money is the root of all evil”. Meanwhile, what it says is that the love of money is the root of all evil. What then is the love of money? It’s the inordinate desire to get wealth by all means (by hook or crook). When nothing else matters to a man but only the pursuit of money, he has the love of money. Money by itself cannot be root of all evil since the same money answereth all things. It’s the insatiable lust for it that results in evil.

The Rich Man and Lazarus: A Case Study

The advocates of the Spartan-like Christian living always like to use the account of Lazarus and the rich man as a basis for their belief. From the account, we read that Lazarus lived a miserable life but ended up in heaven while the rich man died and woke in hell. It should however be clarified that the rich man did not surface in hell because he was rich. Rather, he ended up in misery because of his uncharitable lifestyle while on earth.

On the other hand, Lazarus’ pathetic life on earth was never God’s will but his. Verse 21 of that passage tells us that he desired to be fed with crumbs – what a desire! Lazarus did not desire to be healed of his sores and neither did he desire that his story changed for the better. Instead, he desired to eat crumbs. And sure, he got what he wanted.

You won’t have it if you don’t desire it!

A man’s desire/choice is really powerful, even God respects it; for as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he – Pro 23:7. God cannot help a man beyond the level of his desire. For instance, we read of the healing of blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52. Jesus healed him based on his desires: Lord, that I might receive my sight. Yes, Lazarus was godly and all. However, he chose to remain in his sorry state. God was/is powerful enough to heal him and cause him to prosper. Nevertheless, He could not do it without his consent. If Lazarus did not desire it, God could do nothing about it. Therefore, no one should associate God with his or Lazarus’ miseries.

Lessons from Jabez

While Lazarus was content with pain and poverty, Jabez refused to settle for less. While Lazarus desired crumbs, Jabez desired much more. Consider the expression of his desire:

Oh that thou wouldest bless me and enlarger my coast and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!

Surely, God granted his request/heart desire.

Any believer who chooses to live in penury and hardship can do so as long as he keeps God out of his self-imposed misery.

Thanks for reading!

©Ayansola Ibukun

Dear Doomsday Preacher…

Dear Doomsday Preacher,

Seeing that you are bent on being a pain in the believers’ back, I write to give you a piece of advice: Stop seeing things, stay put on earth and get a day job for a change.

In case you don’t know, we are beginning to get irritated with your perpetual doomsday memos. When are you going to quit giving us situation reports from heaven and hell?

Come to think of it, there is no difference between the trips you take to heaven or hell or your revelations of them. When you happen to find yourself in ‘heaven’ (which is always far between) it’s only to tell us that you could only find few believers there and how most of us on earth may not make it there either. Of course, there is no point discussing your excursions to hell – it’s all about the souls of many a great men of God, believers and unbelievers alike languishing in it.

Do you really need to die and return to give us news from the great beyond? Must your mind-travels always leave fear, death and misery in its wake? Soon enough, if care isn’t taken, you will subject yourself to all manners of conscious astral projections and soul travel mediums just to gives us a ‘new message’ from ‘above’.

Why your twisted visions of hell persist

The reason for your constant twisted ‘revelations’ of/from heaven and hell is not far-fetched: the state of your mind. You can’t ‘see’ or perceive beyond your level of knowledge. What you think and believe God to be is what is projected to your thoughts and consequently your unconscious.

Let’s investigate your knowledge base a bit. For instance, you think of God as one who saves and destroys at the same time. For you, He is the supreme bipolar being who keeps alive and kills at his pleasure. Even though He is so loving of his own, he is still going to deny one of His children a pass to heaven because she does make-up or because she doesn’t follow your conceived ‘godly codes of conducts’ (erroneously called doctrine)…

We know why nothing edifying or life-transforming comes from your “revelations” and extra-terrestrial ‘sojourns’. The issue is with your knowledge of God – it needs an overhaul.

Learn from the rich man and Lazarus

Take a leaf from the account of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man, in his pathetic state in hell, would have ‘father Abraham’ send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them of the torment of hell. (Imagine that he still thought of Lazarus as an errand boy even in his pitiful state in hell). Hope you still remember father Abraham’s response to his request: “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them. If they won’t hear them, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead”. Q.E.D.

So brother, in like manner, we have the bible; we have the gospel; we have able ministers of that gospel and we will rather hear them than listen to your damnable messages. What’s more, we don’t need folks like you who ‘come from the dead’ to persuade us.

Also, rather than obsess over visions/revelations of ‘heaven’/hell, Armageddon, the day of the trump of God, etc. get busy with the study of God’s word and preach the gospel of the love of Christ. You don’t need to die and ‘come back’ to give us some ‘breaking news’. You only need to get busy with sound doctrine.


In case you still don’t make sense of all that I’ve said and still need further proof that your case is an isolated one, consider our dear Apostle Paul. Such a man with abundance of visions and revelations. Nevertheless, he chose not to glory in them or confound the church with such accounts. Instead, he stuck to the gospel. All he wanted was to see the knowledge of Jesus covering the earth even as the waters cover the sea. He was busy preaching the ministry of reconciliation and not the message of doom.

So let’s introduce you to Gospel 101: First, the gospel is not in visions and revelations of the spirit realm. Rather, it finds its source and strength in the bible. It’s how that Christ died for sins, rose again, ascended into heaven and forever seated at the right hand of the father (the place of authority). Whoever believes this is saved. The gospel is not about the power of God. Rather, IT’S THE POWER OF GOD. When it is preached and believed on, salvation is birthed. Any other message apart from this is ‘another gospel’ and cursed be he that preaches such – Gal 1:8.

Obsession with hell

Quit your obsession with hell. We are not scared of it. Actually, at redemption, we’ve been rescued from its torment. Rather than pollute the airways with your incessant message of disaster, tell the unbeliever about God’s love for him. Tell him how that He has already paid for their sins with His blood. Get as many of them to believe that message. That way, you would have done your best to decongest that hell.

Quit trying to scare us with the vision/revelation of Christ’ Second Coming. How that you saw Angel Michael about to blow the trumpet but was stopped by God at the last second. No man knows the day of His visitation- not even the angels. The message of Christ’ Second Coming is not meant to elicit fear. We are not scared of it. Rather, we live for it. We hope on and rejoice at His coming. In the meantime, while we await His return, we keep enjoying our state of heaven on earth.

Quit ministering fear all over the place, for there is no fear in love. If you must preach; minister grace, edification and salvation. Until you can, learn to be quiet, rightly divide God’s word and do the needful!

With love,

A Concerned brother

Image Credit:

All Poetry

Time and Date