"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have" (Hebrews 13:5).
n 1 Timothy 6:6-11, the apostle Paul writes:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
Paul's own testimony gives us a vivid picture of true faithfulness and blessedness: "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need" (Philippians 4:11-12).
Clearly, contentment is a great virtue, especially in times of suffering and poverty. In fact, this is the consistent teaching of Scripture from beginning to end: God's blessing is not measurable by a person's material prosperity. True biblical prosperity is about spiritual health, joy in the Lord, rewards in heaven, and grace in the midst of earthly sufferings. True prosperity has nothing whatsoever to do with material wealth or an abundance of worldly riches. In fact, those things are often hindrances to spiritual blessings.
The wicked often prosper materially, while truly godly people suffer. "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12-13). Christ himself suffered, "leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21).
All of that flatly contradicts the message of the Prosperity Gospelthe so-called "Word of Faith" movement. Word-of-Faith teachers insist that worldly wealth, physical health, and material prosperity are the ultimate gauge of how blessed you are by God.
Furthermore, they say, you yourself are the one who ultimately determines how much or how little of God's blessings you enjoy. You can manipulate God with your words. You have it within the power of your own heart to summon enough faith to claim whatever blessing you want. And if you are not materially prosperous; if you are sick; if you suffer in any way, you are the one to blame because you didn't have enough "faith" in your own ability to create a new reality by making a positive confession. You didn't claim your own dream by faith.
That is a lie from the pit of hell. In John MacArthur's words, the prosperity gospel "is no different from the lowest human religionsa form of voodoo where God can be coerced, cajoled, manipulated, controlled, and exploited for the Christian's own ends." It is rooted in greed. It glorifies the sinner at the expense of Christ. It fosters unbelief and spiritual defeat rather than genuine trust in God and triumph in Christ. It makes faith into a formula for manipulating God, rather than a humble, repentant trust in him.
In fact, Word-of-Faith doctrine flatly contradicts everything Scripture says about faith and the promises of God; about suffering and prosperity; about contentment and covetousness; about the work of Christ and the depravity of fallen humanity. It is the religion of mammon-worship; it is not the way of the cross. In short, it is a false gospel—meaning it is no gospel at all. It is a damning and damnable lie, and those who follow such a false and materialistic religion are on the broad road that leads to destruction.