Wake-Up Call: The Real Prosperity Gospel

Exodus 15:22a (ESV)

Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur.


Let’s be honest. We want a trouble-free life. We want our lives to be easier, not harder. We want to struggle less, not more. We expect that after a lifetime of cruel slavery and a cataclysmic deliverance like the Red Sea, we might be in for a nice, extended vacation at the beach.

Instead of getting the beach, the Israelites got the desert.

But what if God’s purpose is not to make our lives easier but our souls stronger?

This is the meaning of the wilderness.

We want to get out of the wilderness and into the promised land, but what if the wilderness is God’s plan—not forever, but for a season? What if, in fact, the longer we resist the wilderness, the longer it will last? What if the sooner we submit to the Spirit’s wilderness work in our lives, the sooner we enter into the destiny of God’s promise for our lives?

And this kind of thinking, my friends, is our problem. As I wrote the last paragraph I wanted it to be true, but the Spirit chided me. I have chosen to leave it in order to demonstrate just how seductive this kind of thinking can be. We think the wilderness is the exception, a short break from an otherwise prospering life. What if the wilderness is actually the rule? What if the will of God in the wilderness is to teach us the true meaning of prosperity—that it does not rise and fall with the tides of the stock market or our health or any other set of the myriad circumstances constantly befalling us? The real prosperity gospel is the Father blessing us through Jesus with us and the Holy Spirit filling us—all the time, no matter what, come what may.

The apostle Paul shows us the outcome of a wilderness tested soul:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:11–13)

Let’s ask the question again. What if the sooner we submit to the Spirit’s wilderness work in our lives, the sooner we enter into the destiny of God’s promise for our lives? See the flaw in this thinking? It’s like I’m saying the sooner we get the lesson of the wilderness, the sooner we get out of it. Here’s the real question: What if the destiny of God’s promise for our lives is different than we thought? Though the prosperity gospel intends well, it misses the point. In the kingdom of God, prosperity is not tied to our circumstances.

Here’s the lesson: God’s promises and prosperity transcend our circumstances—need or plenty, hungry or full. The secret is Christ in me. This is why the wilderness is the proving ground of the Holy Spirit, who takes our circumstances and translates them into the deep formation of Jesus Christ in us. And this is the meaning of the wilderness—the strengthening of our souls in the midst of struggle through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The old hymn says it best, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot thou has taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’”


Father, train my soul to prosper in the prosperity of your kingdom, in the way of your Son, Jesus. Gift me with the mind of Christ and grace me with the fellowship of the Spirit. Show me your will in the wilderness that I might become truly wise and ever enjoy your consolations. I pray in Jesusname, amen.


How difficult will it be to shift your mindset from trying to escape the discomfort of the wilderness to embracing Gods purpose and prosperity in the wilderness? Why is this?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

6 Responses

  1. Our prosperity is Christ dwelling in us demonstrating to our hearts and minds his greatness against this present world’s insignificance through our complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit who transforms our souls as we behold our savior’s response to a cursed world which seeks to destroy us. For the Glory of the Father, they care for us, providing all we need as through God’s love we overcome ourselves and the evil surrounding us by trusting in Jesus alone for every thing in our lives.

  2. Although this analogy of this present life in Christ will be our time spent in the wilderness, we should keep in mind that it’s God’s intent to make us fit for life in the promised land on the other side of the Jorden (death). We are being groomed for eternal life in the restored Garden of Eden. With this in mind, we can be content regardless of our external circumstances. Like another old hymn states, “ I’m but a stranger here, heaven is my home.”

  3. Learning to be content in Christ doesn’t mean I won’t experience heartache, moments of confused indecision, or an unexpected, undeserved tragedy.
    Holy Spirit inspired James wrote in Chapter 1, verses 2-3; “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
    Lacking nothing is being joyfully content in Christ in all things.
    I can only be this when I am loving as Christ loves.
    I’m learning.

  4. Wow, JD – just WOW!!

    You said so much good stuff in today’s Daily Text about the wilderness and true prosperity. If you have a Daily Text “Hall of Fame”, this gets my vote for entry.

    Thank you!

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