I just wanted to share this article that was written by my husband Pastor Justin Cohen and printed in the Philadelphia Daily News.
Printed in the Philadelphia Daily News 2003
Beloved, I pray that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers." III John 2 (NKJV).
An often quoted scripture, but often improperly.
The "Prosperity Gospel" as it is sometimes referred to, has used this one scripture out of context and used it as a pretext to teach an unbalanced view of the Kingdom of God and created an entire faction within Christianity that is focused on money and selfishness.
The Bible warns us that there will be those who are "…men of corrupt minds destitute of the truth who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself." I Timothy 6:5 (NKJV)
So what is true Biblical prosperity?
The answer to that question lies in the correct understanding of the word "prosperity" and the correct explanation of the phraseology of the verse.
The word "prosper" in the original Greek means to "have help along the way" or to "aid in reaching".
This of course presupposes that there is a destiny in mind and a method of getting there.
In Christianity, our destiny is godliness, not as a means of gain, but in our character.
The method by which we get there is called discipleship.
Notice the phrase in the verse "even as". This means to the same extent or to the same degree as. So the level of our prosperity in all areas of our life is dependent upon and directly proportionate to the degree that we prosper in our soul.
What is the soul and how do we prosper in it?
Our soul is our mind, our will, and our emotions, in other words our thoughts, desires and feelings.
We will prosper in our minds through learning the Word of God and having our mind renewed.
We will prosper in our will as we pray, praise and worship Jesus allowing Him to transform and conform our will to His.
We will prosper in our emotions as a natural result of the prospering in our mind and will.
If our thinking is right and our desires are right, we will feel right.
This must also be in conjunction with a disciplined lifestyle that includes diet and exercise (notice the scripture prosper AND be in health).
In summary, true Biblical prosperity is the result of prospering in our soul which is the direct result of the process of discipleship.
Prosperity is not just financial. It is to permeate every area of our life.
We need to remember that God "…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…"
The goal is godliness, not money. If we commit ourselves to godliness of character through discipleship we will have everything that we need to succeed in life.
Finally, the Bible warns us "…the prosperity of fools will destroy them." Proverbs 1:32 (KJV)
So don't be fool – be a disciple – and prosper!