Charles Spurgeon wrote, "As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new covenant is adversity....'Every branch in Me that beareth no fruit He taketh away, and every branch that beareth fruit' - What? 'He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.'"
You know that verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that people quote often, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." This sounds like God does want to prosper us and our future here on earth is filled with hope. However, the KJV of this verse reads, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." This is VERY different than the NIV!
Our "expected end" is spending eternity with the Lord, not being prosperous as so many teachers, even preachers, preach today. This isn't our home and we will experience trials and suffering down here. Michael Pearl teaches that God allows Satan to roam the earth to refine His saints. I don't think preachers of old preached the prosperity gospel since they knew that this isn't what Christians should strive for or expect.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. THIS is what we should aim for. If we have food and clothing, the Lord commands that we be content, yet so many in our society are anything but content. They spend to spend; trying to find fulfillment in spending. "The road to bankruptcy is paved with good deals. The answer to spending less is not coupons or blow-out sales. Shop less. We spend money on spending, then we spend money to warehouse and organize the stuff we spend on. Then we pay to discard it. Then we pay to maintain the landfills where it sits for ever and ever. But the expense of shopping doesn’t stop there! You pay in time and mental health, too.
Prosperity in this life is not something God promises. If we are blessed with material wealth, use it to bless people. If you are not, be content for He Himself has said, "I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you."
Our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness, not in this world and what it has to offer. You will never find satisfaction in shopping and buying new things. You will find deep satisfaction and peace by spending time in His Word and learning from Him. Grow deep roots in Him and know that your final end will be amazing for God is preparing a mansion just for you!
These things I have spoken unto you,
that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.