"Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart," Psalm 37:3-4.
Everywhere you turn in the evangelical world, you see/hear them, "Give a tithe every week for 7 weeks and if the Lord doesn't bless your socks off, I'll give you the Lord's money back! Or, 'just give x amount of your income and expect God to give you back more than you can imagine.'" There are infomercial hucksters in every corner of the Christian world nowadays that would make a snake oil salesman blush. We can easily spot the TD Jake's, Benny Hinn's and Ed Young Jr.'s for what they are though. What about the run of the mill teaching that is prevalent in the Church that intimates God will bless you materially/personally if you are just obedient enough to Him?
How many times have you heard someone teach that Christ can heal your marriage, your finances, your relationships or hang ups? God certainly can and may do these things. He has done some of these things in my life. Even more, God does want you to seek Him in and through all of these issues, yet the modern approach to ministry, which I believe can be aptly described as moralistic therapeutic deism(Christian Smith coined this term), goes about this in a completely man centered/anthropological fashion. Wise men once wrote, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." The mtd approach, seeks to use God insofar as He can help us. He is a tool to fix our ails, to help us find our significance, purpose or wild heart. We have issues, so does everybody, so we appeal to them not with the Gospel that confronts our sin and need for repentance in the face of a holy God who sent His Son to die for our sins. No, the unbeliever is assured that God loves them and that they really need to ask for His help. He is not angry with their life of willful disobedience and rejection of Him, He just wants to help them with their drinking problem or get them out of bankruptcy and show them financial peace.
This approach is widespread and deadly. Too often the unbeliever is never confronted with their evil heart and its attitude towards God. They begin to follow a bunch of wonderful, biblical advice and their lives change for the better. They may stop accruing debt, stop looking at pornography or they may treat their wife as a precious vase and listen to her more intently. This is all wonderful and good. There is much wisdom to live according to biblical precepts and we should never belittle them but this is not the Gospel. We must never confuse good counsel with life saving medicine. We must never confuse law and Gospel. That is what so many purpose driven/seeker sensitive teachers have been doing for thirty or more years now and it has made a wasteland of the evangelical church. It is a form of the Galatian heresy that seeks to bind men to rules and regulations that they can follow instead of unleashing the truth of the Gospel on their hardened hearts. People find that they can follow these rules and it improves their lives and they find a place where they meet others with the same issues. Yet they have not repented of their sin and they may be twice as much a son of Hell as before! The slow doses of poison they have been fed may have built up an immunity against the true Gospel.
It is interesting that Jesus essentially paraphrases the Psalmist, "If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it will be done for you," John 15:7. Our joy is in the Lord. We love what the Lord loves and hate what he hates. We do not follow the word of God to get God's favor, we follow His word because we love Him and we thirst for Him as a deer pants after water. As we dwell in His pasture and feed on His goodness, He works on our heart and our relationships change, our attitudes change and our lives are transformed. We love people and minister to them because of Him. We enjoy Him, regardless of circumstance, and grace pours through us and people are drawn to Him. All of a sudden, we find that He is giving us the desires of our hearts. Friends, whether or not our we have perfect marriages, debt free finances or addiction(sin, lol) free lives, our delight needs to be in the Lord. Job is a good lesson for all of us when he said, "The LORD gave and the Lord took away, blessed be the name of the LORD." Can you say that? Can you delight yourself in Him, no matter what? Brothers and sisters, let's abide in Him, the true vine and learn, live and love His Gospel.