True Prosperity

by Gloria Copeland

In order to prosper, you must first have a prosperous soul. That's the beginning of the prosperous life. But how do you get there?

My journey to the prosperous life began years ago when I read Matthew 6:33 in a Bible Ken's mother had given him: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." In The Amplified Bible it says to seek "His way of doing and being right." That's the foundation of God's prosperity. When I found that verse, I was ready to try God's way since I needed a lot of things and my way wasn't working.

I discovered that God's prosperity isn't just financial blessings. It also includes healing, protection, favor, wisdom, success, well-being and every good thing you could possibly need—all the good things Jesus paid for you to have.

He took our place and bore the curse of our sin so we can live in the blessing. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ." (Galatians 3:13-14).

Isaiah 53:5 says, "The chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole" (The Amplified Bible). The Hebrew word for peace in this scripture is shalom. It basically means "nothing missing, nothing broken," or wholeness in every area of your life—spirit, soul and body.

That kind of prosperous life doesn't just happen. And it doesn't happen overnight. But the foundation for true prosperity begins with these seven steps:

  1. Walking in truth
  2. Faithfulness
  3. Diligence
  4. Tithing
  5. Sowing
  6. Believing
  7. Saying

So let's briefly take a look at each one of these key elements to walking in prosperity.

Walking in Truth

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (III John 1).

If I told you about heaven, I couldn't give you any firsthand information because I haven't been there. But when I teach on prosperity, that is something I have experienced from minus zero to abundance. Kenneth and I have been walking by the laws of abundance for 33 years.

We weren't exactly walking in prosperity when we married. I wore a $2 veil with the white cotton dress my mother made for the wedding. Ken's friend married us at his home. His wife baked a cake. We even borrowed $100 for our honeymoon. We had no money and no wisdom. You would be hard pressed to find a couple that was more pitifully ignorant than we were at that time.

But then something happened that totally changed our lives. We began to hear the truth of the Word of God. First we got born again. We were changed inside, but outwardly you couldn't tell much difference in us. Once we were filled with the Holy Spirit, there was some outward change, but not a lot because we were still ignorant of the Word. The real changes in our outer lives came when we started walking on the Word and letting the wisdom of God become our way of life. Everything began to change!

We found that the first step to increase is walking in truth. That means walking in the light of God's Word, according to His ways, His wisdom, what He says is right. You can't do that and not be blessed. Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32).

I'm not just talking about reading scriptures about prosperity. You prosper when you walk in all the words God says to you. That's the wisdom of God.

Walking in truth is living a godly lifestyle—living in obedience to what God says is right. The blessings God outlined in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 manifest as a result of obedience. "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee…" (verses 1-2).

God has always blessed an obedient people. Isaiah 1:19 says, "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." God can do something with a person who has a willing heart. In fact Psalms 25:12-13 in The Living Bible promises that when you fear the Lord, "God will teach [you] how to choose the best. [You] shall live within God's circle of blessing…."

One of the first things God taught us was to stay out of debt—and we obeyed Him! That was big to us in those days. We started where we were and that meant believing God to pay the overdue bills. But increase came as we were willing and obedient to walk in the truth of the Word.

And increase can come to you also. God desires for you to live within His circle of blessing. It is His will for you to increase.

Faithfulness and Diligence

"His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:21).

The force of faithfulness is a fruit of the spirit that you received when you were born again. Webster's dictionary defines faithful as "full of faith, believing, strong or firm in one's faith, firmly adhering to duty, a true fidelity, loyal, true to allegiance, constant in the performance of duties or services."

A faithful person consistently does what is right, even if it looks like it could be to his disadvantage. Psalms 106:3 says, "Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right" (New International Version). We can't be godly without being faithful because faithfulness is God's character:

It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23, The Amplified Bible). God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (I Corinthians 1:9, The Amplified Bible).

II Chronicles 16:9 says God is looking for faithfulness, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…." The Hebrew word for perfect there means "loyal, devoted, dedicated, faithful."

Kenneth and I have had financial trouble, challenges with sickness and other things, but when we have stood on the Word and refused to give up, God has always answered our faith with His action!

Once you find a promise in the Word, don't disqualify yourself from receiving by saying, "God would never do that for me." Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Let God's Word change your thinking. You will prosper in any area as your soul [mind, will and emotions] prospers in understanding about that area from the Word, and you take that knowledge and act on it. Your inner man prospers when you believe the Word. Your circumstances prosper when you receive what He says and act on it.

Be faithful to keep meditating the promises in the Word until they overtake your life. Everything you receive from God starts with the Word in your heart. Proverbs 4:20-23 says, "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Faithfulness will energize you to be diligent even if you have never been that way in the natural.

The Word repeatedly says we are to diligently seek God, hearken to what He says and obey His commands. Why? Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says when you hearken diligently, blessings overtake you! Because ".he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). Diligence increases you. As Proverbs 10:4 says, "The hand of the diligent maketh rich."

Be diligent and faithful to God in your natural life as well. Make a decision to be faithful on your job, at your church, in your prayer life and in putting the Word first place in your life.

Our soul prospers as we spend time in the Word, believe it and create a lifestyle of obeying God. The result will be what I John 3:22 says: "And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we [watchfully] obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him" (The Amplified Bible).

The number one law of receiving is don't quit! Stay with the Word. Stay with what God has told you to do. Even if you make a mistake, repent and get back on track. That's faithfulness. It's part of the prosperous life because "a faithful man shall abound with blessings." (Proverbs 28:20).

Tithing and Sowing

"Honor the Lord with your capital and sufficiency.and with the firstfruits of all your income; so shall your storage places be filled with plenty, and your vats shall be overflowing with new wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10, The Amplified Bible).

Ken and I never had any financial growth until we became faithful in tithing. At first it looked impossible to give that 10 percent. But when we did, the 90 percent we had left went further than the 100 percent we had before.

Tithing is a covenant transaction that gets God involved in what you are doing. The first 10 percent of your income—the tithe—belongs to God. The Bible calls it firstfruits. It's devoted to God, and it goes to support ministries that feed you spiritually.

Tithing is how you honor God with your money. It makes a way for God to bless you supernaturally.

Notice Malachi 3:8-10 says we are to bring all the tithes to God. It also says by doing so God will open the windows of heaven and bless you "That there shall not be room to receive it!" You don't want to keep anything that belongs to God. Leviticus 27:30 declares, "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord."

Real tithing is done with the heart and with the mouth, in faith. God's people were commanded to bring their firstfruits: "And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house…" (Deuteronomy 26:10-11). They were to recount how God had delivered them out of bondage. And they were to worship Him and rejoice for all the good He had given them.

Whatever we do must be in obedience and in faith for God to be pleased with it.

Everything we do toward God must come from our heart. Otherwise it doesn't count. Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." (John 6:63). We are to give with a willing heart, as an honor to God, and worship Him with our tithes. Then He is in partnership with us.

After we tithe, we are to sow according to what the Lord lays on our heart, and we are to do it with the right attitude. The Hebrew word for offering comes from a root word that means to "draw nigh." We draw nigh to God with our offering. II Corinthians 9:6 says: "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."

The Scripture plainly says you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7). If you desire to be a receiver, you have to be a giver. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38).

Tithing is supernatural—don't miss out on the benefits. God has an interest in your finances—He desires to increase you and bless you because He loves you.

Believing and Saying

"We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak" (II Corinthians 4:13).

The Bible says several times, "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). Abraham was blessed because he lived by faith. He believed God. We're supposed to live the same way: "So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham" (Galatians 3:9).

Faith must be in two places—in your heart and in your mouth. "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach" (Romans 10:8). Believing in your heart and saying with your mouth produce the operation of faith.

"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith" (Mark 11:23).

Kenneth and I learned to take the Word literally as God speaking to us. We learned if we put it in our eyes, put it in our ears, and let it get down into our hearts in abundance, it would come out our mouths in faith-filled words and it would change our lives and circumstances.

We realized all that stood between us and walking in the dream God had for us was knowing what is in the Book and doing it. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Joshua 1:8).

The seven keys I've shared are how Ken and I laid a foundation for the prosperous life—and this is how we maintain it. I can tell you from experience, these are the first seven steps to increase, no matter what you need.