The Soft Life Gospel is NOT the Gospel

By Nobuhle Ndlovu
(Co-authored by Khutso Mokgehle)

The term gospel means the good news - according to the Meriam Webster dictionary, the gospel is the message concerning Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation. Just from its meaning, it is clear that the message of the gospel should be centred around Christ. 

Over the years, the message has been distorted. There have been several intruding messages but one that grieves my heart in particular is the "soft-life-gospel". 

The soft-life-gospel emanates from the prosperity gospel - where people are lured to Christ using materialistic gain. So, since the fishing bait was material gain, the message has to continuously promise materialism in order to sustain church membership. We need to note that this soft-life gospel is not consistent with scripture. 

My main thing against the soft-life-gospel is that it robs us of experiencing God in our seasons of waiting. It robs us of the opportunity to “let patience have her perfect work”. It robs us of sharing in Christ’s sufferings as we wrestle our flesh and conquer through endurance and self-control. 

The early church rejoiced in suffering, particularly for Christ; "So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name" Acts 5:41 - they knew and understood that suffering was part and parcel of the gospel, it was a privilege to suffer for Christ. 

The early church suffered persecutions, hunger, thirst, beatings and many more (2 Corinthians 11:24-29) - and when they encouraged each other they said "consider it all joy ... when you encounter various trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance" James 1:2-3. They knew that the soft life was not promised, they were content and soldiered on. They understood that the trials were actually making them stronger as their faith was tested, thus producing perseverance. 

The soft-life-gospel makes us weak Christians who give credit to the devil even in moments where God is brewing His glory. Even when God knows that we are being purified through these trials, we often focus on the devil and fight an unnecessary fight. 

We lose amazing opportunities to minister and the overall experience of God because we’ve welcomed a gospel that elevates comfort over the cross!

Don’t get me wrong God doesn’t mind giving us nice things. However, His mandate and glory far supersede our luxury and happiness. He is a Father who promises to take care of all our needs (Matthew 6:25) and He really does, but His plan for salvation is greater than providing a soft life - and once we grasp this as Christians, we begin to understand that He has given us everything in Christ and that His provision for our daily needs is indeed the "rest" as Jesus Christ states in Matthew 6:33.

When we truly die to self, we find that delighting in God and what He delights in brings the ultimate satisfaction and happiness.  

I pray that we always remember that Christ is the reward. Materialistic gain has nothing to do with our salvation, therefore it is not the good news. Let us continuously work hard with our hands, pray that God will help us succeed with our academics, jobs and business bearing in mind that whether all goes well or wrong, we were never promised the soft life. 

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Habakkuk 3:17-18