What is prosperity?
PROSPERITY, according to Webster, is an advance or gain in anything good or desirable, successful progress toward, or attainment of a desired object. Prosperity does not mean the same thing to any two persons. To the wage earner an increase of a few dollars in the weekly income may seem like wonderful prosperity, for it means an increase in the comfort and welfare of his family. The man who engages in vast enterprises reckons prosperity in larger terms, and does not consider himself prosperous unless things are coming to him in a big way. Between these extremes are many ideas of prosperity, which shows quite plainly that prosperity is not in the possession of things but in the recognition of supply and in the knowledge of free and open access to an inexhaustible storehouse of all that is good or desirable.
Explain the prosperity law that Jesus gave.
In the great Mind of God there is no thought of lack, and such a thought has no rightful place in your mind. It is your birthright to be prosperous, regardless of who you are or where you may be.
Jesus said to all men, "Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." This does not mean that if you belong to a certain church you will be prospered, for "righteousness" is not conforming to some particular religious belief but to the law of right thinking, regardless of creed, dogma, or religious form. Get into the prosperity thought and you will demonstrate prosperity. Cultivate the habit of thinking about abundance everywhere present, not only in the forms of imagination but in forms without. Jesus did not make a separation between the two as though they were at enmity. He said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." Put things in their right relation, the spiritual first and the material following, each where it belongs, and render to each its own.
What relation has a prosperity consciousness to wealth in the outer?
Realize first of all that prosperity is not wholly a matter of capital or environment but a condition brought about by certain ideas that have been allowed to rule in the consciousness. When these ideas are changed the conditions are changed in spite of environment and all appearances, which must also change to conform to the new ideas. People who come into riches suddenly without building up a consciousness of prosperity soon part from their money. Those who are born and bred to riches usually have plenty all their life even though they never make the effort to earn a dollar for themselves. This is because the ideas of plenty are so interwoven
into their thought atmosphere that they are a very part of themselves. They have the prosperity consciousness, in which there is no idea of any condition under which the necessities of life could be lacking.
What is the "sin of riches"?
We are sometimes asked whether we advocate the accumulation of riches. No. The accumulation of riches, as has been explained, is futile unless it is the outgrowth of a rich consciousness. We advocate the accumulation rather of rich ideas, ideas that are useful, constructive, and of service to the well-being of all mankind. The outer manifestation of riches may follow or it may not, but the supply for every need will be forthcoming because the man of rich ideas has confidence in an all-providing power that never fails. He may not have an extra dollar, but his ideas have merit and he has confidence, a combination that cannot fail to attract the money to carry him forward. This is true riches, not an accumulation of money, but access to an inexhaustible resource that can be drawn on at any time to meet any righteous demand. When a person has this rich consciousness there is no necessity for laying up gold or accumulating stocks and bonds or other property to ensure future supply. Such a one may be most generous with his wealth without fear of depletion, because his rich ideas will keep him in constant touch with abundance. Those who have the thought of accumulating material wealth, a thought that is dominant in the world today, are unbalanced. They have a fear of the loss of riches
that makes their tenure insecure. Their prosperity is based on a wrong idea of the source of riches and eventually means disaster. The sin of riches is not in the possession but in the love of money, a material selfishness that leads to soul starvation.
What causes crop failure and famine in some countries?
It is not a crime to be rich nor a virtue to be poor, as certain reformers would have us think. The sin lies in hoarding wealth and keeping it from circulating freely to all who need it. Those who put wealth into useful work that contributes to the welfare of the masses are the salvation of the country. Fortunately, there are many in this country who have the prosperity consciousness. If we were all in a poverty consciousness, famines would be as common here as they are in India or China. Millions in those lands are held in the perpetual thought of poverty and they suffer want in all its forms from the cradle to the grave. The burden of the poverty thought reacts on the earth so that year after year it withholds its products and many people starve.
Why did Jesus carry no money and own no property?
Universal Mind controls all nature and is in possession of all its products. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof" is a great Truth. Puny, personal man uses all his craft to get control of the products of nature but is always defeated in the end. Only the universal man of Spirit is in indisputed possession, and to him the Father says, "All that is mine is thine." Jesus did not have title to a foot of land and evidently had no money, for the apostles carried whatever funds the company had.
He did not even burden Himself with a tub, as did Diogenes, and "had not where to lay his head." Yet He was always provided with entertainment of the best. He took it for granted that whatever He needed was His. The fish carried His pocketbook, and the invisible ethers furnished the sideboard from which He handed out food for thousands. He was rich in every way for He had the prosperity consciousness and proved that the earth with all its fullness does belong to the Lord, whose righteous sons are heirs to and in possession of all things.
The anxious thought must be eliminated and the perfect abandon of the child of nature assumed, and when to this attitude you add the realization of unlimited resources, you have fulfilled the divine law of prosperity.
The imagination is a wonderful creative power. It builds all things out of the one substance. When you associate it with faith, you make things just as real as those that God makes, for man is a co-creator with God. Whatever you form in the mind and have faith in will become substantial. Then you should be on guard as regards what you put your faith in. If it is material forms, shadows that cease to be as soon as your supporting thought is withdrawn from them, you are building temporary substance that will pass away and leave you nothing. Put your faith in the real or, as Jesus told His disciples, "have faith in God."
What is the only thing that can satisfy human longing, and where is it found?
The real search of all people is for God. They may think they are looking for other things, but
they must eventually admit that it is God they seek. Having once felt His presence within them, they are keenly conscious that only God can satisfy. The place where we meet God should be made so sure and so pure that we can never mistake His voice or be hidden from His face. This place we know as the mind, the inmost recess of the soul, the kingdom of the heavens within us.
Is the law of prosperity limited to thought? What else is needful?
It is not sufficient however to sit down and hold thoughts of abundance without further effort. That is limiting the law to thought alone, and we want it to be fulfilled in manifestation as well. Cultivating ideas of abundance is the first step in the process. The ideas that come must be used. Be alert in doing whatever comes to you to do, cheerful and competent in the doing, sure of the results, for it is the second step in the fulfilling of the law.
Over what is man given dominion by his Creator?
You can do anything with the thoughts of your mind. They are yours and under your control. You can direct them, coerce them, hush them, or crush them. You can dissolve one thought and put another in its stead. There is no other place in the universe where you are the absolute master. The dominion given you as your divine right is over your own thoughts only. When you fully apprehend this and begin to exercise your God-given dominion, you begin to find the way to God, the only door to God, the door of mind and thought.
How can man master his fear of financial lack?
If you are fearful that you will not be provided with the necessities of life for tomorrow, next week, or next year, or for your old age, or that your children
will be left in want, deny the thought. Do not allow yourself for a moment to think of something that must be outside the realm of all-careful, all-providing good. You know even from your outer experience that the universe is self-sustaining and that its equilibrium is established by law. The same law that sustains all sustains you as a part. Claim your identity under that law, your oneness with the all, and rest in the everlasting arms of Cause, which knows nothing of lack. If you are in a condition of poverty, this attitude of mind will attract to you opportunities to better your condition. Insulate your mind from the destructive thoughts of all those who labor under the belief in hard times. If your associates talk about the financial stringency, affirm all the more persistently your dependence on the abundance of God.
Why are prosperity prayers sometimes unanswered?
By doing this you place yourself under a divine law of demand and supply that is never influenced by the fluctuations of the market or the opinions of men. Every time you send out a thought of wholehearted faith in the I AM part of yourself, you set in motion a chain of causes that must bring the results you seek. Ask whatsoever you will in the name of the Christ, the I AM, the divine within, and your demands will be fulfilled; both heaven and earth will hasten to do your bidding. But when you have asked for something, be on the alert to receive it when it comes. People complain that their prayers are not answered when, if we knew the truth, they are not awake to receive the answer when it comes.
If you ask for money, do not look for an angel from the skies to bring it on a golden platter, but keep your eyes open for some fresh opportunity to make money, an opportunity that will come as sure as you live.
These are some tangible steps along the way to the larger manifestation you desire. No one is ever given the keys to the Father's storehouse of wealth until he has proved his faith and his reliability. Then he may go in and pass out the goods freely. If the men of the world, with their selfish ideas of "mine and thine," were given the power, without a thorough mental cleansing, of instantly producing whatever they desire, they would undoubtedly practice still greater oppressions on their fellows, and existing conditions would not be improved.
A stonecutter sees a block of marble as so many hours work, while Michelangelo sees it as an angel that it is his privilege to bring forth. This is the difference between those who see the material world as so much matter and those who look on it with the eyes of mind and the imagination that works toward perfection. One who paints a picture or makes a piece of sculpture first sees it in his mind. He first imagines or images it. If he wants a strong picture he makes force one of the elements of his image. If he wants beauty and character, he puts love into it. He may not see the perfect picture until all these elements are combined, then it requires but little effort to transfer it from his mind to the canvas or to the marble.
What is the true idea of God, and how does man give it form?
On the sixth day of creation, we are told, God "imaged" His man, made him in His image and likeness. This does not mean that God looks like man, a personal being with manlike form. We make a thing in our own image, the image we have in mind for the thing, and our creation does not resemble us in any way. God is without form, for He is Spirit. God is an idea that man has tried to objectify in various forms. He is the universal substance, the life that animates the substance, and the love that binds it together. Man just naturally gives some form to every idea he has, even the idea of God, for the formative faculty of the mind is always at work whether we are awake or asleep. We get material for forming mental pictures from without and from within.
This imaging or formative power of the mind could not make anything unless it had the substance out of which to form it. One could not make a loaf of bread without the flour and other ingredients. Yet with all the ingredients at hand one could not make a loaf unless one had the power of imaging the loaf in one's mind. This seems simple, but the fact is that the power to form the loaf is less common than the available material for the loaf. Flour and water are abundant, but only certain people can use them in the right way to form a palatable loaf of bread. So with this subject of prosperity. Substance is everywhere, filling all the universe. There is no lack. If we have not been successful in forming it into the things we have needed and
wished for, it is not because of lack of substance but of lack of understanding how to use our imaging power.
What causes "depressions" in the affairs of men and nations?
The world goes through periods of seeming lack because the people have refused to build their prosperity on the inner, omnipresent, enduring substance, and on the contrary have tried to base it on the substance that they see in the outer. This outer substance, formed by the imaging power of men in past ages, seems to be limited, and men struggle for it, forgetting their own divine power to form their own substance from the limitless supply within. The lesson for all of us should be to build our prosperity on the inner substance.
Those who do demonstrate prosperity through the law of men have nothing permanent. All their possessions may be swept away in a moment. They have not built on the orderly law of God, and without the rich thoughts of God's bounteousness no one can have an enduring consciousness of supply.
No disease, poverty, or any other negative condition can enter into our domain unless we invite it. Nor can it remain with us unless we entertain it. [Editor's Note: Listen to Why Not Be Rich, clip 74] Conscious power over all such conditions is one of our greatest delights and a part of our divine inheritance, but we must learn the law and apply the power in the right way.
What part does self-control in the matter of sensation play in prosperity demonstration?
Men have a consciousness of lack because they let Satan, the serpent of sense, tempt them. The Garden of Eden is within us here and now, and the
subtle temptation to eat of the tree of sensation is also still with us. We have been given dominion over the animal forces of the body, the "beasts of the field," and must tame them, making them servants instead of masters of the body. Instead of feeding them we must make them feed us. When we overcome the animals within, it will be easy to train them in the without. This truth of overcoming is taught all through the Scriptures, and we can demonstrate it in our life, for God has endowed us with the power to overcome. We must lay hold of that inherent power and begin to use it constructively.
The whole human family seems to be sensation mad. All our economic and social troubles can be traced right back to the selfishness of the sense man. We can never overcome these conditions in the outer until we overcome their causes in the inner soul of ourselves. There is sure to be repetition of war and peace, plenty and famine, good times and depressions until we take the control of mind substance away from the sense man and give it to the spiritual man. We know that there is a spiritual man and we look forward in some ideal way to his coming, but he will never come until we bring him. We hope and pray for the coming of better things; but as Mark Twain said about the weather, "no one does anything about it." We can do something about the matter of self-control and each of us must if we are ever to improve our condition physically and financially as well as morally and spiritually.
We must lift up this serpent of sense, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, and control it in the name of Christ.
What is the relative importance of denial and affirmation in the demonstration of prosperity?
Eliminate all negative thoughts that come into your mind. Yet do not spend all your time in denials but give much of it to the clear realization of the everywhere present and waiting substance and life. Some of us have in a measure inherited "hard times" by entertaining the race thought so prevalent around us. Do not allow yourself to do this. Remember your identity, that you are a son of God and that your inheritance is from Him. You are the heir to all that the Father has. Let the I AM save you from every negative thought. The arrows that fly by day and the pestilence that threatens are these negative race thoughts in the mental atmosphere. The I AM consciousness, your Saviour, will lead you out of the desert of negation and into the Promised Land of plenty that flows with milk and honey.
Who are the real producers of wealth in the nation?
Deny that you can lose anything. Let go of negative thoughts of financial loss or any other kind of loss and realize that nothing is ever lost in all the universe. There are opportunities everywhere, just as there have always been, to produce all that you need financially, or otherwise. God wants you to be a producer of new ideas. New ideas come to you from within. Do not think for a moment that you are limited to the ideas that come from without. Many of those ideas are outgrown anyway and have outlived their usefulness. That is why we go through periods of change; so that old outworn ideas
can be discarded and replaced with new and better ones. There have been more inventions since the beginning of the so-called depression than in any previous similar period of American history. This shows that new ideas are within man, just waiting to be called out and put into expression. We can find new ways of living and new methods of work; we are not confined to the ways and methods of the past. When we commune with the Spirit within and ask for new ideas, they are always forthcoming. When these ideas from within us are recognized, they go to work and come to the surface. Then all the thoughts we have ever had, as well as the thoughts of other people, are added to them and new things are quickly produced. Let us quit slavishly depending on someone else for everything and become producers, for only in that direction lies happiness and success. Let us begin to concentrate on this inner man, this powerful man who produces things, who gets his ideas from a higher-dimensional realm, who brings ideas from a new territory, the land of Canaan.
What is the law of increase as applied to Mind substance?
What kind of character are you giving to this inner substance by your thoughts? Change your thought and increase your substance in the mind, as Elisha increased the oil for the widow. Get larger receptacles and plenty of them. Even a very small idea of substance may be added to and increased. The widow had a very small amount of oil, but as the prophet blessed it it increased until it filled every vessel she could borrow from the neighbors. We should form the habit of blessing
everything that we have. It may seem foolish to some persons that we bless our nickels, dimes, and dollars, but we know that we are setting the law of increase into operation. All substance is one and connected, whether in the visible or the invisible. The mind likes something that is already formed and tangible for a suggestion to take hold of. With this image the mind sets to work to draw like substance from the invisible realm and thus increase what we have in hand. Jesus used the small quantity of loaves and fishes to produce a great quantity of -- loaves and fishes. Elisha used a small amount of oil to produce a great amount of - -oil. So when we bless our money or other goods, we are complying with a divine law of increase that has been demonstrated many times.
How should we prepare for an increased prosperity?
Another step in the demonstration of prosperity is the preparation of the consciousness to receive the increase. If we pray for rain, we should be sure that we have our umbrellas with us. You read in the 3d chapter of II Kings 3 how Elisha caused the water to come from the invisible and fill trenches in the desert. But first the trenches had to be dug in the dry ground. That required faith, but the kings had it, and they dug trenches all over a large valley, just as Elisha had commanded. It was through the understanding of Elisha, who knew the truth about the invisible substance, that this seeming miracle was accomplished. Yet the trenches had to be prepared, and you must prepare your consciousness for the inflow of the universal substance.
It obeys the law of nature, just as does water or any other visible thing, and flows into the place prepared for it. It fills everything you hold in your mind, whether vessels, trenches, or your purse.
Should we be specific and definite in our prayers for increase?
It is not advisable to hold for too specific a demand. You might visualize a hundred dollars and get it when a thousand was coming your way. Do not limit the substance, to what you think you need or want; rather broaden your consciousness and give infinite Mind freedom to work, and every good and needful thing will be provided you. Make your statements broad and comprehensive so that your mind may expand to the Infinite rather than trying to cram the Infinite into your mind.
Statements To Broaden The Mind And Fill It With The Richness Of Substance
Write a prosperity affirmation of your own embodying the four essential steps of recognition, love, faith, and praise.
Infinite wisdom guides me, divine love prospers me, and I am successful in everything I undertake.
In quietness and confidence I affirm the drawing power of divine love as my magnet of constantly increasing supply.
I have unbounded faith in the omnipresent substance increasing and multiplying at my word of plenty, plenty, plenty.
Father, I thank Thee for unlimited increase in mind, money, and affairs.