Monday, May 4, 2009

Treasuring Christ in Catastrophic Situations Part I

Thanks to TV ads, so called Christian Book Store displays, and even supermarket checkout stands, most of you are aware of Joel Olsteen’s book, “Your Best Life Now” You know the one with Joel’s big ol’ smiley face looking straight at you – well, don’t bother to pick it up. It isn’t worth the paper it is printed with. The Premise of Joel’s book, obviously, is that God wants you to experience your best life now – and if you would learn how to harness God’s power in your life – you would be more successful than you have ever been and thus happier than you have ever been. In fact, on pg 41 Olsteen encourages the reader to start each day by “declaring” something like this, “Father, I thank you that I have your favor. Your favor is opening doors of opportunity. Your favor is binging success into my life. Your favor is causing people to want to help me” – and then on pg 51 he says, “If you keep expecting it and declaring it, God’s favor will show up.” And just what does Olsteen mean by favor? Well, it’s hard to miss as you read through the book. If you have God’s favor – you will be very wealthy and healthy. In other words – the book is really just your run of the mill name it and claim it , or what I call – blab it and grab it – prosperity heresy. “God wants to make your life easier.” So when Ps 8:5 says that we have been crowned with honor – Olsteen says it means that God wants to make our lives easier. In fact, Olsteen’s conclusion based on his creative interpretation of Ps 8:5 is this: “Consequently – and I say this humbly – I’ve come to expect to be treated differently. I’ve learned to expect people to want to help me. My attitude is: I’m a child of the most high God. My Father created the whole universe. He has crowned me with favor, therefore, I can expect preferential treatment. I can expect people to go out of their way to want to help me.” Again – Olsteen says, God wants to make your life easier.” Really!? Is that really what God wants for me? Daryl Winegerd – in his critique of Olsteen’s book says of this premise – “I guess I missed that portion of the NT. I must have been preoccupied with Jesus’ teaching about persecution, self-denial, and cross bearing. What would Joel Olsteen say about Paul’s sobering words to Timothy in II Tim 3:12 – “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” Olsteen assures the reader that he is speaking humbly – and yet his arrogance is all too evident in his bold contradiction of the NT, even of Jesus who said of Himself in Mk 10:4 5– “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” One would at least think that the goal would be to show how rich our Father the King is – so that people think good thoughts about our wealthy dad when they see us wealthy Kings kids. But it doesn’t even approach that. The end goal is ME. My health. My Wealth. My ease and my comfort alone. In fact, “I can expect people to go out of their way to want to help me attain it.” Talk about selling people short. My goodness! There’s atheistic humanitarians who have more heart than that. God says in Is 43:7 – that we were created for His glory. We were created for His glory, which alone tells us that our best life now does not terminate on us. If God is going to give us our best life now – then I can guarantee He has something far greater in mind than our measly ease and comfort. Here is the danger and why I bring this topic up at all, especially since the book has been out for almost 5 years, with varying degrees of modification this is how most Christians think. Did you hear what I said? Most believers think like this in their heart of hearts. You say how do you know, or why do you say this? Just listen to prayer requests, or listen to the prayers at most present day prayer meetings: The majority of requests are for temporal or physical things The majority of requests are for our comfort or for our ease Rarely are any requests for spiritual things Even more rare, are the requests scriptural principles or premises Lord willing, it is my design to share with you biblical principles and promises that will enable you to see God’s design and purpose in trials, tribulations, and even temptations. And even more so, I want to demonstrate from Scripture that not only does God design them for us specifically, but this is the way of life for His children in this age and what our response is to be. Unfortunately the bible does not teach us that this life is to be our best life NOW. Our best life does not consist of wealth, health, material possessions, comfort or ease. It consists of knowing God and being known by God. So, over the next few posts, I want to give you an overview of this subject. I want you to come to the place where you are in fact treasuring Christ in catastrophic tribulations! It is my most sincere prayer and heartbeat that you don’t waste your ___________!


pilgrim mommy said...

I'm looking forward to your overview. I know someone who has bought into this whole mindset and uses it as justification for going against what is explicitly commanded in the Bible But I guess the narcissist in mankind's fallen nature, myself included, is already there. Books like this just put words to what is already in fallen man's heart. Also, false teaching like this cheats us out of the real treasure, Christ.

But if we hold fast to Him, God uses the very things that we would dread and run from as the very means to make Christ more precious.

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gregg said...

This is a great comment, I appreciate it. It breaks my heart that people fall into this trap. 4 million copies sold - but you are so right, it is in our heart. The book is a sucess because it is what we want - if we don't come to a place of treasuring Christ. Thank you again for your comments.