I was shocked to see this video.
I could not believe someone in such a position of “power and authority” over a church could be saying something so blasphemous. Some have called it “heresy.”
This is Joel Osteen’s wife, Victoria Osteen, addressing their congregation that boasts over 40,000 members weekly.
In regards to worship, she states, “We’re not doing it for God… we’re doing it for ourselves.” What? No!
What Victoria Osteen says here is just plain not true. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Lord wants us to worship Him to make us happy. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that “the thing that gives [God] the greatest joy” is seeing us happy. Nowhere does it guarantee we will be happy if we follow Him.
The whole point of this life is to please God, not ourselves. 2 Corinthians 9:11 says, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” And Matthew 5:16 tells us, “let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
It starts and ends with Christ. It’s all about Him. It’s not about us.
Joel Osteen has been called a “prosperity preacher” among other not-so-pleasant things. It seems he tends to only preach on the “positive points” of the Bible. Apparently there is no cross to be seen anywhere in his “church.” And he avoids any topic that might “ruffle any feathers” and deter viewership.
Despite not agreeing with his ministry as a whole, I will admit I have Osteen’s app and enjoy the “Daily Word” section, a verse with a brief commentary and prayer for each day. It’s guaranteed to be uplifting and encouraging.
My dad, who is an amazing man of God and enjoys listening to Osteen’s sermons televised in Texas, makes a valid point:
“This world is harsh enough. We face so much daily that beats us down. Sometimes I just want to listen to a great sermon that I know will be uplifting and encouraging.”
And this is so true and so appropriate. The keyword here being “sometimes.” Osteen – and any other preacher for that matter – should never be our one source of spiritual “input.” We must read our Bible, seek God’s word directly from the source, be in prayer, allow the Holy Spirit to come upon us, and seek wise counsel.
I might enjoy Osteen’s devotionals, but after that, I open up my Bible and read… not just what I want to hear, not just the “happy” parts. The parts that make me cringe. The parts that make me question. The parts that make me wrestle with God.
We live in a society that wants to pick and choose what we accept spiritually. We want only the good and none of the bad. Only the benefits and none of the sacrifice.
What if we only selected parts of our spouses to accept? Parts of our children to accept? Parts of the truth to tell when on trial?
We can’t pick and choose parts of the gospel to accept.
What about the parts of the Bible that say things like, “In this world you will have tribulation…” (John 16:33), that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily, to follow Jesus? (Luke 9:23), that we are “Christ’s slave” (1 Corinthians 7:22), that we “have been crucified with Christ” (Galations 2:20), and that we are a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1)?
While God does not guarantee this life will be easy, or that we will be always be happy, He does guarantee that He loves us dearly. So dearly in fact that He would send His only Son to die for us. And while our brains cannot fully comprehend the the tribulations that come in this life – and they will – they also cannot fully comprehend the fullness of God’s love, mercy, and grace.
God promises that “No eye has seen, no ear has heart, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9), that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17), and that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38).
He promises He will “never leave or forsake” us (Deuteronomy 31:6), that He has plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11). These are promises worth living for.
Let’s accept the gospel in its entirety. Let’s trust Christ with our lives – the good and bad, the triumphs and tribulations, the benefits and sacrifice. And let’s not allow one person, one perspective, or one part to diminish the whole of His truth.