In case you have not heard, there is a video going around showing Victoria Osteen, Joel’s wife, making an absurd statement about our happiness. She is basically saying that we do the things we do because they make us happy. Here is a snippet from Matt Walsh’s blog:
In the clip, Mrs. Osteen implores the audience to “realize that when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God… we’re doing it for ourselves.” As her proud husband nods approvingly, Osteen continues. “Do good for your own self. Do it because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really — you’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”
Amen! What wonderful blasphemy! Worship God for yourself. Do good works for yourself. Take up your cross, suffer the slings and arrows of the Enemy, and die with Christ for yourself. (OK, she didn’t say that last part, but only because the Osteens have a strict “don’t talk about Jesus” preaching policy).
You see, to those who preach the prosperity gospel, there is no room for Christian suffering. That isn’t permitted. In fact, Osteen would be hard pressed to even mention that Christ suffered on the cross. But since he rarely mentions Jesus at all, it will never come up.
I know that many lament the fact the Osteen is leading so many astray. But the responsibility doesn’t lie with Osteen to preach faithfully. It lies with the congregation. They are the ones who cannot stand sound doctrine. They are the ones who put forth preachers to tickle their ears. They are the ones who continue to support this rube. Listen to the words of Paul
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
The point is that Osteen’s congregation are the very people that the Apostle Paul was speaking of 2,000 years ago. They are the ones who enable Osteen to be what he is because this is what they want and are asking for.
If you were to mention the suffering we endure as believers, they would want nothing to do with it. They want nothing to do with picking up their crosses and following Christ to the cross. They want nothing to do with the thought of sacrifice and true obedience. They want a god who is a god of fleshly pleasures and desires. The fact that the true and living God is a holy God is too much for them to handle. They are those who do not want the truth because it might be too upsetting for them.
This is why it is so important for churches to choose their pastor’s wisely. Does you pastor truly preach God’s word? Does he address the unhappy realities of sin, judgment and the hell that we deserve? Does he speak about the depths of our sinfulness and the need for continual and constance repentance? Does he preach in context of what the Bible says overall? And does he preach about the future hope we have in the gospel and the present realities of the gospel?
Osteen would be hard pressed to even mention the theme of Scripture: God’s glory. He is too busy mentioning our glory and that is what his congregation wants. They want their best life now… and, sadly, they’ve go it.
For more, read Albert Mohler’s article: The Osteen Predicament — Mere Happiness Cannot Bear the Weight of the Gospel.