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Joel Osteen and My Concern For You

I have been astounded at how many comments and emails I have received ever since I wrote some of my earlier posts on Joel Osteen. I have simply shown that his teachings do not fit the teachings of the Bible. Regardless of what I present, Joel Osteen is great and I am wrong for showing how his teachings are misleading. So I thought I would reveal more of Osteen’s teachings, with the hope and prayer that this will help people see what he is teaching is not from God and is not biblical.

From Joel Osteen’s book, Your Best Life Now:

What you keep before your eyes will affect you. You will produce what you’re continually seeing in your mind. If you foster an image of defeat and failure, then you’re going to live that kind of life. But if you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you. (pg. 5)

God has so much more in store for you, too. Start making room for it in your thinking. Conceive it on the inside. Start seeing yourself rising to a new level, doing something of significance, living in that home of your dreams. (pg. 8)

Please, allow me to make some points just from logic. If Joel Osteen is correct, then why did the apostles FAIL in having victory, success, health, abundance, and so forth while on the earth? All of the apostles but John were killed for the gospel. Perhaps they did not do a very good job visualizing success and health? Would anyone dare say that their faith is greater than the faith of the apostles?

What should we say to Christians in difficult places, like China and the Philippines? Are they being persecuted and killed simply because they have not enlarged their vision? What about Christians in America who have lost their jobs in the recent economic slowdown? Will you really condemn their faith in God as being weak simply because they do not have riches?

Where do the scriptures ever teach that God will move us into “that home of our dreams” if we simply “conceive it on the inside” and visualize ourselves attaining it?

Now, I will agree that if you always think of yourself failing, you will likely fail. No doubt that negative thinking prevents us from doing the things we could and should be doing (which is what chapter 1 seems to be pointing out). But this has nothing to do with godliness. The scriptures never teach a “think it and it will happen” concept. It is great that you visualize success and you work for that success. But that has nothing to do with faith and spirituality. The scriptures repeatedly condemn the love of money. Jesus pointedly reminded us that we cannot serve God and wealth/possessions. Doing what Joel Osteen is telling Christians to do is to violate Jesus’ teaching.

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:19-24; NLT)

Jesus taught not to put your heart, mind, and treasure in material things. Our goal in life is not to have our dream house. Our goal in life is not to have abundance, wealth, success, victory, or health. The scriptures never teach that any of these things are God’s concern or that we should desire them. If these things are our goal, then we are materialistic and worldly, not godly. We are to seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. Our goal is a relationship with God and living in God’s purposes. But God’s purposes are spiritual, not material.

Please read the book of 1 Peter. The apostle repeatedly teaches that we will suffer for God, not experience success. In fact, Peter says that we should not be surprised when we suffer for doing good (1 Peter 4:12-19).

Defend Joel Osteen all that you like and go crazy on the comment board. But your defense of him, despite the clear teaching of scripture, says that your heart is ensnared in materialism also.