Do you want to be happy? Do you want fulfillment? Do you feel like you were made for success? Then we have an offer for you! It is time for you to live "Your Best Life Now!" Pastor Joel Osteen wants to help you become everything you ever wanted to be because as a child of the King you were made to be rich, successful, at ease, and have perfect teeth just like him. So come on and start claiming everything you ever wanted. Don't worry about the cost, God has already taken care of that. Just start living!
Aside from Osteen's complete lack of Biblical knowledge, fake smile, and his canned repeat sermons there is something far more sinister about his message. It's like we've heard this before somewhere. Can't quite place it? Let me point it out...
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
From the beginning, Satan has tricked humanity into believing that they are made for something more than serving God, that we could actually be God.
And he is still doing it today.
The "Best Life Now" brand of Spirituality isn't about God, Jesus, or even being spiritual in the sense of looking for greater purpose or meaning. It is about inflating the ego of sinful people who have no sense of God and therefore attach God to materialistic success.
When the message of Osteen's "Best Life Now" is held up against the Gospel message preached by Jesus, it is found so completely lacking that one wonders if Osteen has ever actually read the Gospels.
Osteen says "God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh ideas, and creativity."
Osteen says "Your best days are ahead of you."
Jesus said "If they hated me, they will hate you" and "blessed are you when you are persecuted" and "take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow me."
Osteen is merely a false prophet cashing in on humanity's longest running delusion. Namely, that we can have the favor of God and still hold on to our sin. Or, to put it another way, we can reject God's standards and still claim to be good people because we are "happy." And, if we are "happy" it must be proof that God is for us.
The major flaw in this thinking is that the proof of what God thinks of us is found in the cross of Jesus Christ. God has already provided your best life now in the cross. The Christian life is not about what material success we achieve in this world, but about what Jesus Christ achieved for us on the cross. This is what makes Osteen's message and those like him so absolutely insidious.
It takes our attention off of Jesus and places it squarely on us. Even if we are trying to be "good people" and do "good things" with our success, we are still focused on ourselves with the incorrect idea that we can somehow be righteous or see proof of God's favor apart from Christ.
Some have described this as "all the blessings of God without the sacrifice" but it is worse than that because the blessings of God have nothing to do with financial and material success. We simply have to stop thinking that because we did the right thing, God is waiting to give us everything we want.
Jesus has told us that to follow him we must carry the cross of self-denial. Stop looking for meaning, happiness, fulfillment, or favor in anything in this world. You must look to the cross and the cross alone.
Quit defining yourself by your own feelings and take on the identity that Christ gives you as a part of His body that has been redeemed by the cross. Stop thinking about your own happiness and start thinking about Christ's sacrifice and what it means to your life.
The truth is that as long as we continue to ignore the truths of scripture in favor of feeling "happy" or "contented" or "fulfilled" we prove that we have not even begun to enter into denying ourselves and carrying a cross. Do you want to rise Above Reality? Then reject the gods of this reality and follow the God of Heaven and Earth. Learn His ways, His values, His Truth, and Trust Him instead of your own feelings. Your life is not about living "Your Best Life Now."
Your life is about moving from Death to Life through the perfect life, sacrificial death, and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Stop looking at yourself and start looking to the cross.