I’m not normally one to harp on a point, but the same day I wrote the blog, “And Please Give Me a Million Dollars and Huge Pectoral Muscles” about the American church and how we treat God as if He’s here to serve us, Victoria Osteen got up on stage and graciously drove my point home. Here is a link to the monologue. I’ve left the Bill Cosby quote on the end of it to cleanse the palate after such a disgusting display of self-centeredness.
This is preaching from a river so shallow I can’t even tell if it’s wet. This is what people with a feel-good Christianity eat up, and it’s why we have become so utterly ineffective at reaching those who don’t know Christ. If someone is living a life of hedonism and you offer them another kind of hedonism in exchange, what is the draw? Jesus came to set the captive free, not make him happy. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being happy, but it is not the be all and end all, and it is certainly not the kind of depth that Christ has called us to. Following Christ for the sake of being happy is a faith that will fail as soon as its tested.
Here’s Matthew 5
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
for they will be satisfied.
7God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
9God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
10God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about youc and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
Be happy about it when people mock and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things about you? Is that what it really just said. It most certainly is. All of these things boil down to faithfulness.
Let me tell you what “happiness christianity” does. (small c in christianity on purpose). The amount of money embezzled by church leadership exceeds the total amount of money given to missions to save the lost each year in the United States. You heard that right. Try standing before God and answering that one. But taking that money makes me happy, right? Like the “preacher” Keith Moore said, “Jesus became poor so that we could be rich”. What’s a few dollars here or there that was entrusted to me to advance God’s kingdom?
I wish everyone had the opportunity to go to a third world country and live with the people there. I wish people could see the faithfulness I’ve seen that puts me to shame. They follow God whether they are happy or not. They follow God because He is God, not because He is Santa Clause. I will finish with verses from Revelation 3, from the letter to the church in Laodicia. We might as well replace Laodicia with America.
15“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.