Today I picked up “Become a Better You”.
My aunt recommended it to me, so I went to B&N and took a looksky. If you’ve never heard of Mr. Osteen, he (according to him) is the Pastor of the largest church in America located in Houston, Texas. His book outlines 7 steps for each man or woman to realize the better things they were born for (getting that better job with a higher salary, having better relationships, achieving your goals and doing it with God’s help). Because God wants you to achieve your goals and believes that you can.
One thing I read in his first chapter, Osteen quoted Psalm 37:4 which states, “…God will give you the desires of your heart”. He said that when you want something, God can help you get it, and this is demonstrated in this verse. My aunt was really excited to tell me about “Become a Better You”. She knew non-Christians who were reading this book. She believes God is certainly at work.
Joel seems to have made a very appealing message very famous, attracting lots of people to his church, and no doubt, making lots of money. But I have to say, I disagree with his message. I do believe that God wants the best for our lives. I agree with Joel when he quotes John 10:10 where Jesus says he wants us to live life to the fullest extent…through him. Joel doesn’t preach that we need to live our lives for Jesus (which is the Bible’s message), Joel simply preaches that we need to live the best life we can, for our own satisfaction. Of course he has crowds of agreement. The real gospel isn’t always so easy to swallow.
Let’s take the first part of Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”. This verse is saying that if we love the Lord, he will shape our desires to match his. He isn’t saying that he will give us whatever we want. God’s desires for our life are often difficult and don’t involve living comfortably and making all our own decisions in our life. He calls us to drop our nets (our lives, our goals, sometimes our desires) and follow him when he calls us. I didn’t see anything mentioned like that in “Become a Better You”. His book is focused on attaining a better life for yourself, never mind what God has to say about your direction. This is all about you.
Yes, Joel’s book is popular. Who doesn’t want to become a better you? But does its popularity make it credible? There are plenty of well-attended churches that preach on hating homosexuals, blowing up abortion clinics and protesting soldiers, but none of these are Biblical practices.
The gospel is much easier to avoid than it is to follow it. There are so many verses to illustrate this, but here are a couple:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. (Romans 14:18 )
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44-45)