Ready or Not

There is a lot of controversy currently taking place over Victoria Osteen's recent comments on
worship.  In case you missed her speech, here's a clip of her message:  "So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy," she said. "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?"

Well, first off, that's blasphemy.  Secondly, it's idolatry.  It is putting ourselves and our happiness before God.  Some have tried to explain that what she was really trying to say was that worship should be a delight and not a drudgery, and while I agree with that, that is certainly not what she said.  What I take away from her message is that we do good, not because it is right and commanded by God, but because it will make us happy in the end.  According to her, I should worship because it makes me feel good, whether it's glorifying to God or not.  Well, how can it be glorifying to God if I'm doing it for myself?  That's ridiculous!

The question was asked how people can listen to this kind of teaching week after week and never realize that these are false teachers.  How do they miss the truth?  Why can't they see the lies?  I believe the answer is that they don't want to.  To illustrate, I'll use the three examples below:

1) Ted has started a new diet, and he is determined to have a healthy salad with every meal.  So, true to his word, he fixes a salad, complete with lettuce, carrots, peppers, onion, cucumber, squash, radish and other assorted fresh vegetables.  But then, he drowns the salad in a high-fat, highly-processed salad dressing.  Is Ted still eating healthy?

2) Felicity was told by the doctor that she needed to include more fruits in her diet.  For the first few days, she lived by the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  But pretty soon, she grew bored with fresh fruit and started examining other ways to obey the doctor's orders.  She began making caramel apples, candied apples, peach cobbler, chocolate-covered strawberries, blueberry pie and other fine baked goods.  Felicity convinced herself that her new delicacies were just as healthy as eating the fruit on its own, and besides, they certainly tasted better.

3) Jesse was overweight--dangerously overweight.  And unfortunately, he had a terrible habit of eating fast food on a regular basis.  When Luke finally decided to do something about his weight, he opted for a low-carb diet plan.  But instead of fixing healthy, low-carb meals at home, he continued to eat at fast food restaurants, opting to eat their salads and burgers without the bun.  Unsurprisingly, his weight only increased and his health continued to deteriorate.  Several friends tried to point out that his plan would work if he would simply cut out the fast food and replace it with home-cooked meals, to which he replied, "Probably, but this tastes better."

In each of the above examples, the person had the chance to improve his/her health by adding quality nutrition to his/her diet.  But their efforts were for naught when they began implementing their own plans to make the nutrients taste better.  All of their additions turned healthy meals into unhealthy foods.  The quality food lost most or all of its benefits when it was combined with sugars, fats, starches and other empty calories.  That's what the world is doing with God's Word.

Let's face it, some of the truths in the Bible are hard to swallow.  They don't taste good.  No one likes to be told that he/she is on the way to hell.  It's hard to hear that the best we can do will never be good enough to get us to Heaven.  It's not pleasant to know that hard times in life are a guarantee, and there's nothing we can do about it.  These truths are difficult to hear, so people would rather not.  They'd rather hear someone tell them that everything is going to be okay.  They prefer to hear that whatever makes them happy is just fine, and it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.  They relish in the knowledge that God is good and that He wants nothing more than for all of us to be happy.  They don't care if it's true or not, just as long as it tastes good.  That's all that matters to them.

It breaks my heart and makes me wonder how many of these people are going to stand before God one day and try to explain why they didn't want to hear the truth.  But their excuses won't matter, and God will say, "Depart from me, for I never knew you."  How happy will they be then?

Oh, dear friends, we are in a battle for souls, and with false teachers like this spreading their lies across the world, the battle is growing more difficult.  People are eating this up!  They love it!  They are buying the books and attending the meetings.  And all the while, they are thinking and believing that they have God.  But there is a big difference between knowing about God and actually knowing God.  It is up to us to spread the truth.  But in order to do that, we have to know the truth.  That's why it's so important to read and study the Bible every day, to attend church and Sunday School and to fellowship with like-minded believers.  We can't share what we don't know.  Otherwise, we'll be no better than these false teachers.

The battle is raging.  Are you armed and ready to fight?

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. - II Timothy 4:2-4