Saturday, September 22, 2012

Prosperity and Power

This morning I responded to a blog post about the new book by Joel Osteen, one of the prosperity/name it and claim it type preachers.  The guy is going to sell millions of copies of this book. It is another  re-hash of an old formula that is nothing more than a spiritual Amway@ presenters approach to life designed to  make a person feel good about themselves.  It is centered on the individual and not on the Creator.

I then did my daily reading and landed in Luke's Gospel, chapter four. This is where Jesus was Baptized in the Holy Spirit and then went into the desert to fast and pray 40 days. Following that He was tempted by Satan.  He answered  Satan with scripture and returned in the power of the Holy Spirit equipped to minister.  It is an interesting progression.

  1. Jesus was Baptized in the Holy Spirit, receiving the fullness of all God had for Him.
  2. He separated Himself to learn the Father's will for Him
  3. He rejected earthly power, glory and riches for God's will.
  4. Jesus used scripture to state His case and answer the great deceiver, Satan.
  5. Jesus returned to Nazareth in the power   of the Holy Spirit.
  6. He ministered in Nazareth where He and His message were rejected because what He said didn't fit what the people wanted to hear.
It isn't any different today. Jesus sought the Father's will first just as we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Osteen and his ilk tell people to seek the blessing of God and ignore the "seeking first the kingdom". Seeking the kingdom involves repentance, making Jesus both Savior and Lord of your life,  and then nurturing that relationship with God through His word and fellowship with other believers. It doesn't mean claim that new BMW and seven figure job.

It is all about knowing God's will and acting upon it.  Jesus did that. Osteen and his followers don't preach that message (I haven't heard him or others like him do it) and despite the apparent success of his mega church, I wonder how deep is their spiritual soil? When the hard times really come, will they still prosper spiritually or will they wither and wilt when the trials come (Matthew 13:3-9)?

What is your spiritual depth? Will you be able to withstand the coming trials? Do you read God's word daily? Do you fast and pray?  Are you a doer of the word or just a hearer? These are questions I ask myself and frankly, sometimes I don't like the answers.  I need to repent, accept the forgiveness and continue on and continually attend to the spiritual soil of my life. Real power and prosperity comes from doing what Jesus did in the Luke example.

What about you?