14 December 2010

What did Jesus (not) say about... God's desire for us in this life?

by Dan Phillips

"God wants you to have your best life right now."



Dan Phillips's signature

28 comments:

lee n. field said...

Duh. "take up his cross and follow me."

Robert said...

"'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'" (Matthew 6:19-21)

Jesus tells us to store up treasures in heaven. That means that our best life is there. Just before this, Jesus talks about the Pharisees and how they get their reward from men and have no reward from God. Those are the ones who were seeking their best life on earth back then. If we seek our rewards here, then we will have no reward from God.

Tom Chantry said...

I still say MacArthur's (I think) response to this line was the best.

Paraphasing: Joel Osteen is telling the truth; if you follow his teachings, this - now - will be your best life.

donsands said...

"If you ask Jesus into your heart he will help you get A's on all your test papers."

This was an actual testimony at a Luis Palau "festival".

Robert said...

Tom,

You are correct...MacArthur did a series addressing the book by Osteen. I've heard it and he does a wonderul job of dismantling Osteen's book. If you are bound for hell, this is definitely the time for your "best" life. I guess best all depends upon perspective...

Pierre Saikaley said...

The false teachers use the Word like a mantra or a creative force to shape their own lives for worldy success. Like little gods they "speak to their mountains" to become rich, well, and prosperous now. They even have bound God to do their will.

In contrast Jesus promised suffering, trouble in this world, and persecution to those who follow Him and His Word.

The outcome is that Jesus' promise leads to eternal life and everlasting riches that cannot perish, while those who already have their good things now will perish with their crumbled worldly wealth.

Jesus true folloowers are those whom God has bound to His Word and do His will, not vise versa.

Phil said...

I'm glad you said this. I'm so tired of pastor Ray Johnson from Bayside Live! giving that line every 5 seconds.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Jesus did utter John 10:10, however. We need not understand "best life" in the Osteenian sense.

DJP said...

"Need not" but legitimately could?

thomastwitchell said...

"My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

The NLT.

DJP said...

...in which they have to carry a cross, deny themselves, die daily, and be hated by all.

Brilliant.

Mike Westfall said...

...if by "best life now," you mean possibly being featured in Foxe's Book of Martyrs.


Or are you saying you're planning on going to Hell after this life is over?

Johnny Dialectic said...

Tozer is the best answer to Osteenism on this topic. To wit:

"It is amazing to me! There are people within the ranks of Christianity who have been taught and who believe that Christ will shield His followers from wounds of every kind.

If the truth were known, the saints of God in every age were only effective after they had been wounded. They experienced the humbling wounds that brought contrition, compassion and a yearning for the knowledge of God. I could only wish that more among the followers of Christ knew what some of the early saints meant when they spoke of being wounded by the Holy Spirit....

In every generation, the people who have found God have been those who have come to the end of themselves. Recognizing their hopelessness, they have been ready to throw themselves on the mercy and grace of a forgiving God. Men Who Met God, pp.59,62"

Bro. Brad Gilbert said...

"I've come that you might have riches today, and riches more abundantly."

Gale said...

What G.D. Watson said totally contradicts Osteen in "Others May, You Cannot!"
http://www.accordingtothescriptures.org/christianliving/othersmay.html

The best part of this is "Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but most likely God will keep you poor, because He want you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him and the joy of seeing Him supply your needs day by day out of an unseen Treasury." God only selects certain Christians for this type service, but it is far better then to listen to what Brother Joel has to say!

donsands said...

Jesus said to Ananias about Saul, who become Paul: "For I will show him how much he must have his best life now for the sake of my name.”

Todd said...

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
(Philippians 1:29 ESV)

Granted to believe and suffer for Christ, sounds a lot like prosparity and health to me... NOT.

Mike Westfall said...

Wow. Todd from Wasilla, Alaska posted here.

Maybe Sarah will be next?

David Regier said...

What God wants, God gets.

DJP said...

Westfall, that would definitely go down in my diary. Or the equivalent.

lee n. field said...

"Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but most likely God will keep you poor,"

So I tell myself.

Another applicable Jesus quote (and the first that actually came to mind this morning, but I didn't know where it was), out of many:

"Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

DaveS said...

It's an important distinction between "abundant" and "best". Such that Paul could speak to the Philippians about their joy being abundant, like his, even in the face of suffering while at the same time acknowledging that for him personally death would be “far better”. (Phil. 1:20-29)

Stefan said...

Dan:

I was just thinking along Dave S.'s line. Not to get all postmodern and Clintonian here, but it depends on what we mean by "best life."

If we mean, "a house with a three-car garage, an annual vacation to Hawaii, and abundant material wealth," not so much.

But would it be reasonable to argue that there is a biblical definition to "best life"? That is, taking up our cross daily, following Jesus Christ, and walking in the fear of the Lord, in His commandments and statues, according to His steadfast love and His everlasting covenant.

Sonja said...

Jesus prayed to His Father to keep us from the evil one and to sanctify us in truth. One of those truths is to not be anxious about our lives concerning what we will eat or drink or what we wear. He didn't promise His audience that day He spoke on the Mount that they'd all get donkeys, nice houses, a great job, a great spouse, great kids or health or any such comfort in this world.

His desire for our lives is to live it with total dependance and trust on divine grace no matter what our circumstances.

Sigh, too many times easier said than done.

I can't remember who said about Osteen (badly paraphrasing) that his church (not Christ's by any means) may be experienceing the wrath of abandonment, giving them up to their desire for tickled ears, forsaking the true gospel.

Thanks again Dan for this series. It sets my mind and heart on Scripture with a lot of reflection.

Thomas Louw said...

I have a very good life now.
“I am a child of God. God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Savior is my brother. Every Christian is my brother too.”
J. I. Packer Knowing God

But I know it’s going to get al lot better.

Susan said...

Dan, this past Sunday I had just emailed a friend with these words:

"This is not to say that all theologies are good--there are some incredibly bad ones out there, like the 'health and wealth' gospel or 'your best life now' approach. Theologies such as these have nearly shipwrecked many a sincere (but misguided) believer's faith, not to mention misled many who do not really believe at all."

And your post today is a reminder for me that I need to take that to heart myself. This present life really isn't for the fainthearted.

Steve B said...

"And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing." Luke 12:22-23

I think it's pretty clear from reading Luke Chp 12, that the "life" of which the Bible speaks, that "abundant" life Jesus came to give us, deals with something much different than clothes, or houses, or possessions. For life is more than food or clothing. For this stuff is gone quickly, or destroyed easily and so has little actual value. It is on those things which are permanent...eternal that we are told to place our eyes. Things which cannot be taken away.

"Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys." Luk 12:33

christianlady said...

I don't deserve "my best life" now or later. Which is why I am so glad for the blessings I have now, and recognize any suffering in light of "this light momentary affliction..." I deserve eternal damnation.