Itching Ears

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. – 2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NIV)

Who says the Word isn’t relevant to today? Seems pretty spot on if you ask me. I was looking at a review of Joel Osteen’s book “Your Best Life Now” and saw that it has about 500 reviews and has been given four out of five stars. People are eating this junk up. I looked to see what all the hype was about and checked out an excerpt of the first chapter. This is what I found:

“Too many times we get stuck in a rut, thinking we’ve reached our limits. We don’t really stretch our faith; we don’t believe for anything bigger. But God wants us to constantly be increasing, to be rising to new heights. He want to increase you in His wisdom and help you to make better decisions. God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh idea, and creativity.

The Scripture says that God wants to pour out “His far and beyond favor.” God wants this to be the best time of your life. But if you are going to receive this favor, you must enlarge your vision. You can’t go around thinking negative, defeated, limiting thoughts.” –Your Best Life Now, Joel Osteen 

I’m not even sure where to begin and this is just from one page of the book. God wants us to constantly be increasing? He does? Hmm…interesting that we are told in Philippians 2 to be humble. And where exactly is it found in scripture that He wants to increase us financially? What? I don’t think so. What about the widow who gave all she had? How about the rich man who had good things during his life? Or how about the rich fool

Then in this second paragraph we see that Joel has used scripture….scripture that I cannot find located anywhere in the bible, in any translation. So I googled this phrase to see what might show up…and I found a sermon by Joel titled “Favor Far & Beyond.” Here are some things I heard him say during the first five minutes: “God wants to promote you.” “God can turn any situation around, but we have to do our part and take the limits off of God.” Then he quotes Isaiah 30:18…Friends, I encourage you to read that verse in context. 

Here is the thing: Joel is dumb. It is beyond apparent. I can be upset that he is ‘preaching’ this junk, but the fact of the matter is that people are responding to it. These people are just as much responsible for taking this stuff as truth as Joel is for proclaiming it. Why are they believing it? Because its what they want. Romans 1 does a great job of explaining just how crappy ours hearts are. If God let us just have what we wanted, we’d all be condemned to hell. Praise God for His grace!

So as we find our world in this situation (and who said the bible wasn’t relevant to today?), let us remember the words Paul wrote to Timothy. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction…keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2-5).

Published in: on October 27, 2008 at 11:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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