Last November, for my birthday, Mike Janssen gave me a pseudo-present: a Joel Osteen, Become a Better You daily calender (thanks, Mike!). For Thursday, May 15, Osteen quotes Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and he will direct and make straight and plan your paths.” Here is Osteen’s motivational thoughts:
I believe one of the best prayers that we could ever prayer is “God not my will, but your will be done.” I pray it in some form every day: “God open up the right doors and close the wrong doors.” If you will stay open to His direction and follow your heart, God will protect you. It says in the Proverbs, “If you acknowledge God in all your ways, He will direct your paths.” One translation says, “He’ll crown your efforts with success.”
I’m pretty sure that Osteen’s idea of success is vastly different than God’s. I’m pretty sure that God does not always crown our efforts with success. I’m pretty sure that sometimes we even fall flat on our face so that we know the surpassing power belongs to God and not us (2 Cor. 4:7). Perhaps success, in God’s eyes, is suffering even though you did something right (1 Pt. 2:15-16). Perhaps success, in God’s eyes, is being beaten five times with 39 lashes so that others will come to experience Jesus as their treasure (2 Cor. 11:24-27). Perhaps success, in God’s eyes, is being persecuted and mocked because that’s the same thing they did to Jesus (Jn. 15:20).
I would like to ask Joel Osteen how that fits into his prosperity theology. Certainly God will make our paths straight and will lead us to rivers of joy, but that is grounded in his Son Jesus. Success is not the goal of the Christian. God’s glory and our joy is.
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”