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Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Idolatry of Self

Of great concern to many Christians today is the news of certain remarks made by the wife of mega-church pastor & preacher of 'feel-goodism', Joel Osteen. The video of Victoria Osteen's remarks, which, in a sense might have been taken a bit out of context, admittedly, has gone viral, especially among many of the more serious Christians. Obviously, there are Christians out there who have no problem with her remarks, because if there weren't, she most likely wouldn't have said what she did, at least when she did!

'When we obey God...........we're doing it for ourselves'! - Victoria Osteen

Sadly, this is a true statement, at least for a lot of Christians in America! Too many American Christians go to church, the denominational house of worship not so much to worship God, but to see & be seen, not unlike the Pharisees of old, who prayed standing on the street corners and in the synagogues, 'to be seen of men'!

As human beings we naturally have a selfish bent, and while some are better than others at overcoming their innate selfishness, some glory in it! As a nation, these United States have fostered an attitude of selfishness. Public ( government ) schools teach their inmates ( students ) that they are of utmost importance; 'take care of yourself first' ( there may seem to be some wisdom there, because if you don't take care of yourself, how will you take care of others?! This, of course, leaves our Heavenly Father out of the equation! )

Pride, as well, has much to do with our selfishness! We may be so proud of say, our individual accomplishments, or even those of our children, that we make that success of utmost importance. This is not to say that we should not glory in individual accomplishments, but those individual accomplishments should be done for the Glory of God & of His Kingdom, not for our individual & selfish glory!

Many Christians, whether they attend a certain denominational 'church' every week, or watch televangelists like the Osteens on television, do it for what they get out of it, even if it is inner peace that they seek, but often just so that they can feel better about themselves! It is not wrong to want to feel better about oneself ( unless that one is engaged in a wrong activity ), but when this becomes our primary focus, then we need to rethink our attitude!

In a sense, the context of Mrs. Osteen's statement, makes all of this an almost moot point! Our worship of God is a lively thing, not for Sundays & Wednesday nights alone, but for every day of the week, in everything we do & say! We gather, traditionally, on Sunday mornings for fellowship & worship, and while our worship of our Creator is of utmost importance, humanly speaking, our fellowship with the Body of Christ is of almost primary importance, as well!

Scripture tells us that 'iron sharpens iron' ( Proverbs 27:17 ); without that necessary fellowship & communion, we become dull & lifeless! Our worship of our Creator is to be a life-long endeavor for us, 24 hours a day & 7 days a week! Can we do this without that necessary fellowship & communion? Some would no doubt argue that point, but if we are selfish enough & prideful enough to keep it to ourselves, then our salt has lost its savor & has become good for nothing but to be trampled under foot!

Even to obey God for fear of some sort of retaliation is selfish; we often fear what God might do to us if we do not obey Him! Another form of peer pressure is to go along with other Christians for fear of what they might do to us if we do not do as they do!

When we worship God, we ascribe worth to our Heavenly Father, not just for what He has done for us, His People, but simply for Who He is, because He is the Creator! We do not worship Him because it makes Him or us happy, we ascribe worth to Him because He is worthy!

And that's just the way it is!

Charles Haddon Shank

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