When you show God you don’t want it, that’s when God will give it to you – according to Joel Osteen – I disagree
I don’t intend on expending a lot of time composing this post. I’ve discussed this topic before on the blog.
On this past Sunday’s (Dec 7, 2014) sermon on TV, Houston mega church pastor Joel Osteen made a comment that went something like this:
- When you show God you don’t want it (whatever it is you’ve been wanting and/or praying for), that’s when God will give it to you
I appreciate that Osteen is trying to tell Christians to hang in there, when they’ve been praying for YEARS and their prayers have not been answered, but I don’t buy into this theology of “if you stop wanting X, that is when God will send it.”
Nor do I accept or agree with variations of that teaching, such as, “be content in your singleness, and when you are, that is when God will send you a spouse,” or, “if you WANT to be married, you have made marriage into an idol, and so you have to stop wanting marriage before God will send you a spouse.”
Most of that thinking is not biblical.
Although there is a comment by Apostle Paul that people should be content where ever they find themselves in life, he does not say that this is true only for singles who want to be married, nor does Paul ever say, “and if you do not find yourself content in situation X, God will not help you or answer your prayer and send you X.”
In other words, I do not recall a Bible teaching which says failure to be content means God will refuse to help you out. Christians just seem to ASSUME that is what the Bible is IMPLYING, when the Bible says no such thing (unless my memory is off).
The whole argument about you have to let your dream and hope die before God will grant it to you is bogus, because it doesn’t always meet real life experience.
There have certainly been times off and on since my 20s I was totally fine with being single.
I was the most content single with her singleness on the face of the planet back in my 20s- and yet, God did not send me a spouse at those times.
Interestingly, the one time I blew a fuse and screamed at God I wanted my spouse NOW NOW NOW, what are you waiting for GOD?? (this was back around my late 20s, I think), that was when my fiance’ (now my ex) entered into my life.
When I got sick and tired of “waiting on the Lord’s timing” and chewed God’s butt out in prayer DEMANDING he send me my spouse NOW is when I met my fiance.
Later, after I broke up with that fiance’, I found myself content in waves and phases. During the content phases, God did not send me a spouse.
Now that I’ve stayed single this long (I am over 40 now), as I get older, I’m getting more and more comfortable being single and alone.
I’m actually starting to get a tad uncomfortable at the idea of getting married now!
I don’t want to enter into a relationship and have to put up with some guy’s crap, with his expectations of me having to meet HIS needs and be his ego-stroker (a lot of men are hung up on this, I’ve been meaning to write a post about it, by the way) – a lot of men are self absorbed jackholes.
Many men really expect the woman to cater to all their needs, to cheer lead him, and say repeatedly, “Oh sweetie, you are DA MAN! You’re my big strong great man, your boss doesn’t appreciate you enough” (and all the other ass kissing), but most of these men do not feel that they need to meet the woman’s needs in return, nor do they feel they need to ass kiss their girl friend or wife in return.
No thanks to that.
I want a man who will put me and MY needs first, I am not interested in putting a husband and HIS needs first. I did that with my ex, and my needs were never met. I got tired of giving, giving, giving, and my ex did all the taking, taking, taking. Never again.
Part of me would be happy to get married still, but it would have to be the right guy.
As I get older, I have gotten so accustomed to being single and not having to compromise, I don’t want to do it, not unless the man in question will meet my needs and treat me well.
So if ever there was another era in my life I’ve been content with singlehood, it would be now. Yet, I see no husband on the horizon.
So all these preachers out there telling you that you have to “stop wanting” marriage, or lessen your desire for marriage, because THAT is when God will send you your spouse (or whatever you are praying for), are so wrong it’s not funny how wrong they are.
And where does the Bible explicitly teach that “if you want God to respond to your prayer, you must stop wanting whatever you are praying for.”
Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think there is any such verse or chapter in the Bible.
As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches the opposite. It says you do not have what you want because you do not pray and ask God for it – and it seems to me, if you pray and ask God for whatever it is you are asking, it’s because you WANT it. Most people aren’t going to pray for something they do not want.
- You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
Then there’s this:
- 1 John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
- 1 John 3:22
- And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.
I don’t see anything that says you have to “un want” it before you pray and ask God for it, whatever “it” may be, a job promotion, a spouse, a healing from cancer, whatever it is you are asking of God.
I have no desire to own a pet antelope. So I seriously doubt I’m going to start petitioning God, “Oh Lord, please send me a pet antelope, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
No, that’s not going to happen. I don’t have anything against antelopes, but I don’t want to own one personally. What would I do with it? So I’m not about to pray to God and ask him for an antelope, since I have no desire to have one.
According to most Christians, the fact that I do NOT want a pet antelope means if I pray and ask God to send me one, when I open my door tomorrow, I will find an antelope in my front yard because God sent me something I did not want but prayed and asked for. Does this make sense to anyone? It doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t understand this wacky Christian logic that if you WANT something you should only expect God to send it to you whenever you stop wanting it. That makes no logical sense at all. And it’s not taught in the Bible. Why would God send you something you do not want?
Also, who gets to determine how much wanting to get married is wanting it “too much?”
You have to want to get married at least somewhat, otherwise, you would not marry at all.
Another point that annoys me about this teaching is that I rarely see it applied to other areas of life.
I repeatedly see preachers tell single adults that wanting marriage is equivalent to idolizing marriage, yet I don’t see them warning about wanting a corner office is idolizing one’s job.
I’ve been thinking of going to Wal-Mart and buying a box of Wal-Mart deli sugar cookies because they are yummy. Does me having a hankering for Wal Mart sugar cookies mean that I am “idolizing” them? I don’t think so. I doubt most Christians would tell me that me wanting a box of cookies equals idolatry. So why do they extend this thinking to marriage?
Christians tend to be very selective in when they trot out the “stop wanting X and that is when God will send you X” teaching, or “wanting X is idolizing X.”
You know, Joel Osteen, the preacher who taught this message? He has gone on record in many, many TV sermons as saying he wanted the Houston Compaq Center really badly for his new church building. He said he had to pray and fight to get that center.
Can I not argue using Osteen’s own logic, that Osteen wanting and praying for the Center means he made the Center into an idol? Should I not argue that he should have stopped praying and wanting the Center, and that is when God would send him the Center? Yet he argues that way in regards to singles who want marriage.
I think Osteen is basically a nice guy, but I disagree with him on this issue, and he’s not alone. There are other Christian preachers and book authors and bloggers who teach the same unbiblical nonsense: that praying for X, or wanting X means you are idolizing X and God won’t send you X until you stop wanting X.
The Bible teaches the opposite – this is the teaching of Jesus no less:
- 18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
- 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
- 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Where in that parable did Jesus say that the woman stopped wanting justice? Jesus did NOT say that the woman had to stop wanting justice before the judge would grant her a hearing.
Christians cannot quantify how much wanting to be married is “too much,” or they are too broad in how they try to explain it.
I just do not see anything in the Bible that says wanting something (like marriage) is idolizing it, or that praying for it is selfish, or that God will not grant it unless you stop desiring it.
(Link): Desire for Marriage is Idolatry?