10, 12, 5, 3 … what do those numbers mean to me? Or to you? Nothing? Maybe 10 things that will improve your life! 12 steps to a slimmer waistline. 5 things you need to start doing NOW! 3 Easy ways to greater peace! Are these types of things in the Bible? Is God’s Word meant to be the greatest Self-Help book ever sold?
For many pastors, this has been the key to enlarging their audience. Feed them sermon series after sermon series on how to improve their lives … from the Bible!
They might have one on prayer that looks like, 6 ways prayer can strengthen your family life! Or maybe make you more effective at work. Or, this one: The Power of Prayer for Inner Healing!
It’s only funny because it’s true.
I’m not saying that these sermons, books and seminars don’t have some valid points. But, as you’ll notice me saying often, heresy isn’t determined by the ratio of truth to lie, but by the mere presence of the lie. It’s not about how much they get right, but the fact that they are leading people down the wrong path at all!
The wide, windy path American Christianity seems to have taken is one that centers on the Happy Life, here and now.
Unfortunately, that’s not God’s Word. Rather, God’s people are seldom “happy” in this world. They are sojourners, strangers and pilgrims. They’re hated, rejected and persecuted by this world.
Their joy was the hope, rooted in faith, that God had redeemed them from the destruction this rebel world deserves. This joy increases as one realizes the depth of their sinful flesh and the high cost that canceled our that debt.
God isn’t concerned with our happiness in this world, but rather our joy in Him, and our hopeful anticipation to be in His presence!