Dear Devotional Readers:
It happened again. I had it all set what I was going to write about and the Holy Spirit derailed me.
MAKING GOD HAPPY
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Happy: Having, showing, or causing great pleasure or joy – Webster’s Dictionary
Today I was sent a Facebook post that seems to be going viral. I don’t pay much attention to social media, but this one caused me to look closer in response to a check in my spirit. It was about an exhortation given in a sermon by Victoria Osteen, co-pastor at Lakewood Church. It caused quite a stir because she seemed to be saying that we obey God and do good for our own self; that the key to making God happy is to first make yourself happy. This was not a direct quote of what she actually said.
On the surface this sounds like she is advocating pleasing yourself above pleasing God. I don’t think that was her intent at all. After listening to the video, I’m sure of it. Her intent was to simply encourage people to be happy because it pleases God when His people are happy. If you look at the definition of happy, you will see that happiness is linked with joy. We know that the joy of the Lord is our strength and Jesus gives us joy. But, happiness is a choice that we must make every day. What she was saying is we’re not making a decision to be happy for God, but for what it does for our own souls. It pleases God when we make a decision to be happy regardless of our circumstances and live in the joy of the Lord. Victoria could have said it better, but it wasn’t rehearsed and sometimes the words don’t exactly express what is in our hearts.
I’m not so concerned with Victoria as I am with the Body of Christ which is so quick to judge another in the high court of social media. I wasn’t there. I didn’t hear the whole sermon. I wasn’t sitting in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I saw this clip that could have been interpreted as heresy, but instead a voice inside of me said, “Defend her”. I know that voice well. He gave me no other instructions, but I knew what I had to defend.
I may not know what makes God happy, but I do know what grieves the Spirit. We are not to judge each other. Every follower of Christ has already been judged and found guilty. It is only through the blood of Jesus that we stand in righteousness. Jesus gave us another commandment to add to the original ten which would sum them all up into one commandment. We are to love one another. When we look in the Word at what love is to God we see that love is patient, kind, doesn’t envy, is not proud, not self-seeking, not provoked, thinks no evil … Let’s stop there. It thinks no evil. In other words, we don’t think evil of those we love. We give them the benefit of a doubt. We do not criticize or slander others, especially in gossip. We support and defend those who are under attack.
This is a pastor who has devoted her life to the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ and shepherding His Church. Can we not protect her from the wolves? The enemy is always looking to get a mob gathered to attack someone who makes an innocent mistake. Jesus never said or did anything against the will of the Father, yet he was falsely accused and murdered because those who claimed to love him deserted him and some even joined the very mob that crucified him. This ministry has suffered attacks before and will continue to do so, but not at my hand. I believe that it makes my Father happy when I walk in love with my brothers and sisters in Christ. They aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. But if they need correction, the Father knows how to correct His children and it is always in love and to bring them to repentance. It is never to tear them down for the sake of gossip in the social media.
Our leaders are under severe attack by the enemy of our souls. He is pulling every evil trick that he can find to bring them down. Love conquered him before and it will continue to defeat him because it never fails. We can’t keep ripping each other apart in the social media sites as we hid behind our laptops and smart phones. I remember Jesus asking for the accusers to step forward when a woman was being accused of adultery. They all had sin in their hearts and He made them see that they were no better than this woman. If you are perfect and have never said anything that others misunderstood your meaning, then perhaps you can put your self-righteous post on Facebook. If, like me, you remember the pain of having those in the family of God turn on you, perhaps, you will decide not to get involved in this feeding frenzy. Instead, lift Victoria up in prayer. If she has strayed in her thinking, the only true righteous Judge will correct her. Regardless of whether she was wrong or right, refuse to persecute her.
Part of the reason that it is so hard to get people to come to church or even consider Christ is the fact that Christians no longer stand together. They have become as nit-picky as the ungodly. We have to stand up against sin and beware of false teachers, but many times it’s not about cleansing the church that sends us off on witch hunts. We are to protect each other in love because our adversary the devil is roaming about stirring up trouble hoping that we will kill one for him to devour.