“If you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?
As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
~ Romans 2:19-24
I am sure by now most have seen that Joel Osteen has drawn intense criticism for offering prayers, instead of shelter and safety within his 16,800-seat arena at Lakewood Church near downtown Houston – one of the areas which have suffered severe flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
After Osteen offered prayers in a Saturday afternoon tweet, his critics mocked and probed as to why his church would not house those displaced by the flood waters.
In response to the backlash, Lakewood Church is now reportedly preparing to open its doors to those seeking refuge from the storm.
Yet, in the minds of most people, because of Osteen’s’ apparent initial inaction, legitimate or not, the damage had already been done.
The optics of the situation seem to prove that Lakewood was only opened after Osteen was shamed online and in the media.
For Osteen to state that “We are prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity” quite frankly wasn’t a good look either, as the local church should be the first to step up in times of tragedy to demonstrate the love, compassion, and power of God.
You Shall Know Them By Their Fruit
In times like these, the world looks for truth.
And as Paul states in Romans 2:
“If you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself?
In other words:
If you are going to preach God’s word and His commands to the world, if you are going to “talk the talk” – when it’s time to act in accordance with the faith you proclaim, the world will be watching to see if you are going to “walk the walk.”
They will sit back and say, “Ok. Do you practice what you preach?”
If you fail to do so, or simply appear to, they will pounce – as has happened in Osteen’s case.
I don’t know the whole story and I’m not judging Joel Osteen or Lakewood Church. (There is more than enough judgment being passed around already.)
God knows the intentions of the heart and He alone will judge, but God’s word clearly warns of false teachers and false disciples, stating that “you shall know them by their fruit.”
If you are a true teacher and a true disciple, Jesus promised that “you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because of Me.”
But, if you are false – if you say “I am like Christ” and you are not – they will mock, hate and blaspheme the name of God because of you.
So, beware and understand that when you say, “I am a Christian” or when you profess to be a teacher of God’s word you are saying to the world:
“I represent God”
“I am like Christ.”
Then, if you prove by your words, deeds or inaction that you are not in fact “like Christ”– you call God a liar.
You are saying that God is not loving, that he has no compassion for the hungry, the homeless and those who have suffered loss or devastation.
You are saying that Jesus Christ has no power to heal and no power to save.
If you talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, you make God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit out to be phonies, and the ever-watching eyes of the unbelieving world mock and curse them as the imaginary figure heads of a fairy tale religion.
Then, “As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed …because of you.”
Those of us who claim the name of Christ must be vigilant, constantly examining ourselves, and praying without ceasing that God will continually empower us with His Holy Spirit so that our words, deeds, and the fruit we bear will not cause God’s name to be blasphemed.
To God Be The Glory – Forever and ever…Amen!
Repent Believe Persevere