To Be Wise as Serpents


“God can do great things; He can do miracles. But he also puts miracles in you. You can be the answer to somebody’s prayer. You can be the help they have been longing for.”

Joel Osteen, Facebook, 5/18/2014 (emphasis added)

This quote by Mr. Osteen seems ubiquitous enough. It seems to be saying to do good things for people. And if that was all there was to this statement, there would be no problem. Doesn’t James remind us that without good works, our faith is dead?

But read it again, paying close attention to the emphases I supplied.  God . . . can do miracles. But . . . you can be the answer . . . you can be the help . . .”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for being a servant and for helping others. But, if I do any real good for anyone, then it is not I who did the good, but Christ through me. This points out the subtle but all important deception in Mr. Osteen’s words. He is saying that individuals may be the answers to people’s prayers, affecting miracles themselves albeit he suggests that God has planted an ability within them. This is an unBiblical and therefore a patently false assumption. The only person in the Bible who claims such authority is Jesus Himself and even He defers to our Father.

Now, Mr. Osteen’s words are reminiscent of a well known passage of Scripture, however. It goes like this:

“God knows that when you eat [the fruit]  your eyes will be opened and you will be like God…”

(Genesis 3: 5, ESV)

“God can do miracles, . . .but you can answer somebody’s prayer.” Please. If that isn’t a quote from the evil one, I don’t know what is. In fact, it makes me think of the words of Jesus in Matthew Chapter 10:

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. . . . everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

(Mt. 10: 16, 32-33, ESV)

We must be wary of the subtle deceits of the evil one and be blameless (innocent as doves) as we counter them with God’s Truth.

If anyone claims credit for what God does, or pretends to be like God, that is a denial of Christ’s authority and therefore a denial of Christ Himself. If Jesus is to be believed, then that has grave and potentially eternal consequences. And, I think that is exactly the point of Osteen’s message in the first place whether he knows it or not.

Feel free to comment.

God Bless,


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