Saturday, February 18, 2017

Readings from Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen

Daily Readings from Your Best Life Now, is a daily devotional adapted from Joel Osteen’s breakout bestseller Your Best Life Now. The primary divisions of the book follow that of the source material. Likewise, the body of each short chapters is adapted closely from the original material. However, this book is organized differently. It is divided into 90 chapters, each one kept short in order to fit into a daily reading schedule.

At the top of each chapter is a reference to a passage of scripture. The chapters in the book are not expositions on the scripture; Osteen is plain in the introduction that that was not his intention. Osteen’s books, like his televised sermons, are topical rather than expositional. I thought that the connection between the scripture reading and the chapters were sometimes tenuous.

I’ll admit I took much longer than 90 days to finish this book (I probably first opened it shortly after it was published in 2005). That may have injured my sense of the book as a whole, but I think that the book was written with the hope that each chapter would be able to stand on its own as a sermonette of encouragement.

Encouragement is a good word for the book. It’s the theme through every part from encouragement to dream bigger to encouragement to press on in the hard times.

That leads also to what I think is the weakness of the book, and Osteen’s ouvre in general. It seems to draw from the theme and concepts of self-help as much (or more) as from the Bible. Even in the introduction, Osteen speaks in one sentence of wanting people to draw near to God and in the next of helping readers “unlock the doors of a fuller life.” These are not mutually exclusive pursuits, but that depends a lot on your concept of a fuller life.

I don’t mean to be too critical of Osteen. Obviously, I read several of his books and books by his predecessors as preachers of positivity in popular culture, Robert H. Schuller and Norman Vincent Peale. I have felt encourage by reading the books of these men, but I also leave there books feeling like something much deeper is missing.

Joel Osteen also wrote

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in

Osteen, Joel. Daily Readings from Your Best Life Now. New York: Warner Faith, 2005.