Tuesday, August 26, 2014

does God want us to enjoy life?

I know many of us enjoy Joyce Meyer’s teaching.  I’m not suggesting you stop listening, but I recently signed up for one of her weekly teachings with a bible study attached and was going through it when I hit the stop button.  
I have to point out that when listening to ANYONE you really need to let the Holy Spirit be a filter of wisdom to what you are hearing.  We are encouraged in Acts 17:11Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
To listen and then reason to see if what we are being taught is true.
If you aren’t already aware, there is a lot of concern over some of the things Joyce teaches.  I would be wary of any “name it and claim it”* or “prosperity”* teaching she shares.  *(hereinafter called Gimme Teachers J)
So, what I saw.. FAITH 101: New Life in Christ “Joyce University”God wants you to enjoy your life , and the only way you can do that is to discover and experience the abundant life Jesus gives.

JOHN 10:10 says: The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life , and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

The bible does NOT SAY God wants us to enjoy life.  Joyce added this and she added it to scripture without a disclaimer that she was doing so (a rule of thumb I use when listening to teachers)  I did a quick word study** on this to see what the original language was and enjoy is not in the list.

What concerns me is this is a false teaching by others Joyce is associated with. Why is this an issue you may ask? 

The idea that God is primarily concerned with our ENJOYMENT or WEALTH or HAPPINESS is just not true.  Look at the fruit of the spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control (I always get a tickle in my throat on the self-control…)

If this is what God seeks to build in our lives, if this is the product of our loving Him and showing others who He is in our lives… I don’t see enjoyment on the list.
Is enjoyment possible?  ABSOLUTELY… but it’s not a biblical directive, it’s a potential side effect of living for God.  My argument with such teaching (and I’m referring to the Gimme Teaching as a whole here, not just Joyce) is that they treat God like a genie or ATM who wants to give us all good things and we just have to ask.

Moms… do we want to give our kids all good things?  Yes.
Is this all we give our kids?  No.
Are some of the good things we give our kids not considered good by our kids?
As parents we must look ahead to the ramifications of behavior.  We are training our children to be good, decent, contributing members of society and yes, we want them to enjoy life and we want to bless them in any way we can… but that desire to bless them is tempered with not spoiling them by giving them everything they ask for.

God identifies himself as our Father and uses this language repeatedly in talking to us about who He is.

I don’t actually put Joyce in the same camp as the other “name it and claim it” or “prosperity” teachers.  She is more biblically correct than they are.  I also think that she speaks really strongly to people with anxiety and fear issues and teaches boldly about these.  That’s why I don’t just cross her off my list of teachers.  I still think we need to “be Bereans” and be wise, checking what we hear with God’s word.

** sources for easy word study online  (images of examples below:
  • Read NASB version of bible (I usually pull up paralell versions with NIV and NASB to ensure I understand what I’m reading.)
  •  Read the whole paragraph and if necessary the whole chapter.  Remember context is king.
  • Look up Greek word in Strong's Concordance (and don’t you just love technology?!! You can do that online with a few clicks HERE!)
    • Life:
    • abundantly
So it is obvious from this that God wants MORE for our lives and I truly believe that most of us live way below God’s plan for our lives, but I think we focus on temporal things and God focuses on spiritual things.

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