Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Christian Life

Forgive me for this but I was browsing our local Christian bookstore and I saw some titles on the shelf which made me guffaw (quietly). I thought to myself, "If only life were as simple as Joyce Meyer booktitles." For example....

If there's one thing we'd all like to be, it is a Confident Woman, yes? We'd like to Look Great and Feel Great, Eat (as much as we'd like) and Stay Thin! We'd like to start our day out right with some Straight Talk from God. I'd love it if I always woke up alert enough to hear, "Good morning, This is God." I'd feel much more Peace-ful if that were the case.

Then I'd be able to Enjoy Where [I] am On the Way to Where [I'm] Going, focusing solely on implimenting the 21 Ways to Find Peace and Hapiness, so that I could experience Conflict Free Living.

A New Day (would mean) A New Me, Me and My Big Mouth would never get into trouble. I would know the Secrets to Exceptional Living and would be Prepared to Prosper. I would also like to have Joyce Meyer for a friend since she can tell me all about The Secret to True Happiness, speaking to me Woman to Woman. Always I would be Calm, Cool and Collected. I would always End My Day Right and wake up refreshed enough to do all of the above over again.

No disrespect meant to Ms. Meyers. I actually did read her book Battlefield of the Mind and enjoyed it very much. However, so many of the titles are off-putting to me because they seem so lopsided. Surely, we as Christians are meant to experience the goodness of God in the land of the living. At the same time, the Christian life is a battle to be sure. It isn't easy and it certainly is not always pleasant. Sometimes it just simply, well, sucks! There are hard seasons and we should never, ever expect to live without conflict. (That particular book title actually gives me the willies.) It is by and through conflict that God shapes us and makes us more like Him. He breathes new life into us and refines us through trials by fire. Conflict should never be viewed as something bad. (Yes, it can absolutely be viewed as incredibly painful.) But should we shrink away from it as being bad? Truly - Heavens, no!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7

Trials will come. Of that you can be sure. Truth be told, I couldn't have written this post even a week ago for feeling a bit weary myself. Yes, the trials will come but we do not need to be afraid because "out of these ashes, beauty will rise."

I just don't want a series of books to come up for public consumption that make people think that the Christian life is all about victory, joy, happiness, success, etc. It is all that but we've got to remember to be whole Bible Christians and not just take the parts of scripture that we like and strive to live only by those. If we tried to live only by select scriptures, we certainly would be striving and we would be a frusterated people. We will have trials but the joy is in knowing that Jesus has conquered death and He stands victorious over any of our present difficulties. That is where the joy part comes in. It is the purest and the truest joy and the only one I want to claim.

Recently I heard a lady name Ann Kimel speak on a Focus on the Family Broadcast. I had never heard her before, and caught the tail end of her talk when I hopped into my car and was running errands. I found the broadcast on the Focus on the Family website and it really spoke to my heart. You can listen to her message, How Can I Change by clicking here. The message is about 20 minutes long but it's a quick 20 minutes as she is a very compelling speaker. Her message is about victorious living through hardship. Maybe you can identify and maybe not but if you have the time, I'd suggest a listen.

Again, I don't mean to disrespect Ms. Meyers (even though I realize I've done a bit of it). As I stood there looking at her stack of available books I just couldn't help myself this post.


Barbara H. said...

I agree, Carrie. I was thinking of Phil. 1:29: "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." We want the first but not the second. I wonder how many people would buy a How to Suffer for Christ book.

Alison said...

Amen! I appreciate this post because my parents (mom especially) are very much in the "speak the word" crowd. You may have guessed, my beliefs have changed in recent years. ;-) I no longer believe you can "speak" and expect this perfect life. It was a relief when I reached the point where I no longer felt responsible for speaking the "right" thing all the time. It is a very legalistic and fear based belief system. One mis-spoken word and you've doomed yourself. I'm very thankfull for grace because I'm human and by no means perfect.

Rachelle said...

I grew up with Ann Kiemel and as a young girl she spoke some really encouraging words to me. And then I watched her life fall apart even as she clung to Jesus. I'm thankful for these examples to remind me that life is so uncertain but there is certainty in Christ. Read her books. (My mom has them all.) She's wonderful.

I just finished a book you would really like: Christless Christianity. I really agreed with most of it, which is sadly that American Christians are pretty much not (Christians). Meyer was an example I believe of the prosperity gospel, though the point of the book is that we tend to be moralistic therapeutic deists, going all the way back to our Founding Fathers.

It seems to me that the trouble is we want to be happy, healthy and rich more than we want to admit that we are so far short of God's holiness that we must just cling to Jesus and his gift on the cross and in embracing that in gratefulness will be empowered to be better people.

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

Hmm. I was recommended to read one of Meyers. I'm not a believer in prosperity gospel and speaking into existence.

I think people just want an easy way out.

Anonymous said...

Oh...I love Ann Kiemel...that is like a blast from my early days as a believer...I loved her writing style, her complete abandon to the Lord and her writing in all lower case...thanks for passing on the interview info and I will check out her website/blog!

Also...I really enjoy reading your blog!

Lisa Spence said...

I read a couple of Ann Kimel's books years and years ago--she has a very interesting writing style! Never heard her speak though and now my interest is piqued...

And I love this post (and no disrespect meant to Meyer on my part either)!

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