"But I needed to change! I remember asking God to show me what I needed to do to become the person 2 Corinthians 5:17b (AMP) said I should be: "A new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]..." Have you ever thought, "If I'm so new, why do I act like the 'old me'?" Well, becoming a "new creature" from the inside out is a process that takes time. When we accept Christ as our Savior and we're born again, we receive the nature of everything God is in seed form. 1 John 3:9a (AMP) says, "God's seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him." Seeds have to be watered and take root before they can produce fruit. And the fruit of having life in Christ is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). It's the ability to deal with challenges and overcome them by God's grace so others will see Christ in you and want what you have. The key to experiencing this life is identifying how the enemy works in our lives to steal what God has given us." -- Joyce Meyer
Onward she ploughs through faulty theology because she is still under the false impression that the enemy here is Satan and he is trying to steal her joy and peace etc. What is missing from this section however is what we are made a new creation from and the answer is sin. That is because we have a new relationship to sin and are reconciled to the Father through which now have a ministry of reconciliation. That is what the Gospel is beloved. It is a ministry that reconciles the lost people of this world to the God who created them. The section of Scripture she cites here is rich with deep and profound theology regarding the Gospel, eternal life, and the cause of Christ but she has minimized it down to not behaving better or overcoming carnal challenges in this temporal life. This is a recurring theme from false teachers. Instead focusing on the eternal they focus on this world. The blessings are for this life. The fruit of the Spirit is to leverage a better temporal life. To Joyce Meyer God has given us stuff and the devil likes to steal it but she has referenced two Scripture sets; both of which contain so much more power and life than she is able to grasp hold of.
"In John 10:10, Jesus tells us we have an enemy--the devil--who wants to keep us from God. But when you read the whole chapter, you see that Jesus is talking about the system of religion, which is perpetrated by the devil. Because the last thing the devil wants you to know is how much God loves you and how a personal relationship with Christ gives you access to everything he's stolen from you." -- Joyce Meyer
No Joyce. That is not the enemy Jesus is referring to in that passage. He is referring to false teachers who would distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ, such as you. If this was not bad enough though Meyer now goes completely off the rails. Beloved, there is absolutely nothing in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John that speaks against organized religion, nor speaks for this relationship theology that has infected so much of Christendom in these last days. Not even a scintilla of a whiff of what Meyer alleges. Because she never correctly handled the Word to begin with she is being led down the bunny trail in her mind about the devil trying to steal things from you. Her solution? Make everything personal and eliminate all accountability. This is a cancer within the body of Christ today. Do you want to know who instituted this horrific notion of religion? God did. Just read the key verses today! God is speaking about a religion that is pure and undefiled. Yes there can be abuses within religious systems. We see that obviously through the Pharisees in the Gospels. You do not throw the baby out with the bathwater however. It is interesting that Jesus boils down religion that is pure into two coherent thoughts. Take care of the neediest people and do not become stained by the world. What do we see today instead? A church that is wholly enamored with itself and the cult of personalities it creates that is completely in love with the filth of this world. They openly admit it! They seek relevance with the world. Andy Stanley's church recently did 90's boy band music for worship, including sexually charged lyrics. Perry Noble once famously did Highway to Hell. Hillsong sleazed up Silent Night and danced their way through "I like to Move It, Move It." The sermons are no better. Instead of repent for the kingdom is at hand we hear nothing but a slop of self-help and motivational speaking designed to make THIS life better. Are we sensing the theme yet beloved?
"When I realized that God loves me unconditionally and that He has a plan for my life, it helped me understand that He wanted an intimate, personal relationship with me. I discovered that the Christian life is not about religion but relationship. Because religion is a thief that keeps us from becoming transformed into the image of Christ." -- Joyce Meyer
Now Meyer goes full Purpose Driven with the horrible teaching about a grand purpose for everyone's life that raises unrealistic expectations about something God never said. God knows your life because He sees all time but not everyone is going to have some marvelous dream destiny thingy just because people refuse to understand the context of Jeremiah 29:11. What is telling is that she admits that when she realized something God never said, that helped her understand that He wanted an intimate relationship with her. This is the parasitic nature of false teachings and how they steal things from us beloved. God never promised a grand purpose for our lives and He never said He wanted an intimate relationship with us. Now, if you want to have an intimate relationship with God I suggest you start with His Word. Let's go to Acts and see what the early church did. Were they all seeking some experiential personal relationship? No. They fellowshipped together. They studied together. They broke bread together. You know -- religion. Perhaps one of the most blasphemous things I have read in a long time is the notion that religion, which God instituted, is a thief keeping us from being transformed into the image of Christ. Look how close she gets to the truth beloved. False teaching is the thief because it steals the keys to the kingdom and hides them from those who need the Gospel. It is false teaching that keeps you from being transformed into the image of Christ. It is Joyce Meyer.
"Now, when I say "religion," I'm not talking about going to church; it's important for us to go to good churches where the Word of God is taught and we can grow spiritually. I'm talking about a performance mentality that says it's what we do that determines whether God approves of us or not. A religious attitude says, "If I just pray more or read the Bible more or do more good things or go to church on a regular basis, then God will be happy with me." It gets us on a treadmill of feeling obligated to do certain things to please God." -- Joyce Meyer
Yes, we can't feel obligated to the Creator of the universe -- how horrible! Perhaps realizing the onslaught of criticism she was going to receive for such a heretical article, Meyer tries to have it both ways but fails miserably. You do not get to slander religion, promote this false relationship theology, and then pretend you didn't just say what everyone can see you said. It is not a matter of God being happy with me. It is about me wanting to please God. We do not read the Bible or pray because we think it wins us points with God but because God has commanded us to and we are obedient. It is not a matter of obligation Joyce but rather of transformation. You know, the thing you claim to be chasing.