But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -- 2Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)
To be honest I had never heard of Janet Perez Eckles, who wrote the above linked article for Christmas. Perhaps because she appears to be focused on women's ministries. Regardless of who the false teacher is targeting, it is important to mark them as such so that we are not led astray down fanciful bunny trails of poor theology. Eckles sets up her premise easily enough. Despite this being the Christmas season, many still struggle the most at this time of year. We often try to resolve these situations in our own power and fail. I take no issue with these premises. The problems start when she sells a fake Jesus to solve them by mangling the bible. We all struggle this side of eternity. We can find godly contentment in Jesus but that is not a good enough sell for the NAR word faith movement. Contentment? That doesn't make for a good tee-shirt slogan or church bumper sticker. No beloved. Give me the ability to conquer all of the impossible situations of my life! That will sell. Let us reason once more together:
"It Was Impossible--or Was It? That's why God chose an impossible situation to tell us, no, change that, to show us that with Him, impossibilities are no barriers at all. For example, an older woman, barren for many years, is now pregnant? Impossible. And a girl, pure and a virgin, pregnant? Impossible. Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" The angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God. Listen, your cousin Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her who was declared barren. For with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:34-37). That "nothing is impossible" includes your own situation, your struggle and your pain. And like Mary, you see that scenario as impossible. Mary couldn't see the logic. We don't either. Mary saw the circumstance instead. We see our own, too. Mary questioned how it could be. And so do we. But then Christmas happened. God Himself came to earth in the flesh so we would not have a doubt that He's here for our impossibilities. He's here for those moments of anguish when life is too much. He's here, alive to shield us from our destructive anxiety. But to allow Him to work that into our circumstance, we must avoid these three traps:" -- Janet Perez Eckles
I am sure Janet Perez Eckles means well. That is still no excuse for teaching poor theology that will lead people astray. Encouraging people falsely, is no encouragement at all. This is the theology of the NAR. This is the theology of the word faith movement. This is the theology of the sloppy agape camp. Simply put, this is the theology in churches across this country today. It is fed through the purpose driven industrial complex as cult of personality preachers all line up to leverage the bible to say what God never intended to say. Is it true that he bible tells stories of barren women suddenly becoming pregnant, often years past childbearing age? Sure. Does the bible tell the story about Mary being told by an angel that she will give birth despite being a virgin? Absolutely. Does God say that nothing will be impossible for Him? Of course. Do any of these historical narratives even infer however that these same things now magically apply to our lives and our impossibilities? Absolutely not. Therein lies the leverage and therein lies the falseness. Did God really come to earth so we would have no doubt that He is here for our impossibilities? Remember, her set up to this thesis was a discussion of holiday depression and how we always look to our earthly problems instead of to God and thus get overwhelmed with anxiety. So I ask again, did God really come to earth so that we can be assured that He will resolve all of our seemingly impossible situations in this carnal existence? No beloved, He most certainly did not. God came to earth to resolve one impossible situation and that was our inability to adhere to the law. That impossibility is what would eternally keep us apart from our Creator and God sent His only Son to address that and that alone. Now, through faith the in the overcoming of the grave we can leverage that one truth to help us place our carnal and earthly problems in the correct context to overcome them but that is not what Janet is selling here. She is selling a cosmic bus boy who will clean up our messes for us and avoids the true gift that Christ is this Christmas season and every day of the year. I do not blame Janet as she should not be teaching to begin with and she has obviously been taught so poorly to value this world instead of the eternal. Now let us look at the three traps she sees that prevent Jesus from bussing our tables efficiently.
"Crying, "Poor me." We have the King of kings, the Creator of the universe, to lift us to the mountain of victory. How will He manage that? We don't need to know the how; we only need to declare that He will." -- Janet Perez Eckles
What if He does not? What if our vision of victory is the opposite of His will? This is one of the fundamental errors of the word faith doctrine. That somehow, everything we want aligns with what God wants. Paul once suffered from what he called a thorn in his flesh. Many have speculated this was a physical ailment of some sort. I always felt it was the constant nightmares of remembering the stoning of Stephen the first martyr and how Paul had presided over it. Either way, he begged God to take it away and each time he heard that God's grace would be sufficient for him, as our key verses point out. This is what leads Paul to understand that the secret to living in this life as an eternal servant of Christ is not in Jesus removing our impossibilities but rather finding contentment in them through Christ. A lesson sorely missed by Janet and the NAR word faith crowd. They teach that our weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities are merely "impossibilities" for Jesus to overcome for us. It is no wonder than that people under the NAR spell are so weak doctrinally and from a faith perspective. To make matters worse, Janet teaches people to usurp the power of God by pretending they can declare what God is going to do. Blasphemous at best.
"Looking at the circumstance. Instead, focus on the certainty of His promise. His Word says that with Him, all will turn around and miracles will happen." -- Janet Perez Eckles