Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Review on Joy Stealer #1: Work of the Flesh

This is the first part of a book I am currently reading (Seven Things That Steal Your Joy by Joyce Meyer) thanks to the recommendation given by my dear friend. As an author and one of the most recognised pastors, she did not grow up in a Christian family but rather like Oprah Winfrey, grew up in an abusive family. Expectantly she has gone through many sufferings and challenges, things that easily took away joy from her life. But over the years of experience, she has came out victoriously and can be joyful anywhere she goes, in whatever circumstances. How did she do that? Today I am going to review the first chapter of the book, on the first Joy Stealer.

How often do you find yourself trying multiple attempts yet fail again and again? I did! Fortunately for me, it did not normally take me long to get the result I desired after second or third attempts. In the book, J. Meyer said that so often people rely on their own strengths, trying to change things around them and not relying on God's power. How frustrated it is when all you want is a slight change in your situation, your family, your spouse, your workplace or maybe your own boss?! But things just don't often go your way, in fact most of the times they don't! What went wrong?

Through the story of Abraham in the Bible, J. Meyer illustrated perfectly how Abram (Abraham's previous name) wanted a son so badly yet he and his wife Sarah (then Sarai), bore nothing. Now they are almost 100 years old, 20 years after God first promised Abraham and Sarah a son. Why is there a delay for God to fulfill His promise? Why did God wait until Sarah has gone through the phase to bear children, with a barren womb? Why does God wait until it is almost impossible for something to happen, only to make His promises seemed more like miracles to be fulfilled? In the book, J. Meyer said "Because He likes to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him (2 Chronicles 16:9)".

Indeed, God always seem to be delaying His promises, but let's ask yourself this question, shall we? Can you still love God and be happy, even if you did not receive the things that you are believing for? What if I can't earn more money and accumulate enough wealth up to my desired level, can I still love God and serve Him? If I can't get a girlfriend I desired, can I still love God and give Him my best in everything? If I can't get to achieve what I want in my career, can I still love God? You get the idea.

Here's the thing: If you can't get to the point where you can be happy without having what you want, you will never receive it. Words! This is a little revelation to me, but having contemplated on it, it is perfectly logical. Here's why: If you can't be happy without all these things, you have made the things you are asking for your idols, not God. If God gives you all the things you asked for, and that He knew that you love all these things far beyond your love for Him, He will NOT give you.

Hang on a minute, what about those who had never accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour? Why did they still succeed in life with massive wealth? I suspect this applies to those who are convicted in their belief in God, and because God has saved them through Christ Jesus, God will want the perfect blessings to be poured out in abundance to His children -  you and me. Many people can emerge successful, but how many of them are truly joyful and enjoying their fruits of labour in life? There may not be many of them.

So here's the key: Keep God FIRST! And if you keep God first, He will never hesitate to bless you radically because my God is a God of love and He delights in the prosperity of His children.

Sometimes you might be impatient in waiting God's promises to be fulfilled. You are NOT ALONE! Very often I am impatient, and this patience trait is something I need to develop myself. My generation in general is an instant generation, in a sense that we want everything fast and instantly. But do we have the necessary patience to wait for God to work it through His perfect plan? Will we come out with alternative plan just to say to God, "Hey God, here's my plan, can you please help me to achieve it?" Maybe we will. I know I did.

But things will never go smoothly when we are following our own plans, because without God in our plan, we are short of wisdom. We will play blame games when things don't go our way. What to do? We have to bear consequences, quite possibly more delay from God! Sarah who decided to speed things up her way, asked Hagar, her Egyptian maid, to intercourse with Abraham and Ishmael was born. Hagar who thought she has an upper hand against Sarah (since she managed to conceive) started to fight with Sarah, with Abraham stuck in the middle. I would never want to be in that situation. How foolish when you come to think of it in the modern days?! Maybe God will give them Isaac much earlier had Ishmael not been borned?

Signing off.

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