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CBN.com Popular Bible teacher, author, and speaker Joyce Meyer candidly shares with 700 Club co-host Terry Meeuwsen her desire for the power and victory of the Holy Spirit and offers a challenge to other Christians to seek a deeper relationship with the Lord.
TERRY MEEUWSEN: What was it in your own life, Joyce, that first made you realize that maybe you didn't know God as intimately as you wanted to or needed to?
JOYCE MEYER: I was, of course, born again. I had received Christ as my Savior and was going to church and doing what I felt like the church was telling me to do, trying to be a good Christian, but was still really unhappy. I had a lot of problems in my own life and personality that I was not overcoming -- anger, bad attitudes, bitterness, things like that, so I just began to say to the Lord, 'Something is missing. I'm doing what I think I'm supposed to do, but I don't see the kind of victory in my life that I see any of the people of the Bible having. Something is missing. You've got to do something in my life.' As a result of that prayer, God filled me with the Holy Spirit. He touched my life in February 1976 in just a really powerful way. My life was radically different, and it really gave me a hunger for the Word of God. God placed a call on my life. I got very interested in the Bible, spiritual things, making progress with God.
But then even after that, I began to notice not the same thing going on in my life as before, because I definitely had come up higher, but there was still something that I was missing, and I began to read and study in the Word of God about walking in the presence of God and being ever filled with the Holy Spirit and seeking God, not for what He could do for me, not seeking God just to make my life better. Initially, I think it was like, 'My life has got to be better. I've got all these problems. You've got t help me, God. Something's wrong.' He got involved with me on a deeper level and I got involved with Him on a deeper level and He did begin to solve some of my problems. But then I noticed that even that was a temporary fix. You have a problem; God solves your problem. Well, so what? You're going to have another problem. Then He's got to solve that problem.
We've got a long prayer list of everything that God has to do for us every day to keep us happy. I remember when the Holy Spirit challenged me to look at the prayers of Jesus and the prayers of the apostle Paul, and you can't find prayers for material things. It was all about spiritual growth, and knowing the love of God, and knowing Him and the power of His resurrection, so I think that it was a process for me. First you're really happy when you're born again. It's like, 'Oh, praise God! I'll never need anything else.' Then after a while it's like, 'There's something missing.' I received a new measure of God in my life. Then after a while it was like, 'I just don't need a measure. I need God every day in everything that I do!'
I've been saying for a couple of years now that people need to let God out
of the Sunday morning box, that He doesn't want to just be with you for an
hour or two on Sunday morning and then put back in His box to sit there until
you have an emergency, but He wants to invade your Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
TERRY MEEUWSEN: Did you find that when you really focused on the heart of God and where He was, that the things that had been issues before took -
JOYCE MEYER: Absolutely. Actually, I had a very interesting experience with God where He literally challenged me and instructed me not to ask Him for any earthly or material thing until He gave me permission to ask for those things again. He said, 'Every time a thing comes up in your heart that you think you want, instead I want you just to say, "Lord, I need You. I need You." '
TERRY MEEUWSEN: You talk about God being in the box. Maybe we haven't put anyone in the box quite as much as we have the Holy Spirit, and God gave Him to us as 'the Comforter.' He was meant to be a gift from God to us, yet we have caused the Spirit of God to be such a point of contention and division in the church. Why is that?
JOYCE MEYER: Because there's power that's available to us through knowing the Holy Spirit in deeper ways. Obviously, Terry, anyone who is born again has the Holy Spirit. I think sometimes we 'charismatic, Pentecostal Christians' offend people because we make them feel like, 'We have the Holy Ghost, and you don't,' which is nonsense because you cannot even say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit. I say to people all the time, 'My question to you is not "Do you have the Holy Spirit?" It's "Does the Holy Spirit have you? How much of you does He have?" ' I can have a glass of water here that's half full, but why would I want it half full if I could have it overflowing, and not only have just barely enough for me, but enough for me and you?
Acts 1:8 says, 'When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you shall receive power.' We need power in the world today. Satan does not want us to have any power, so he brings a bone of contention or a division into that arena, so people fight about it and there's no power. That's why he doesn't want the gifts of the Spirit in the church. That's why he doesn't want the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the church.
TERRY MEEUWSEN: We've probably never lived in a day or an age that needs the fullness of God's presence more than the day that we live in now. How do we help that process? I mean, obviously, we've done things to hinder it. What can we do to help it?
JOYCE MEYER: I'm not sure that we can do very much except pray for people to be hungry enough to accept whatever God wants to do in their lives. The way I say it to people is this: If you're desperate enough for a move of God in your life, you won't care if you get a Pentecostal blessing, a Baptist blessing, a Methodist blessing. In other words, you're not going to be picky about, 'Wait a minute, God, that's not in my doctrine.'
I was desperate enough. I mean, I was in a large denomination at the time and had good, solid doctrine. What they were teaching me was certainly not wrong, but it wasn't going beyond just certain perimeters. I needed miracles in my life. I needed to get over into the power of God. I needed to know who I was in Christ. I wasn't hearing that. I was hungry enough and desperate enough that I said, 'God, You have got to do something in my life.'
I just really believe people have to get hungry. I think maybe what we need to do, instead of trying to stuff our beliefs down people's throats, is just pray for them to really be hungry and to see their neediness. I think maybe sometimes we preach a little too much and we don't live the life in front of people enough. I think that we need to be living epistles, read of all men, not preach sermons. You know how children have at school what they call 'show and tell'? Well, I think what we do in the church many times is we tell and we never show anything. What we need to do is show and then people say, 'How can you be like that? How can you have that peace? How do you have that power to overcome that fear? How have you overcome, Joyce, a lifetime of being sexually, verbally, mentally, emotionally abused?' Then the door's wide open to tell.
TERRY MEEUWSEN: That's one of the things I love about your books. All of your books that I've read, you're very vulnerable in them. You're really candid about not just the victories that you've had in the Lord. Maybe the thing that impacts people the most when they read your books is that you're vulnerable about the places that you've fallen short of the mark. The great thing we see about that is God's willingness to give us a second chance.
JOYCE MEYER: I think, in all fairness, regarding that aspect of my personality, I do believe that that's a gift that God has given me. First of all, I'm very straightforward. I do believe that that aspect of my gifting has helped a lot of people.
TERRY MEEUWSEN: The other thing that does for me when I read your book is I first of all realize that you can relate to my struggle and that God is big enough that if He would give you victory, maybe He would give me victory, too.
JOYCE MEYER: I believe it's right back again to the same thing we're saying. I was so desperate to have change in my life that I could not go back to the way things had been. I could not live that phony, pretend, just religious, go-through-the-motions lifestyle. I loved God. I mean, I really loved the Lord. I just didn't have any victory. I was tired of being angry. I was tired of getting upset every time I didn't get my way. I didn't want to be rebellious and be a manipulator and a controller, but I didn't have any power over the quirks and the problems in my own personality. I just really believe that I got to the point where I finally just said, 'Lord, if I never have one friend ever, I've got to go on with You.'
Do you want to stay where you're at? Do you want to stay in the same place,
doing the same thing, perhaps with no victory and not overcoming your problems?
Or are you ready to go deeper with God? If so, I'd like to see people get
a copy of my new book, Knowing
God Intimately: Being as Close to Him as You Want to Be.
TERRY MEEUWSEN: God has really used you to teach a lot of us many things about Himself and to help us grow in our own walks with the Lord. We thank you so much for your passion and your obedience.
JOYCE MEYER: Thank you.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.