Joyce Meyer — How to Win Your Battles
We are in a spiritual war, there's no doubt about it. And Ephesians 6:12 says we war not against flesh and blood. Just stick with me this morning and believe me when I say your circumstance is not your problem. The people that irritate you are not your problem.
There's something behind that that is the real problem. And when satan works through a person, let's just say maybe he works through a person to try to keep you upset all the time. Anybody have a person like that in your life, it's like you get up, you're having a pretty good day, and whoops, they show up and it's all over?
Well, the way to win your battles is to realize, have your eyes wide open, realize what the enemy's trying to do, and respond the exact opposite from the way he wants you know. If we'll stop letting the enemy control us, we can be a great witness to other people.
You know, the enemy tried to use me in the beginning days of my marriage to make Dave unhappy. Because I was unhappy, and so when a person's unhappy, then he can easily work through that person to try to make other people unhappy. But Dave wouldn't let me make him unhappy. He stayed happy no matter what I did. And it was infuriating to me for a period of time.
Remember I said for a period of time, but after a while, it began to impress me. And I began to realize he's got something that I not only don't have, I've never seen anybody have it because I grew up in a home that was full of turmoil, and everybody just responded emotionally to everybody else's emotional response. But here's a man who is calm, stable.
And he would just tell me, you know, "I want to love you, but if you won't receive it, there isn't anything I can". I remember when he said to me, "You know what? I've tried to make you happy, and you really are determined you're not going to be happy, and so I'm not going to try to make you happy anymore, but..."
So, now, what would happen in some of the relationships that you have if you would make that decision today? "I'm going to pray for that person, I'm going to show them the love of God, but I am not going to let the devil work through them to steal my joy. Don't let somebody else's bad choice determine your destiny. That's worth writing down. Don't let somebody else's bad choice determine your destiny.
Ephesians 6:12 , "We are not wrestling with flesh and blood," get ahold of that. "We are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, the powers, [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere."
How much plainer can it get than that? We're dealing with enemy demonic spirits. And i know when you start talking about demons and evil spirits that, you know, there's a part of us that just goes, "Ew, do we have to talk about that today?" Well, somebody better talk about it. 'Cause i'll tell you, I mean, up until the time that I was probably close to 40, I mean, I went to church every week and I never heard a good sermon on the devil. And I don't think that's right.
We need to let people know they have an enemy, and they need to be well-versed in what the Bible says about satan, and the devil, and demons, and evil spirits. And we need to know according to the Word how to test and try the spirits, and not believe everything that comes along.
God has given us the ability to have discernment. If we'll live by what we sense in our heart instead of off the top of our head, we can even avoid being so desperately hurt by other people who pretend to be one thing and turn out to be something else.
How many times do you just sense that something's not right, but you can't really put your finger on it? You don't really get it, you don't really understand what it is. And so, you go ahead and go with your head and end up in a big mess. I've learned to pay attention to that. It's like, "Mmm, I think I'll just put the brakes on here and be a little bit more careful. I don't want the enemy to use people anymore to try to destroy me".
And so, I went to church for all those years, and I don't know what it was I thought about the enemy, but I certainly never heard a message that he was my problem, that it was the devil who worked through my dad to try to destroy my life, and that he in fact did that because God knew that because I had a call on my life and God intended to use me, and so from the very moment that I opened my little baby eyes, the devil was there trying to destroy me.
My first name is not Joyce, it's Pauline. And Pauline Joyce means little. So, my father, who named me, didn't realize that even though he was abusing me, every time he called me, he was saying, "Little preacher". And you know what? I've got the greatest testimony you can have, I'm still here, amen?
And so are you, and we're learning every day. And every day, I want to get smarter and smarter, and I want to recognize the workings of the enemy more and more. I didn't know it was the enemy working through my dad, and so I played right into the enemy's hands.
My dad hurt me, and I spent my life hating him. What I needed to do was hate the devil, and learn how to get him back. And I wasn't getting him back by hating my father, and being bitter, and blaming all men for what my father did to me.
Come on, are you seeing the pattern? The way to get him back is to do the exact opposite of what he wants you to do, is to forgive and to help as many people as you possibly can help. That's how you get the enemy back, doing the exact opposite of what he wants you to do. I get the enemy back now every time I get up here and open my mouth, and I can tell you he is not happy about today. Right?
Every time you forgive somebody who hurts you, you're slamming the door in the devil's face. Every time you have an opportunity to stay bitter and angry, and you refuse to do it, but instead maybe you pray for that person or purposely go help them, oh my gosh, the devil is just having a breakdown. Jesus rebuked satan, not people.
Matthew 16:21 , "From that time forth Jesus began [clearly] to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and the scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised from the dead." So, now Jesus is just trying to explain to His disciples what's about to happen, what's going to happen. "And peter took Jesus aside to speak to him privately and began to reprove Him and charge Him sharply."
Can you imagine how much pride and how much stupidity do you have to have to do that? But see, even though Peter loved Jesus, and even though he was going to be a great man of God, he had weakness that the enemy was able to work through, and his weakness was pride and fear. And you can see that in other situations in the Bible. When he denied Christ, it was because of fear.
Well, I don't know exactly what all was going on here in Peter's mind, but I have a feeling that part of it was, "Well, if He's about to suffer and we're with Him, then that means we could be in danger too." Whatever he thought, he definitely wasn't seeing things the right way. So, he said, "Oh no, this is not right. This must not happen."
Well, what if Jesus would've listened to Peter? Come on, how many people have you listened to that maybe have "Oh, no, you might as well forget that. You couldn't do that. No, you don't have the gift, the talent for that."
Boy, when God first called me to teach, I was friends with a group of people that, I mean, we came from a culture and a background where women didn't do that. Well, see, I didn't know that God couldn't use women, so I just believed what He said, and started doing what I thought He was telling me to do.
And somebody said to me or it was a group of ladies, "Somebody told us that you said that you think that somebody, you're going to have one of the biggest ministries in the world ever run by a woman. That's not possible. We've been talking about it, and with your personality, that's just not possible."
Well, like I said, I'm still here. Well, you know what? They really were not trying to be mean to me, it was the enemy working through their carnal thoughts, trying to get me to believe that I was all wrong for the job, and that God had not called me.
See, satan will work through people. It's not that we don't want to listen to people, but you have to listen to God first. We must obey God rather than man. Don't miss your destiny because the enemy's working through somebody else, trying to tell you what you can't, and what you're not, and what you never will be. You listen to God, Who says I can do all things through Christ.