Joyce Meyer — The Cost of Discipleship
I've been doing some teaching on some of the parables of Jesus, something that I've never done in all my years of teaching, and tonight I'm going to do the "Parable of the cost of discipleship". And we're gonna start in Luke 14:25 through 35: "Now huge crowds were going along with Jesus, and he turned and said to them, if anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God and likewise his wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life also, he cannot be my disciple".
Now that sounds like a really rough scripture, doesn't it? But you have to understand that sometimes Jesus used what we call today hyperbole which means that he would make a statement that sounded fairly outrageous to make a point. Now, obviously, God doesn't want us to hate people. But he wants to put such a space between how we feel about people and how we feel about him that it would almost seem that that would be the case. And I'll give you an example. I just read this story and I think this'll make the point.
A girl in a Jewish family received Christ and, 'course, her whole family, especially her mom, was really, really, really against it. And so it came time the girl wanted to be baptized and so she told her mother she was gonna be baptized that afternoon. And her mother said, "If you go and get baptized, then surely you must hate me". And she said, "No, mom, I don't hate you but I love Jesus more". And so that's kind of what that scripture is talking about. It's like we have to love Jesus so much that we won't let our own self-will or even what other people want us to do keep us from the will of God. "Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (and follow) me cannot be my disciple".
Now, you can be saved. There's a difference in receiving Christ as your Savior and being a full-on, committed disciple. And a lot of people want just enough of Jesus to stay out of hell but they don't want enough to really live a victorious life while they're here and be a benefit to somebody other than themselves. Don't be the kind of person that just does the least little bit you can get by with just to squeak in the back door of heaven. If you're gonna do this, let's get on with it and give God all that we've got, amen? "For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see whether he has sufficient means to finish it"?
Now, obviously, we can understand that when it comes to building a house or building a building but this applies to so many areas of our own life. You know, we should not start any kind of a project or make any kind of a commitment without thinking it through to think about am I really willing to commit to this to bring it through to the finish? Can I tell you a secret? It doesn't take much at all to start something. Anybody, any motion, can start something. Anybody can say, "I'm gonna do this".
Do you know how easy it is to go on a diet Sunday night after dinner? Amen? I mean, you can even go buy the treadmill. That's not hard if you've got the money to pay for it. But it's getting on the thing day after day after day after day. It's sticking with the diet when you feel like you're about to starve to death on Wednesday morning or whatever, you know? There's so many, many things. Now, this is obviously applying to our walk with God and walking it out and becoming what God wants us to be but we can apply this to so many areas of our life. "Otherwise," people will say, "This man began to build and was not able (or worth enough) to finish it".
There's a place where Dave and I go by sometimes. It's actually in another state and we've driven by this several times. There's a lot of golfing communities in this area and there's one that we talk about every time we go by because it has this elaborate entrance, a big guard gate out front, a little guard house, and these huge archways, and it's just this beautiful great opening there to what was supposed to be a subdivision and the dirt is plowed up along the ground inside and there's a few pieces of building material out there and a lone tractor sitting out there. And it's been sitting there for 8 years and nobody ever did anything.
So that's somebody who started something and didn't calculate the cost of finishing it. And it reminds me, every time I go by there, of what so many people do with their lives. They start something but then when it gets challenging or when it gets difficult, they don't stick with it, including marriage, amen? Thank you for your great response. You know, it's not hard to say "I do" at the altar but it takes a lot to be able to stand here like Dave and I can and say we've been married 50 years. And that doesn't happen without a strong commitment. "Or what king, going out to engage in conflict with another king, will not first sit down and consider and take counsel whether he is able with 10,000 men to meet him who's coming against him with 20,000"? You're going to war, you've got 10,000, they've got 20,000, probably be smart to give that a little bit of thought. Do I really think I can win this? And he says, "If he realizes that he cannot win when the other king is still a great way off, he'll send an envoy and ask for terms of peace". You know, if you can't beat your enemy, it's better to make peace with him.
All right, now, so listen to this scripture. This is verse 33 in Luke 14: "So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, and say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be my disciple". So some of you, I believe, need to say goodbye to some stuff, amen? Some of you are involved with a person in your life, friend or girlfriend or boyfriend, and you know that they're causing you to compromise your walk with God. You know that it's hurting you spiritually. And you need to say "Goodbye". You're gonna make this hard on me tonight, aren't you? Some of you have a career and you have to compromise your morals in order to keep that job. You need to say goodbye to that job. And I don't care if you have to make less money. There's nothing worse than going to bed at night with a guilty conscience and there's nothing better than knowing that you're right in the center of God's will. And although it may be hard sometimes to make those sacrifices, it's only hard on your flesh but your spirit rejoices.
So I guess it's a matter of do you wanna keep your flesh happy because, you know what? You really can't keep it happy. No matter what you give it, 5 minutes later it's gonna want something else. And so we can either let the flesh rule or we can learn to walk in the Spirit and, boy, when you're happy inside... How many of you have ever had even one instance of being so happy inside, in your soul, in your spirit, that you had a massive problem but somehow it just didn't seem to matter because you had the joy of the Lord going on inside? Well, see, that's what God wants us to have all the time, every day of our life.
Now, when I talk about giving up, where it says here, "Say goodbye to all that he has". You're gonna hear some scriptures tonight that you're not gonna like. And I don't want you to take 'em out of balance because this is not about if you're gonna be a Christian you can't have anything or if you're gonna be a Christian, you never get anything you want. The whole point of this is to say goodbye to self-will and hello to God's will. Say goodbye to self-will and hello to God's will. Have you ever had God touch something in your life? Do you know what I mean when I say "Touch it"? It's like he, like, puts his finger on it and says, "No more". Anybody know what I'm talking about? All right? Okay, do you know if, depending on how bad it hurts, that lets you know how attached you are to it and if God puts his finger on anything in our life and we cannot lay it down even though we know he wants us to, then it's something that God will have to continue to deal with with us because it's actually hurting us, it's not helping us. It's amazing how many things we hang onto that are destroying us when really, God would love to move that out of our way and he'll give us something so much better in the place of it.
Now, I'm gonna tell you a little secret up front, because if I don't tell you this, I'll lose your attention. 'cause I'm gonna talk tonight about giving up some stuff. Nobody likes that. That's not a happy message. But it is an important message because everything that God wants you to get rid of in your life is something that's hurting you. Even a bad attitude. Some of you could say goodbye to a bad attitude and it wouldn't hurt at all. Yeah, and some of you at home could say goodbye to complaining. That would be good, amen? How about saying goodbye to having a negative attitude? How about saying goodbye to jealousy? All kinds of stuff, see? We gotta always be saying goodbye to stuff. Goodbye! You see "Sound of music," that song, "Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye". And I don't sing much so when I do, you better listen.
All right, but anything that God asks us to part with, even though we may not be aware of it, it actually is something that's hurting us. Anything that he puts his finger on is just something that's hurting us and here's the good news, the little secret I wanna tell you. Anything that God asks you to part with he will give you something better in return. But see, in these scriptures, he's not telling us that yet. He's only talking about the giving it up stuff. But when you've had enough experience with God, you learn that, yeah, you give it up first and you don't know what's gonna happen. See, let's just take, like, a woman, you know, like, being abused I was desperate for somebody to love me and I really thought that nobody would ever want me because I was used merchandise.
And so the first young man that came along that paid any attention to me and asked me to marry him, I married him. And it was stupid. I knew down deep inside it wasn't gonna work. I had been born again when I was 9 years old so I could sense, you know, when I had peace about something and when I didn't, but I didn't really know what that was. And I didn't really have peace about marrying him but I did it anyway because I was desperate and I was afraid if I didn't take what I could get, that I would never have anybody. C'mon now. You're too important to God to stay with somebody that's mistreating you and is abusing you and talks to you like you're no good. God has got something better for you but you may have to say goodbye to what you're got first. You're too important to God to keep a job where the boss makes you lie for him in order to keep the job and every time you do, it's ripping you up inside. You can say goodbye to that and God will give you something else.
But every time you say goodbye to something, you know what you feel first? Fear. God told Abraham to say goodbye and he didn't even tell him where he was going. He said, "Say goodbye to your family. Walk away from everything you know, everything you're familiar with". You know why God had him do that? Because they were all idol worshipers. God had a great plan for him and he had to get him away from them in order for that plan to come to pass in his life. Anything that God is trying to move out of your way, it's gonna end up for your benefit if you do it. Let me ask a question. I just wanna make sure I'm not just, you know, talking to people that don't have a clue what I'm talking аbout: is there anybody in the building that God's dealing with you about saying goodbye to some stuff and you just really could use this tonight? Thank you.
All right, "So any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good it's an excellent thing, but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid and flat), how shall its saltiness be restored? It's fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap: men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him listen and consider and comprehend by hearing"! Now, all of you have ears on your head 'cause I can see them. But a lot of people have ears to hear and they hear not, eyes to see and they see not. So I don't want you to waste your time here tonight. I don't want those of you watching the TV program to waste your time watching it. I don't wanna waste my time doing this. So let's just get ready right now, we're gonna really listen, we're gonna not just let the stuff we don't like just kind of go in one ear and out the other, but we're gonna really take it all in and say, "Now, God, what are you trying to say to me through this"? It's not just about Joyce sitting up here preaching. It's what is God wanting to say to you through what I'm saying here tonight?
Now, I have a question. Are you attached to Jesus or committed? There's a big difference. You see, a lot of people are just attached. They attend church, they've made a profession of faith, they wanna go to heaven, but they're not committed. They're not really living for God. I did that for years and years and years and years. Years and years. I had Jesus but he didn't have me. C'mon. It's very easy to just wanna take him and tack him on to your current life and keep everything you've got and not change anything and just have Jesus in your life for emergencies or when everything's going crazy. But what he wants us to do is give up our life, fully commit to him, and say, "God, what do you want me to do? What do you wanna do with me"? Attach means joined or fashioned to a thing with fondness and affection.
You know, Jesus asked Peter three times, "Peter, do you love me? Peter, do you love me? Peter, do you love me"? This is in John 21. And there's three different words for love and I'm not gonna get into all that but one of them is just a word for, like, fondness and affection. And so one of the answers Peter gave was, "Yes, Lord, you know I'm fond of you. You know that I love you, that we're friends". So he asked him again, then he asked him again. And each time, he said to him, "Well, if you love me, feed my sheep. If you love me, feed my lambs". So really, what he was saying to Peter was if you really love me, then you can't live your own life the way you wanna live it. I've got work that I wanna do through you so I need you to lay your life on the line and really get fully committed to this thing.
See, we start out wanting Jesus in our life because, frankly, we've got so many problems, we're about to go crazy. And we want him to come into our life and fix them all. And you know what? He'll do that for a while. I call it the honeymoon phase. It's like, I mean, if you wanna get a prayer answered, you go get somebody to pray for you that just got saved last night. I mean, God just shows out with new believers. But the time will come when God's gonna want you to make a transition and, instead of telling him 20 things you need every morning to even put a smile on your face, he wants you to say, "What do you need from me today and I don't care whether it makes me smile or not, I want to be in your will". That's a commitment. Commitment defined means to pledge yourself to a thing or a position, to be bound or obligated. In Greek, it indicates a continuous action towards something not yet completed. A continuous action towards something not yet completed.
So you know what that means? This is a lifelong project of continuing to let God do what he wants to do in our life. The committed person will stick with something until it's completely finished. They stick with a thing or a person in good times and bad. You can count on them. You know, that's what marriage is. It's a commitment. And you know, I know a lot of people today, they have the attitude, "Well, you know, it's just a piece of paper. Who cares? We just live together". Well, it's about the commitment. It's not about the piece of paper. And see, when you're married legally, it's a little bit harder to just pack your stuff and walk out the door than if you're just staying overnight. And I'll tell you the truth, I want you to listen to me. You are worth more than to have someone that doesn't care enough to really be committed to you.
And you know, this is one particular area because there's so much of this even in the church that, to be honest, I very rarely ever say anything like this and don't have a few people walk out. I haven't seen anybody leaving yet so that's good news, but, "Well, you know, Joyce, it's the 20th century, it's the 21st century," or whatever it is. Well, you know what? The Bible is the same whether it's the 1st century or the 10,000th century. It's not gonna change. And you know, today everything in our society is so casual. Well, you know what? God is not casual. He means business, he's got a plan for your life. And if you cooperate with him, you will have a life that will leave you with your mouth hanging open in awe: it will be so amazing.
So I kind of liken this attached or committed thing to dating versus being married. You know, when I was dating Dave I didn't have access to everything that he had like I did when we got married. And I didn't have a car when Dave and I got married but when we got married, suddenly I had a car. But that wasn't my car. I mean, I could not say, "Look at my car," when we were just dating. But the minute that we got married I can say, "Look at my car". I mean, Dave had a little money. I didn't have any money. Suddenly, we got married and I had a little money, amen? So I guess I just wanna ask tonight, "Are you dating Jesus? Or are you married"? He says he's the bridegroom and we're the bride so he must like this marriage commitment thing, amen? There's not one person in this building that cannot come up higher after hearing this message. Myself included. There's not one person in here who doesn't need this in some area of your life.
Now, saying goodbye to yourself and to your life as you know it sounds a little bit frightening. Oh, but you have no idea the life that God has for you. Do you think when I was back just attached to Jesus and just going to church on Sunday morning and leaving and gossiping about the preacher and all the people in the church and do you think that I had any idea back then what God had planned for my life? You think I had any clue that I would be where I'm at today? But you know what? Between now and then, I've had to say goodbye to a lot of stuff, amen? And I'm trying to tell you that God has got something better planned for you and don't let the stuff that you're hanging on to that God has put his finger on keep you from the very best that God has.
Now, if you only want the benefits of being a Christian, then you're probably looking to see where the nearest exit is and if you could get out of here without causing too much disturbance because this is not about just the privileges of being a Christian, this is about how to access those things and what to let God do in your life. All right, gonna talk to you for a few minutes about what I call dying to live. I actually would like to write a book before I die called "Dying to live," but I think I may write it and tell my family that they can't release it till after I'm gone because I'm not sure how many people would buy it and I don't want to get disappointed, so I'll just leave it here.
Actually, this principle is in the word of God and it's phenomenal when you see it because when we die to self, that's when we really start to live. So, you literally, in the way of God, that God wants us to look at it tonight, like we think, well, when you die, you stop living. But he says, when you die to self, then and only then do you really start living. You haven't even started living until you say goodbye to self-will and hello to God's will. And I think if we're all honest, we know that we started on our walk with God and we want all these things and we wants God to help us get them. Come on, don't you look at me like that. We want this, and we want that, and we want something else. And, you know, "God, will you give me this? Will you give me that"? Well, the truth is is you may end up with a lot of it, but God's not gonna give it to you and he knows that you're ready, and you're not ready until you're willing to give it up if God says give it up. It's amazing how many times God will put us through the routine of making us think that we're never gonna have something that we want, and we get to the point we don't care and then they'll give it to us. Amen? 'Cause it can't mean too much to us.
Mark 8:34 through 36, "And Jesus called to him the throng with his disciples and said to them, if anybody intends to come after me, let him deny himself forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests". Well, yay. Is anybody excited? I didn't hear one amen when I read that. "And let him take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his higher, spiritual life, will have to lose the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth: and whoever gives up his life which is lived on earth for my sake and the Gospel will save it his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom. What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and forfeit his real life"?
So, what is he really saying? He's saying, if you give up the low life, you can have the high life. If you hang on to the low life, then you're never gonna have the high life. In other words, if you give up the life, anything that God touches in your life, letting go of anger, letting go of resentment, letting go of bitterness, walking away from a job that's causing you to compromise, walking away from somebody you're dating because you know that they're gonna drag you down in the pit with them, whatever the case might be. And I'm not telling you if you're married to somebody that you get to walk out on them. Too bad, you got a commitment there. You're gonna have to pray that one through and try to make it work. But I'm just saying, you know, if you have not signed on the dotted line yet, honey, you better run as fast as you can run. Amen?
But satan has distorted this whole idea of what we think that Christians have to give up and he's turned it into something that it's not. Like the young man that I was talking to today that I mentioned earlier in the place of business, he knows what I do, and after asking me, you know, how I got into this, I'm kind of like, well, really I'm still trying to figure that out myself. But I didn't try to explain that to him. And I love it when people do this, when they kind of get a clue what I'm doing, so many people told me, "You know, I'm not very religious". And I love to say, "You know, I'm not either". "Not religious at all, but I do have a personal relationship with Jesus, and that I really like".
So, here's what he said, and it's indicative of what I'm trying to talk about. He said, "Well, you know, I'm not very religious". He said, "My dad was real religious, and I remember we could never go to the movies". And he said, "He told us if we were in the movies and Jesus came back, then we wouldn't go to heaven". Well see, that's really the silly stuff that religion does. I'm talking to you tonight about giving stuff up, but I'm not talking about you can't have any fun, you can't go to a party, you can't see a movie, you can't dance, you can't wear any color, you can't wear any makeup. That's not what I'm talking about. Please, if you need makeup, put it on. We would appreciate you getting all the help you can get. You just don't know how hard I work at this.
And please don't have the idea when you hear something about this about giving things up that it means that you're not gonna have any fun. I'm talking about giving up the stuff that's actually in reality making you miserable. So, you can have the things that will bring true joy into your life. And there's no way that any one of us is ever gonna be really happy if we are not in the center of God's will for our life. Now, look at me, God's not gonna bargain with you. Just in case you're trying to bargain with God, it won't work.
I'll tell you a real quick little story. When I started knowing that God had called me to teach the word, I had three small children at that time and I couldn't go off to Bible college. I didn't have any way to really learn anything. And I didn't, you know, it's really not too smart to try to teach the Bible if you don't know the Bible, so I needed to study. And because I worked a full-time job and had kids and a home, it was really hard for me to find the time to do that. So, and I'm not recommending this for anybody else, and matter of fact, I would recommend you don't do it unless you know for sure you have a word from God. But God really started dealing with me to quit my job so I could spend time at home studying the Bible, getting prepared for what I believed he was gonna have me do.
The only problem was is we didn't have enough money to pay our bills. We were short every month. It wasn't a lot, but it was like 40 some odd dollars, $50 something short of being able to pay our bills. So, you know what I did? I quit my full-time job and got a part-time job. Come on, God's not gonna be happy with part-time obedience from you. You know what happened with my part-time job? I got fired. God let me know he meant what he said. I was not the type of person that ever got fired from a job. I was a very, very, very good worker. So, I love to tell that story because that's exactly what I was doing. I was trying to give God a sacrifice, not obedience. "Well, I'm not gonna forgive them, God, but I will go to church twice this week". Or whatever the case might be. How many of you know what I'm talking about?
Okay, now I want you to listen specifically to this because this is really important. C.S. Lewis wrote this in his book, "The weight of glory". "If you asked 20 good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues are, 19 of them would reply unselfishness. But if you ask almost any of the great Christians of old, they would have replied love". I want you to notice what's happened. "A negative term has been substituted for a positive one and this is a huge problem. The negative idea of being unselfish carries with it the suggestion, not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves". Are you there? So see, if I just stand here and tell you don't be selfish, don't be selfish, don't be selfish, you can't be selfish, be unselfish, be unselfish, then you're gonna be left with the idea that you're constantly having to do without, do without, do without, do without. But if I teach you to love people, you can't do that and be selfish, but now all of a sudden, you're looking at it from a totally different viewpoint which now becomes a lot of fun.
So, I'm not gonna stand here and tell you that you can't go to parties, you can't see movies, you can't do this, you can't do that. What I am gonna tell you is you can be led by the Holy Spirit. And so, if you're in a movie and you don't feel comfortable, and you know that it's not where God wants you, it's not the place where he wants you, it's not the kind of thing you should be watching, then you obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit and you get up and leave and you'll have more joy, whereas if you stay even though your conscience is condemning you, your flesh may like the movie, but you won't sleep good that night. Am I making sense, okay?
Oh, and by the way, let me just tell you this, that's not even something you have to do to go to heaven. The stuff I'm talking to you about tonight is not what you do to be saved. We are saved by grace through faith. Our salvation's been bought and paid for. What I'm talking about is if you really love Jesus, if you're really committed, then you can't live for yourself, you gotta make a transition and begin to want what God wants more than you want what you want. And I don't know, to be honest, maybe everybody here in the bidding tonight or everybody watching at home, maybe you're not ready yet. It takes time to get ready to do this. Maybe you're not ready, but that's okay. I'll preach it again another way, and again another way, and again another way, and again another way.
My son said one time many, many, years ago, he used do the sound for our meetings. And one night I came in and they always wanted to know what my teaching title was that night. And he said, "Well, what are we calling dying to self tonight"? 'Cause he said, "It doesn't matter what title you put on it, it always comes back around to the same thing". But it's a message that we need. If we focus on what we're gonna lose by obeying Jesus, we will more than likely never find the courage to obey him. I'mma say that again. If we only focus on what we think we're gonna lose by obeying Jesus, we will more than likely never find the courage to obey him. Don't focus on, "Oh man, I gotta give up this job. I make a lot of money there". No, don't focus on that. Focus on the joy you're gonna have from being in the will of God, and focus on the reward that God's gonna bring in your life, and the better job he's gonna get you because you obeyed him. Amen?
Let's just take something natural as an example. Let's say, you know, we don't need to see something like discipline as, "Oh, it's so hard. Oh, discipline". You know, I could've stood up here tonight and say, "I'm gonna teach on discipline," and you would have groaned. There would have been a groan that would have went across the crowd. "Ugh". But you know what? Discipline is not your enemy, discipline is your friend. You don't have to discipline yourself. Paul said, "All things are legitimate for me. I can do anything I want to". But he said, "Not all things are beneficial. Not all things are helpful, so I'm not gonna allow my flesh to rule me and live a riotous type life. I'm gonna keep my flesh under," because he wanted the best life that God could give him.
Many people dread exercise, you know why? Because they have a negative view of it. They only think about how it's gonna hurt, they don't think about how good they're gonna look four, five months from now and how good they're gonna feel. All right, you gettin' anything out of this? Well, the good news is is Paul said in Galatians 2:20, "I've been crucified with Christ. In him I've shared his crucifixion. It's no longer I who live, but Christ the Messiah lives in me, and the life that I now live I live by faith". Well, I mean, that sounds pretty serious. "I've been crucified with Christ. It's no longer I that live but Christ that liveth in me". But you know what I like? Paul didn't write that scripture until after he'd been converted 20 years. You know why I like that? It helps me know there's hope for me, and that it is a journey, and we say goodbye to stuff a little bit at a time, a little bit at a time.
All I'm asking you to do is whatever God's putting his finger on. Some of you are looking at me like a calf at a new gate. You're like... You know why people get quiet when you preach like this? Because they're going, "Uh-oh". "I've been had". Twenty years after his conversion. You know what death to self is? It's spiritually maturity, that's really all it is. It's just growing up in God saying yes to God. And in order to do that if you have to say no to self or no to somebody else, then yes to God always wins.
All right, let me show you a few scriptures here, then we'll go on. Let's see, which one do I want? All right, 2 Timothy 2:11, "The saying is sure and worthy of confidence: if we have died with him, we'll also live with him". 2 Corinthians 4:8 through 12, "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side troubled and oppressed in every way, but we're not cramped or crushed: we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but we're not driven to despair: we are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted to stand alone: we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed". Okay now, you gotta watch these next two verses. "Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the resurrection life of Jesus may also be shown forth by and in our bodies".
I can show you scripture after scripture after scripture where he says, "If you're willing to die to the fleshly way of living," and I'm gonna tell you in a minute how you die and what that means. It basically just means saying, "I'm not gonna live like that anymore. I'm not gonna keep feeding my flesh". Can I tell you something? It's not your job to keep your flesh happy. 'Cause you know why? It's stupid anyway. It tells you to eat things that are unhealthy, stay up late at night, not get any sleep. Take on more than you can possibly do in one day just because you want to try to impress somebody, hang out with people you don't even like just because they're in the right group. Come on, I know all about this stuff. Wear clothes and shoes that are too tight. How many years did I wear shoes that were killing my feet while I was up here preaching, why? Because they were cute. Well, you know what my cute shoes got me? Corns and bunions.
I tell you, there's a few things that happen as you get older. I'm not wearing something too tight, and I'm not wearing it if it hurts. And I'm not eating it if I don't like it. And I'm not staying out late at night unless I'm out preaching. I'm gonna be home in my chair resting, amen? Yeah, a lot of you aren't there yet, but you'll get there.
Verse 11, "For we who are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus' sake, for we who are constantly experiencing being handed over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the resurrection life of Jesus might be evidenced in and through us". So dying to live. You die to self, you really get to live.
Now, Colossians 3 says something that is a little bit hard to understand so I'm gonna try to explain it. It says, "So kill the evil desire lurking in your members". It's so simple, are you ready? Are you ready to know how simple it is to die to self? Want me to tell you how to kill the flesh? Stop feeding it. And I'm not talking about dinner, that's not what we're talking about here. You say, "I'm a little lost". Stop feeding it. If you don't feed it long enough, it'll lose its strength and energy over you. You can kill anything by just not feeding it. Okay so, here's how you feed it. A wife is angry with her husband, she's a Christian. The Holy Spirit reminds her, he's so good about this. He reminds her of Ephesians 4:26 and 27 which says, "Don't let the sun go down on our anger". Don't give the devil a foothold in your life, sweetie. Well, now she has a choice to make. What will she do? "It's almost bedtime, I'm not supposed to go to bed mad". God's saying, "Just go make peace, apologize". "It wasn't my fault". "I apologized the last time".
Okay, so here's the thing, your flesh wants you to stay mad. Your flesh doesn't want you to have peace. Your flesh is cooperating with the devil. "Open a door for me, open a door for me," the devil's saying. But the Holy Spirit is in you, and you went to the Joyce Meyer conference. And you heard all those scriptures that she loves to quote, and now the Holy Spirit is reminding you of them. So, the Holy Spirit is saying, "Let it go. Make peace. Doesn't matter who's right. Obey God". Now, you can either do what you want to and feed your flesh one more time. See, here's the thing. Every time you feed it, you give it more strength. Every time you feed it, you keep it alive. But every time you don't feed it, it gets a little bit weaker and a little bit weaker and a little bit weaker.
Do you know what? I could remember when I used to get mad at Dave and I would not speak to the man for three weeks. Now, this is back, like, year one, okay? And oh man, I don't know how many nights I went to bed mad. And here's the stupidity of it, I would sleep on the seam of the mattress because I was not going to touch him. "I am not touching you". And he would have all the covers. And I was not gonna ask him for anything so I would ask him for no cover. So, I would lay on the seam of the mattress and freeze all night and be mad. And he's over there going...
Now, let me ask you was God right or the devil? Should I have fed my flesh one more meal and kept it happy, or would I have been better off. You know what? There is no way that I would go to bed now mad at Dave. I mean, I don't care. I don't care what I had to say, what I had to do. If I had to beg him to be at peace with me, I would not go to bed mad. Let me tell ya something, God is on a rampage in your life, and he's touching stuff, and he wants you to say goodbye to some stuff. It's time for some change in our lives, amen?