Joyce Meyer - The Test of Confidence
How many of you know that we go through testing times in our life? And I said last night if we get wise we'll start to pass our tests the first time we take 'em. Because with God nobody ever flunks out, you just get to keep taking the test over, and over, and over until you finally pass it. Last night, we talked about the test we go through while learning how to trust God. This morning, I want to talk to you about the things that we go through while we are becoming secure and confident in Christ, rather than in ourselves or in other people.
Do you know how miserable it is to be an insecure person with no confidence. I mean, literally, I was thinking about it and I look back at the way that I used to be, say like, when I first started preaching. You know, if I would get done doing a session and I didn't have 20 people rush to me and tell me how wonderful it was, I'd go home and fall apart. You know, we shouldn't have to look to other people to tell us that we're okay all the time. If you need 20 compliments a day to get through the day without feeling bad about yourself then God is gonna have to let you go through some things so you can finally learn who you are in him.
And yes, we all want to be liked, there'd be something wrong with us if we didn't want to be liked. But, the fear of man can keep you from your destiny. Satan will use people to rule you, manipulate you, and control you, and make you absolutely miserable if you don't stand up for yourself and realize that you don't have to be like everybody else to be okay. Amen? We're all very different. God has created us very different. And, I don't think God can do very much with us until we know who we are in him.
A lot of people really want to be used by God, but you have to know who you are in Christ because if you think you get attacked now, while you're wanting to do something for Christ, just wait till you actually, start doing something and see what you get. And that's exactly why God has to get us to a certain level of maturity before he can promote us to new levels because on every new level, there's a new devil. Amen? And so, man, when I first started preaching I didn't even know how insecure I was. It's amazing how we look for that nod of approval from everybody. "Do my clothes look okay"? "Do you like my haircut"? "Am I okay"? You know, "Is everybody happy with me"?
And it just, I want to impress on you how miserable that makes you. But, boy, when you come to the point, listen to what I'm gonna say, where you don't feel the need to impress anybody, then you're finally free. I mean, you can probably tell I'm pretty comfortable up here. I don't, you know, I don't feel like that I'm one person over there and then I get up and I have to become this other person to impress you. I'm just the same here as I am when I go home. And, it's because I don't feel any tension doing what I'm doing because first of all, if I make a mistake, that's not the end of the world. I'll just make a joke out of it and we'll go on.
And, if you don't like me, that's your problem, that's between you and God, you know, I can't make you like me, I can only be who I am. And when, you can go out in the world every day and you're not trying to impress people, but you really just want to serve them, you want to help them, you want to make their life better, you want to serve God then you're free from all that bondage of having to get approval from people everywhere you look. And, I hope you already have that freedom, but if you don't, I really want you to find some freedom in Christ today, to know how precious you are, and how valuable you are, and how special you are, and to not have to compare yourself with other people, and compete with other people, but just to be comfortable in your own skin and be who you are. Come on, give God a praise.
When my ministry started, I taught some home Bible studies for about five years. Had this meeting in my home every Tuesday night, and about 25 or 30 people came, and that was where I kinda started learning how to do what I'm doing. God only let me affect about 25 people because I still had way too many problems in my life to be affecting too many more than that. And, while I was trying to teach them, God was teaching me. So, I had it in my heart to do great things, bigger things. And, I really believed that, that was God's will for me. But, I couldn't understand why he kept holding me back or not opening the right doors. And, so often, we're not being promoted in our life not because we don't have the skills to do the job, but it's because we don't have the character to do the job.
And, we have, you know, we have this, "Endangered animal," list, but I think we need to put out a new list called, "The endangered character," list. Amen? I mean, like this afternoon, I'm gonna talk about faithfulness, and boy, where has that gone to? You know, who can you find any more that you can trust to keep your secrets? Or even to show up on time when you've got an appointment with 'em. It's just like, I mean, the world has just gone wacky, it's like... As Christians, we have to get those things back, and we have to model that in front of other people.
Listen, you're only gonna be here a short time. And let me tell you somethin'. You may be sitting here, you may be 20 years old and you think, "Oh, I got forever". Well, you know what? I'm standing here and I'm 75 years old, and I don't have forever. Amen? Most of my life, I've already lived. And, I can tell you when you get a little bit further along in life, you're gonna realize that a lot of the stuff that you put all your time into is nothing but a waste of time because you're not gonna take it with you. And, that's absolutely true. We brought nothing in, and we're taking nothing out.
And, if you want to get a good lesson just go find a junkyard and sit there for a while and think about how many people lost their families over what's now laying in that junk pile, had no relationship with God because they were so busy trying to get things, and all those things someday are gonna pass away. And, instead of spending our time trying to get everything we think we want, we need to spend our time trying to be what we believe God wants us to be, and for each one of us, in our own way, to serve God.
Let me tell you something. Most of the ministry that's needed is out in the streets where you guys are at. And really, you come in to places like this, that you might be trained up, so you can go out and do the work of the ministry. Not so you can come and gawk at us while we preach, and then go home, and just stay the same. Everyone of you represents God. If anybody knows you're a Christian, they're looking at you to see what God's like. And, I'll tell you what. We need to step up our game. Because instead of running away from the church, I want people to start running in.
Well, I taught that home Bible study for five years, and then eventually, we added another one and it was two Bible studies, and then I clearly felt like I heard God say, "I want you to stop doing this Bible study. Behold, I do a new thing". Well, I thought, "Here we go. Off and rolling now, here I come world". Well, for the next year, I did absolutely nothing in ministry. Don't you just love it when God just kinda sets you up on a shelf, and you just do not understand at all what's going on? And, a lot of times whatever you're going through in life, right now, you don't understand it, but you probably will understand it, later. And so, that was such a hard year for me, and I did not understand.
"Did I hear from God? Didn't I hear from God? Do I have a call on my life? Don't I have a call on my life"? And you know, I would look at people preaching on TV and think, "Well, I can preach better than they can". Well, that was one of the reasons that I had a problem. Come on, don't tell me you don't sit out there sometimes and think, "Well, I should be up there singing, I can sing circles around that person". Amen? And so, it's not what all we can do that gets God excited, it's our attitude, and having the right heart motive. God can do more with somebody with less talent and a sweeter heart than somebody that's gotta wicked heart and can do just about anything.
So, God is always looking at our heart, not just our natural talent. That's why anybody can be used by God, anybody. He recycles trash. He knew how to do it a long time before we started figuring out how to do it. Amen? God takes what the world would throw away and he turns it into something amazing. So anyway, during that year, and I don't have time to tell you all the stories because it would take the whole morning but, you know, God teaches us deep spiritual lessons through everyday practical things. And so, during that year, somehow or another, the devil got me convinced that all this ministry stuff was just my imagination, and this was what I heard, "You need to settle down and be a regular woman". And, our idea of what that is, probably is all pretty much the same, you know.
My neighbor had a garden, and she made her family's clothes, and she did all this painting, and all this stuff, and I couldn't do none of that, didn't want to do any of it, hated all of it, you know. I just wanted to run the world and tell people what to do, and you know, get everybody to love God, you know. And so, for a year, I tried to be the regular woman. And, I tried to make my family some clothes, and you know., we had a garden and before we could, the tomatoes were coming in and I went out to look at 'em one morning, and they were full of black holes, some bugs had eaten 'em up. And, I didn't understand because my neighbor next door had great tomatoes and mine were all, had holes in 'em.
And, I went to God crabbing, you know. Here, I'd been praying over my tomatoes and I don't, you know, I don't understand. I'm sure she's not nearly as spiritual about her tomatoes and hers are okay and mine are ruined. And God said, "I have no obligation to protect your tomatoes. I never told you to grow tomatoes". And you know, maybe some of the things that you're trying to do for wrong reasons, they're not working out, and you just don't understand why God's not blessing your efforts, well, maybe you're trying to do something for a wrong reason or you're trying to do something that's not what God wants you to do.
Maybe, you know, just maybe. Probably not, but just... Just maybe. You know, we need to learn to recognize what God's anointed and what he hasn't. And, if you just keep pushin', and pushin', and tryin' to make somethin' happen, and tryin' to make somethin' happen and it should become obvious to us a lot quicker than it does that God is just not opening the door that we're trying to push it open. And, that's what wears us out. I have never been a regular woman. I will not ever be a regular woman. And whatever that is, it's not for me. Amen? I have no interest in being normal or regular. I want to just be as far out there as I can get and do things that nobody's ever done. Amen?
But, now listen to me. In order to do that, you have to get to the point where you don't care what people think. And, I don't mean that in a wrong way, not like a, "Well, I don't care what you think". I mean that you, certainly, you want people to like you and you try to be kind to people but you can't let other people run your life with their opinions. You have to be bold enough to go with God, if the only two that ever believe in you, is you and God. It is amazing what you can do if you will follow God. But, I can tell you, I promise you, if you are going to follow God and it may not be in ministry, maybe it's in business, I mean, God uses people in a lot of different ways. But, if you're gonna follow God, I promise you that you're gonna lose a few people along the way. Amen?
I heard somebody put it like this, "At every stop the bus makes, somebody gets off the bus". Amen? There's a lot of people that want to stick with you when things are one way, but they're not ready to stick with you when it gets tough or it gets hard. Everybody's ready to hang out with you when you get famous, but it's when you're in the basement somewhere... I still have a lot of people that work for us that started with us literally, in the basement of our home where we started the ministry. It was so funny, if I ever had time to tell you the stories, I mean, the way we started was so ridiculous.
Well, I won't get into it, but anyway... I didn't know what was going on that year. I just didn't understand. And I know now, that year, that was one of the most frustrating years in my life. How many of you think you're right now, in one of the most frustrating years of your life? Okay, well, that year, that was one of the most frustrating years of my life was actually one of the best years of my life. And, it was a year, where I mean, I made progress that I didn't even realize I was making because God was teaching me that I just could not be somebody else.
That I had to be who I was and I had to do things the way that I felt like God was showing me to do them. And, you have to realize back when I started doing this, this was very like, out of the box. I mean, this is a lot more accepted today. But, I mean, I paid a price to do this. I got asked to leave my church. I lost my friends, family members didn't want anything to do with us. I mean, I was like the weird one. And so, sometimes if you're going to do something for God, satan will use some of the people that you love the most against you because he wants to hurt you, he wants to wound you. And, we don't need a world full of wounded healers.
We need people that are healthy and whole and well leading other people into wholeness. And, so many, even leaders, are wounded themselves, and they're insecure, and they don't know who they are. And so, they're miserable, they're miserable. And, man, I have done this all my life. I feel like I've lived on a platform. And, if I can't enjoy it and be comfortable doing it then I just am not gonna do it. How many of you agree that you shouldn't have to feel under pressure everywhere that you go? Amen? Alright.
So, initially, I was very insecure. I'm not saying that I don't have any insecurities because to be honest, I think we all have some, you just gotta find the right button to push. But, I'm a lot further along than I was before. And, when I say, "I don't care what people think," I don't mean it to be sarcastic at all. But, I just simply mean that I have paid a price to do what I'm doing. And, people love to judge what they know nothing about, and I just can't help what people think because I know my heart before God and I know that it's right. Amen? And, you need to know the same thing. I'm telling you about me because I want you to know the same thing.
I got a text message, it seems like just about anybody can get your number now and that aggravates me. We need to have a little bit of privacy, all of us. And, he starts out by saying, "I love your teaching. I've learned so much from it, but recently, you said thus and so, and it really offended me. And, I think it was in very poor taste," and blah, blah, blah. And, I thought now, "You know, if you've listened to me very much, then you probably would know that I would never be rude or hurt anybody's feelings on purpose. And so, maybe you could have given me just a tad of grace, and believe the best, and not send me something that is gonna be used by the devil to try to make me feel bad and guilty".
And, you know, there would have been a day when something like that, I mean, I would have felt terrible. And, I would have tried to straighten it out and tried to fix it. And, you know what? I prayed about it. I said, "God, you fix it". I don't, you know, because I know my heart and I can't spend all my time running around trying to keep everybody thinking that I'm a good person. Does anybody need this today? Now, you know, even Jesus, before he began his public ministry was tested. He had to square off with the devil and let the devil know where he stood. And, I think that we all have to go through that at some point in time.
James 1:12-14 says, "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him". So, tests always come before promotion. Come on, some of you, I mean, you just have no idea what God will and wants to do with you. And, right now, you just may feel like the tail end of everything. But, I'll tell you what, if you'll remain faithful, come on, if you'll remain faithful, and you'll keep doing what's right, long time before the right thing starts happening to you. We shouldn't do what's right just to get a result. We should do what's right because it's right and because it's what God wants us to do.
So, "Jesus full of the Holy Spirit," I'm in Luke 4. We're gonna read one through thirteen and see if you can hang on for 13 verses without gettin' lost. "And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness". Why can we not see that? Every testy thing that comes along, it may be the devil who's provoking it but sometimes, God doesn't lead us away from it, he leads us into it because he intends to take what satan means for harm and use it for our good. I don't know about you, but to me, that is one of the most amazing principles that God can take something that seems so bad and actually, turn it around to where it turns out to be one of the best things that ever happened to you in your life.
How many of you've experienced that in your life? See, all of us. Isn't that amazing? God's word works. Where, "For 40 days, he was tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry". Now, you know, satan will wait sometimes until you're in a state of weakness. You're either really tired, or your really weary, or your life has gotten so out of balance, you've just worked until you feel like you just can't work anymore, or you're sick, or something and then he'll start with his lies.
And, "The devil said to him," and I love this. "'If you are the Son of God,'" the first thing he attacked was his, "Who". How many times do you think the devil said to me while I was trying to start this ministry, "Who do you think you are"? I mean, "Just who do you think you are"? I mean, I had a 12th grade education. I wasn't dumb, but I wasn't like, super, super smart. But, you know what I do have? I've got a lot of common sense. And it's amazing how far you can get with just common sense, you know? And, not only that, I don't know any other way to say it other than, I just had a lot of guts. I was just like, bold enough to say, "Okay, let's see what happens".
And see, you've got to be willing to fail to ever find out if you can succeed. Did you hear me? Let me say it again. You have to be willing to fail to ever find out if you can succeed. But, people that are insecure are so afraid of failure that most of the time they just stay in this same safe zone that is so boring that it drives them absolutely mad. "But, nobody thinks I'm wrong". Let me tell you somethin'. Somebody's gonna think somethin' all the time, so, you might as well give 'em somethin' to think about.
"'If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.' and Jesus answered, 'it is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone"'". We have the word so we can speak the word when the devil is attacking us. Learn to talk back to the devil because he certainly talks to you enough. "And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, 'to you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I will give it to whomever I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.' and Jesus answered him, 'it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shalt you serve".' And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on a pinnacle of the temple and said to him," same lie again, "'if you are the Son of God'". "Who do you think you are? Come on, prove it".
He had no need to try to prove anything. You know why? Because he knew who he was. So, many of the things that you see Jesus do, like, not trying to defend himself to his attackers, they would accuse him of stuff and he'd just stand there. And, you'd think sometimes, "Why didn't you defend yourself? Why don't you tell 'em who you are"? He didn't have any need to do that because he knew who he was. Do you realize how much changes when you know who you are. When you know who you are, then you don't have to try to prove to everybody else who you are.
Come on, is anybody getting this? And, I'll tell you who you are. You are an imperfect, messed-up, beautiful, amazing, child of God who Jesus died for. You are the righteousness of God in Christ, set apart and made holy by the blood of Jesus Christ. You are gifted and talented and God has a great future plan for you. And don't you let the devil steal it. Amen? That's who you are. And, when the devil says, "Who do you think you are"? You need to answer him back and say, "I am a child of God. I've been bought and paid for with the blood of Christ. Get out of my way".
"'If you are the Son of God'". "Who do you think you are"? "'for it is written, "He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you," and, "On their hands they shall bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone". And Jesus said to him, 'it is said, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test"'". And, the next verse says, "And the devil went away, after he had ended every temptation," now read this, "He departed from him until a more opportune time". So, can we get this, this morning and believe it? "The devil, roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking whom he may devour". It doesn't have to be you.
If you know who you are in Christ, it doesn't have to be you. Amen? And even knowing who you are in Christ, and knowing that you're forgiven, and knowing that God knows your heart, you don't even have to waste one more hour of your life in guilt and condemnation. Did you hear me? You do not have to waste anymore of your time in guilt and condemnation. You know why? If you're sorry for your sins, that sin has already been paid for, the forgiveness is already there, you need to receive it. God knew everything wrong that you would ever do before you did it, and he loved you before you ever even cared anything about him. So, we don't have anything to prove. We will be tested until we are secure in Christ, in Christ alone.
Now, Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing". And, I was thinking about that today and I thought, "You know what? Let's talk about that for a minute". "Apart from me you can do nothing". Well, obviously, people that are unbelievers do some pretty amazing things. I mean, they have big careers. They invent things. They become world-famous. But, here's what I believe. I don't believe that any person can do anything apart from Christ and actually be fulfilled and happy. But see, in Christ, if you know who you are, you can be happy and satisfied on the platform if that's what God anoints you for, or cleaning the toilet in the basement.
Oh, now, you didn't like that. You know pastor Mike, who's helping me up here. He's a rare guy. I mean, he could come up here and run this whole service and preach a good sermon, but if I said to him, "Hey, Mike, the toilet downstairs is stopped up. Would you mind to go down and take care of that"? He'd say, "It's my pleasure," and off he'd go. And, see, when you know who you are in Christ, then you don't have to be doing something that, "the world," thinks is big to feel important because here's the thing: if it's what God gave you to do, then it's just as important as anything that he's given anybody else to do.
Come on. Stop trying to impress people with what you do, and what you wear, and what you own, and who you know. I feel like jumping out in the middle of the crowd today in just shakin' some people. Oh my gosh, if you knew what I've gone through to get the knowledge that I have that I'm trying to pass on to you. I just feel like sometimes I'd like to just unzip people and cram 'em full what I know now and zip you back up and send you out.
I mean, I love love, love, love, love to see people get saved. Last night, 525 people gave their life to the Lord. But, get this, I want you to enjoy the journey. I don't want everybody to just be miserable and try to make it to heaven. I want us to enjoy every single day that Jesus died to give us, and that is impossible if you don't enjoy yourself. And the only way you can enjoy yourself is if you learn that you're okay, that doesn't mean you never do anything wrong, but it does mean that you don't have to be like somebody else and that you are not defined by the job that you do, but by who you belong to.
I'll tell you what, I admire my husband for somethin' he did years ago, at the time it made me mad. But now, I look back and see how smart he was. He worked in the engineering field, and he was what they called, "A job captain". And, no, you weren't a job captain, right? No, he wasn't a job captain, but he did the work of one. And so, they offered him a promotion to become a job captain which meant that he would have to do a lot of travel, he'd have a lot more responsibility, and he really wouldn't make that much more money, and he turned it down.
Well, I was all ambitious and gung-ho back then, and you know. And, I thought, "Well, what's the matter with you? You don't want to be promoted. You don't want to go up in the world. You just don't care". Well, see, he didn't need to be that to feel that he was important because he already knew who he was in Christ and he already knew deep down that he wasn't going to be in the engineering field all of his life. He didn't know exactly when this other thing that we were believing for would happen but Dave has always been so happy because he is so secure.
And, people are always curious about how this thing works between me and him and you know... What it must be like for him, and it's a very short and an easy story. When God first called me to do this, Dave was not thrilled about it. And, he said to God, "Well, why her? Usually the man does that". Which was correct. Usually the man did do that. We were gonna have a role reversal. And God spoke to him and told him, "If you do what I've given you to do, you'll always be happy. And if you let her do what I've given her to do, then you can both always be happy", or some version of that.
I know I didn't tell it right. Don't worry, soon as the meeting's over, Dave will tell me every story that I didn't tell right. He's big on details, I just want to get my point across. And, man, what kind of an amazing man do you have to be to let your wife do what I'm doing? And, people ask me "Does Dave go to all the meetings"? Maybe, there's been three times that he hasn't been right where he's at, right now, in all these years. And see, you don't know it, but because I'm up here someone might think I'm more important. But, I mean, Dave is the one that was wise enough to manage the ministry money in such a way where we have never had any debt and never paid one cent in interest. Everything we've ever done, we've done it with cash.
Just because somebody's not on a platform doesn't mean they're not doing anything. And it would be amazing how many awesome stories we would hear if everybody could just get confident enough to just do what they're supposed to do and not feel like they have to be in competition with somebody else. Amen? Dave had to go through a few things that were not easy for him, but he let me be who God wanted me to be. And, you know, when you know who you are in Christ, you're gonna be able to let other people be who they are in Christ. If you don't know who you are, then you will automatically try to hold other people back so they don't end up looking better than you. Hmm...
Philippians 3:3, "For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh". None of our security can come from what we are in the flesh: who we know, what we wear, not even what we look like. And, the Bible says that God shakes us in our life, in Hebrews 12:27, "This phrase, 'yet once more,' indicates the removal of things that are shaken, that is, things that have been made, in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain".
Wow. Some of you are in a shaking time in your life, right now. You know, God's just shaking off all the stuff you don't need any way. You know, in John 15, it says, "If you don't bear fruit, I'll prune you. And if you bear fruit, I will prune you so you bear more excellent fruit". And so, I got it early, you're pruned if you do, and pruned if you don't, so... You might as well just say, "Okay, God, have your way. Do what you want to do". Now, you know what pruning is? You prune off branches, off of a tree or a bush that are going in a wrong direction, or that are dead. You know how much dead stuff we drag around with us? Just stuff that's just not doing us one bit of good at all. God got done with it 10 years ago and you're still draggin' it around with you, although, it's not anointed and not doing you any good anymore, you hate it, you don't even want to do it, you don't even know why you're doing it. It just zaps you of all your energy.
Well, God prunes those things off. Well, if you just think about if you were a tree and a gardener got after you with a pair of pruning shears and you could feel anything, it wouldn't feel very good. That's why sometimes when God is dealing with us, it may not feel good to us. But, he's getting rid of things in our life that are actually, not good for us and they're hurting us, but we're so accustomed to them that we won't let them go unless God comes and just takes 'em away and there's nothing we can do about it.
Come on. Satan's a liar. And the majority of his lies are about us personally. "God is not pleased with you". "God's mad at you". "No matter what you do, it's not good enough". "You're a failure". "You're unloved". "You can't hear from God". "You'll never succeed at anything". "You're ugly". "You're stupid". "You're not gifted". "You're not talented". "You're too thin". "You're too fat". "You got big feet". It's amazing how he's always telling us we're either too much of something, or not enough of something. We're never just okay.
So, stop listening to him and listen to God. Satan compares us with other people. "Look at them, why can't you be like that"? Oh my gosh, if you're a parent do not ever, ever compare one of your kids to the other one. That is one of the worst things in the world that you can do to a child. You say, "Well, why doesn't God just make the devil leave us alone"? Well, he doesn't because he wants us to learn to toughen up a little bit. He wants us to have some tenacity, and he wants us to know who we are in him, and that we do actually, in fact, have authority over the devil. And, he cannot rule our lives if we don't let him. But, we have to know the word and we have to not be sleepy Christians who aren't paying attention to what's going on.
Recognize when the devil is lying to you and just tell him, "You're a liar and I'm not gonna listen to you. I know who I am in Christ". As long as God sovereignly delivers us from every rough place, we have never won any kind of a personal victory. A great example is a baby eaglet still in the shell. When an eagle is in the shell and hasn't been born yet, it's got a little tooth on the end of its beak. And, it uses that tooth to break out of the shell. And, it's hard work.
I've never personally seen it, but I read stories about it, how it's almost painful to watch one of those baby eaglets trying to get out of that shell because they just have to peck, peck, peck. I mean, just keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it. But, what we don't know, is God arranges it that way on purpose because before they're ever born they're already developing tenacity. You know, eagles are majestic birds, majestic. And, the one thing that I like about an eagle is they don't normally fly in flocks they fly alone. Come on, maybe two or three people got what I was tryin' to say. If you're gonna be an eagle for God, sometimes you're gonna have to fly alone. Amen? You can't flap around with everybody else in the flock. You gotta soar above things.
See, when we're baby Christians, we want somebody else to do all of our prayin', find all of our scriptures, you know, hold our hand, you know, help us. "I'm down". "I'm discouraged". "I'm this, I'm that, I'm something else". And, God provides that support system when you're first trying to get rooted and grounded in him. But, one day, he's gonna come and knock all those supports out from under you. And, you're gonna have to be able to believe for yourself, and stand up to the enemy for yourself, and know who you are, and get busy, instead of needing help all your life, get busy helping somebody else. Help somebody else. Do something for somebody else. Don't just come to church to get, get, get. Don't just come to church to just get, get, get, get, get. Volunteer, serve, put some time in, sacrifice a little bit.
Insecure people don't know how to serve. In Luke, 22:24-27, "A dispute arose among the disciples, as to which of them was the greatest". Don't you just love these guys? Imagine if we just had lunch together this afternoon and just sat around arguing about which one of us was the greatest. "He said to them, 'the kings of the gentiles exercise Lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves'".
Good, I got one person, way over there, that likes this. "'For who is greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves?'", now, listen to this, "'it is not the one who reclines, but I am among you as one who serves'". Here, we have God coming down here, to this ball of pain in a human form, taking our sins upon himself, the most powerful person ever, and he came as a servant. See, we think being in charge is powerful, but it's really when you know who you are enough to be a servant.
Ginger: We have a question from Leah about addiction. She says, "Why am I addicted to substances, behaviors, habits that slowly are killing me? I pray and ask for forgiveness, but I never fully repent because I know that I can't stop".
Joyce: Well, her belief system is a bit off to start with. I mean, the Bible says, "Be it unto you even as you believe". So, if you believe you can't stop something, then you're defeated before you ever even start. And, I would start saying out loud, "I'm not addicted to anything but Jesus, and he gives me the grace to not do things that I am not supposed to do".
You know, years ago, 40 years ago, I smoked cigarettes like most people did in that generation. And, I said for years, "Oh, I can never quit. I'd be a nervous wreck if I tried to quit. If I quit, I'd want to eat everything in sight". So, I had myself buried with my own confession. And, as foolish as this might sound, and I don't even really know how I knew to do this because I didn't yet understand the power of confession, I started saying...
I remember driving home at night of my car, smoking a cigarette and saying, "I don't like to smoke. I don't smoke anymore. I've quit smoking". And, I'm telling you the truth, within two weeks I had quit. And so, and I'm not saying that's some magic answer for everybody out there. But, I do know, if you're already saying, "I'm addicted to this and I can't fully repent because I know I'm gonna do it again," then you're really defeating yourself with your own beliefs before you ever get started. So, I think you just need to start with believing, and then take it one at a time from there.