Joyce Meyer Sermon - Why Is It Hard to Finish What You Start? - Part 2. Simple steps of faith lead to lasting joy in our lives. Today, Joyce shares how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
And I wonder how many times in our life we set ourselves to study the word on a daily basis, to take even 30 minutes every day to spend time with God, and yet we can't make it past the beats and the dings of the phone, and the computer, and all the other things that come up. You know, many, many, many years ago, I mean, it's been 30 some odd years ago now, when I taught my very first women's meeting at the church that I went to then and started, which has been now actually 37 years ago, when I asked God what he wanted me to teach on, he said, "I want you to tell my people that I love them." And I thought, "well, that's silly, everybody knows you love them." And he said, "no, they don't. If they did, they'd act a lot different than what they do."
Full Joyce Meyer Sermon - Why Is It Hard to Finish What You Start? - Part 2
Well, then he had to show me that I didn't have any revelation on how much he loved me either. Well, you don't get revelation overnight. It's something that you got to stick with. And so, for one solid year, it wasn't the only thing I studied because I needed to study to teach those weekly meetings I was doing, but for my own personal study, for one solid year, I read books on, I looked up scriptures on, I studied and I meditated on how much God loved me.
And I can remember even going and standing in front of the mirror and looking at myself, and saying, "god loves this woman right here. God loves me." And you know what? I got it. I mean, I got it as a revelation. It's part of me, it's down on the inside of me, and I don't care how much trouble I have or what happens, something you're not ever going to hear me say is, "well, God don't you love me?" And see, when you don't have that revelation, the first time trouble comes, you think, "well, God, don't you love me? Well, God, if you love me, how could this be happening to me?" It's the same thing about knowing that God is good. If you know that you know that you know that you know that God is good, then you're able to trust God because no matter how bad a situation is, you know that a good God can take that thing and work it out for your good. We need roots. We need to be rooted and grounded in the things that we say that we believe. And they need to become such a part of us that the devil cannot take them away from us. In romans 8, it says, "let nothing separate you from the love of God."
Not things impending, not things to come, not things that have been, not sickness, not death, not anything, let nothing separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. And that's the first revelation we all need, is God loves me. He loves me, he loves me, he loves me. He's never going to stop loving me. He loved me when I was still yet living in sin, and he will never stop loving me no matter what I do. And boy, when you get that, you start to get some confidence, and the fear in your life begins to go. Go home, write down what you remember about anything I've said this weekend, write it down. When you write things out, it helps it become part of who you are. You know, it is so easy now to study, and I'm not--i'm not sorry that we have the convenience that we have today, but the way that I study now compared to the way I had to study when I started 42 years ago, you can ask the web any question and up will come an answer. Hopefully the right, but you know, you can say, "scriptures on anger," and they all pop up. "give it to me in all translations," and they all pop up.
But see, when I started this, and I'm so glad for those years that I had because I would--i would sit down on the couch and I would have books surrounding me, all these translations of the Bible, and concordances, and dictionaries, and so on and so forth. And I mean, it was work. But let me say again, what you don't put any effort into does not seem very valuable to you, amen? You're all looking at me kind of like, "well, how much effort am I going to have to put in?"
Well, how mature do you want to be? How victorious do you want to be? Do you want to finish what you've started, amen? There are some things that nobody can just pray for you and you just get it instantly. Discuss the teachings that you've heard this weekend with a friend. If you're driving home with somebody, don't get in your car and start talking about all your problems. Come on. Don't talk about how bright the lights were, how cold the room was, or you know, how crowded the parking lot was. Just don't--you know, just tell somebody with you, "if I complain today, slap me." Come on. Talk about what you've heard. Just say to somebody, "tell me what all you remember about what you heard this weekend." Talk about it. Talk about how you can apply it to your life.
And then I'm just going to make a suggestion, out of these three messages that you heard this weekend if you were here the whole time, whichever one meant the most to you or seemed to resonate with you the most, spend at least one week in your Bible on that subject. Did you hear me? Spend at least one week studying forgiving people who hurt you. I really believe with all my heart this is part of the reason why people don't get the breakthroughs that they say they want and they need. You are not going to get muscle because you go out and buy a set of weights. You are not going to lose weight because you buy an exercise video. Okay, well, praise the Lord. Moving on. Satan works to distract us by causing cares, anxieties, trouble, persecution, or tempting us with worldly desires, or just that same silly, old excuse that we got to get rid of, "well, it's just so hard. I mean, exercise is so hard. I tried and I got so sore." You know what? We need to stop wanting things that we're not willing to pay the price for. Oh, now somebody's thinking, "well, I'm--i can't help it, I'm just not disciplined."
Yeah, you are. Yes, you are. You may not be using the discipline you have, but self-control and discipline is one of the fruit of the spirit that God has put on the inside of you as a born again believer. It's in you. Now obviously, you know, you can be undisciplined all you want to, and that doesn't mean that you won't go to heaven. But if you want to have victory in your life, then we need to do more than just look at this stuff. We need to start putting a little effort into it. It's really funny trying to talk to people about putting out an effort. I tell you, it's like... All right. We need to know what our priorities are, and we need to steadfastly stick with them above all else. You might have an idea about something that you want to do, it may be a sincere desire, but it must become a habit.
And the only way you can make a habit of something is doing it over and over and over and over. What about time with God? Bible study, prayer time. Luke chapter 10, verse 38, mary and martha. "now, while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named martha received and welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister named mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and was listening to his teaching. But martha was overly occupied and too busy, and she was distracted with much serving. And she came up to him and said, 'lord, is it nothing to you that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me lend a hand and do her part along with me.'" Now, isn't it interesting that people that are working get mad at people that are resting? "you need to get up and do something." All right, now you know what? If you would've asked martha which she thought was the most important, listening to Jesus or cleaning the house, she would've said, "well, no brainer, listening to Jesus."
So, she knew what was important, but she didn't do the thing that was the most important. She let the details of having Jesus there distract her from the priority of actually taking advantage of what he was there for. And I wonder how many times in our life we set ourselves to study the word on a daily basis to take even 30 minutes every day to spend time with God, and yet we can't make it past the beats and the dings of the phone and the computer and all the other things that come up that we think that we need to do. It is difficult if you're going back to this part of the house to study to get through the house without getting distracted by something else that you feel like you have to do before you go do that. But the thing is is go do that first, and then God would give you a supernatural energy to get the rest of it done. Come on, give God a praise. Jesus told martha, "you are overly anxious and too busy with things that are not that important." You know, what we focus on is what develops in our life, amen? What we focus on is what develops in our life.
Everybody loves to take pictures today, my goodness. I mean, this happens consistently. People are looking right at me, "can I get a picture?" I'm like, "cut one out of my magazine, you know?" I mean, you probably get 30 pictures of me a month sent into your home. But everybody wants that picture. Well, you know, if I wanted to take a picture of anything in the room, I can't just go... I've got to focus on something and then take the picture. Well, what we focus on is what develops in our life, come on. So, it's very easy to understand. If you do have a problem with anger and there's a situation where you really need to forgive, you need to let it go, you need to get on with life and that's been an issue for you, then why just hear what I said last night, and then hear seven or eight other different subjects the rest of the week? Why not just make a college course out of forgiving people until you have got it? Come on, does anybody hear what I'm saying? Well, I like my message anyway, kind of fond of it. Hebrews 12:2 and 3 are so good. "looking away from all that will distract unto Jesus, who is the author and the finisher of our faith [bringing it to maturity and perfection], he for the joy of obtaining the prize that was set before him." Come on, whatever it is that God wants you to do, no matter how hard it is, there's a prize attached to it. There's a reward. There's a victory on the other side of it.
But watch, "for the joy of obtaining the prize that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of God. Just think of him who endured from sinners such grievous, what? "opposition and bitter hostility." You know, even for Jesus to die for our sins, what he had to go through to set us free is absolutely mindboggling. The opposition, the pain, the hostility, even all the stuff he went through before he ever even got to the cross.
The people that were against him, just all the stuff that happened. But you know what? Jesus endured the opposition and he finished his race. And because he did, we are here today set free by the blood of Jesus Christ. I want to ask you to finish your race. I don't care if it's something like you decided 2 months ago to clean the closet out, and you still got part of the stuff you tried to get rid of laying on the floor. Come on, are you there? I mean, let's finish some stuff. It's never too late to go back and start again. Come on.
Matter of fact, I don't care if you have to start 30 times, you keep starting until the devil finally gets the idea that you're not going to get off of it, that you are going to be the person that God wants you to be, amen? 'cause see, a lot of times when you've tried something a few times and you haven't made it, doesn't the devil just tell you, "well, it's useless"? I've had a number of people tell me like when they're on diets that they'll do good for 2 weeks, and then they have a weekday and they eat three pieces of cake, and so then they just say, "ah well, might as well forget it, just eat anything I want." I mean, how silly is that? I mean, if you ate three pieces of cake yesterday, get up and start again today. You know, eating those 3 pieces of cake won't undo everything you've done in 2 weeks. Just get started again.
Make the devil understand that you are not going to quit and you are not going to give up. Whoo, come on. Come on. I mean, after hearing that message last night, you should make your mind up I am not going to live angry. I am not going to stay mad about something that happened to me in my childhood, and be full of hatred and bitter and resentful. The devil already took enough from me, he's not taking anything else. And if you really needed the message that I spoke this morning about people pleasing, if you're tired of everybody else running your life, then it's time to do something about it. I can tell you right now, it's not--you can't get everything you need from just listening to somebody else who has a victory. You just can't. And God is not going to do everything for you. He has a part and you have a part. And I'll tell you what happens when you have a problem, you go to God and you ask him to help you, and I can tell you what happens. Now, I'm not saying that there's not times when God supernaturally delivers people, but most of the time when you pray for God to help you, he will show you what you need to do, and then he'll give you the grace to do it. But somewhere along the lines, you've got to do some doing. Because let me say it once again nothing that you try to get without any effort is even worth having. It's true. Galatians 5:7, "you were running the race nobly. Who has interfered and hindered and stopped you from heeding and following the truth?"
All right, I want to go through a little bit of nehemiah with you just as we finish up this afternoon because, to be honest, one of the best stories in the Bible is found in the book of nehemiah. You talk about somebody who stayed focused and stood against opposition, I want to encourage you to read nehemiah. Here's a guy, a young man, who when he found out that the walls that protected jerusalem had been torn down and that the people had no protection, he decided that he was going to do something about it. Boy, I wish we had more people that, when they see a problem, they would decide, "i'm going to do something about it," instead of always thinking, "somebody needs to do something about it." And so, it's way too long for me to get into it in detail, but he got permission from the king to start rebuilding this wall. He started a bunch of other people to help him, he got to work, got a plan from God, got to work, and immediately enemies of the jews who did not want to see them receive the help started coming against nehemiah. Nehemiah 2:10, "when sanballat the horonite and tobiah the servant or the ammonite heard this," so we're just going to call them the enemies, I'm not going to read all those names every time, "it distressed them exceedingly." Any time that the devil hears that you're going to try to do something good or something that's going to give progress in your life, something's going to help the kingdom, something's going to help somebody else, it will distress him exceedingly. Thank you.
But nehemiah just kept going. Verses 19 and 20, "but when the enemies heard about his plan, they began to laugh at him and despised him, and said, 'what is this thing that you think you're doing?'" Man, do I ever remember when I first started trying to teach a Bible study, the lies, "what do you think you're doing? Who are you? You don't have any training for this. You don't have the ability to do this. Who do you think you are?" Have you ever thought that maybe you might be able to do something great for God, and the next thing you hear is, "who do you think you are? What makes you think you could do that? You can't do that"? Well, let me tell you something, if anybody can do it, you can do it. If God calls you to do something, you can do anything God calls you to do. God believes it, but do you believe it? They laughed and said, "what is this thing that you're doing?"
But verse 20, I love that nehemiah always came back with the right answer. He said, "the God of heaven will prosper us." In other words, it doesn't matter who I am, God's going to make it work. "therefore, we his servants will arise and build." He made a decision, "we will arise and build, and you have no portion or right or memorial in jerusalem." In other words, "devil, this is none of your business." Then the enemies of nehemiah just continued to come against him, and he continued to build. Nehemiah chapter 4, verses 1 and 2, "but when the enemies heard that we were building the wall, they were angry and in a great rage, and they began to ridicule us." Verse 2, "and he said before his brethren and the army of samaria, 'what are these feeble jews doing?'" Now he's belittling him. "well, they restore things at will and by themselves."
Well, they weren't trying to do it by themselves, they were doing it through the power of God. "will they try to bribe their God with sacrifices? Will they finish up in a day?" And nehemiah's response to all their nonsense, "and nehemiah prayed." Oh, I love it. Let me tell you something, when the devil is telling you the biggest lie he can come up with and you pray, ooh, he just gets so mad. If you could see his face, I'm sure it's as red as fire. Ooh, he hates it when he throws his best shot and we just say, "I trust God and I'm going to keep on keeping on."
Well, we all need to be determined to follow through with whatever it is we believe God is asking us to do. You know, anything worth doing that's going to bring a great result in our life probably will cause us some opposition. But remember, God is for us, and we can do anything that God asks us to do through Christ because he is our strength. Today, we're offering you some really good teaching, an interesting little book that I think is going to help some of you in a powerful way called "the approval fix: how to break free from people pleasing." And then also six teachings on "I am determined." You know what? I want to encourage you to love the word, spend time in the word, make a place in your life for the word of God. And these are resources that you can use that will be life-changing to you because the word of God has power in it to change our lives. God bless you.