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Watch 2022 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Your Reputation Is In God's Hands

Joel Osteen - Your Reputation Is In God's Hands


Joel Osteen - Your Reputation Is In God's Hands
TOPICS: Reputation

I want to talk to you today аbout: Your Reputation Is In God's Hands. We all have a desire to have a good reputation, we know how important it is, our reputation goes before us, it can open doors and cause the right people to come. The scripture says (Proverbs 22:1), "A good name is worth more than great wealth". But what happens when you're being your best, you're honoring God, but other people do things that tarnish your reputation, say things that are not true, take things out of context to try to make us look bad, slander, innuendos, rumors? We weren't there to defend ourselves, we couldn't tell our side of the story, now they've done something that lessens our credibility, makes people have the wrong opinion of who we are. It's tempting to try to straighten people out, prove to them that what they're saying is not correct. But if you get on that treadmill you'll never get off, because there will always be someone saying something not true, mischaracterizing what you did, questioning your motives.

Here's the key: you have to put your reputation in God's hands. Let him defend you. Let him be your vindicator. The scripture never tells us to guard our reputation, it says guard your heart. If you're trying to guard your reputation, you're going to be worn out. That's not your job. Leave your reputation in God's hands. He knows how to change people's minds, he knows how to silence negative voices, he knows how to cause you to be seen in the right light. He hears everything said about you. He sees when people are mischaracterizing you, on purpose trying to make you look bad, questioning your motives. Nothing goes unnoticed. The mistake we make is: we get into fight mode, "I have to fix this, this is not right", but trying to fix it is only going to make it worse. Once you fix this person, something else will come up, then another and another. It takes all the pressure off when you put your reputation in God's hands.

We think, "Well, if I can just straighten them out, if I can let them know that I'm not what they're saying, I'm really a good person", then this will fix it. The problem is, some people don't want to understand you. If you did everything they asked, if you changed and became who they want you to be, they're still going to find fault. They're determined to misunderstand you. You have to accept that they're not going to be for you, and that's okay, you don't need them to fulfill your destiny. Here's a bigger one: they don't have to be quiet for you to reach your potential. They may keep spreading lies, slandering, putting you in a bad light, but they cannot stop your purpose. They don't have that much power.

If you don't understand this principle, you'll live upset, mad at them, think of the ways you can shut them down. That's not your job. Your job is to guard your heart. Don't let the offense, the bitterness, the poison get in you. You do your part, and God will do his part. He'll take care of your reputation. And sometimes he'll stop the negative things from being said, turn things around and vindicate you. Other times he'll let them keep talking, keep stirring things up, but no matter what they say it doesn't harm you. He makes them ineffective. They're making all this noise, trying to discredit you. What they said, what they did, should have caused others at work to look down on you, should have kept you from that project, but God took away all the sting, he took away all the power. Now they're just a bunch of irrelevant noise, nobody that matters pays any attention to them.

That's why you have to let God do it his way. He may not stop what they're doing, he may not shut them up, he may cause you to shine in the face of what they're doing. Sometimes that's a bigger miracle. All this negative chatter around you, people at school, at work, trying to make you look bad, saying things that are not true, but in spite of all that you keep excelling, you keep growing, you keep smiling, you keep being good to people, you keep seeing favor and promotion. God knows how to take care of your reputation.

David said (Psalm 23:5), "God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies". We think, "God just get rid of my enemies, shut them up, change their mind, show them that they're wrong". God says, "No, I have a better way: I'm going to promote you while they're still talking. I'm going to honor you while they're still making fun. I'm gonna lift you up while they're doing their best to push you down". You don't have to spend your energy trying to guard your reputation, spend your energy guarding your heart, not taking the bate. When people are trying to make you look bad, saying things behind your back, little innuendos, "Well he's not that smart, he just plays up to the boss, I heard she's running around with that guy". You can't stop that, you can't make people do what's right. If you put out one rumor, there's gonna be three more pop up.

Why are you wasting time and energy on something you can't change? That's not your job, that's God's job. Your reputation is in his hands. He said in Psalm 105:15, "Touch not my anointed". You are his anointed. He knows when someone is slandering you, mischaracterizing you on purpose, spreading rumors. Stay on the high road, and at the right time God will vindicate you, he'll defend your reputation. No one can defend you like our God. But if we make the mistake of getting upset, trying to pay them back, straighten them out, then you're sinking down to their level. You always go down to engage with a gossip, with the person that says things to demean other people. Recognize who you're dealing with, that's not an eagle, that's not a person of integrity, someone that will believe the best, that will be happy if you succeed, that's a chicken. You're not supposed to be down pecking, gossiping, finding fault, pulling people down, you're an eagle, you were created to soar. Stay up on those high levels where you belong.

It's easy to be drawn into conflict, baited into strife. Some people's whole goal is to get you stirred up. "Did you hear what so-and-so said about you? I can't believe it, it's so wrong". Best thing you can say is, "No, I didn't hear it, and I don't want to hear it. My ears are not garbage cans to fill with a bunch of trash". "Are you sure? They're saying things that are not true, you better do something about it". "No, thanks, they don't control my reputation, it's God's hands. I am confident that God will take care of it". Quit letting people stir you up, quit listening to all the rumors, false accusations, negative things people have said. Keep that out of your spirit. I'm not saying to be naive and act like it's not happening, I'm saying: don't give it the time of day. People can't stop your destiny.

It's a test are you going to get drawn into conflict, trying to defend yourself, prove that you're not what they're saying? Or you're going to stay on the high road and let God fight your battles, let God defend you? Yes, I know, negative things people say can be hurtful, but when you put your reputation in God's hands, there's a freedom. You can rest, you can stay in peace, knowing that God is your defender, knowing that he's in charge of your reputation.

The scripture says (Philippians 2:7), "Jesus made himself of no reputation". He went around doing good, healing people, feeding the hungry, lifting the fallen, showing mercy to those that had made mistakes, yet people ridiculed him, they slandered him, said things that weren't true. His own brothers didn't believe in him. The religious leader said, "He's from the devil, that's how he can heal people". Jesus couldn't have been any more loving kind generous, but certain people were determined to misunderstand him, mischaracterize him, misjudge him. What did Jesus do? Spend all of his energy trying to straighten them out, convince him they were wrong, prove to them who he was? No, he answered them not a word. He didn't waste his time trying to convince people to be for him that we're never going to be for him.

You would think with all that negative talk, with all the rumors, slander, lies, he would have missed his purpose. But people don't control your destiny. They can try to defame, denounce, mischaracterize, but your reputation is in God's hands. If what they said could stop your purpose, they would be more powerful than God. Don't make the mistake of engaging in battles that you're not supposed to engage in. Do like Jesus: answer them not a word, don't pay any attention. Since God is preparing a table in the presence of your enemies, that means there's a seat for you. When these false accusations come, rumors, slander, the best thing you can do is take a stink. Stay in peace. That's not the time to get defensive, pay them back, "Well, two can play at this game". Just imagine: God is sending the angels to the grocery store, he's turned on the ovens, Gabriel is setting the table. There's this big meal being prepared, not just a dinner, but a feast, a celebration.

Now there's a seat for you, there's a place at this table where God is going to honor you in front of those that have taught. He's going to show you favor in front of those that have made fun, promote you in front of those that tried to push you down. God is not going to vindicate you in private, he's going to do it in public, so the very ones that treated you the worst, with contempt, with malice, on purpose mischaracterized, they will see you promoted, honored, in positions of influence and respect.

Now for this to happen you have to be seated at the table. If you're taking matters into your own hands, upset, thinking about what they said, trying to prove to them that you're wrong, then you're going to miss the dinner, you're going to miss the promotion that God has for you. It's easy to get all riled up, been out of shape. Don't fall into that trap: your reputation is in God's hands. There's nothing people can say, nothing they can do that can keep you from your purpose. There may be seasons of disrespect, where it looks like they're getting the upper hand, but your time is coming, the meal is being prepared. You can trust the faithfulness of God.

It says in Psalm 109:21, "Deal with me o sovereign Lord, for the sake of your own reputation". Because you belong to the sovereign Lord, because you're his child, he will deal with you because of his reputation. It's not just who you are, it's whose you are. Now your part is to guard your heart, not get bitter, not get distracted in battles that don't matter. God's part is to guard your reputation. He'll make sure that you're seen in the right light.

God gave Nehemiah a dream to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He was living a thousand miles away, working as a cupbearer for the king. He didn't have the experience, the materials, the funds, but God gave him favor with the king, and this king gave him everything he needed. But when two men, Sanballat and Tobias, heard about Nehemiah's plan they didn't like it. They started stirring up trouble, spreading rumors, making false accusations. I could imagine they went to the city officials trying to discredit him. "What's this man doing in our town? He's only in this for himself, just so he can become known". They questioned his motives, cast doubt on his integrity.

It's no different today. Anytime you step out to do something great: you're being a great mother, pouring your heart and soul into raising those children, or you're excelling at school, going the extra mile at work, seeing your gifts come out in great ways, don't be surprised if someone is going to find fault, question your motives, say things that are not true. "He just thinks he's better than us. She's not that talented. She manipulated people to get that position. I heard he cheated all through college, he didn't go to class". The fact is: if you were sitting around being mediocre, no one would care. The fact that people are trying to discredit you, trying to make you look bad, that's a sign that you're doing something right, you're making a difference, you're leaving your Mark.

While Nehemiah was up on the hill with his men, rebuilding the wall, Sanballat and Tobias were at the bottom of the hill hurling insults. Verse 2 said, "They shouted, 'what does this poor, feeble man think he's doing'. Sanballat said, 'if a fox walked on that wall it would fall down'". I'm sure Nehemiah was tempted to put his tools down, walk down the hill and tell him what he thought. He had his speech ready, "Listen here, losers, you don't know who I am. You're just a bunch of troublemakers, spreading lies, trying to stop a good cause. Besides, why would your mother name you Sanballat? That's ridiculous". He felt like giving them a piece of his mind, trying to straighten them out, then he came back to his senses, thought "No, I'm not gonna waste my time trying to convince them to be for me, they don't want to be for me, they don't want to understand me, they're determined to misunderstand me".

Some people are so small-minded, so insecure, they will never celebrate the favor on your life. That jealous spirit will cause them to find fault, criticize. Just stay on the wall. Nehemiah ignored them, kept working. Every day he could hear their insults, every day he could hear their slander. It's interesting that God didn't stop it, Nehemiah had to on purpose tune it out and keep focused on what he was called to do. 52 days later, in record time he rebuilt the wall. Nehemiah was honored and esteemed as one who helped save the Israelites. Sanballat, Tobias did their best to ruin his reputation, but when you put your reputation in God's hands, nothing can stop it. Today Nehemiah is one of the heroes of faith.

No matter how hard someone tries, they may have more influence, more seniority, more followers, don't worry they cannot stand against our God. You keep doing the right thing, you keep striving for excellence, following that dream in your heart, and God will take care of the Sanballats and Tobias's. Their negative chatter, their insults, they may be hurtful, but they cannot stop your purpose. You may be in a situation now where people are coming against you, saying things that are not true, you're tempted to get all riled up, straighten them out. No, don't come down off the wall. Don't let them bait you into conflict, they're a distraction. The Sanballats, the Tobias's, they're trying to lure you out of your purpose, so you'll waste time on things that don't matter. Stay on the wall. Their disrespect cannot stop you unless you come down. Their lies, slander, innuendo is nothing but noise, it's nothing but negative chatter.

Here's the thing: God hears it. When you stay on the high road, he's preparing the dinner, he's setting the table. There will be a time when the noise has stopped, and you're being promoted, you're being honored. "Well, Joel, they're damaging my reputation, they're saying things that make people believe less of me". That's only temporary. The truth will come out. God is in control of your reputation. As long as you're honoring him, at the right time vindication is coming. You will come out of it not with less respect, but with more respect than they had not tried to hold you down. What was meant for your harm God will turn to your advantage.

A couple of years after my father went to be with the Lord, I met this minister when I was in another city, and we became friends. He started coming to our nights of hope when we traveled to different cities each month. I never asked him to, he just volunteered and came to support us. We had certain consultants helping us run the events at that time, and some of them didn't like him showing up so much. They wondered: who is this new guy? Why is he always here? When they found out he was a friend of mine, and I wanted him to come back, they were jealous, they started putting him in a negative light. I would hear the rumors, "He's opportunistic. He's just here for himself. He's trying to take advantage", questioning his motives, trying to discredit him. I knew him well. His heart was pure, he has great character, a person of integrity.

You can have the best intentions, the purest motives, but there will always be people that try to cast out, that on purpose mischaracterize, misjudge. They may not be bad people, sometimes they're just jealous. They don't want to see you succeed. They don't want to let someone new in. This is when it's tempting to get offended, get baited into conflict, live discouraged. You have to stay on the wall. Leave it alone, trust God to fight your battles.

One event I knew my friend was coming, but he was late. He was going to start in a few minutes, and I texted him, asked "Where are you"? He said that he had been delayed. What he didn't tell me is these people wouldn't let him in the event, so he was in line to buy a ticket. He was very hurt by it, and for a few months he quit coming. He thought "If they treat me this way, they put me down, discredit me, when in fact I'm trying to be a source of good, then I don't need it. I'll just stay where I'm appreciated".

Here's the principle again: you don't have to guard your reputation, but you do have to guard your heart. God is going to take care of your reputation, the question is: are you going to take care of your heart? It's easy to get offended, bitter, live upset. My friend was tempted to come down off the wall, let what was said, keep him from doing what he knew God called him to do. He changed his mind, he started coming back again and again, month after month, ignoring the insults, dismissing the disrespect, not paying attention to the rumors. God started fighting his battles. God began to bring vindication. The more they pushed him down, the more God lifted him up. They didn't believe in him, but I believed in him. I didn't know all that was going on, but God will always have the right people that will be for you. The ones that matter will see the best in you, they'll want to stand up for you, help you move into your purpose. You don't have to find them, they'll find you. You don't have to convince them to be for you, they'll want to be for you.

What's interesting is all those that were against him are no longer with us, but he's still here. He outlasted them all. Now, when they want to come to the event, he makes them buy a ticket. There may be seasons where you have to endure disrespect, being put down, seen in a bad light. The Sanballats and Tobias's may keep hurling their insults, stirring up trouble, but that is not how your story ends. Just stay on the wall, keep doing the right thing, keep fulfilling your purpose. There will be a time like with my friend when the opposition is gone, the slanders are silenced, the haters are humiliated. God knows how to defend your reputation. He knows how to promote you in the presence of your enemies. Despite what was said, despite what was done, you're going to shine, you're going to excel, you're going to step into levels that you never dreamed. The Psalmist said, "I will look in triumph if those that have hated me, their humiliation will be obvious to all".

This is what happened with Joseph. As a teenager God gave him a dream that he was going to do something great, he was going to lead a nation. But his brothers were jealous, and they threw him into a pit. They were going to leave him there to die, but they saw this caravan of Ishmaelites coming by, instead they sold him as a slave. It's interesting that it wasn't someone on the outside that tried to keep Joseph from his purpose, it was his family. Sometimes the people closest to you will not believe in you, not treat you with respect, say things that are hurtful. It's tempting to come off the wall, live offended, bitter, defensive. You have to give it to God. Leave it in his hands. You can't dwell on what they said, or on what they did, sometimes they don't even know they're doing it, it's just how they were raised, it's just what they saw modeled growing up.

Joseph was working for a high-ranking military official in Egypt, running his household. Never complained, didn't slack off, he just kept being his best, staying on the wall. The man's wife falsely accused Joseph, said he was trying to harm her. This man was furious, had Joseph thrown into prison. If you were to judge Joseph at that point, you would think he has no reputation, no chance, he's a slave, in prison, disowned by his family. Joseph could have been bitter, angry, thinking about what his brothers did. "How could this lady lie about me? That wasn't right". Instead he stayed on the wall. He trusted God to be his vindicator. He kept doing the right thing when it was hard, when he was misunderstood, when he was mischaracterized.

One night the Pharaoh, the leader of the country had a dream that he didn't understand. They called for Joseph, he interpreted the dream. The Pharaoh was so impressed, he made Joseph second in command of all of Egypt. Overnight he went from the prison to being prime minister, one of the most powerful people of that day. Now he was greatly respected, honored, influential, people bowed down low before him.

God knows how to vindicate you. He knows how to restore your reputation. May seem like people have done things that have permanently set you back, your motives were right, your heart was pure, but things happen that put you in a bad light. Like with Joseph, you're in that season of disrespect, loss of credibility, people discrediting you. Your time is coming. God sees you doing the right thing. He sees you being a Joseph: not complaining, not holding a grudge, not giving up on life. The Pharaoh is going to call you in, the right people are going to show up, vindication is coming. It's going to happen quickly. It's not going to be years to restore what was lost, Joseph went from a prisoner to a prince overnight. Suddenly you're going to see vindication, restoration, promotion, influence and honor, in Jesus name.

13 years after they threw him into that pit, his brothers, the same ones came to the palace in Egypt looking for food, there was a great famine. Well, Joseph was in charge of the food supply. They thought he was dead. When they realized it was Joseph, they all bowed down low before him. That was the table in the presence of his enemies. The very ones that tried to hold you down are going to see you promoted. Don't live stressed out trying to guard your reputation, guard your heart. Make the decision to not live offended, upset, trying to pay people back, and God will take care of your reputation. He's heard every negative comment that was said about you, the insults, the disrespect, the betrayals. He's going to make it up to you.

And you do your part: stay on the wall, keep doing great things, keep being a person of excellence, keep stretching, keep dreaming. The naysayers cannot stop your purpose, the negative chatter is just noise trying to get you distracted, don't take the bait. Stay focused and leave your reputation in God's hands. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: like Joseph, you're going to see vindication, promotion, negative situations are about to turn around, forces that have stopped you are being broken right now, you're about to see the table in the presence of your enemies, from the prison to the palace, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today? Amen.
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