Joel Osteen - The True You
I want to talk to you today about The True You. On the inside of every one of us is a blessed person, someone confident, valuable, talented, disciplined. The scripture says, "You have been fearfully and wonderfully made". The word "Fearful" in the original language means to stand in awe, to reverence. It implies honor, respect. When God created you he stood back in reverence. He looked at you in awe, he calls you a masterpiece. God didn't make anyone average. He didn't say, "I didn't do very good on that one, they have a bunch of flaws, they're going to be angry, insecure, jealous, impatient". No, you've been exceptionally made. You are one of a kind.
But what happens is we go through life and we make mistakes, we develop bad habits, people do us wrong, shame comes, guilt comes, insecurity. We don't feel like a masterpiece, we feel condemned, not valuable. "How can I be successful, look at how I was raised"? Or "I'm struggling with an addiction, not that talented, I don't have a good personality". But underneath the insecurity, the bad breaks, the failures, there's the true you, the one God created. The true you is the blessed you, the happy you, the successful you, the forgiving you, the confident you. It's still in you. The beauty of our God is he never loses the vision of the true you. He still remembers the reverence he felt when he created you. Despite all the flaws, weaknesses, disappointments, he still sees the masterpiece, he still knows who you really are.
But life tries to put all these things on us to keep the true you from coming out: impatience, jealousy, compromise, bad breaks. The good news is God is not going to leave us like that. He's going to keep working on us, making us, molding us until the true you comes out: the free you, the blessed you, the patient you, the victorious you. God specializes in removing everything that's not the true you.
"Well, Joel, I'll always struggle with this addiction. I've had it since high school, it's just who I am". Well that is not who you are. That's something the enemy put on you to try to keep the true you from ever coming out. The true you is free. The true you is whole. The true you is clean. That addiction is not how your story ends. God is working right now. Freedom is coming, chains are breaking, strongholds are coming down. You're about to see the free you. You're about to step up to who you were created to be. The forces that are for you are greater than any forces that are trying to stop you. I'm calling out to free you, the blessed you, the happy you, the favored you.
Now, get in agreement with God. Not, "I'll always struggle with this", but "I am free. I am healthy. I am whole". You need to see the free you, not the defeated you, the depressed you, the hurt you. See the happy you, the successful you, the married you, the valuable you. You may have gone through bad breaks, someone walked out on you, you weren't raised in a good environment, and it's easy to carry those hurts, let it limit your vision, carry the shame, go around feeling unworthy like don't deserve to be blessed. Don't believe those lies. The enemy would love for you to live discouraged, no passion, thinking nothing good is in your future. No, the true you is still in you. The happy you, the restored you, the valuable you.
What people did to you didn't stop the true you. What wasn't fair didn't change who God created you to be. He's in the process right now of removing everything that's not the true you. The anger is not the true you. "Joel, I'm just hot tempered, I've always been this way, my father was this way, my grandfather". No, that's not who you really are. It may be that way now, but you're the one to break the cycle, you're the one to see it come to an end. The true you is calm, cool and collected. The true you is peaceful, loving and kind. Don't believe those lies that you can't change. God is removing everything that's not the true you. He loves you too much to leave you alone. He's going to keep working on you until he sees the masterpiece, who he created you to be.
The early 1500s a young artist named Michelangelo had a dream to sculpture king David out of a huge piece of marble, a twelve thousand pound block that stood over twenty feet tall. He worked tirelessly for two years, chiseling and shaping with great precision and great detail. When he finished, he revealed this 14 foot tall marble image of David. It was magnificent, so beautiful and so inspiring. Someone asked Michelangelo: how he could accomplish such a feat, how he could make this amazing statue out of an old piece of rock? He said, "I had a vision in my mind of king David, and I just kept removing everything that wasn't him".
That's the way God is. He knows who we really are, he can see the masterpiece in the rock. Throughout life he'll keep removing things that are not who we are: the impatience, the insecurity, the unworthiness. "I'm not valuable, look at what I've been through" - chisel-chisel, that's not who you are. "The pride, the arrogance" - chisel-chisel, that doesn't belong on you. "The unforgiveness, the resentment, they hurt me, they did me wrong" - chisel-chisel, that resentment is not a part of who you are. "I'll never do anything great, Joel, nobody in my family's successful. I'm not that talented" - chisel-chisel.
That limited mindset, that mediocrity doesn't belong on you. It may come try to distort your image, affect your personality, limit your future. The good news is: we have someone far greater than Michelangelo working on us. We have the Creator of the universe, the God who makes spectacular solar systems, magnificent mountain ranges, amazing sunsets. That's the artist that's working on you. He's chiseling away everything that's not the truth you. He can see things that we can't see.
So often we let our circumstances determine who we are, how people treat us determine our value, how well we perform determine our worth, what someone said determine our self-image. God looks beyond all that. Like in the scripture with David, he sees the giant killer in the shepherd boy. Like with Gideon, he sees a mighty hero in a man that's hiding, afraid, intimidated. Like with Rahab, he sees a respectful, honored woman, that's in the family line of Jesus in a former prostitute. God knows what's in you.
You may have made mistakes, done things you're not proud of - God sees the redeemed you, the restored you, the honored you. You may be intimidated, insecure, thinking you're not that talented - God sees the giant killer, he sees the history maker in you. Or maybe life has thrown your curves, you've been hurt, abandoned, betrayed - God sees the valuable you, the blessed you, the favored you. Nothing that's happened to you has changed the true you. God looks beyond our mistakes, our flaws, the bad breaks, the hurts, and he sees who he created you to be. He hasn't lost the vision of who you are. The good news is: he still has the chisel, he still knows what to remove so the best you will come out, the talented you, the confident you, the loving you, the free you.
Now, sometimes when God chisels it's uncomfortable, we don't like it. "I don't want to bite my tongue. I don't want to overlook the offense, I want to tell them off". Be pliable, work with God, let him remove the hardness that's keeping you from going to new levels. Driving to work you get in traffic, you're delayed, construction on the freeway, some jerk... I mean some person cut you off, you'll be tempted to get upset, offended, let it sour your day. Recognize what's happening: that's God chiseling away the impatience. He's giving you an opportunity to grow. The impatient you will try to keep the true you from coming out. Or at the office, you're not getting the credit, you're being overlooked, people are taking your ideas. You could live offended, trying to get revenge, pay them back. No, let God be your vindicator, let him fight your battles. He sees what's happening, he knows it's not fair, he has the chisel out. You think it's about them, but really it's about you. That's an opportunity to show God that you trust him, that you'll stay in peace, not let people steal your joy.
Sometimes God will remove things we don't understand: remove a friendship, someone that's pulling us down, causing us to compromise. We don't like change, we were comfortable, now we're going to have to stretch and grow. Don't fight the chisel. God knows what he's doing. He's not going to leave something on you that will keep you from your purpose. He'll never ask you to do something and then not give you the ability to do it. If he's asking you to walk away, you know a season is coming to an end, that's the chisel at work. If you're stubborn, you fight it, you try to hold on, you're going to miss the greater things God has in store. He's not trying to take something from you, he's trying to get something better to you. He wants to bring out the true you. The true you is more blessed, more fulfilled, more successful than you can imagine.
Friend of mine worked at this company for over 20 years. He's the nicest person in the world, always kind, respectful, going the extra mile. He called me one day and said, "Joel, I just got fired from my job. They said I didn't have a good attitude, they were letting me go". Almost fell out of my chair, that would be like Mother Teresa getting fired. I couldn't believe it. But sometimes God will close a door because we're stagnant. If he didn't push us into our destiny, the true you would never come out. We don't realize, there's so much more in us gifts, talents, potential. God will chisel away things that are keeping you from your greatness. Sometimes they're good things, but they're not the best. Trust him when you don't understand. He won't remove something unless he has something better coming. He won't use the chisel if it's not going to make you better. May hurt at the time, may be uncomfortable, but God knows what he's doing.
About six months later my friend called so excited, he just got a dream job, a position running this large company, managing all these people. He said "I never knew this was in me. I never dreamed I could be this successful, this fulfilled". Let God remove what he knows is keeping you from the true you. Unforgiveness is keeping you from shining. Insecurity, compromise, anger, that's blocking the best you from coming out. Work with God. Be willing to change. You don't have to be perfect, but we should be growing. We should be better than we were five years ago. We should be kinder, more respectful, a better attitude. We should be more confident, more secure. We should forgive quicker, overlook offenses easier. We should compromise less, resist the temptation more. That means we're letting the chisel chip away things that are hindering our growth. We're seeing more of the true you coming out.
What's interesting is is in that large piece of rock that Michelangelo carved the statue of David out of, 50 years earlier two of the most accomplished artists of that time, these very well-known sculptors looked at the rock and said there was no way they could work with it, it had too many flaws, too many imperfections. They were given the chance first, but they turned it down because the marble had too many blemishes, too many defects. They were convinced that it could never stand strong, never be turned into something significant. Yet, 50 years later young Michelangelo came along, he saw the same block of marble, the same defects, the same flaws, but he looked beyond the imperfections. He said "I see a masterpiece in this rock. I see king David in that marble".
Like those first two artists, other people may look at you and think "They'll never amount to much, look at their failures, their weaknesses, they struggle with an addiction, they're hot tempered", or "Man, look what they've been through. The bad breaks, the disappointments". All they see is your flaws, your blemishes, what hasn't worked out, they'll discount you, write you off. Then like Michelangelo did, God comes along. He says, "Hey, wait a minute. Don't abandon that piece of rock. Yes, I see flaws. Yes, I see weaknesses. But I see something else: I see a masterpiece, I see a blessed, strong, anointed, forgiven, favored child of the Most High God". It's not that God doesn't see the flaws, but he knows how to remove the flaws. He knows how to make you and mold you to where the best you comes out.
Quit believing the lies that you've made too many mistakes, you're too far off course. You see yourself as the failed you, the broken you, the guilty you, the disadvantaged you. No, nothing you've done has stopped your destiny. The mercy of God is bigger than any mistake that you've made. The true you is still in you, the blessed you, the faithful you, the honored you, the righteous you.
In the scripture Peter was out fishing one morning, bringing his boat close to the shore. And Jesus came walking by said, "Peter, come and follow me, I'm going to make you a fisher of men". Peter had never met Jesus, never had a conversation with him, yet Jesus called him by name. Can you imagine how surprised Peter was? "How does this man know my name? I know who he is, he's that teacher everyone's talking about, yet he called me Peter". God knows your name. He's the one that created you. He's the one that calls you a masterpiece. "Not me, Joel, I'm not a religious person" - neither was Peter. He didn't have any kind of faith. He wasn't refined, respected, looked up to. He was a fisherman. He used bad language, he was hot tempered, impulsive, he would tell you what he thought. Yet, God chose him to be his disciple, one of the 12 that would change the world.
Out of all the people God could have chosen he didn't choose a religious leader, he didn't choose a priest in the synagogue, he didn't choose the mayor of the city, he chose Peter. He already knew that Peter would deny him three times, he already knew Peter would fall asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus needed him the most. He already knew Peter was hot tempered, that he would curse, that he would cut off the soldier's ear. Why would Jesus choose someone like this? Because God looks beyond the flaws, the mistakes, the weaknesses, and he sees the masterpiece in the rock, he sees what we can become. He hasn't lost his vision of the true you, how he made you before you were formed in the mother's womb, before the bad breaks, before the failures, before the brokenness.
Jesus looked at Peter and said, "You are Simon, but you shall be called Peter". Simon represents shifting sand, being unstable, inconsistent, but Peter is literally translated rock. Jesus was telling him who the true you was. At one point Jesus said (Matthew 16:18), "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church". When Jesus said that, Peter was anything but a rock. He was unreliable, hot tempered, yet God called out the true you, the faithful you. It didn't happen overnight, but God kept chiseling away Peter's weaknesses, chiseling away the hot temper, chiseling away the inconsistency. When the church was starting in the Book of Acts, they needed someone to give the inaugural address, this prominent position. Who did they choose? Peter. But now it wasn't the impulsive Peter, the inconsistent Peter, the denied-Jesus Peter, this was the rock, this was the true Peter, the faithful Peter, the strong Peter, the powerful Peter.
What am I saying? Don't get discouraged because of who you are right now, God still has his chisel, he's still removing things that are limiting your destiny. You haven't seen your best days. The rock is still in you. The successful you, the holy you, the disciplined you, the favored you. Like those two artists that saw the slab of marble, but said it's unstable, it has too many flaws, there will always be people that try to discount you, tell you what you can't become, how you're not talented enough, you've made too many mistakes. Don't let them talk you out of becoming the true you. The good news is: they're not your artist, they don't have the chisel. You're not dependent on what they think, what they can do. Your sculptor is the Most High God. He has not lost his vision of the true you.
My father was raised very poor. His family were farmers and they lost everything during the great depression. His mother made 10 cents an hour washing people's clothes. There were times they didn't have money for food, he had to drop out of high school to work on the farm. At 17 years old daddy gave his life to Christ, the first one in his family. He felt this calling to become a minister. He had no money, no education, no training, but he told his parents he was going to leave the farm and go out and start ministering. They said, "John, you don't know how to minister. You're going to get out there and fail. You better stay here on the farm with us". They loved their son, but they could only see the limited John, the poor John, the defeated John. They looked at that marble so to speak and thought, "Nothing good can come out of that. Look at all the flaws, the deficiencies, the imperfections".
If he would have believed who they said he was, he would have never fulfilled his destiny. People can't see what God put in you. Don't let their negative words limit your life. Tune it out: you are not who people say you are, you are who God says you are. He says you're a masterpiece, he says you have greatness in you, he says you are destined to leave your mark. But my father grew up with this limited mindset, this poverty mentality. And all he had seen was struggle, lack, mediocrity. But we serve a God who has a chisel. He doesn't let how you were raised, what you didn't get, the odds being against you keep you from your purpose. Little by little God removed that poverty mindset. He chiseled away the inferiority, not good enough, never make a difference.
My father rose up against all odds and he did great things. He pastored great churches, founded Lakewood, impacted the whole world. In that poor, disadvantaged, not educated 17 year old man was a world changer, a history maker. If you only knew what was in you. The true you is not limited by your environment. The true you is not dependent on what other people think about you. The true you is not at a disadvantage because you have flaws and weaknesses.
The enemy would love for us to go through life feeling inferior, focused on our weaknesses, weighed down with regrets, guilty from past mistakes, condemned, ashamed. But what the enemy put on you, God is about to take off of you. This is a new day. The chisel is at work. He's chiseling away wrong mindsets, chiseling away negative words people have spoken over you, chiseling away guilt and shame, chiseling away hurts, brokenness and offense. You're about to step into a new level of your destiny. The true you is about to come out, the blessed you, the free you, the confident you, the victorious you.
I know a young lady that was raised in a very dysfunctional home. Seven years old, the police showed up at her house and told her to put her belongings in a trash bag, she was going to spend the night somewhere else. She grabbed her pajamas, her toothbrush and rushed out. She was taken to a shelter. Her mother and stepfather were arrested for child abuse. She'd never met her biological father. Eventually she was turned over to him, but that wasn't any better. He was on drugs, in and out of jail. She became very angry. She couldn't understand why no one would love her? She got to the point where she built up walls, so she didn't have to feel. She became numb to the pain. She didn't feel happy, sad, depressed, she felt nothing. At 16 years old, she moved out on her own, broken, hurting, lonely.
By the grace of God she showed up at Lakewood. She heard us talking about how God is our Heavenly Father, that he has good things in store for us, how he will give us beauty for the ashes. She had never felt that love before. She'd never had anyone speak faith and victory into her, and tell her who she really was. One day she gave her life to Christ, she said, "I realized I was no longer an orphan, I was adopted by my Heavenly Father". The right people begin to show up, doors begin to open. Today that young woman, Desiree, right here on the front row, she's on our staff, a beautiful girl, she has the smile, the joy, the victory.
Here's what I've learned: God will not leave you at a deficit. What you didn't get, what wasn't fair, what you feel robbed of, God is going to make it up to you, he's going to pay you back for the unfair things. But if you would have seen Desiree years ago, you would have seen the broken you, the ashamed you, the hurt you, the lonely you. All these things the enemy had put on her to try to keep her from her destiny. But underneath the shame, the anger, the rejection was the masterpiece. There was this beautiful, confident, radiant, talented young woman.
Maybe like her you're carrying shame, hurts, brokenness, life has put you at a disadvantage. God said in Joshua 5:9, "This day I am removing the shame from my people". This day God is breaking chains. This day strongholds are coming down. This day things that have hindered you are being chiseled away. Through my eyes of faith I can see the true you, the blessed you, the free you, the restored you, the joyful you. I see the masterpiece God created you to be. The two years that Michelangelo worked on sculpturing David, he did it all in private. He wouldn't let anyone come in. When he finished, he revealed it to the public, now 500 million people have seen it in person. You think about that old piece of rock with flaws, and weaknesses, other artists said was not useful, yet it's been seen by half a billion people.
Listen, when God's working on you, chiseling away what's not necessary, often he'll do it in private, he'll keep you hidden, not noticed. But when it's your time, when God says you're ready, he'll cause you to be seen. You'll become a trophy of his grace. Where people think, "Wasn't that the old rock that had flaws? Wasn't that the fisherman, now he's up there leading? Isn't that the young boy from the great depression, now he's a pastor? Wasn't she abandoned by her parents? And look at her now". God's going to cause you to shine, to be an example of what he can do despite imperfections, despite what life throws your way. You may have some things that are limiting you now, don't worry, God still has the chisel, he's still working on you. I believe and declare: the true you is about to come out. What's holding you back is being broken. The shame is being removed. You're about to step into favor, freedom, restoration, and become the masterpiece God created you to be, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen? Amen.