Joel Osteen - Awaken Your Great Faith
I want to talk to you today about Awaken Your Great Faith. We all face dreams that seem too big and obstacles that are too much to overcome: the medical report is not good, child is off course, we don't have the connection for our dreams. It's easy to get discouraged and settle where we are. But God wouldn't have put the dream in your heart, if he didn't have a way to bring it to pass. He wouldn't have let you get in that challenge if he wasn't planning on bringing you out. But our faith, what we believe will have a great impact on what's going to happen. It's not just up to God. He has all the power in the world, it's up to us, he works through faith. If you believe little, you'll receive little. If you think small, talk small, "I've reached my limits", then you'll get stuck where you are.
The scripture talks about different levels of faith. The disciples were on a boat, when a huge storm arose. They started looking at the winds, the waves, how big they were, they got worried and ran and woke Jesus up, said "We're about to die". Before Jesus calmed the storm, before he spoke to the waves, he looked at them and said (Matthew 8:26), "Why do you have such a little faith"? He was saying, "You've seen what I can do, you you've seen me heal the sick, multiply the food, restore the broken. Why are you still stuck at that low level of faith, when you know I can do anything"? Another place in the scripture talks about weak faith. People that barely believe, get talked out of their dreams, that at any moment give up on what God put in their heart. But there are two places where Jesus talked about people with great faith. These were people that dared to believe despite the circumstances. That knew our God is all-powerful, that he can make streams in the desert, that he can open doors no person can shut, that he can do what medicine cannot do.
If you're going to reach the fullness of your destiny, it's not going to happen with weak faith, little faith, doubting faith, average faith. It's going to take great faith. The good news is: it's in you. You have the ability to go places you've never gone, to overcome challenges that seem too big. But here's the whole key: you have to awaken your great faith, you have to stir up what God put in you. The enemy would love for you to go through life with little faith, not believing, full of doubt, "It's never going to happen, look how big these waves are, Joel". Or weak faith, comfortable where you are, not stretching, not putting a demand on your faith. But the day we're living in average faith is not going to cut it. To overcome forces that are trying to stop you you can't have ordinary faith, to leave you a mark you can't just believe like everyone else. It's going to take people that will dare to believe big, to take the limits off, to say, "God, I don't see a way, but I know you have a way". God wants to do something new in your life, uncommon, out of the ordinary, but if you're going to see great favor, you have to have great faith.
Little faith says, "I'll never get well. Have you seen the medical report"? Great faith says, "God is restoring health back unto me. I will live and not die". Little faith says, "These disappointments have limited my life. This bad break is why I can't go any further". Great faith says, "God, you have beauty for these ashes. What was meant for my harm you turn into my advantage". Little faith says, "I'll never accomplish my dreams. The obstacles are too big. I don't have the training, the talent, the experience". Great faith says, "Good breaks are headed my way. The right people are tracking me down. What God started in my life he's going to finish". Little faith says, "I'll always struggle in my finances, man, with gas prices, the pandemic, how I was raised, I'll never have abundance". Great faith says, "I will lend and not borrow. I live under the open windows of heaven. My cup runs over".
Great faith is already in you, I'm just trying to awaken your great faith. That's how you're going to go to a new level. That's how your business will take off. That's how you're going to break the addiction. That's how those children are going to get back on course. It's not just going to be by your willpower, your strength, your intellect, that's all good, but it's going to happen because of your faith. When you get in agreement with God angels go to work, forces of darkness are broken, good breaks start chasing you down. Great faith activates great favor. What you believe is setting limits for your life. Don't go around with weak faith, little faith, doubting faith, complaining faith. Get out of your box, start believing for bigger things. It's not that God is limited, he's all-powerful, but we can limit him by our small thinking.
In the scripture, the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of this valley that was filled with dry bones, with a huge graveyard with thousands of bones on the ground. These bones represented what was dead: dreams that didn't work out, disappointments and closed doors. God was about to bring these bones together, cause these people to come back to life. But before any of this happened, before God did the miraculous, he asked Ezekiel in this vision, "Do you believe that these dead bones can live"? He was saying, "Ezekiel, what level of faith are you at? Do you have weak faith, little faith, doubting faith? Or do you have great faith? Do you believe that I can do the impossible"? Ezekiel answered back saying, "O, sovereign Lord". He was saying, "God, you control the universe. You part Red Seas. You stop the sun for Joshua. You gave Sarah a baby at 90. Yes, this looks impossible, but I know you can do the impossible".
God said in effect, "Ezekiel, that's what I'm looking for. Not weak faith, not a complainer, not someone that's going to tell me all the reasons it's not going to happen. I'm looking for great faith". He told Ezekiel to prophesy to those dead bones. When he did, the bones begin to come together, and skin forward and covered them. God breathed breath into them, just like in a movie those people stood up, came back to life.
Now, there may be things in your life today that look dead, situations that seem impossible: your health, your finances, in your relationships. God is asking you what do you ask Ezekiel, "Do you believe those dead bones can live? Do you believe you can get well, you can set a new standard for your family, you can get your degree, write that book, build that orphanage"? All the circumstances may say, "There's no way. That's impossible". You could get discouraged and easily talk yourself out of it, live with ordinary faith, "God, just help me to survive". Have little faith, "God, I hope I can endure". Weak faith, "God, this isn't fair".
Try a different approach. Like Ezekiel, great faith is down in you. It's not in your mind, it's not in your intellect, it's in your spirit. For some people it's been asleep a long time, God sent me to awaken it. He's about to bring dead things back to life. He's about to do something you've never seen, restore your health, open new doors of opportunity, turn that child around. But there is one requirement that he's looking for, and that is great faith. The good news is: you have it. Now, do you apart, get in agreement with God, "Father, thank you that I will accomplish my dreams. I believe I will get well. I believe 2022 will be a bountiful year. Lord, thank you that you're breathing on my life right now". You keep that attitude of faith, and watch what God will do. Great faith brings great favor.
Friend of mine has a daughter. When she was three years old, this very heavy piece of iron fell on two of her fingers and cut the very tips off. They rushed her to the emergency room, and after taking all the x-rays and doing all the tests, this specialist came in and said to the father, "I'm sorry, but there's nothing we can do to restore her fingers back to normal. She'll never have nails on those two fingers, they'll always be a little bit shorter". The bone had been cut. All they could do was a skin graft to hopefully make them look as smooth as possible. The father was very respectful, but he said to the doctor, "I believe that God can restore my little girl's finger, and make them normal once again". The doctor looked at him really odd, he was from another country, and he didn't have any kind of faith background. He said, "That's fine, sir, if you want to believe like that, but understand: the bone is missing. They will never be the right length, and for sure she's not going to have fingernails".
When his wife came in, the doctor got her aside and said, "Your husband's in shock, he won't accept the fact that the tip of those fingers had been cut off. They did the skin graft. Six weeks later they brought the little girl back for a checkup. When the doctor took the bandage off, his first words were "Oh, my God". The father was alarmed, he said, "What's wrong, doctor"? The doctor said, "The fingernails have grown back, and it looks like the fingers are the exact right length". That was over 20 years ago, still to this day her fingers look perfectly normal.
And I'm not saying to deny reality, but I am saying that God Has The Final Say. There are natural laws, but God is supernatural. He's not limited by what limits us. When we believe all things are possible. But if this father would have had weak faith, "Just my luck, too bad for us". Little faith, "God, just help us make it through", I don't think this would have happened. When you have great faith, you will see the greatness of our God. Sometimes we're not seeing favor, and healing, and promotion not because God is limited, but because our faith is limiting him.
Jesus healed a blind man one time in the scripture, and he said, "According to your faith be it done unto you". Wasn't according to God's faith, he can do anything. It's according to our faith. Where God has taken you, it's going to take more than average faith. The amazing future he has in store, the doors he's going to open, the favor you're going to see, it won't happen with ordinary faith. There will be dreams that are way too big for you. There will be Goliaths, where you don't stand a chance. Times where it's way over your head, Compaq Centers. That's when you have to be in Ezekiel and say, "God, I know these dead bones can live. I know you can defeat these enemies. I know your favor on my life will take me where I can't go on my own".
Jesus told a parable in the book of Luke, and at the end he asked this question, "When I return, what kind of faith will I find on the earth"? If God showed up at your house, what kind of faith would he find? Small faith? Weak faith? Complaining faith? "Joel, I used to believe, but you don't know what's come against me. I had big dreams, but it's been so long. I don't see how I can get in college, how I'll meet the right person, how break the addiction. It's been in my family for years". That kind of thinking is limiting what God can do. Why don't you awaken your great faith? You don't have to figure out how it's going to happen, all you have to do is believe.
In the scripture there was a Roman officer that was very respected and influential. He was called a centurion, meaning that he had a hundred men under him. One of his servants became very sick and close to death, and he was so concerned. He heard that Jesus was in a nearby city. Since he was a gentile he found some of his Jewish friends, and asked them to go to Jesus, and see if he would come to their house and pray for this servant. Well, these Jewish leaders they went and pleaded with Jesus to come, and Jesus agreed. He set out toward the man's house. But before they arrived, this centurion sent another message. He said, "Jesus, don't trouble yourself come into my home. I'm a man of authority. When I say 'go' people go, when I say 'come' they come. Just speak the word, and I know my servant will be healed".
When Jesus heard this, verse 9 says, "He marveled". He was so amazed, he turned to the crowd and said, "I have not found this much faith, this greater faith in all of Israel". Notice what God calls great faith: when you believe that he'll do something out of the ordinary, when you take the limits off. No one had ever told Jesus to just speak the word, all they had seen is Jesus lay hands on people and healed them. This officer was saying, "I believe you have so much power, so much favor, you don't even need to come. Just say it and it will happen". What's significant is, this centurion wasn't even a follower of Christ. He was a gentile, but Jesus said he had more faith than the believers that traveled with Jesus. Having great faith is not about being a religious scholar, how many scriptures you can quote, how long you pray. It's about believing that our God is all-powerful, that he can make ways where you don't see a way, that he can defeat your giants, that he can open doors you can't open.
They're only two times in the scripture where God marveled: Mark chapter six, Jesus was in his hometown of Nazareth, teaching in the synagogue. They had heard about the miracles, word had spread about how Jesus was doing so much good, but they didn't believe, they thought "We know who he is. He grew up here. There's nothing special about him". Because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any mighty miracles there. Here he had all this power, he'd gone to different cities, doing amazing things. You would think in his home city they would believe more than anyone else. Just the opposite. Verse 6 says, "Jesus marveled at their unbelief". One time he marveled at the man's faith, the other time he marveled at their unbelief.
When God looks at you, what does he marvel at? "Joel, this opposition is so strong. I don't see how I can get ahead. These people have done me wrong". No, zip that up! Let's be people that cause God to marvel over our faith, and not over our doubt. People that believe big, people that take the limits off of him. Now, I love how this centurion who didn't even worship Jehovah, who wasn't even a believer, yet he knew how awesome our God is. He had this understanding that this man Carries power, favor, healing, authority that is unmatched.
Jesus didn't say to him, "Who do you think you are? You don't even follow me. You have a lot of nerve asking me for something great, something that I've never done". No, Jesus said in effect, "Your faith is at another level. I've seen weak faith, little faith, average faith, but I've never seen faith like yours, you have great faith". God is not faulting you for believing big, for asking for your dreams, for what seems impossible. That's what God calls great faith. Like this centurion, you're showing God that you believe how powerful he is. The enemy would love for you to live with comfortable faith, faith in a box, faith for what you've seen in the past. But to reach your destiny you have to break out of that box.
Is there anything you're believing for that will cause God to marvel? So anything you're dreaming about, that's out of your reach, that you can accomplish, that's too big, too much, too hard? It's time to awaken your faith.
Dare to believe bigger. Dare to ask. Dare to do something that causes God to be amazed. Not just to believe to pay your bills each month, no, great pay says, "God, give me overflow, give me an abundance, so I can help pay somebody else's bills". Not just, "Let me endure this sickness. Let me manage this depression". No, "Lord, thank you that I'm totally free. Thank you that I'm completely well. That I will run and not be weary". Not, "Just make it through another year. God, help me to survive". No, "Lord, thank you, 2022 will be a bountiful year, that doors are opening that I couldn't open. That my talent's coming out in new ways. That I'll set a new standard for my family". Whatever level your faith is at, it's time to step it up, believe bigger. God's doing a new thing, but it's not going to happen with comfortable faith, lazy faith, limited faith. God's looking for great faith.
There was a lady in the scripture that had a bleeding disorder for 12 years. She went to the best doctors, took the best treatment, but none of that helped. She continued to get worse. She could have accepted, "It's not meant to be. I've tried my best", but one day she heard that Jesus was passing through her town, and something rose up on the inside. It said to her, "This is your time. This is your moment. This sickness is not your destiny". Maybe she's heard how Jesus had healed the man with the withered hand, how he caused that and paralyzed man to walk or how he had freed that man that was chained in the tombs. Something happened to where her great faith was awakened. She'd had average faith, making it despite the trouble, enduring the illness, but she could sense that this was a new day.
She left her house that morning, determined to get to Jesus. Was so crowded, she had to push through people, push through doubt, "It's not going to happen". Pushed through her past, "You've tried and it didn't work out". Pushed through fear, "What if he gets upset". Despite all the opposition she kept making her way to Jesus. "Excuse me, I need to get through. Pardon me, I don't mean to be rude, but move out of my way, I'm on a mission". She was weak, her blood count was low, thoughts telling her it's never going to happen. But she kept saying to herself, "When I get to Jesus I will be healed".
She could have been at home discouraged, thinking "I'll never get better" with comfortable, faith lazy faith, but she did what I'm asking us to do. She tapped into her great faith. Yes, to believe bigger it's going to cost you something. It's easy to stay comfortable, it's easy to live average, but you can't become who you were created to be with average faith. God's looking for great faith. He's looking for people that will cause him to marvel, to say "Wow, look at what they believe I can do. They believe they can get well despite the diagnosis. They believe they can have a blessed year despite the pandemic. They believe that I'll give them a Compaq Center, that they can start their own business, that their family will be restored". Great faith gets God's attention.
This lady finally made it to Jesus. Just in the nick of time she reached out and touched the hem of his robe. Instantly she was healed. Jesus stopped and said to his disciples, "Who just touched me"? They said, "What do you mean? Everybody's touching you! It's crowded around here". Now he said, "Someone touched me with such faith, that it drew the miracle work and power right out of me". About that time his eyes met this woman's eyes. He didn't say, "Lady, why'd you do that? Why don't you wait your turn? Takes a lot of nerve for you calling on me like that". No, he was amazed. He said, "Daughter, your faith has made you whole". He was saying, "Wasn't my faith, I didn't even see you, but you had such great faith. You believed in who I am in such a great way, that you caused this miracle to happen".
There were a lot of people bumping into Jesus, but she was the only one that touched him. Many others needed healing, breakthroughs, favor. The mistake they made is they didn't awaken their great faith. Are there blessings you're missing because you're living with comfortable faith, not stretching? Is there a favor you're not seeing, promotion, new relationships because you have lazy faith, small faith, weak faith? "Well, Joel, if I go through that crowd so to speak, I know I'm not going to get healed, nothing good ever happens to me. My family's always struggled, I wasn't raised in a good environment". None of that has to stop you. God knows what you didn't get. He's not going to leave your life in a deficit. He's put something down in you, he's just waiting for you to wake it up, it's called great faith. It's faith that causes him to marvel. It's when you do like this woman: you press past the doubt, the naysayers, the past, the failures, and you believe for what seems impossible.
Believe for your dreams, believe that the dead bones can live, believe you can accomplish what others say is no way, believe that your children will leave their mark. This won't happen with average faith. The good news is: that's not you! I'm talking to people with great faith. Now, do your part and wake it up! You haven't seen, heard or imagined what God has in store for you. The time we're living in you are needed more than ever. The prophet Joel said, "Wake up the mighty men". Wake up the mighty women. God is counting on you to make a difference, to be a blessing, to shine brightly, to set new standards. It's going to take people who are bold, who will stretch, who will get out of their comfort zones.
When Jesus was on the earth, he did so many amazing things, but he said in John 14:12, "Greater works than these shall you do". Greater works is going to require great faith. I know sometimes we think, "I don't have that much faith". Yes, it's in you! You just have to make this decision to believe. Not so much believe in what you can do, but believe in what God can do through you. On your own you may be limited, you don't have the qualifications, the resources, that's okay. You're not on your own. You and God are a majority. When he breathes on your life dead bones will live, you'll go places you've never dreamed, you'll discover talent that you didn't know you had, doors were open you never thought would open, the right people will suddenly show up. If you'll do your part and have great faith, God will do his part and show out in your life.
Friend of mine is a medical doctor, and he was driving home from work when he saw this accident on the freeway, and it had just happened a few minutes earlier. They had this young man covered with a sheet. My friend told them that he was a doctor, and asked if there's anything he could do. And they explained they had done cpr, and tried everything, but no response. My friend at that time wasn't necessarily a strong believer, but he remembered the scripture that you can lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Medically speaking he couldn't do anything, but he gently placed his hands on the young man's chest, under his breath he whispered, "God, I'm asking you to let life come back into this body".
Stayed there a minute or two, nothing happened. He turned around and went back to his car, and all of a sudden there was this huge commotion. The young man woke up, he started breathing again. Everyone was in awe. They asked the doctor what did you do to him? He said, "All I did was pray". That's one of those greater works, that's what God wants to do for you: use you in amazing ways, bring dreams to pass that leave you in awe, take you to places you never thought possible. How does this happen? Through great faith! It's on the inside of you right now!
Have you awakened it? Or are you just living with comfortable faith, average faith, not believing, not stretching, not dreaming? Get out of that box! Take the limits off of God! There should be something you're believing for that causes God to marvel, something that's over your head, out of your range, that's what gets God's attention. If you'll do this, if you'll wake up that great faith, I believe and declare: you're about to see the greatness of our God. Dead bones are about to come back to life, a new level of favor, promotion, healing, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen?