Joel Osteen — Empty Out The Negative
I want to talk to you today about emptying out the negative. It's easy to go through life holding onto things that are weighing us down: guilt, resentment, doubt, worry. The problem is when we allow these things in, they're taking up space for the good imagine your life is like a container. You were created to be filled with joy, peace, confidence, creativity, but if you allow worry in, it pushes out the peace.
There's not space for both. You can't go above 100%. You have a limited amount of room. If you allow guilt to take up space, that's space that you don't have for the confidence you need, and the reason some people don't enjoy their lives is because their container, their heart, is contaminated with so many things.
They have 10% worried, stressed out over their job; 12% bitterness, mad at their neighbor; 20% guilt, beating themselves up for past mistakes; 9% jealousy, their co-worker is more beautiful. They don't realize 70% of their container is negative. They wonder why they don't have joy, creativity, passion. They only have room for 30% of what they should have.
And the scripture says, "Give no place to the enemy". It's not just talking about forces of darkness. That means give no place to guilt, give no place to worry, give no place to bitterness. It can't come in and automatically take over. You control what's in your container. You control what you think about, what you choose to allow in, and we all have negative emotions and negative feelings.
You have to make the choice, "I'm not going to give this jealousy, this bitterness, this anger valuable space and let it poison my life. I'm going to protect what I allow in me".
Every morning, when we wake up, we need to empty out anything negative from the day before. Somebody offended you at work, they didn't treat you right, it's easy to let that offense stay. Feels good to carry around a grudge, but you have to be disciplined and say, "No, I am not giving this offense any room. I am not going to let it sour my day". They hurt you once. Don't let them continue to hurt you by holding onto the offense. Being offended is not harming them, it's harming you. It's taking up space you need for the good things that move you towards your destiny.
Or you wake up in the morning and thoughts of worry come. How are you going to pay your bills? What if the medical report is not good? You'll never get out of this problem. Don't allow that in. Don't make the mistake of dwelling on it. Just say, "No, thanks. I know God's in control. He's got me in the palm of his hand. He'll get me to where I'm supposed to be". Take inventory of what you're giving space to. Life is too short to go through it with negative things holding us down.
David said in psalm 103, "God fills my life with good things so I stay young and strong," and I've learned if you'll empty out the room, God will fill you with good things. You empty out the worry, God will fill you with peace. You empty out the insecurity, negative things people have said about you, God will fill you with confidence.
My question today is, is God trying to fill you with good things but there's no room? Your container is full of worry, regret, bitterness, jealousy. Why don't you start emptying that out? Somebody did you wrong. You could hold on to that bitterness, instead, "God, I forgive them. I let it go". You didn't just forgive, you made room for God to fill you with good things. That's when he'll give you beauty for ashes, joy for mourning. You're in a tough season, the medical report wasn't good. You should be stressed, worried, instead, "God, I trust you. You said you would restore health back unto me". You just made room for God to fill you with healing. Will give you peace in the midst of the storm.
Perhaps a co-worker got the promotion that you worked so hard for. Envy, jealousy will come. "I wish that was me. I'm smarter than they are. I don't understand that". Instead of letting that stay, "God, I know you're no respecter of persons. You did it for them, I know you can do it for me".
The good news is God doesn't run out of favor. He doesn't have a limited supply, and if you will empty out the jealousy, then when it's your time to be promoted, God will open doors that no man can shut. If somebody got what you wanted, that simply means it wasn't supposed to be yours. If they got the promotion, be happy for them. God has something better for you. If they got the man you wanted to date, let's make it real, if they got the girl you were interested in, don't be upset. God knows what he's doing. If it worked out your way, it would be second-best.
Bottom line: what has your name on it is not going to go to anyone else. Don't go around bitter, with jealous and in self-pity. That will poison your life. Empty it out. God is in control, he's directing your steps, and at the right time what has your name on it will show up. God promises if we will make room, he will not only fill us with good things, but he will keep us young and strong, and the reason some people are not young and strong, and I don't mean just young physically, but young passionate about life is because they're filled with the negative. Worry will make you weak. Living stressed-out will make you old, give you wrinkles, take your passion. Being bitter, angry, resentful will shorten your life.
Proverbs says, "A relaxed attitude lengthens life". You can be 80 years old and young at heart. Your spirit never ages. I met a woman in the lobby a while back. It was her 100th birthday. She was standing there dressed impeccably, beautiful, hardly had any wrinkles, full of joy. Her mind was as sharp as can be. I asked her what her secret was so I could tell Victoria. She said, "I don't worry, I let things go, and I laugh a lot". She's lived by this principle. You know in a hundred years have hurt her, she's made mistakes, life has happened, offenses have come, but she hasn't held on to them. She's kept emptying them out, and like God promised, he's filled her life with good things, kept her young and strong.
I don't want to get old, grouchy, grumpy, fall apart. I want to stay young, strong, good-looking, full of faith and joy and energy. The way this happens is give no place to the negative. Get in the habit of emptying out the offenses, empty out the worry. You make a mistake, empty out the guilt. You didn't do your best, empty out the regret. Do better next time.
Nobody gave you credit, empty out the self-pity. You had a bad break, you don't understand it, empty out the questions. If you'll get good at emptying out the negative, you'll be like this lady: strong, young, vibrant, full of faith, and full of joy.
Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, they will see God". That word "Pure" in the original language is where we get our word "Cathartic". It means cleansing, releasing. If you have surgery, sometimes the doctor will put in a catheter. Same root word. The impurities of the body. You can't get up to use the facility. That catheter automatically takes what's not beneficial, the toxins, the infections, the waste and flushes them out of the body. The doctor knows there will be contaminants. He's not alarmed that the body has waste and infection. He's only alarmed when it's not being released, when we're holding onto things that should be flushed out.
When God says, "Blessed are the pure in heart," he's saying you're going to be blessed when you learn how to release the impurities of life, when you get in the habit, like this catheter, of emptying out things that will infect you. You know what bitterness is to our spirit? It's infection. Guilt is infection. Worry, doubt, self-pity, these things are not unusual.
Impurities come. You have to push them out. It's when we hold on to them that it contaminates our spirit and causes us problems. You weren't created to carry around guilt, regret, bitterness, anger. That poisons your life. "Well, Joel, I'm bitter because I had a bad break. I'm sour because somebody walked out on me". I say this respectfully, that's simply an impurity. Why don't you release it so it doesn't infect the rest of your life? Divorce, a layoff, a loss poison your future. "Well, Joel, I'm worried about my health, worried about my finances, worried about my children". Worry is a part of life. Those thoughts come to us all. The key is to not hold on to them. Recognize they're not beneficial, they're not moving you forward. That's an impurity that wasn't meant to stay. You have to release it.
"God, I don't see a way, but I know you're still on the throne. I know you're bigger than this problem. I know you're supplying all of my needs". You just released the toxin. Are you holding on to infection, to impurities, angry, jealous, worried, discouraged? Maybe you had a disappointment, something didn't work out. Imagine there's an angel that has a delivery with your name on it. It says, "Beauty for ashes, new beginning, new opportunities, new friendships". He's en route with one of those good things. The problem is if you're holding on to the old, there is no place for him to deliver it.
I wonder how many things are en route right now. The angel is standing by with our joy, our peace, our confidence, our creativity, our spouse, but because there is no room, because we're not releasing the toxins, the anger, the bitterness, the jealousy, the worry then he can't deliver those good things. Instead of living blessed, excited about our future, we become infected.
The good news is you can get rid of that infection. It is not permanent. If you'll start releasing the regret, the worry, the bitterness, the anger, then it's just a matter of time before that angel shows up with your delivery. When you make room, God promises he will fill your life with good things.
This is what David did. He was an expert at emptying out the negative. His family looked down on him, treated him like he was second-class. He could have let that infection take root, lived go in one ear and out the other. He knew if he held onto it, it would keep him from his destiny. David went to the palace, served faithfully king Saul. He would play the harp when Saul was sick, to make him feel better. In return, Saul tried to kill him. Chased him through the desert, made his life miserable.
David could have become bitter, thought, "What's the use? Everybody is against me. Life is not fair". Instead, he kept his heart pure and emptied out the self-pity. Like David, we all have impurities, infections that come, people come against us, our plans don't always work out, and it's easy to think, "Why is this happening"? It's just life.
The scripture says offenses will come. They're not a problem unless you don't know what to do with them. Too many people make the mistake of holding on to them, they get bitter, live guilty, with a chip on their shoulder. That's going to poison your future. You have to release the toxins of life. You may not be able to keep them from coming, but you can keep them from staying. That means he kept the infections out. It doesn't mean that he was perfect.
David made mistakes. One time, he committed adultery and had the lady's husband killed. For one year, he tried to cover it up, swept it under a rug, and he was so overwhelmed with guilt, condemnation that he became sick and weak. That poison started to infect his life. He finally admitted his mistake. He repented and asked God to forgive him, and things began to turn around. Once he got the infection out, then his health was restored.
When you make a mistake, and we all do, don't run away from God, don't try to hide it. Go to God, repent. That means don't keep doing the same thing, and then ask for forgiveness, and here's the key: you have to receive God's mercy. The enemy is called the he'll remind you of every mistake you've made for the last 30 years, and it's easy to live life in regret, thinking about what you should have done differently. "Man, I should have raised my children better. I should have been more faithful in my marriage. I should have finished college".
Don't go through life looking in the rearview mirror, down on yourself, living in regret. You can't do anything about the past, but you can do something about right now. Being against yourself doesn't help you do better. It pushes you down. The moment you asked God to forgive you, he forgave you. Why don't you forgive yourself? Why don't you empty out the guilt? Why don't you turn off the accusing voices? God doesn't remember your mistakes anymore. If someone is bringing up the negative things of your past, it's not God. That's the accuser trying to deceive you into living condemned.
How much space are you giving to guilt, to shame, to regret, to being against yourself? Whatever it is, it's too much. You need that space for the good things God has to move you towards your destiny. If you're giving space to guilt, you will not have the confidence you need to move forward. That will cause you to fail again. It's a negative cycle. The only way you can break it is to rise up and say, "That's it. I am done living in the past, focused on my mistakes, reliving my failures, beating myself up. This is a new day. I'm emptying out all that infection. I'm going to receive God's mercy".