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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Unquestionably Free

Joel Osteen - Unquestionably Free

Joel Osteen - Unquestionably Free
TOPICS: Freedom

I want to talk to you today about Unquestionably Free. When we've struggled in an area for a long time, it's easy to accept that that's the way it's always going to be. We did everything we could. We prayed, we stood in faith, but nothing changed. Now, we think, "I'll always have this sickness. I'll always struggle in my finances. I'll always have to deal with this depression, this anxiety, this trouble at work". We're functioning, we're making it, but it's restricting our joy and limiting our growth.

Man told me recently, how he's tried to forgive the people that hurt him. He has good intentions, but he can't get passed it. He still has this bitterness, this anger toward them. Now, it's keeping him from moving forward. But God didn't create us to be partially free, to be almost free, to be better than we used to be. The scripture says (John 8:36), "Whom the son sets free is unquestionably free". The things that are hindering you, that are keeping you from your potential, they are not permanent. That sickness is not how your story ends. That depression, the addiction, you think you just have to live with it. No, just as the calendar has turned to a new year, God is about to do something new in your life. You're coming into a shift, a breakthrough.

What you couldn't do on your own, God is going to step in and do for you. Your destiny is too great. Your time too valuable for you to go another year restricted. You're about to see the God of the breakthrough. The God who suddenly shows up and puts an end to what's holding you back. He wants you to be unquestionably free. That means there's nothing draining your joy, nothing hindering potential, nothing limiting your relationships. Yes, I know there are seasons we have to endure and fight the good fight of faith, but there comes a time where God says, "Enough is enough. Now, I'm going to step in and free you, and heal you, promote you, favor you".

This is what happened to the Israelites. They had been in slavery 430 years. 10 generations of being mistreated, taken advantage of. It wasn't fair. Most of them were born into lack and hardship. They didn't choose it. They inherited all these struggles and defeat. You can imagine their mindset, "We're just slaves. We're just poor, defeated people. It's never going to change. We just have to suffer through it. Just endure". They didn't see any sign of things improving. Pharaoh and his army who was holding them captive, they had all these weapons and resources. The Israelites had nothing. But God said in Exodus 3:7-8, "I have seen the affliction of my people, I have heard their cries, and I am coming down to deliver them". God was saying, "This is a new day. I didn't create my children to live in bondage, oppressed, at a disadvantage. I created them to be the head and not the tail. To be above and not beneath. Not bound by worry, depression, being mistreated." God created you to be unquestionably free.

When the Israelites couldn't do anything about it, the odds were again them. Pharaoh and that army. It was one of the most powerful forces of that day. Yet, God stepped in and broke the chains, parted the Red Seas, drowned their enemies. When God says, "It's your time to be free". All the forces of darkness cannot stop him. Now, you may not see a way. The medical report doesn't look good. Your business looks like it's not going to make it. You've been to rehab. You tried, you couldn't break the addiction. It's been so long, the opposition is too big. You're right with the Israelites were.

God is saying to you what he said to them, "I've seen your affliction. I've seen what you've struggled with. I've seen those that have broke your heart. I've seen the worry, the heaviness that follows you around. I've seen the lonely nights, the tears, the suffering, and I am coming down to put an end to it. Not just make it better. Not just help you get through it. You're going to be unquestionably free." there's a to be a shift: a shift in your health, a shift in your finances, a shift in your children, a shift in your attitude. No more living depressed, defeated, negative. You're going to see the hand of God doing what you couldn't do on your own. It's going to be supernatural: supernatural healing, supernatural freedom, supernatural provision, supernatural favor.

I met a man that was diagnosed with incurable cancer, and he would come to Houston for several months every year for treatment. The doctors told him, he would have to do this for the rest of his life. That was the only way they could control the cancer. He would attend here at Lakewood, and he never complained, he had a good attitude. He was grateful that at least they had treatment, but it was very hard on him. The chemo would make him nauseous, and his wife told how it was such a struggle, and how he didn't have the energy. And she wondered if he could keep going like that. I told him what I'm telling you that God sees what you're dealing with. He sees what's causing you heartache. How you're doing the right thing when it's hard. How you're being your best when nothing is improving. You can't change it, it's out of your control. That's when God in his mercy will step in and say "Enough is enough. Let me do what only I can do."

Medicine may not be able to do it. People may not be able to help you. You've done what you can in the natural, but God is supernatural. One touch of favor, everything will change. One touch of his healing, one touch of his provision, one touch of his goodness, like the Israelites, you'll be unquestionably free. The third year of this man came back to town for treatment, and he went to have all the test run and he was prepared to do what he had done the other year. Just endure and suffer through it. The main doctor came back in scratching his hand. He said, "Have you done anything different? Have you changed your diet? Take another medicine in, found other treatment"? The man said, "No, all I've been doing is praying and believing that God will heal me, that he will make a way where I don't see a way". This doctor said, "It must be working, because we can't find any sign of cancer in your body". That man came back the next year for his checkup, still no cancer. They said, "There's no need to come back anymore, you are perfectly healthy".

What am I saying? God has the final say. He can do what medicine cannot do. Whatever's been hindering you: you can't seem to get passed it, negative attitude, unforgiveness, an addiction. Maybe you can't get ahead. You take one step forward and two steps backwards. Like that spirit of lack follows you around. That's how it's been, but there's about to be a shift, a breakthrough, a turnaround. Not to where you're a little better, partially free, "Joel, I have no complaints". Oh, how about unquestionably free, abundantly free, totally free? That means free from that spirit of worry, always seeing the negative. Free from that hot temper, that anger that's been passed down. It's going to stop with you. Free from the bitterness, holding that grudge. You've tried to forgive, you couldn't let it go: God's about to breathe in your direction. There's going to be strength to do what you couldn't do before. Or maybe free from the guilt, living in regrets, beating yourself up, not thinking you deserve to be blessed. That stronghold is coming down. Chains are being broken. Limitations are being lifted. What's hindered you in the past is not going to hinder you anymore.

Now, this is not going to just happen by your might, by your power. Maybe you tried, hasn't worked out. You feel like you're limited, at a disadvantage, at the mercy of what you're up against, but that's okay, it's going to happen by the spirit of the Most High. God in his mercy is going to release you from every bondage, free you from every restriction. You're about to step in to a new level of freedom, peace, productivity, fulfillment. Things that were slowing you down, draining you joy, taking your creativity, those forces have been broken. Now, you have to do your part and get an agreement with God.

Here's the key: don't go into a new year with an old mindset. "I don't know, Joel. I've struggled with this depression, this loneliness, this compromise a long time. I think it's always going to limit me." no, turn it around. "Father, thank you that I'm free. Thank you that this is a new day. Thank you that things have shifted in my favor. Lord, thank you, that you're releasing me into increase, into abundance, into good health, into great relationships, into the fullness of my destiny." you weren't created to struggle through life, restricted by negative thinking, constrained by bad temper, insecurity, lack. Those are bondages the enemy uses to try to keep you from your destiny. The good news is: the enemy is not in control of your life - God is. He's the chain break, he's the burden remover, he's the yoke destroyer. He said, "I'm coming down to take off of you what the enemy put on you". Now, victory starts in our mind, starts in our thinking. The right attitude is, "I'm supposed to be free. I'm supposed to be healthy. I'm supposed to be blessed. I'm supposed to be victorious".

John chapter five, there was a man that had been crippled for 38 years. Every morning, his family would carry him to the pool of Bethesda. He was known for having healing waters. Once a year, when the angel troubled the water, the first person in would be healed. There were all kinds of sick people there: blind, crippled, paralyzed. They would wait eagerly every day, carefully watching the water, hoping they would be the one to be healed. One afternoon, Jesus was passing by. He saw this man that had been there for 38 years. The scripture says (John 5:5), this man had "A deep-seated, lingering disorder". Was it like he'd been sick for a week or had trouble for a month? This was a problem that lingered. 38 years. You can imagine his mindset, "This is my lot in life. It's never going to change".

Out of all the people there, Jesus came over to the man and asked, "Do you want to get well"? Seemed like an odd question. It's obvious he wanted to get well. He was at the pool. That's why he went every day. But the man answered back, "How can I get well? I don't have anyone to help me get in the water. I'm crippled. Someone always gets in ahead of me". And I don't fault the man, he was only looking at it in the natural, thinking, "I've had this sickness 38 years. This problem's been with me most of my life. How can I get well now"? Sometimes, we see this man as negative, doubting, but the truth is, he was faithful. He got up each morning, he got dressed, he had his family take him to the pool. He sat there hoping that somehow it could happen. Was it like he was complacent? Sitting around at home, complaining? He did all he knew how to do, but he couldn't get rid of this lingering disorder.

How many of us are like this man? We're dealing with the lingering disorder. Problem that won't go away. The anxiety, the trouble in our marriage, the addiction, the sickness. We've done our best. God knows, we prayed, we stood in faith, we said we weren't going to give in to the temptation, but we weren't strong enough. We weren't complacent. We still showed up at work. We still came to church. We still volunteered. We were still good to others, all the while dealing with this lingering disorder. Maybe nobody can see it. It's the loneliness we face in the night. It's the hurt, the pain from the trauma of the past. It's those feelings of insecurity that won't go away.

Jesus could have looked at the man. Said, "Well, if he had only had more faith, I woulda healed you. If you'd only answered, 'yes, I want to get well'. If you hadn't made excuses, if you hadn't just looked at it in the natural, I would have freed you from this sickness". But our God is full of mercy. He knows the weight of what you're carrying. He knows the struggle, the sacrifice, how you're doing your best to keep it all together, while you're dealing with a lingering disorder, child that's off horse, an addiction that's controlling your life. God sees you at the pool. He sees you praising through the pain, smiling when you feel discouraged, carrying the load of others when you need to be carried.

It's interesting that Jesus never addressed what the man said. He never commented on his lack of faith. He simply looked at him and said, "Rise, take up your bed, and walk". Instantly, the man was healed. He got up and out of there first time, 38 years. Can you imagine when his family came to pick him up, like they had done year after year? Instead, they see him running toward them. They nearly passed out. They didn't see that coming. That's what it means to be unquestionably free. No one is going to doubt the blessing of God on your life. You're not only going to see it, but other people are going to see it.

One thing this story shows us is how nothing is permanent. It's never too late for God to turn it around. You may be dealing with a lingering disorder. In the natural, it could never work out, medical reports not good, you don't have the funds, the addiction is too strong. Thoughts tell you, "You'll always struggle with your self image. You're always going to feel inferior, not valuable". Don't believe those lies. Your time is coming. God has not forgotten about you. He's already headed your way. You wouldn't be hearing this, if he wasn't about to put an end to that lingering disorder. That problem that's hindered you so long is about to suddenly turn around. The addiction, the financial difficulty, the relationship issue, God is about to show up, and do what you never saw coming. Something that amazes you. Something that catapults you to a new level of your destiny, to where you can do what you never thought you could do.

This man never dreamed he'd be able to walk, play ball with his children, dance with his wife, take a stroll on the beach. That's the mercy of our God. "Well, Joel, this sounds good, but I don't know if I have enough faith. I don't know if I can believe for this". Neither did this man. This shows us how good our God is. Even when we don't have the faith, even when we don't believe like we should, he still steps in and frees us, heals us, favors us. What could you become if you didn't have that lingering disorder? That little voice that's convinced you that you're not talented enough, and you don't have what it takes, you've made too many mistakes. How far could you go if you didn't have that temper to hold you back, giving in the compromise, not being able to forgive? Or maybe it's things you were born into: lack, addictions, living with guilt, and shame? The good news is, God is not going to leave you with that lingering disorder. It's linger long enough. This is your year to be unquestionably free. Not better. "I'm making it okay. I don't have as many issues". No, get ready for total freedom. To rise, take up your bed, and walk.

See, Jesus could have said to the man, "I'm going to get you a better mat to lay on. I'm going to get you some more help, better friends, better transportation". But God's idea of freedom is to not make you more comfortable in dysfunction. It's to free you from the dysfunction. It's to set you on a whole new path, to where you look back and say, "That lingering disorder is no longer lingering, it's gone. I'm free, I'm healed, I'm confident. My marriage is healthy. My children are blessed. My career is flourishing. My mind is at peace. I'm full of joy, fulfilling my purpose".

Friends, life is too short to have things lingering that are holding you back. Sometimes, we don't realize how restricted we are, and how constrained we become. We've gotten so used to going to the pool, hanging out with other people that have lingering disorders. Misery loves company. Don't get comfortable in dysfunction, you have to stir yourself up. You have greatness in you. You are created to shine, to leave your mark, to take your family to a new level. Yes, I know there are seasons of struggling, enduring, being faithful, but that season is not supposed to last a lifetime. There's about to be a shift. Strongholds are being broken, negative mindsets are coming down, healing is on the way, promotion is coming. You're not going to go through another year being confined, restricted, limited. God is doing a new thing. You're about to rise, take up your bed, and walk.

Now, sometimes, these lingering disorders is just underlying pressure. Always thinking something is wrong, these worries. We don't realize how much of our joy and creativity that takes. When I first started ministering, it was difficult, but God gave me the grace and the church begin to grow, and our media outreaches increase, TV stations started putting us on all over the country. My books were taken off. We got the Compaq Center. It was more than I could ever imagine. But despite all the growth, and all the favor, deep down, there was this feeling that something could go wrong.

As we gain more influence, there was more opposition. People didn't like what we were doing, and practically every week, I'd hear, "So and so's talking about you, and this group, this minister". And I knew God was in control, I knew he was fighting our battles, but there was still this pressure, this uneasiness to where I would have to fight being worried and thinking, "What if it doesn't work out"? Or "What if I don't know what to speak on next week"? Or "What if the funds don't come in? What's going to happen"? 11 years went by like that, I just learned to deal with that pressure and not give in to those thoughts.

But one morning in 2010, I woke up and noticed distinctively that that pressure wasn't there. That sense of worry, that something could go wrong. I didn't feel it at all. It was like this weight was lifted off of me. I felt like God said, "Joel, what I have blessed, no person can curse. I have put you in this position and I'm going to keep you in this position". I didn't know how to get rid of that pressure, but the Most High God stepped in and said, "This lingering disorder is coming to an end". What I'm saying is: you're going to see some of these shifts. God's going to put an end to things that are draining your joy, stealing your creativity, keeping you from walking in the fullness of the blessing. Cuz it's one thing to be blessed, but then to have something where you can't really enjoy the blessing. There's family trouble, an addiction, a worried mindset, regrets from the past. It may be there now, but that's not how your story ends. God knows exactly what's hindering you. He's coming down to do something about it.

Deuteronomy chapter 15, there was a law that God gave Moses that said, "Every seventh year, any Hebrew slave had to be released". If you were a Hebrew, and you owed a person money that you couldn't pay, that person could take you as a slave and make you work until you paid them back. But every seventh year, if you were a part of God's chosen people, you had an advantage: you were released. No matter how much you owed, no matter how much in debt you were, in the seventh year, there was freedom. All this pain, suffering, heartache, in one day it was all gone. This shows us how God never intended for his people to be a permanent slave to anything. He had Moses write this law, so they wouldn't live with a lingering disorder, a slave to debt, a slave to addiction, a slave to worry.

You may be dealing with some negative things now, but I believe you're coming in to one of your seventh years. A year, where you're going to see God break limitations, free you from what's holding you back, lift the load of what's been burdening you down. In this seventh year, what you used to struggle with is not going to be a struggle anymore. Like God did for me, when I felt that weight suddenly lift off, God's about to lighten your load. You're going to see an anointing of ease, God breathing in your direction. And spirit worry, insecurity, can't sleep at night, things are about to shift, there's going to be a peace, a rest, a new sense of joy. From being stressed over those children, to enjoying your children. From worrying about that sickness to having great health. From struggling to get by, not having enough to abundance, to overflow, to where you can be a blessing to others.

2003, we signed a 60-year lease with the city of Houston for this facility, the former Compaq Center. We always to own the building, but the lease was the best way to acquire it at the time. But it always bothered me that in 60 years, the building would go back to the city. When I'm 120 years old, I don't want to have to go down and renegotiate. But in 2010, seven years later, the city was running low on tax revenue, and decided to sell off some of their properties. They asked if we wanted to purchase the building. I was so excited, but at the same time, kind of hesitant, because I didn't know what it would cost. A building like this to knew would be $500 million.

We told them we were interested, but we had to see if it weren't for us financially. They said they would do an appraisal and get back with us. They had to appraise the building based on the fact that we had the 60-year lease. We had already prepaid the lease. So, whoever bought it wouldn't get the building for 53 years and they wouldn't get any funds. The city came back and said, "We'll sell it to you not for $100 million, not 50 million, not $20 million. We'll sell it to you for $7 million". Today, we no longer lease the property, we own the property. But isn't it interesting: our seventh year for $7 million? Only God could orchestrate that.

Where you are may look permanent, but when you come into your seventh year, God's going to do things that bother your mind. From leasing to owning, from borrowing to lending, from sickness to health, from addiction to freedom, from opposition bigger and stronger to Red Sea's party, from lingering disorders, things that won't go away, to rising, taking up your bed, and walking. Get ready for a seventh year. Not partial freedom, little bit better, but unquestionably free. I believe and declare that you are stepping into a new season, that every limitation that's been holding you back is being broken right now. Things are shifting, strongholds are coming down, favor is being released. Lingering disorders are coming to an end. You're going to rise higher, accomplish dreams, and become all you were created to be, in Jesus name. If you receive it, can you say amen?
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