Joel Osteen - Clear Vision
I want to talk to you today about Clear Vision. Many people are not reaching their potential not because they're not talented, not because they don't have favor, it's because their vision is limited. They don't see themselves accomplishing their dreams, being blessed and living healthy. But you will never rise any higher than the way you see yourself. Through your eyes of faith, you need to see yourself the way you want to be. You may be fighting an illness, but you need to see yourself healthy. You're struggling in your finances, you need to see yourself out of debt, with an abundance, being a blessing to others. If you're dealing with an addiction, don't let that negative image take root. Don't see yourself defeated, dysfunctional, can't break it. Get a new image. See yourself free. See yourself whole. See yourself as an overcomer.
Your inner vision is setting the limits for your life. The pictures you keep in front of you, in your imagination, that's what you're moving toward. Even subconsciously, just like a magnet, you're being pulled toward what you're seeing. You may struggle with low self-esteem, sometimes you feel inferior, like you don't measure up, you have to change that picture. Get in agreement with how God sees you. He said, "You are fearfully and wonderfully made". He calls you a masterpiece, one of a kind. Why don't you get your image in line with God's image? If you'll change your pictures, you'll change your life. If you'll have the right inner vision, see yourself strong, talented, favored, with a bright future, then you'll reach the fullness of your destiny.
How do you see yourselves? Lacking, negative, a victim? "I've been through so much. Life's not fair. I'm just struggling to make it". That's the wrong picture. God said he has beauty for those ashes. He said he'd pay you back double for the unfair things. Get rid of the image of a defeated you, a lonely you, a victim you. Start seeing yourself as restored you, a blessed you, a happy you, a coming-out-better you. You're moving toward the picture you have in your mind. Make sure that picture is something that you want.
Sometimes on my phone, I'll go through the pictures and start deleting. That one's blurry. That one's not framed right. That one has my brother Paul in it... That one I don't look good. Have you noticed, you can have a picture with six other people, but you zoom in to see how you look? If you don't look good, if it's not flattering, those other people can look fantastic. Delete. I don't want to see myself that way. How about having that same attitude when it comes to the pictures in your mind?
That image comes up of you inferior, unattractive, not talented: delete, "No room in my files. I see myself as valuable, a masterpiece, one of a kind". That image of you lonely, never meeting anyone, no companionship: delete, "That's not my future. I see myself happily married, having children, loving, laughing, dreaming". That picture comes up with you sick, weak, enduring - don't give it any room. Get a new image. See yourself healthy, strong, vibrant, accomplishing dreams. See a lot of people want a better life, but you can't give birth to what you haven't conceived. You have to conceive it on the inside, then God can bring it to pass on the outside.
When my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer she was very frail. Her skin was yellow, her voice was weak, there was nothing medically speaking that could be done. You can imagine the pictures that were trying to dominate her mind. She told how in the middle of the night, thought said, "You can be buried in that new pink dress you just bought". She had to fight those negative images. One thing she did is she put pictures of herself up all over the house from a time when she was healthy. She had a wedding pictures on the refrigerator, in the den, on her bathroom mirror, she had a picture of her riding a horse in Montana. She had a big smile, having so much fun.
I came home from college and thought, "What are all these pictures doing up"? Do you know what my mother was doing? She was creating a new image on the inside. When she looked in the mirror, she saw death staring back at her, defeat, sickness, I'll-never-get-well. But when she at those pictures, she saw herself the way she wanted to be: healthy, vibrant, enjoying her family. What you see? The image you're creating in your mind is what you're moving toward. My mother felt weak, but she saw herself strong. The diagnosis was a few weeks to live, but she saw herself healthy, living a long life. It didn't happen overnight, but she started moving toward that image she had in her mind. She got better and better. With no medical explanation, today, 42 years later, she's just like those pictures she saw: healthy, whole, and vibrant.
Pay attention to the images you're seeing. You can't see yourself sick and get well. You can't see yourself with lack and struggle, and have abundance. You need to see yourself blessed, the head and not the tail, lending and not borrowing. You can't see the dream being too big, giant, too strong, the addiction too great. You need to see yourself as well-able, as a giant killer, a history-maker, a barrier-breaker.
I was 18 years old, and I was driving down the freeway one morning coming to church. All of a sudden, there was this huge downpour. Didn't start off a little slow, sprinkle a little bit. It was like the heavens opened up. I reached over and turned my windshield wipers on, like I always did, but nothing happened. They didn't move. I looked out and couldn't see a thing. I jiggled the lever, pushed it, but still nothing. Here I'm going 60 miles an hour, and I have no idea where the road is. In a panic, I rolled down my window, looked outside the best I could, rain hitting me, and I slowly begin to pull over to the right. I was just driving blind, hoping that I wouldn't hit another car, there wouldn't be a ditch or something parked on the shoulder. By the grace of God, it was all clear. I parked there and waited for the rain to stop.
Here's my point, my engine was working fine, my tires were fine, my steering was fine, had plenty of gas. The only thing stopping me was my windshield wipers. I had all this ability to move forward: this vehicle, this horsepower, but my vision was blurry. I couldn't see. This seemingly small thing kept me from where I was going. The same way in life: you are full of potential, God has given you gifts and talents, he's lined up the good breaks, the right people, everything you need to fulfill your purpose. But sometimes, we're not seeing our greatness because our vision is limited. We've let how we were raised, what someone said, the bad break, the betrayal, cloud our future. The problem is not with who you are, you're a masterpiece. It's with what you can see. If you're going to reach your potential, you have to make sure your windshield wipers are working. You have to constantly be clearing out things that are hindering your vision.
Maybe you got off course, and you made some mistakes, and now guilt and shame will try to block your vision. "Man, you don't deserve to blessed. Look what you did. You're unworthy. Just accept where you are". No, get your windshield wipers working. You're forgiven. You're redeemed. God's mercy is bigger than your mistakes. He doesn't remember the negative things of your past. And you have to do your part: clear out the guilt, clear out the shame, start seeing yourself as worthy, as forgiven, as a child of the Most High. Or perhaps discouragement is clouding your future. You've been through disappoint, things didn't work out, people did you wrong. It's easy to let that hinder your vision, to where you're not believing for anything good, you're not expecting things to improve. No, get your windshield wipers working. You have not seen your best days. The enemy wouldn't be fighting you if he didn't know something awesome was in store. That's why he's trying to limit your vision, so you don't see the amazing future that's ahead. Do yourself a favor: wipe that away.
I love what Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18, "That the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened, so we could see the amazing future to which we've been called". He was praying in one sense that our windshield wipers would work, that our vision, that the eyes of our understanding would be clear. Your vision may have been clouded by what people have said, negative words, "You're too small, you're too old, not talented enough, you don't have what it takes".
A lady told how she went to a job interview, this position that she really wanted. She was qualified, she had the training. They came back and said, "I'm sorry. You just don't have the personality for this job. You're not outgoing enough". She let those words start to cloud her vision. Thinking, "I'm lacking. I'm at a deficit. I'm not up to par". I told her what I'm telling you, "Get your windshield wipers working. People don't determine your destiny. What they said doesn't stop God's plan. That door closed, because he has something better coming". Now, don't let the better get stopped because the negative report has blurred your vision.
Moses sent 12 men to spy out the Promised Land, and ten of them came back and said (numbers 13:32-33), "We can't go in. The people are big. We were in our own sights as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight". Notice the picture they had. The opposition, they are giants, they are powerful. They saw them as undefeatable, but as for us, we're grasshoppers. "Man, we're weak. We don't have the size, the talent, the experience. They'll crush us". When in fact, they were the ones that were powerful, they were the ones that had the favor of God. They were the ones that were destined to take the land. What was the problem? Their windshield was blurry. Their vision was distorted.
It's significant that they saw themselves of all things as grasshoppers. A grasshopper has wings, but it can't really fly. Can go a little way is big, it can't fly any distance. Notice how the enemy wants you to see yourself. You have wings, but you can't get off the ground. "Sure, you have potential, but you're just a grasshopper. You never do anything great. The opposition is too big, the sickness too strong, the dream, there's no way, look what you're up against". Well, that's the wrong image. You are not a grasshopper. The scripture says (Isaiah 40:31), "You will mount up with wings like an eagle". You are created to soar, to rise above what's trying to stop you, to overcome what's holding you back, to leave your family better than it was. But it's going to come down to this: do you see yourself as a grasshopper? Or do you see yourself as an eagle?
"Well, Joel, these people at work, they're not fair, they don't like me, I'll never get that promotion". No disrespect, but nice to meet you, Mr. Grasshopper. That's going to keep you on the ground. The Israelite wandered in the desert 40 years because they saw themselves the wrong way: limited, lacking, not enough. Don't let that grasshopper image keep you from soaring. You're an eagle. Get an agreement with God. "Yes, these people are doing me wrong, but God is my vindicator. I know God is fighting my battles". Listen, promotion doesn't come from people, it comes from the Lord. The scripture says, "Touch not my anointed". You're his anointed. God being for you is more than anything coming against you.
And yes, we all have opposition, things that are not fair, but you need to see yourself as an overcomer, as more than a conqueror, as the victor, and not the victim. "But I don't think I'll ever get ahead, man, with the pandemic, with inflation, how could I ever pay my house off"? What you really saying is, "I'm a grasshopper". The enemy would love for you to go through life thinking that you're limited, you're at a disadvantage, you can't fly, you'll never get married, you'll never accomplish that goal. But what if you discovered those wings on your side are not grasshopper wings, but they are eagle's wings? What if what's limiting you is not your circumstances? Not other people, not how you were raised, but how you see yourselves? What would happen if your windshield wiper started working, your vision cleared up, and you started seeing yourself for who you really are, a son, a daughter, of the Most High God?
You have greatness in you. You were created to reign in life, to be healthy, strong, valuable, accomplished dreams, overcome obstacles. I'm asking you to get rid of that grasshopper image, and see yourself the way God sees you. I know things try to cloud our vision: disappointments, mistakes we've made, bad breaks. Get your windshield wiper working. This is a new day. Clear out the doubt. Clear out what people upset. Clear out that bitterness, that mediocrity. Nothing that's happened to you has stopped God's purpose for your life. As your vision clears, you'll start moving in to the new levels of flavor, and blessings that belong to you.
This is what Jeremiah had to do in the scripture. God had a great plan for his life, called him to speak to nations, to impact the culture. But Jeremiah was a young man. He felt unqualified. He didn't come from an influential family. At first, like the Israelites, he started making excuses, saying, "God, I can't speak to nations. I'm too young. I wouldn't know what to say". God touched his lips and said, "Don't worry, I'm going to put my words in your mouth". God will never ask you to do something, and not give you the ability to do it. He wouldn't have told the Israelites to go into the Promised Land, if those giants were going to defeat them. The truth is: the giants didn't defeat them. Their grasshopper image defeated them.
This was about happen with Jeremiah. He saw himself as not able, limited, lacking. God said to him in Jeremiah 1:11, "Jeremiah, what do you see"? Here, God had just prophesied an amazing future, that Jeremiah would leave his mark, that he would impact nations, you would think that would be enough, God said it, he promised it, but it all came down to this question: what do you see, Jeremiah? Jeremiah got his windshield wipers working. He said, in effect, "Wait a minute, this doubt is clouding my future. This fear, this insecurity, it's distorting my vision". He answered back, something interesting. He said, "God, I see the branch of an almond tree starting to bud. It's coming out of late winter, blossoming into full bloom". He was saying, "I see growth. I see new opportunities. I see me stepping into new levels". Because his vision cleared, he went on to impact nations, to blossom, and bloom just like God said.
Like with Jeremiah, God has given us all these incredible promises. He said, "No weapon formed against you will prosper". He said, he will restore health and heal you of your wounds. He said, "Your children will be mighty in the land". He said, "You will lend and not borrow". That "Your latter days will be better than your former days". All these amazing promises, but that alone is not enough. God is asking you: what do you see? It's not just up to God. How you see yourself, your future, your children, that's what's going to determine what will happen. "Well, I don't know, Joel. My children are so off course. This medical report is not good. I can't start my own business. I don't have the connections". Do like he did. Get your windshield wipers working. Clear out all the excuses, the doubt, can't-do-it, too big, too late, not enough, and see yourself the way God sees you: you are well able. You are strong in the Lord. God is going before you. Goodness and mercy are following you. Favor is surrounding you. You can run through a troop, and leap over a wall. See yourself as victorious, as prosperous, as more than a conqueror.
When my father went to be with the Lord, I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church, but I didn't have the training, the experience. I like being behind the scenes, I'm more quiet, reserved. And my father tried to get me up many times to speak, but I didn't know this was in me. You have to be willing to accept the new things God is going to do. His dream for your life is much bigger than your own. Where God going to take you, the doors he's going to open, the people you're going to meet, it's going to be more than you've ever imagined.
Like Jeremiah, I thought, "I can't do that". I saw myself one way, at one level, but God had a whole new level. I had to quit seeing myself as limited, unqualified. Thoughts would tell me, "It's never going to work out". Trying to cloud my future. I had to keep my windshield wipers going. "I can do all things through Christ. I'm equipped, empowered, and anointed. Lord, I thank you that you've raised me up for such a time as this". Through my eyes faith, I saw myself excelling, I saw the church growing, I saw people be in health. I had to conceive this new image that God was planting in my heart.
One night, about three months after my father had passed, when I was doing my best to keep my courage up so I could keep going, I had a dream. Better description would be a nightmare. In this dream, the church was full, it was packed, but when I went up to speak, everyone got up and walked out of the building. Right on queue. Not saying a word, just filing out. I woke up in a cold sweat. The enemy will work overtime to try to get negative, defeating images on the inside. The scripture talks about casting down wrong imaginations. That means getting rid of the wrong pictures. Pay attention to what's draining your faith, causing you to shrink back, be insecure. Those are imaginations you need to delete. Don't let that picture distort your vision.
A few months before my father passed, Victoria had a friend that told her about a dream she had. In this dream, she saw me up speaking in front of this large stadium filled with people. Everyone was weeping, but she said, "Joel was up there comforting the people, leading them. Everyone was listening, so intently". Out of those two dreams, I chose to believe her dream. I let that picture take root. You get to choose which images are going to influence you. You can see yourself defeated, failing, not enough, or you can see yourself prospering, rising higher, accomplishing new goals, setting new standards.
There will be these times like with me where you have to enlarge your vision. God didn't create you to reach one level and get stuck. You're going to come to places where you may feel over your head, unqualified, that's a sign that God's about to take higher. Be open for greater things, to see yourself at new levels, going where you've never gone, doing what you've never dreamed. And sure doubt will come, "You can't do that. It's out of your league". People may tell you, "You can't accomplish that dream. No one in your family is that blessed, that's successful, that influential". Keep your windshield wipers going. Don't let that distort your vision. They can't see what you see. God didn't put the dream in them, he put the dream in you. Now do your part and conceive the increase, conceive the abundance, conceive the possibility.
Friend of mine was in Hawaii on vacation, and this guide was driving him and his wife around, showing them the different sites. They came to this one place, and the man pointed to the top of this hill. There was a beautiful house, overlooking the ocean: palm trees, green grass, big windows, just like a postcard, so magnificent. My friends said to the guide, just in passing, "I can't even imagine living in a house like that". He heard something on the inside, just an impression say, "Don't worry, you never will". He was kind of taken aback. He thought, "God, is that you"? He felt God say, "Yes, son, it's me. And as long as you can imagine it, as long as you can't see it, it's never going to happen".
I wonder, how many of us are missing the great things God has in store, because our vision is limited? "I can't imagine having a good year, Joel, in my business with inflation, the stock market down. Can't imagine my health improving after what the doctor said. Can't imagine this relationship working out. Can't imagine my children doing anything great". Instead of letting your imagination work against you, why don't you look out through your eyes of faith, and let it work for you? God created the universe, he spoke worlds into existence, he's not limited by what limits us. The right attitude is, "It may seem unlikely, but I can imagine me getting healthy. Like God did for Joel's mom, I can imagine me defying the odds, outrunning, playing, living a long life. I can imagine me paying my house off. I can imagine my business expanding. I can imagine living an inheritance to my children's children".
Maybe you're single. You'd like to get married. It's been a long time. The enemy would love to paint that picture of you lonely, discouraged, left out. No, delete that picture. Create a new age. "I can imagine me happily married. I can imagine someone awesome, tall, dark, handsome, godly, fun, friendly, rich. I can imagine..." I said, you're thinking it, but I said it, "I can imagine laughing, loving, a blessed marriage. I can imagine my children excelling. I can imagine them leaving their mark. Oh yes, I've had this addiction a long time, but you know what? I can imagine me breaking it this year. I can imagine me free, whole, and clean".
If watch all the news these days, and negative report, the economy, maybe a recession, that can cloud your vision. You have to look out through your eyes of faith, "I can imagine having a blessed year. A productive, bountiful, abundant, favor-filled year". Friends, God is going to take you further than you've ever dreamed, but it's going to start on the inside. Like with Jeremiah, he's asking you: what do you see? What image do you have of yourself, your family, your finances, your future? You're moving toward that picture you have in your mind. Maybe you're being limited because you're not seeing the right things, your vision has been clouded.
My encouragement is get those windshield wipers working. Clear out all the negative, limited, not enough, too big, never going to happen, and go back to what God says about you. You need to see yourself prosperous, blessed, healthy, in shape, achieving goals, building the kingdom, being a blessing. Not a grasshopper image, having wings but can't fly, but an eagle image, soaring, overcoming, accomplishing, a victor, and never a victim. If you will see it, I believe and declare: you will be it. God is about to step in, and do something unusual. New doors are about to open. Negative situations are turning around. Breakthroughs are coming, healing is coming, favor is coming, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today?