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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Designed To Withstand - (Stronger Than You Think)

Joel Osteen - Designed To Withstand - (Stronger Than You Think)

Joel Osteen - Designed To Withstand - (Stronger Than You Think)
TOPICS: Joel Osteen: You Are Stronger Than You Think, Strength, Encouragement

There are a lot of voices in life trying to define us, tell us who we are. Sometimes they're uplifting, like a parent telling us that we're talented. We can do great things. Other times they're negative. "You're not attractive. There's nothing special about you". Our own thoughts will try to label us. "You've made too many mistakes. You missed your chance". When you listen to all these voices, it's easy to think, "Who's telling the truth? Who am I? Am I talented, or am I ordinary? Am I strong and confident, or am I weak and insecure? Do I have a bright future, or have I blown it"?

Here's the key. The only voice that matters is your voice. Who do you say you are? What you choose is what you will become. Instead of letting people define you, instead of letting circumstances label you, you need to go back to what God says about you. God says you can do all things through Christ. You're equipped and empowered. Other voices will tell you the problem's too big. You don't have what it takes. Who do you say you are? God says you have seeds of greatness. You are destined to leave your mark. Other voices will tell you, "You're just ordinary. You'll never do anything significant". You have the final choice. Who do you say you are?

John chapter 1, the Jewish leaders sent men out to the desert to find out who this man John the Baptist was. They'd heard so much about him. He had a large following, so they asked John if he was the Christ. He told them no. They asked if he was Elijah. He told them no again. They said, "Then tell us who you are so we can give an answer to those that sent us. What do you say about yourself"? John could've answered many different ways. He could've told them about his family history, his education, his philosophy, but the Scripture says John replied in the words of Isaiah. "I am a voice shouting in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord.'"

John went back to what the Scripture said about him. He didn't say what he felt, where he came from, who his family was. He said what God said about him. Imagine someone asking you, "Tell us who you are so we can tell others". What kind of answer would you have? "This illness has me worried, my back's been hurting, business is slow, these kids are getting on my nerves". Zip that up. That's not who you are. Say what God says about you. "I am strong, anointed, talented, favored, healthy, blessed, forgiven, fearfully and wonderfully made". Remember the words of your Creator. God says he's restoring health to you. He says you'll run and not be weary. He says weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

What do you say about yourself? "I'm kind of sick. I'm depressed". Don't go through life wearing those negative labels. Instead say, "I'm healthy, I'm whole, I'm energetic, I'm free, I'm happy, I'm victorious". If you start saying what God says about you instead of what you feel, then you'll see things begin to turn around. There was something special about Moses when he was born. The Scripture says he was no ordinary child. As he grew up, he could sense his destiny was to deliver the Israelites out of slavery. He had good intentions, but he made a mistake, ended up having to flee to the desert. I could imagine voices telling him how he blew it, that he missed his chance. He could've worn the labels "failure," "washed up," "too late," but deep down, he could hear that still, small voice telling him, "You are no ordinary child. This is not how your story ends. There is greatness in you. What God started, he will finish".

After 40 years in the desert, God appeared to Moses and said, "Now is the time to fulfill your destiny". As you know, Moses went on to deliver the Israelites, part the Red Sea, and do great things. But imagine if Moses argued with God. "No, God, I've made too many mistakes". I don't believe any of the great miracles would have happened if Moses would have seen himself as a failure. What about you? When you were born, God did the same thing. This is no ordinary child. God put greatness in you. He's destined you to leave your mark. Sure, you may have made mistakes, you have obstacles, it's taken longer than you thought, but that doesn't change what's in you.

"Well, Joel, this sounds good, but I think you have the wrong person. There's nothing unusual about me. I'm not super-talented. I don't have a great personality. I don't come from an influential family". As long as you're discounting yourself, you're not gonna see your greatness. When God created you, he stepped back and said, "That was very good". God had created universes, flung stars into space, made spectacular sunrises, magnificent mountain ranges, but he never said they were very good. He only said that about you. Don't go around thinking that you're average, that you don't have much to offer. You are no ordinary child. You are a history maker. You are a world changer. You are destined to leave your mark. It doesn't matter how you were raised. It's not dependent on how much education you have or how many connections or what obstacles you're up against. When you believe what God says about you, doors will open that you never dreamed would open. God will take you further than you can imagine.

Gideon was hiding in the wine press for fear of the Midianites. That's when the angel appeared and told him that he was a mighty hero, that the Lord was with him. I can imagine Gideon looked around and thought, "Who's he talking about? I'm no mighty hero". Gideon had a list of excuses, but that didn't matter to God. Like with Gideon, God is calling you a mighty hero. Are you going to agree with him? Say, "Yes, I believe I'm a mighty hero. I'm equipped and empowered. I'm well able to fulfill my destiny"? Or are you gonna do like Gideon and start making excuses? "I wasn't raised in a good environment. I've had bad breaks. This company did me wrong. Nobody would help me with my dream".

I wonder what dreams you could accomplish, what obstacles you could overcome, what businesses you could build, what books you could write, what influence you could have if you only knew who you are. Gideon didn't feel like a mighty hero, but in the end, he rose up and believed what God said about him. He fulfilled his destiny. It didn't come from his influence, his wealth, nothing about his circumstances looked like what God said, but God calls you what you are before you become it, then it's up to you. If you believe it, get it down in your spirit. It'll become a reality. Who do you say you are? Instead of letting people define you, instead of letting your past label you, why don't you go back to what God says about you? He's the one who made you.

Like Gideon, you may not realize who you are. God sent an angel to remind him. Then he rose up and left his mark. An angel may not appear to you, but maybe God's using me to remind you who you are. You are a mighty hero. You are a masterpiece. You are strong, valuable, talented, confident, healthy, anointed, forgiven. You are no ordinary child. Put your shoulders back, hold your head up high, and step up to who you were created to be. If you do this, I believe and declare you're going to see God show out in your life. New doors are about to open, new opportunity. Giants are about to come down. You're about to see the healing, favor, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny in Jesus's name.

Joel Osteen: I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church, but every voice told me that I couldn't do it. "Joel, you're not a pastor. You haven't been trained. You haven't been to seminary. You're not dynamic like your father. You're more quiet and reserved," and all this happened in my mind, telling me what I was not, but yet down in my heart, something was telling me, "Joel, you can do this. You're called to do this". Even some people, they may have meant well, but even people that I knew, they didn't think I could do it. You know, then you get the critics and things like that. I think there's always this battle for our destiny. There are voices trying to push us down and tell us what we're not. We're not talented enough. We're not good looking enough. We're not tall enough. We're not all these different things, but you know, one thing I was good at is I tuned all that out, not that I was perfect, but I was good at tuning all that out, and all the negative chatter, and I thought, "God, I'm gonna take this step of faith," and I would do what you did, Mama. I would just put the Scriptures in my heart. "I am strong in the Lord. I can do all things through Christ. I've been raised up for such a time as this". I just kept that playing because I've learned you can talk yourself into your dreams, or you can talk yourself out of your dreams.

Lisa Osteen Comes: I remember, Joel, something you said that really helped me. It was a sermon, and I can't remember if it was a Scripture or what, but you said, "Who told you you couldn't do that? Who told you you can't obey God? Who told you you can't become an attorney or go to college"? And I'll never forget that because it made me really think, "Who is telling me? Listen to what's coming into my mind. Is it people? Is it Satan? It's certainly not God". And so, you've gotta ask yourself, "Who is telling me these things"? If it's the enemy, resist those thoughts. If it's people, you just have to ignore it like Jesus did and like you did, yes, and pray for it and believe what God says about you. I know that you have said, and you would tell us to say in church, "There's greatness inside of you," and I would just say it because you would tell us to, but you know, one day I believed it. One day, I believed it, and I thought, "You know what? There's more in me than I realize. I can write a book. I can do other things. I'm not gonna settle to just what I'm doing right now. There is greatness inside of me, and I think those are the things that we need to begin to say to ourselves. There's greatness in me because God lives inside of me, and I'm not going to believe all the lies that come to my mind or what people say about me. I'm gonna fulfill my destiny".

Joel Osteen: People don't determine your destiny, God does. You can't be against yourself and reach your destiny. I think so many times, that's our problem. We're not believing we are who God says we are. We're letting all these other things define us. So, when I got good at doing that, I began to realize God opens doors and he gives you more confidence. So, I just think it's so important, you know. I wouldn't be here today if I didn't tune all that out and get in agreement with God, get the right recording playing in my mind.

Victoria Osteen: I like when you said... you used to look in the mirror. I mean, because it's hard sometimes to look in the mirror and declare.

Joel Osteen: When I would do that Saturday night before service, and this was early on, you know, every thought would tell me, "You know what? You're gonna get up there and not know what to say. Nobody's gonna come back. People like your dad, they don't like you. You're not the same style," but I would look in the mirror and say, "You know what? Again, I'm strong in the Lord. I can do this". And even as we grew, you know, then as you get more influence, there's more critics coming out. More people are not for you.

Victoria Osteen: I like the way you talk about when people ask you about your critics, and that's always the number-one question, because we all have critics, especially in these days of social media, but how you said, "I don't give my energy to my critics". You had to come to that realization, that you're not gonna try to defend yourself or read what the critics said.

Joel Osteen: Yeah, it's really true, Victoria. Life is too short to dwell on people that don't like you, because you're never gonna change some of their minds, so I don't give it any energy. I don't give it 1% of 1% energy.

Victoria Osteen: You know, the Bible talks about how when Jesus was in the wilderness, the enemy came to him and started questioning his identity and questioning who he was, and Jesus always came back with his Father's Word, and I can say one thing that I really believe sustained you, Joel, was your prayer life and the way you would pray. I mean, you would go and pray so much. I would look around and I would think, "Where's Joel"? I realized he had secluded himself and prayed, and there's a funny story, real quick, that someone saw Joel praying. They went to his office, and they just told me this the other day. They said, "I went in to go to his office to give him something, and I saw him on his knees with his hands in the air," and they said, "I thought to myself here's someone who has everything, who seems like they're on top of the world, but yet they will kneel and give, you know, put their hands" and they said, "To that day, I said, 'I'm gonna begin to do that. I'm gonna begin to pray like that,'" and it's true. I saw it, I still see it, and it encourages and inspires me.

Lisa Osteen Comes: It encourages me too.

There are times in life when we feel overwhelmed. The pressure feels like it's too much. We go through a loss, dealing with a sickness, being treated unfairly, the stress, the demands. Sometimes it feels like we don't have what it takes to stand up under so much pressure. The apostle Paul said, "God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted with more than you can bear. But with the temptation, God will make a way of escape, so you can bear it". When an architect designs a building, like a big skyscraper, he doesn't just design what the outside is going to look like, the color, the style, the shape. That's important, but that will be of no use if he doesn't design the inner structure, how much weight each floor will carry, how much wind it will face, how much equipment will be on it. Then he'll know how big the steel beams need to be, how deep the foundation should go.

In California, where there could be earthquakes, you have to put special reinforcements into the framing, more than in Texas. In Florida, the glass has to be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. You see, the architect specifically designs each structure so it can withstand the pressure and the stress it will face. The good news is that's how God has designed you. Your architect is the Most High God. When he laid out the plan for your life, he calculated everything you would face. All the pressure, all the weight, all the winds, he took that into account, every hurt, every injustice, every loss, every mistake that you would make. He put in you the strength, the endurance, the fortitude, the tenacity so that no matter what comes against you, it will not be too much to bear. You were designed to endure until the dream comes to pass.

When something happens that we've never faced, a loss, a setback, a disappointment, it's tempting to think, "I can't handle this, it's overwhelming, it's going to sink me". The truth is you don't really know what's in you until you get some weight on you. You don't know what you can handle until the pressure comes. Remember, it's no surprise to your architect. He knew ahead of time. That's why he made the glass so strong. He took into account the winds you never knew you would encounter. Nothing you face can cause you to collapse. You were designed to withstand. And of course, we can choose to collapse. In our mind we can give up, think, "I'm overwhelmed; life's too much". Your structure is strong enough, but you have to get your mind strong enough.

Quit telling yourself, "It's too big. It's been this way too long. I can't take it anymore". You are well able. No weapon formed against you will prosper. That difficulty didn't come to stay; it came to pass. Be strong and of good courage. The Lord your God is with you. When I look back over my life and all the critical points when I should have been overwhelmed, when I should have gotten stuck, my mother diagnosed with cancer, the death of my father, the lawsuit with the Compaq Center, it's in these times I discovered that I'm designed to handle the pressure, but if you don't face the pressure, you'll never discover who you really are. The higher you go, the more pressure there will be. The good news is you have the beams to handle it. When the new comes, more pressure, more weight, more opposition, don't let it overwhelm you. Let it inspire you. That means God's about to add a new floor. He's about to take you higher. You're going to discover ability that you didn't know you had.

The apostle Paul had all kinds of unfair things happen to him. He was put in prison without a trial, shipwrecked, spent the night on the open sea, bitten by a poisonous snake, yet he's the one that said, "Thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph". Paul said we are hard pressed on every side, but we're not crushed. He was saying we've been designed for the difficulty. Our architect has taken into account all the weight, all the trouble, all the bad breaks, and he's given you the strength, the courage, the fortitude to withstand. "Well, Joel, I wasn't raised in a good childhood, didn't have anyone encouraging me". That wasn't fair, but you have the beams to withstand it. You have the infrastructure to rise above it. When the pressure comes, "Father, thank you that I'm strong in the Lord. Thank you that you're restoring health back into me. Thank you that you being for me is more than the world being against me".

As a young man, David was anointed to be the next kind of Israel. He didn't go straight to the palace. He went back to the shepherd's fields and took care of his father's sheep for years. I'm sure he wondered, "Will I ever be the king? Am I stuck out here? Did God forget about me"? But David kept doing the right thing. He defeated Goliath, went to the palace to serve the king. One day, even King Saul turned against him. While David was playing the harp, out of nowhere, King Saul threw a spear across the room, barely missing David. He had to take off, running for his life. David spent years in the desert, hiding in caves, living on the run with Saul constantly on his trail. David had done nothing wrong. He could have been overwhelmed, let the pressure break him, cause him to get off, cause him to give up, ride off into the sunset, but David's attitude was, "I've been designed to withstand this injustice. God wouldn't have allowed it if I wasn't designed to handle this pressure".

Maybe you're in a test now. You already have what you need. Take hold of his strength. Instead of thinking about how difficult this is, turn it around. "I can do all things through Christ. I've been armed with strength for this battle. I'm anointed for difficult times. I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but I know a secret. I'm not staying here. This valley's not my home. I'm coming out better, stronger, victorious, to new levels of my destiny".

Whatever you face, remind yourself that you can handle it, not because you're so great but because your architect, the Most High God, designed you with everything you need. Sure, you may not be able to see it all from the outside, but God has put incredible things inside you. You don't realize all that you're capable of. You have beams that allow you to go further than you are today, infrastructure to take you to higher levels. You may be at five stories. You're doing well. God's blessed you. What you can't see is you have a ten-story foundation. He's not only designed you to increase but to withstand the winds, to outlast the opposition, to overcome unfair situations.

When you're tempted to think "Life is overwhelming, this is too much, I can't handle it," if you could only see what God put in you: the courage, the strength, the determination, the fortitude, then you would realize you can handle it. You've been designed to withstand. I believe and declare strength is coming into you. Courage is rising up. God is breathing new life into your spirit. You will withstand every storm, outlast every attack, overcome every obstacle and become everything God's created you to be, in Jesus's name.

You may be facing big challenges, wondering if you have what it takes. Remember this, like Moses, you are no ordinary child. Like Gideon, you are more than a conqueror. Like David, no enemy is too great to defeat your destiny. What was meant for your harm, God is turning to your advantage. When this storm passes, I believe God, our great architect, will reveal to you the hidden strength that he's placed on the inside. With God on your side, you are stronger than you think.
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