Joel Osteen - A Healthy Soul
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I want to talk to you today about A Healthy Soul. We spend a lot of time and energy taking care of our physical body, we try to eat right, exercise, get enough sleep. That's all important, we want to feel good, but we don't spend enough time taking care of our soul. We don't realize how much our emotions, our attitudes, our thoughts are affecting us physically. The scripture (3 John 1:2) says, "I wish above all things that you succeed and be in good health, even as your soul prospers". This links being healthy physically, having energy, vitality, to how healthy your soul is. If your soul is unhealthy, it's going to spill over to the physical. If you're living stressed, worried, bitter, guilty, angry, those negative emotions are not just affecting your relationships, your creativity, how productive you are, but they're weakening your immune system. Your cells not fighting off sickness like they should.
90% of all doctors visits to a primary care physician are stress related. You can't sleep at night, your food won't digest, you have ulcers. Much of that goes back to your soul not being healthy. You're worried night and day about that child, stressed over your finances, holding a grudge over that person that did you wrong. You don't realize, you're making yourself sick. All that negative energy is poisoning your soul. Because your soul is unhealthy, it starts to spill over to the physical.
You wake up in the morning, you wonder, "Why you're still tired? Why you don't have any energy"? It's because your mind worked all night. Your body laid there, but your mind wrestled, wondered, reasoned, "What if? How could i? What may happen"? You're trying to control things that you can't control, trying to fix people that you can't fix, worried about a problem that may not even happen. Or even bitter over something that took place 20 years ago. You can't take in all those toxins and not be poisoned. You can't let anger, unforgiveness, guilt, worry dominate your life. If you'll get your soul healthy, you'll get your energy back. If you'll quit letting the negative emotions rule, then many of these physical ailments will go, it's all interconnected.
In my late 20s I developed this redness between my eyes and all around the top of my face, and made my skin flake, and it's very itchy, it looked really bad. I tried creams, lotions, different face soaps, nothing improved. I went to a couple dermatologist, they gave me prescriptions that would help control it. That lessened it, but it never went away. A couple of years later I went to a different doctor, he said, "Joel, I know exactly what's causing it. It's stress. You're living to uptight, you have too much pressure. I can give you more medicine, but until you change, until you get more balance, it's not going to go away".
I was young, had all this energy, I thought, "I'm not under stress, I'm fine". Sometimes we can't see what's poisoning us. We have a blind spot. We can look in the mirror and see things, "I have this redness, I have this blemish". We can see the physical, but we can't see what's happening on the inside. You're inner life is more important than your outer life. What's going on in your emotions, how you feel about yourself, what you're allowing to play in your mind, that's affecting what's happening on the outside. I was treating the symptom, but not the cause. I thought, "Just fix the outside, just clear this redness up", but it kept coming back.
One day I got honest with myself. I looked at all that I was doing: I was married to Victoria, that was incredibly relaxing. I'm not even going to joke about that. We had a two-year-old son, another baby coming. We had moved out of our townhouse, we're remodeling this older home. I had traveled several weeks to India with my father, was working long hours at the church, trying to get the TV ministry going. I didn't realize it, but I was living under all this pressure, this stress. Much of it I was putting on myself. I like to go fast, work hard, accomplish goals. But here's the key: you are responsible for your own emotional wellbeing. It's not up to anyone else. Your spouse can't keep your soul well, your doctor, your friends, your parents, nobody has control over your soul except you. In one sense not even God. He's not going to make you forgive, make you not worry, force you to not live angry, offended, guilty. These are choices that we have to make.
My question today is: is your soul healthy? We can see your looks, your talent, your personality, but what's going on inside? Are you at peace? Are you turning things over to God? Do you know that you're valuable? Is your heart free from bitterness, offense? Or is there worry, guilt, insecurity, self pity? "Look what I've been through, Joel, I'm angry. Yes, I have this chip on my shoulder, because these people did me wrong". That's poisoning your soul. Like with me, you may not be able to see it. And sometimes we've gotten used to these negative emotions, we've adapted. We wonder: why we don't have energy? Why we can't sleep? Why we're not creative? You have to get honest with yourself, you have to look inside and ask, "Why am I so jealous? Why can't I celebrate my friend's success? Why am I so easily offended? Why do I argue so much"? Or "Why don't I feel good about myself"?
Lady told me how every time she and husband had the smallest disagreement, she would blow up, get loud and come unglued, and be this huge ordeal. The man couldn't understand why she was so on edge, and so easily angered. Over time it had become too much, their relationship was falling apart. As a teenager she had been in a relationship with a young man that really hurt her. He suddenly broke up, and said some things that were very derogatory. She felt rejected, like she wasn't good enough. And instead of letting it go, knowing that God is our vindicator, that what people say don't determine who we are, she held on to that offense. It was poisoning her spirit, making her insecure and easily offended.
When you don't let go of things, they never heal. Anytime her husband didn't agree with her, it was like touching a bruise, she would push back and lash out. One day she did what we all have to do: she got honest with herself. She looked side, saying, "Why am I like this? Why do I get upset so easily"? She realized it was from the pains of the past, from things that weren't fair that she hadn't dealt with. She made the decision to get the unforgiveness out, the bitterness, the resentment, the insecurity.
That was the turning point. As she got her soul healthy, her relationships became healthy. Today she and her husband are happy, and enjoying life. What am I saying? Pay attention to your inner life. It's easy to adapt to things that are poisoning us, and we don't realize it. We end up going through life just treating the symptoms. If we would get to the root cause, and get our soul healthy, then God said we will have good health and good success. Now question we need to ask ourselves is, "Am I making myself sick? Am I sabotaging my relationships? Am I limiting my potential, holding myself down because my soul is unhealthy"?
Hebrew 12:15 says, "Make sure that no root of bitterness springs forth and defiles you". It describes bitterness as a root. A root is underground, you can't see it. But if you let it grow, it's going to spring forth. A bitter root will produce bitter fruit. What's on the inside is going to show up on the outside. We try to fix the fruit, we deal with the symptom, but the fruit is not the real problem. We need to go to the source, and get rid of the root.
Proverb 4:23 says, "Guard your heart, for out of it for the issues of life". One of our main responsibilities is to keep the toxins out, keep those roots from springing up. Offenses are going to come, cranky co-workers will come, disappointments, hurts, jealousy, anger. You can't stop it from coming. The question is: are you going to let it take root, get down in your spirit, contaminate your joy, take your energy, open you up to sickness, trouble, defeat? No, keep your soul healthy. You have to be an active gardener. Pull up those roots, pull up that unforgiveness, pull up that insecurity, pull up that guilt and condemnation. Don't let your soul become poison. If your soul is bitter, your life will be bitter. If your emotional wellbeing is contaminated, it's going to affect your physical wellbeing.
Why are you letting that worry take root losing, sleep, living stressed out? You've seen God take care of you in the past, you've seen him make ways where you didn't see a way, you've seen him provide in a pandemic, give you peace in a storm, favor in the fire. He did it back then, he's going to do it again. He didn't bring you this far to leave you where you are. Or why are you holding on to that guilt, beating yourself up over past mistakes? God has forgiven you, why don't you forgive yourself? God doesn't remember it, why don't you quit remembering? God has moved on, why don't you move on?
Or why are you jealous over that coworker that got the promotion, that friend that you think is more talented, more beautiful, more successful, and now you're finding fault, critical, feeling bad about who you are? God blessing them doesn't mean he's not going to bless you. God didn't run out of favor. He didn't forget about you, he has things in your future better than you've imagine. But don't let that jealous root keep you poisoned. Pull it up. Keep your heart pure. Celebrate their success. When your soul is healthy, God can trust you with more.
Or why are you still upset over something that happened 20 years ago? Why are you still holding a grudge over who hurt you, who walked away, what you didn't get? That didn't stop God's plan. What they did is not going to keep you from your purpose. God knew it going to happen, and he already had a plan to bring you out better, to give you beauty for the ashes, joy for the mourning. Pull up that root of disappointment, resentment, self-pity, that's poisoning your future, that's limiting your potential, draining your energy, weakening your immune system.
Don't just deal with the symptom, get to the root. Learn to live from a place of faith, "God, I trust you. I know you're in control. You're fighting my battles. You've ordered my steps. You have a good plan for my life. Lord, I thank you that you're my provider, my protector, my waymaker, my deliverer, my vindicator. God, my life is in your hands". That's how you keep your soul healthy. On a regular basis you have to pull up the roots, get rid of the toxins, guard your heart.
There was this man that owned all these horses. And he was out riding one day, and this large tree branch had fallen across the trail. As his horse went to jump over it, it didn't quite clear, and the horse scraped its back leg very badly. Man took him the barn, cleaned up the wound, put some antiseptic on it, wrapped it up. Couple of weeks went by, and he noticed the horse was still bothered by it. He had the veterinarian come out, take a look at it. He put the horse on antibiotics. He begin to improve, but a few months later the infection came back, the horse could barely walk. They started another round of antibiotics, and like the first time, the leg got better, the wound begin to heal, but three months later the wound was reinfected. This happened again and again.
The owner decided to take the horse to the clinic, find out what was going on. They put the horse under anesthesia, opened up the wound. They found this huge piece of wood, about the size of a golf ball, buried way up in the horse's leg. Every time he went off the medicine, the infection would keep coming back. They were treating the symptoms, but until they went deeper, until they got to the root of the problem, it wasn't going to go away. We treat symptoms because we can see the symptoms, it's obvious. "Have red between my eyes, I need some medicine". We have to go deeper, we have to deal with the root. I can't get rid of this headache, because I'm so worried, I'm so stressed, I'm making myself sick. I can't get along in this relationship, because I'm insecure, I don't feel valuable. Or I'm not reaching my potential, because I'm mad at myself, I'm living in regrets, thinking about where I should be.
Get that infection out, as long as the root is there, the fruit is going to be bitter. The good is: you control what's in your soul. You can't control what happened to you, what someone did, but you can control how you respond, what you choose to dwell on. Is there some infection, some toxins that are keeping you from getting well? Some bitterness, worry, guilt, that's keeping you stuck where you can't flourish? Sometimes we can't get along in a relationship, because we have a root of pride. We think we're right all the time, we won't listen to others opinion, we never apologize, we're hard to get along with, contentious. That's one of those toxins that we can't always see. You have to look deeper, it's under the surface. When your soul is healthy, you're loving and kind, you see the best in others, you're the peacemaker, you let them be right.
David said in Psalm 119:29, "God keep me from lying to myself". That's one of the most powerful prayers we could ever pray. That takes as much faith as, "God, give me the Compaq Center". "God, help me to be honest with myself, help me to look in the mirror and see where my soul is not healthy, where I need to change, where I need to forgive, be more kind and understanding, where I need to quit letting people take my joy, where I need to get over what happened three years ago. Or where I need to quit beating myself up, to see myself as valuable, attractive, a masterpiece". My prayer is, "God, don't let us go through life lying to ourselves". It's one thing to be dishonest with others, that's certainly not good, but don't lie to yourself, don't sweep things under the rug, make excuses for why you're angry, bitter, jealous hard to get along with. There's no fault in being there, but there is a fault in staying there. It may be your explanation, but don't let it be your excuse.
"Well, Joel, I have this ongoing injury, because I scraped my leg". Get the wood out and move forward with your life. "Well, I'm bitter because my loved one died". Now, pull up that route, and go out, and do great things, make them proud by leaving your mark. "I'm stressed because of my finances, my children, there's pressure at work". You can't control all that. Don't let circumstances be an excuse to live worried, on edge, short with your children. Get back in balance. Get your soul healthy. If you look inside and deal with things that are stealing your peace, taking your joy, causing you to compromise, as your soul gets healthier, physical healing will come, your gifts will come out in greater ways, your relationships will be better, new doors will open. The scripture says, "You will have success and good health as your soul prospers". Notice there's a requirement. God says, "If you want success, good health, good relationships, abundance, then do your part and keep your soul healthy, your attitude, your thoughts, your emotional wellbeing".
It's interesting that David prayed that prayer about not lying to himself. Maybe it stemmed from the time he had an affair with Bathsheba. His men were out fighting a battle, he stayed back in the palace. One night he went on top of the roof to get some fresh air, and he saw this beautiful girl taking a bath. Instead of walking away, not going there, he went and got the binoculars. She was a married woman, but David sent for her, she ended up getting pregnant. David tried to cover it up. He had her husband come home from the battle, but he was so loyal, he wouldn't sleep with her while his colleagues were out fighting. David told the commanders to put him out on the front lines where he wouldn't be protected. He was killed in the battle. David took Bathsheba as his wife.
He thought everything was fine, he covered it up, no big deal. But the problem with burying negative toxins is they never stay buried. Those toxins will eventually come back up, and begin to poison your life. For the next year, while David was lying to himself, pretending that nothing was wrong, his health begin to deteriorate. He was sick, weakly. Here he had been strong his whole life, he was a warrior, but now his soul was unhealthy, the guilt, the shame, the compromise started to affect his physical body. He finally God honest with his self, he admitted this mistake. He said, "God, create in me a clean heart. God, forgive me of my wrongs". He was saying, "God, I'm not hiding anymore. I'm going to deal with these toxins that are poisoning our soul".
The beauty of our God is he's merciful, he'll forgive you. God restored David. He got his health back, his joy back, he went on to fulfill his purpose. But until you get honest with yourself, deal with what you know is holding you back, you're going to be limited. As your soul gets healthier, your body is going to get healthier. You're going to have more energy, more vitality. David is the one that wrote in Psalm 23:3, "He restores my soul". Your soul may feel broken today, wounded, hurt from mistakes you've made or from what someone else did. But your soul can be restored. When you get honest with yourself, you release what you need to release - guilt, worry, anger jealousy - then healing will come, joy will come, peace will come.
I believe even now God is restoring souls. Emotional healing is taking place, healing from the hurts, the pains of the past, what wasn't fair, the loss, the heartache. Healing from self-inflicted wounds, mistakes we've made, regrets we're living in. Healing from tormenting spirits, from mental illness, from anxiety, from depression. God is doing a new thing. Forces that have held you back are being broken off of your emotions, your attitudes, your thoughts. You are not going to live wounded, he's restoring your soul. Your latter days are going to be better than your former days. You're about to step into a new level of joy, peace, fulfillment, abundance, victory. Don't believe those lies that it's too late, you've made too many mistakes, you've been through too much. You know, the best part of your life is still in front of you.
We knew a man growing up that loved to play the piano. He was very talented, but he suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Over the years it kept getting worse and worse, and got to the point where his fingers were all bent over, like he was making a fist. He couldn't open them anymore. All of his joints were swollen, of course he couldn't play a piano. He was so discouraged. He used to play for hours, and now that dream was gone. He attended Lakewood, and one day he heard my father speaking about forgiveness, and how important it is that we don't hold on to these hurts, and how that can poison our life. This man felt convicted. He had held something against his parents for years. He felt like they had done him wrong. And instead of letting it go, and showing mercy, he let that bitterness take root. He wouldn't speak to them, shut them out of his life. He thought that was the best way to handle it. He didn't realize that was poisoning his soul.
When your soul is unhealthy it can affect you physically. That day he made a decision that he was going to forgive his parents, make things right. Went to their house, and his mother was weeping, his father hugged him so happy. It was an answer to their prayer. This man told how he felt this heaviness, this weight lift off of him. He'd gotten used to it, he forgot what it was like to be free, and not have that bitterness in the back of his mind, always poisoning his joy.
It was great that his parents wanted reconciliation, they were happy to have their son back, but there may be times where the people that did you wrong don't want to reconcile, they don't want to have you back in their life, that's okay. You're not forgiving for their sake, you're forgiving for your sake. Forgive so you can keep your own soul healthy. Let it go, so that negative root doesn't spring up and contaminate the rest of your life. They hurt you once, don't let them continue to hurt you by holding onto it. Let God be your vindicator. He sees what wasn't fair, he knows who did you wrong, and he knows how to make it up to you. He knows how to bring you out better than you were before.
Over the next few months, much to this man's surprise, his fingers little by little started opening up. The swelling started going down. He got better and better. A year later he could sit down and play the piano, like he'd never missed a beat. It's amazing what will happen when our soul gets healthy, when we get free from the bitterness, the guilt, the stress, the worry. That's when healing is released. That's when you'll see good success, the blessing of God in new ways. And I realize not all sickness is from a lack of emotional wellbeing, but anytime you face sickness you're going to have to be strong in your emotions, and what you allow to play in your mind.
When my mother was sick with cancer, she wrote letters to people that she thought she may have offended, asking them to forgive her. She was making sure that there were no toxins in her spirit, that nothing she was doing was poisoning her emotional wellbeing. She knew the emotional will affect the physical. She even watched cartoons, funny programs that would make her laugh. The scripture (Proverbs 17:22) says, "A merry heart like taking medicine, being joyful brings healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones". If you go around discouraged and defeated, "Man, this medical report is so bad, I don't think I'm ever going to get well", you're helping that sickness, you're giving it life. But when you're cheerful, when you know God's in control, when you're thanking him when you could be complaining, you're laughing when you could be crying, that's sending healing to your body. And I believe many of these diseases would go away: headaches, high blood pressure, digestive problems, if we'd start taking our medicine, laughing, being joyful, good nature.
We focus a lot on the outside, but today I'm asking you to look inside. Is your soul healthy? How are you spending the day: positive, hopeful, grateful? Or are you weighed down with stress, burdens, worry? How can you be creative, when you're using so much energy for the negative? How can you immune system work properly, when you have bitterness, anger, regrets? How can you be the mother, the father, the leader you're called to be, when you have these toxins poisoning your spirit? It's time to get honest with yourself. Don't go another year letting something you have control over hold you back. Get your soul healthy, pull up those bitter roots, start turning things over to God, release the worry, the hurt, what didn't work out. Keep your heart pure. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: because your soul is healthy, you're going to have good success, and good health. New doors are about to open. Opportunity is going to find you. Healing is coming, strength, energy, vitality, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today?