Joel Osteen - Who's In Your Ear?
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I want to talk to you today about "Who's In Your Ear"? It's so important who we're taking advice from. We're listening to their counseling, following their suggestions, doing what they say. We all have people that are influencing us, people that are in our ear. The question is: are they the right people? You shouldn't take advice from everyone. You shouldn't be swayed by every opinion. You need to look at their track record: where are they in life? Have they made good decisions? Do they honor God? Do they have your best interests at heart? You have to be careful who's in your ear. If you have wrong voices, you're going to make wrong choices. If you hang around friends that compromise, and co-workers that gossip, and relatives that get you all stirred up, they're not moving you towards your destiny. Their example, their advice, how they're influencing you, those wrong voices are keeping you from your potential.
Pay attention to who you're taking advice from. Some people have an opinion about everything, they're quick to tell you how to run your life, they can't even run their own life. They're giving you relationship advice, but they've been through six breakups. They have all these suggestions on how to spend your money, "Buy this, invest here, here's a great deal", but they can't pay their own bills. Before you take that advice, you should consider the source. Do they have credibility? Do they have good character, integrity? Are they a person of excellence? Now, I'm not saying don't ever take advice, I'm saying: be selective, pay attention to who's in your ear, who you're giving credibility to.
You should weigh every suggestion, every piece of advice against what you feel in your spirit. God will not speak to other people about your life without speaking to you. You can hear from God. You don't have to run to that friend to try to get direction, run to this family member to see what you should do. That's all fine, but why don't you try running to God? The scripture says (James 1:5), "If anyone needs wisdom, let him ask of God, and he will freely give it". One verse says, "You will know the right decision every time". I found, the more you ask God, the less you have to depend on people. The problem is: people can miss it. Even friends that love you, family members that want you to succeed, sometimes they don't know the right thing. They'll give you advice that's not the best. But if you'll look inside, you'll feel that still small voice telling you what you need to do. Just an impression, and urging. Not in your head, but in your heart, giving you clear direction.
In the Old Testament God spoke to the people through the prophets. When they needed direction, a big army was coming against them, the king would say, "Go find the prophet. Go get Elijah. Go get Jeremiah. We need a word from the Lord. We need to know what to do". They were dependent on certain people, the ones God had chosen to speak to them. But when Jesus died, we came out from under the old covenant into a better covenant. In this new covenant we don't have to go to people to see what God says, the Holy Spirit lives on the inside of each one of us. He's called your counselor, your guide, your advisor. He'll give you advice. He'll help you make the right choices. It's not that God is not speaking to us, it's that we're so busy listening to others. You have to get rid of the wrong voices, then you'll hear the right voices.
And some people are alarmist. Everything is a major crisis. When they call, something is always wrong. "You got to go fix this, you got to go over here. I'm so upset, I can't believe this is happening". If you keep them in your ear, you're going to live riled up, stressed out, on the edge. Do yourself a favor, tune them out. Quit letting them control you. "What if they get upset, Joel"? They're already upset, let them be upset by themselves. You joining them doesn't do any good. Certain people like to get you stirred up. They live off the drama. You were content, enjoying the day, they come in the office, "You know this company, they don't treat you right, they promote everyone except you. Have you noticed a guy next to you? He's been here less time, but he makes way more, that's just not fair". Most of the time they don't know all the facts, they just want to get you riled up. If you let them in your ear, and start dwelling on it, thinking about all the negative, you'll end up sour, frustrated, slacking all. What's the problem? Wrong voices lead to wrong choices.
Be careful of people that try to stir you up. Should be a red flag when someone comes and starts pointing out all the things that are wrong, blowing things out of proportion, knocking your balls, telling you what's wrong with your spouse, "Wouldn't let my wife treat me that way. You know, she doesn't respect you. I'd put my foot down, tell her 'if this doesn't change they're going to be trouble'". Don't take that bait. That's good, wasn't it? Like an actor. Don't take that bait. They're so in discord, they're trying to poison your spirit. The scripture tells us to be peacemakers, not troublemakers. That's someone that wants to get your bent out of shape. They're quick to give you advice, they always have the answers. You have to consider the source. Do they have integrity? Are they a person of good character? How is their relationship with their spouse? "Oh, they're not married, they don't have a spouse. Or they've been married a few times". Why are you taking advice from someone that's not where you want to be, from someone that doesn't have high standards, from someone that's going against what God says? God will never contradict his word.
You need to weigh any advice: does this line up with the scripture? "God told me you to leave your husband and become my wife". God didn't tell you that, you're having too much pizza last night. "God told me you don't have to pay your taxes this year, just use that money to support my family". While they're enjoying your money, you'll be enjoying our prison ministry. Those are wrong voices. Those co-workers that sit around and gossip, friends that try to get you riled up, relatives it's so discord, why are you letting them in your ear? You have a destiny to fulfill.
Junior high, I was at one of my basketball games, sitting on the bench. I had played the first quarter, and I wasn't going back into the third quarter. And I was kind of bored, and thought "I need some entertainment". My friend was next to me, and I said, "Hey, man this rep is making really terrible calls, you need to let him know". He looked at me kind of strange, I said, "Yeah, let him know". The ref called a foul, my friend hollered out, "Come on, ref, that was terrible". I looked at him, laughed, "That was great man, but I don't think he heard you. You need to say it louder". Next time the ref blow the whistle, he screamed it out even louder, and all of us on the bench we were laughing, punching each other. And he started like all the attention. I said it again, "The ref still didn't hear you. Next time you need to stand up, really be forceful". Ref called a foul, he jumped up off the bench, he walked onto the court, threw both hands up and screamed, "Come on, ref". Everyone in the gym looked at him. Our coach looked over and said, "Son, what are you doing? Go to the locker room".
He walked by me, I kept my head down, thinking, "I didn't have anything to do with this". Two minutes later I was in the game playing, he was in the locker room in trouble. All because he let the wrong voices in his ear. Now, that one really didn't matter, but how about this: people may tell you, "You don't have to stay faithful in your relationship, they'll never know. You can cut corners at work, they're not going to find out. That person that did you wrong, you need to get even. Don't let them get away with it". If you take their advice, let them get you riled up, convince you to compromise, here's the key: they don't suffer the consequences, you do. It's no skin off their back, they're at home enjoying life. You have to deal with the pain, the heartache. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble if you'll learn to tune out the wrong voices.
Psalm 119:169 says, "Lord, give me a discerning mind". It's important to discern: is this a good voice? Is this a positive influence? Is there advice something I should take? There can be many different opinions, even things that on the surface seem right, looks like a good suggestion, but you need to ask God for discernment, because every good thing is not a God thing. Every piece of advice is not for you. And they can be good people, they have good intentions, but what they're telling you may not be God's plan for your life.
There have been several major opportunities that looked very great in the natural, people that I entrusted, encouraged me to move forward, but deep down I had an unrest, I couldn't get peace. Now, I'm all for getting good advice, and getting good counsel from others, but in the end it comes down to what do you feel in your spirit? What are you discerning? You can hear from God. He's not going to make the path so vague, and so confusing that you can't follow it. But if you're dependent on people, if you're letting them be your guide, what they say determine your decisions, there will be times that's not the best course. You may have to go against what certain people believe you should do, in order to follow what God wants you to do.
1 Kings chapter 12, king Solomon had passed, and his son Rehoboam was about to take the throne. And Solomon was incredibly successful, he had built this unmatched kingdom of wealth and influence, but now some of the people had become discontent. There were heavy taxes, and people were forced to work in labor camps. Now that Solomon was gone, the people wanted relief from these burdens. Verse 3 says, "The main leaders went to Rehoboam and said, 'your father was a hard task master. Lighten these heavy loads off of us and we will be your loyal citizens. We'll continue to support you". They weren't asking to not work, to not pay any taxes, but simply that it wouldn't be so much. They had good attitudes. They could have rebelled, and started sowing strife, division. But they took the high road, and went straight to Rehoboam with their concerns. Rehoboam said, "Give me three days to think about it".
He went to the older men who had counseled his father and asked for their advice. They said, "Rehoboam, if you'll be willing to serve the people and show them that you care by making these adjustments, then you'll have a strong kingdom, they'll always support you". Well, Rehoboam didn't like that advice, so he went to his young friends, the people he'd grown up with, and asked them how he should respond. They said, "You should tell those complainers that my little finger is thicker than your father's waist. And if you think he was hard on you, just wait to see what I'm going to be like". These young men knew this is what Rehoboam wanted to hear. They fed his ego, made him feel powerful, more in charge. But you need people that will tell you not just what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. You shouldn't surround yourself with 'yes' people, people that always agree, people that are afraid to hurt your feelings, they can't tell you the truth, you may not listen to them anymore.
It's interesting that Rehoboam went to the older men for advice, he then went to the younger men for advice, he wanted to make the right decision. The mistake he made is he never went to God. He was only relying on people. What would have happened if he had looked up and said, "God, give me wisdom. God, give me discernment. I have two different opinions, I don't know which way to go". He would have made the right choice. Instead he went back and told the people what the young men said. Verse 13 says, "He spoke harshly to the people, rejecting the advice of his older counselors". When the Israelites heard this, they revolted, they said, "Fine, build your own kingdom, but we're not going to support you, we're not going to pay taxes, we're not going to work for you".
Rehoboam sent an official that was in charge of his labor force to restore order. The people stoned him to death. Rehoboam had to flee to Jerusalem for safety. Verse 28 says, "On the advice of his counselors, those same young men, Rehoboam made two gold calves for the people to worship. He said, 'these are the Gods that brought you out of Egypt'". Here he's the son of Solomon, the wisest men that ever lived, a man that honored God, now his son is making idols and oppressing the people, saying these gold calves were their Savior. How could this happen? Wrong voices lead to wrong choices. He surrounded himself with people that didn't honor God, with people that compromised, they told him what he wanted to hear. He let the wrong people get in his ear.
When we heard that the Compaq Center was coming available, I knew that we needed the best legal team that we could possibly find. And there was this one attorney that was very well known, and very influential. And he had worked with the city on several different projects, you know, for years. And I thought, "If we could get him on our team, that would put us way down the road". He agreed to meet with us. I shared with him the vision, how it was going to impact people around the world, and how excited we were. He said he would represent us, but he was so negative. He went on for 30 minutes telling us all the reasons we weren't going to get it, how the city wasn't going to let a church have it, and all these hurdles we had to overcome. By the time he was finished, I was depressed. We walked out of there, I told our team "He is not for us". Doesn't matter how powerful, how influential, we cannot win with his attitude.
If you allow the negative voices to continue, "You can't do this, it's too big. You'll never get well", those wrong voices will keep you from your destiny. There are dream stealers, people that will tell you all the reasons it's not going to happen, but there are also dream releasers, people that will fuel your faith, people that will tell, "You you are well able. You have what it takes. The favor of God is on your life". Who's in your ear? Dream Steelers or dream releasers? Tune out all the negative, naysayers, never-going-to-work-out. Get around people that speak faith, speak abundance, speak victory. People that ignite your dreams, that lift you, encourage you and build you up.
David understood this principle. He was careful about who he let in his ear. His own father didn't really believe in him. When Samuel came to choose the next king of Israel, David was left out in the shepherds fields. His father thought he was too small, too young, not talented enough. I'm sure David felt the sting of rejection. He could have let what his father thought of him cause him to be insecure, intimidated. His brothers made fun of him, tried to make him feel small, like he wasn't up to par. When David told king Saul that he wanted to fight Goliath, Saul said, "David, you're just a boy. Don't be ridiculous". If David would have listened to those voices, we wouldn't be talking about him. Be careful who you let in your ear. The enemy would love to use people to discourage you, talk out of your dreams, and convince you to live intimidated, thinking that you're not up to par, the giant's too big. You wouldn't be facing it if you weren't already equipped. God won't allow a giant that you can't defeat. If that obstacle was too big, God wouldn't have put you there. Tune out those negative voices, tune in what God says аbout: you you're a giant killer, a history maker, a barrier breaker.
Years later, David and his men had been protecting the property of a man named nAbel. They were camped in that area, and even though they didn't know nAbel, since they were there, they made sure no one bothered him or his animals. During shearing season, David sent some of his men to ask nAbel for some food and water. Since they had been good to him, he thought Shirley naval would be happy to help him. But nAbel was rude and stubborn. His name means fool, and he lived up to it. He insulted David's men, and told them to get off his property, that he didn't owe them anything. When David heard this he was furious. He told his men to get ready. They headed out to nAbel's house, they were going to wipe out him and all of his family. But when nAbel's wife, a woman named Abigail, heard what he had done, she had her staff load up horses with breads, cakes, grains, all kinds of supplies. She met David along the road. She bowed down before him and said, "David, please forgive my husband, he's a fool. Don't let this innocent bloodshed be a blemish on your record". She was saying, "David, you're about to make a decision that's going to affect your destiny".
David said in verse 32, "Surely the Lord God of Israel has sent you to me today. Thank God for your good sense. You have kept me from taking vengeance into my own hands". One reason David was an incredible leader is he knew what voices to listen to. He didn't let his father's negative voice in his ear, his brothers or king Saul's. He could have blown Abigail off, thought "I don't know you, lady. You're not going to tell me what to do". But David had a spirit of discernment. Something inside said, "Listen to her. She's right". God will always have the right voices, voices that will keep you from making a mistake, voices to warn you, voices to encourage you, voices to push you into your destiny. But we have to do like David, and be discerning: is this a voice I should be listening to? Is this voice telling me to compromise, to get revenge, to gossip, to slack all? Or is it a voice that's keeping me from a wrong choice, a voice is calling me up higher, a voice telling me what I can become? The enemy knows, if he can get in your ear, if he can deceive you into listening to wrong voices, then he can keep you from your destiny.
This goes way back to the Garden of Eden. You remember when Satan came to Eve, said, "Why don't you eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"? Eve said, "We can't eat that fruit, God said we would die if we did". Satan said in effect, "Are you kidding? Do you really believe you'll die? Of course not. God knows you'll become just like him, that's why he doesn't want you to eat of it". Instead of recognizing the wrong voice, not giving it the time of day, she started thinking about it more and more, she finally reached up and ate the fruit. The enemy has no new tricks. He's going to bring voices that try to stop your purpose. Sometimes it's an outside voice, other times it's an inner voice. "You can't forgive them, look what they did to you. It's okay to compromise a little, it's not going to hurt. I know God said he'd restore your health, but you're never going to get well, look at the medical report". If you're not disciplined to tune out the wrong voices, then like Eve, you'll start making wrong choices.
Who are you listening to? What God says about you: that your latter days will be better than your former days, that your children are mighty in the land, that what you touch will prosper and succeed? Or what the enemy is whispering: "Is never going to get better. Nothing good is in store. It's too late, you've made too many mistakes". Pay attention to what you're giving your attention to, who you're allowing to influence you. When those thoughts come telling you what you can't do, doubt, insecurity, lack, not enough - consider the source. Where are they coming from? That's the enemy. He's been lying since the Garden of Eden. Don't let him in your ear. Don't let him convince you to believe things that contradict what God says.
1 Kings chapter 13, God sent a prophet to speak to Jeroboam about his future. At first he wouldn't listen, he didn't like what he was saying. Jeroboan pointed at the prophet, and told his men to arrest him, but when he did his arm became paralyzed, he couldn't move. He asked the prophet to pray for him, God gave him another chance, restored his arm back to normal. He invited this prophet to come to the palace, and have dinner with him, but the prophet said in verse 9, "The Lord has commanded me to not eat any food or drink any water while I'm here". He wouldn't do it. He was obedient to what God said. He didn't let the king talk him out of it.
But as he was leaving, another man came up to him and asked him to come to his house for dinner as well. The prophet said it again, "No, I can't come. God told me to not eat anything here". The man said in verse 18, "No, you don't understand. I'm a prophet too. And an angel gave me this message from the Lord to bring you home with me and give you food to eat and water to drink". Sounded good, God spoke to him, gave him permission. But it goes on to say, "The man was lying". The prophet thought, "Well, if God told you I can do it, then of course I'll come". He swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. He went and had dinner. On his way home he was eaten by a lion.
Don't let people talk you out of what God told you. If God wants you to do something different, he'll tell you. You don't have to rely on someone else to hear from God. Everyone is not who they say they are. This is where discernment comes in. The scripture talks about testing the spirit: what is their track record? Do they have any fruit? Are there other people that can vouch for them? Don't get caught up in their charisma, how articulate they are, they look so impressive. You have to go beyond face value. Listen to what you're feeling on the inside. The Holy Spirit will warn you. They may look the par, sound a par, but you feel this uneasiness, this unrest, something said it's not right. Don't ignore it. That's the spirit of discernment helping you to know things that you can't see. You can't see motives, you can't see intentions, but because of the integrity of your heart, God will keep you from making a mistake.
My question today: who's in your ear? Who are you taking advice from? Are they moving you forward, helping you to grow, step into your purpose? Or they cause you to compromise, live upset, make poor choices? Those are the wrong voices. Learn to tune them out. You don't have time to waste being distracted, deceived, manipulated. If you'll get rid of the wrong voices, the right voices will show up. Every morning we should do like that Psalmist, "Lord, give me a discerning mind. Help me to see beyond the surface, to make decisions that honor you". If you'll be selective about who's in your ear, I believe and declare: you're going to have wisdom to make the right decisions. Like Abigail, the right voices will find you. Like David, people that are not for you, are not going to stop your purpose. You will rise higher, accomplish dreams, and become all you were created to be, in Jesus name. If you receive it, can you say amen? Amen.