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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Let Go of Control

Joel Osteen - Let Go of Control

Joel Osteen - Let Go of Control
TOPICS: 15 Ways to Live Longer and Healthier, Trust

God puts promises and dreams in all of our hearts. We know we're going to get well, that our business is going to succeed, or that we'll meet the right person, but God doesn't tell us how or when it's going to happen. Too often, if it's not happening the way we thought or on our timetable, we get frustrated. God, when is this going to turn around? When is my health going to improve? Why isn't this situation at work getting better? If it's not working out the way we think, we can get discouraged, and sometimes we try to put God in a box, tell him how he should do it and when he should do it, but that never works. Once you pray, once you believe, you have to let go. Leave the how and when up to him. He's working, even when we can't see it.

If you knew everything was going to work out, it wouldn't take faith. If he told you three months from now, a big door is going to open, it may look as though you're going backward, but there's a shortcut that's going to put you ahead, you would relax and say, "Okay, it's all going to work out". Why don't you do that now? God has it all planned out. There are good breaks coming. The healing, the favor, the right people are already on their way. If you'll release control of what's troubling you, you can enjoy your life while you're waiting for things to change. The scripture says those who have believed enter into rest. When you're at rest, you're showing God that you trust him. Maybe you're believing for your health to improve, but the medical report is not getting better. You could be worried, complaining, but instead, you're thanking God. You're declaring his promises. You're being your best each day. When you're at rest, you're in faith. That's what allows God to work.

But if you're upset over what's not changing and worried about your finances, can't sleep because your child's off course, that's a sign that you've stopped believing. You can't trust God and be worried at the same time. There will always be situations we don't understand, problems that look too big, and obstacles that seem permanent. Those are tests. Will you go through life worried, wondering if it's going to work out, discouraged because it's taking so long, or will you enter into rest? Remember, nothing you go through is a surprise to God. He hasn't brought you this far to leave you. You can release the worry, release the frustration, release having to know all the details.

For many years, my sister Lisa and her husband Kevin tried to have a baby. Lisa took all the fertility treatments, had a couple of surgeries, but still couldn't conceive. Finally, the doctors told her that she wouldn't be able to have a baby. Lisa kept praying and believing year after year, knowing that God has the final say. But at one point, she realized she was consumed with having that baby. Sometimes we want something so badly, we can get out of balance. Anything you have to have in order to be happy, the enemy can use that against you. When you can say, "God, this is what I want, but if it doesn't work out my way, I'm still going to be happy. I'm still going to give you praise," that takes away the power from the enemy. Hold tightly to your dreams, but hold loosely to how God is going to do it.

A few months after Lisa released control, she received a phone call from a friend of ours in another state who has a home for teenage girls. One of the young ladies was about to give birth to twins. She asked Lisa and Kevin if they'd be interested in adopting them. They didn't have to think twice. They knew that was an answered prayer. Couple of months later, they were at the hospital when the babies were born. Today, they're beautiful young ladies in their 20s. God knows how to bring promises to pass, but you have to stay open to how it's going to happen. If you're set in having it one way, you can get frustrated. God does things out of the ordinary, in unusual ways. He may not bring your dream to pass in a traditional way. Seemed as though Lisa was falling behind, but with that one phone call, she had not one but two babies.

Are you upset about something that's actually the hand of God at work? Remember this, that delay, the disappointment, the setback, it's not working against you. It's working for you. You're not falling behind. The scripture talks about how there's a set time for God to favor you, a set time for God to heal you, a set time to turn that problem around. If there's a right time, that means there's a wrong time. Instead of fighting where you are, why don't you embrace where you are? God, I know you're ordering my steps. I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Lord, I thank you that my set times are coming.

I can promise you this, God is not going to be one second late. He's not going to accidentally miss your set time. He sees you. He has a plan for you, a good plan. It's good to be passionate about the dreams in our heart, but don't be so consumed by it that you're not going to be happy while you're waiting for God to bring it to pass. Trust in his perfect timing. This day is a gift. Enjoy your life while God is working. Enter into that rest. Instead of asking, "When is this going to change"? You have to pass the test of being happy where you are. You have to put your foot down and say, "I'm going to enjoy this day. The downturn, the challenges, the bad breaks are not going to stop me. God's on the throne. I trust his timing, I trust his ways, and in the meantime, I'm going to live my life happy and believe that it's on the way".

I found that I'm at my happiest and healthiest when I'm with people who inspire me to pursue God's best. My wife, Victoria, is an incredible voice of wisdom and encouragement in my life and the lives of so many others. I wanted to sit down with her and discuss some of these strategies that have helped our church, our family, and our relationships grow stronger and healthier over the years.

Joel Osteen: We're talking about letting go of control, and that's not always easy. I think many of us, myself included, want to control things. I used to pray a lot, "God, here's what I need, when I need it, here's who to use, here's how to do it". I've learned the longer I've lived, the more I've realized there are certain things that are our job, and there are certain things that are God's job. Our job is to pray, to believe, honor God, take steps of faith, but God's job is to work it out. God's job is in the timing and how he's going to do it. I believe a lot of the frustration that we have is because we're trying to control things that we can't control.

You can't make people do what's right, you can't make yourself get well, you can't make a situation work out, so I've learned now to pray this way, "God, here's what I want, this is what I'm believing for, but God, I trust your timing, I trust your ways". And here's another big one. "God, if it doesn't happen my way, I'm still going to be happy, I'm still going to serve you". I've learned to just release control, to say, "God, it's in your hands". I used to get upset because, oh, this door closed, and this didn't work out, and now I realize God closes doors. God allows betrayal sometimes. So, I've learned now to just trust, honor God, be my best, and trust him. He's ordering our steps. There's a lot better place to live from a place of peace, and faith, and trust, and not this worry and why hadn't this worked out yet, but it's about releasing control.

Victoria Osteen: Yeah, it is because I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and when you see someone else doing it, you can always see someone else. Sometimes you can't see yourself doing something like that, wanting your way or wanting it to go the way you want it to. But I was talking to a friend of mine, and they're all worried about a situation with their child. And really, there is nothing that they can do, but their child is an adult, grown, making some decisions, and it's like all you can really do is pray, love them, be their friend, but you can't make their decisions for them. And so, when I was talking to this person, they said, "You know, when I think about it, it just makes me sick to my stomach".

And I felt so bad for them because I thought, "Yeah, I mean, I can understand that, and it does". It literally can make you sick to your stomach, and I told them, I was like, "You cannot lose your health over this. You're going to have to learn another way to deal with it". And that's the key, is learning another way to deal with the situation, and I believe that's many times praying, getting a scripture. You know, you quote that scripture all the time as I trust God's ways and God's timing. And you know, when you know yourself, when you want to control something, you go back to that scripture because that scripture will bring peace to your mind. And so, I told them, I said, "You need to find a scripture, and every time you see that feeling, that nauseous, just gnarly feeling in your stomach, go back and say, 'you know, I'm trusting you, God'". Too often, we try to make it happen on our own. When it doesn't happen, then we go to God. And you know, if we'll just learn, go to God first. God, I'm feeling this way. You know, I'm going to take you at your word. And so, I hope my friend took my advice, but it's so easy to give it sometimes. It's not as easy to always apply it. And I think when we start to practice it, but...

Joel Osteen: I love that scripture, too, Victoria, it's in Psalms, I think 55. It says, "Cast your burdens on the Lord". And one translation says, "Release the weight of it, and he will sustain you". I think sometimes we're carrying the weight, and we're carrying the trouble, we're carrying all this concern for our child, and it's a valid concern, but you know, we're saying, "God, why don't you take this"? But really, it's not up to God to take it, it's up to us to release it. And you know, I know there are serious situations, and I'm not saying release the responsibility, but we're releasing the control, that you take to God. "You've got us in the palm of your hand, you're ordering our steps". And again, with the child, with your health, with relationship, many things, it's like, "God, this is what we want. God, you know how much this means to us, but God, we're going to trust you".

And again, you know, you can't make your child do what's right. You know, God can. God knows how to change people's minds and things, but I think the more we live from a place of peace is the more we're showing God that we trust him. I even think about too, Victoria, I write this in the book, but when we won the vote for the compact center, it was a year and a half battle, and we needed ten city council members. And it's a long story, but we got the final tenth council member the day before the main vote. And after a year and a half, we got the compact center. It was a city facility, and the city council members voted for us. The next morning, we woke up after this great victory, and my brother-in-law, Kevin, called me and he said, "The people that own all the property around the building, which is like, I don't know, six or eight high rises, they filed a federal lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in".

They said we violated the deed restrictions. So, you know, of course, I said, "What does that mean"? He said, "Well, the attorney says it means it could be tied up in the courts for 10 years". And I said, "10 years"? He said, "There's no guarantee with these things, Joel". And so, my thing was, "God, you just gave us a victory. And 24 hours later, what am I going to tell the church"? But there's nothing I can do about it. I can sit here in the hotel room, and sulk, and to God pray, and all this, but I'm going to say, "God, you've given us this victory, you've given us this building, and I believe you can give us this victory as well".

And even that part, it goes back to release and control because I had to pray. I said, "God, I know you've given us the building, we won the vote, but God, even if it somehow doesn't work out now, I'm still going to be happy, I'm still going to trust you, I'm still going to honor you and be my best". Now, a year and a half later, that lawsuit was settled, but I guess it goes back to just, you know, it's so easy. We all have situations in life just to worry, to be upset, and I think, you know what, when you can take your hands off and say, "God, I'm going to do what I can. I'm going to pray, I'm going to believe, I'm going to stand in faith, and God, I trust you". Because let me tell you. You know, when it's your time, God will open doors that no person can shut. God knows how to get you to where you're supposed to be.

In Genesis 37, God gave Joseph a dream as a teenager that he would be in leadership, that people would bow down before him, but it would be a lifetime of hardship, setbacks, betrayals, before he would see the fulfillment of this dream. What if Joseph would have had a preconceived idea of how it was all going to happen? What if he had thought, "Surely someone's going to come to my house and pick me out of a lineup with all my brothers and show me favor, anoint me king. Eventually, I'll step into leadership"? But God does things in unusual ways. He uses adversities, bad breaks, disappointments, to move us into our destiny. The trouble looks like a setback, but really, trouble can be transportation.

Like Joseph, God uses trouble to move you to where he wants you to be. He can use rejection, betrayals, and delays to position us for promotion. We can't see it at the time. It's uncomfortable, we don't like it, but it's the hand of God ordering our steps. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, sold into slavery in Egypt, falsely accused of a crime, and put in prison. I'm sure there were many lonely nights, times where he felt forgotten and abandoned. Deep down, he could hear that still small voice telling him, "I'm still in control. I have you in the palm of my hand. This is all a part of your destiny". Every day, he would have to release the worry, release the frustration. Thirteen years later, he became the prime minister of Egypt. He saw that dream come to pass.

Proverbs 20 says, since the Lord is directing our steps, why do we try to understand everything that happens along the way? Are you frustrated because you don't understand something that's happening to you, upset over a bad break, worried because of a delay? How do you know it's not the hand of God leading you to your destiny? How do you know that you're not a Joseph? God uses difficulties to position us for our destiny. This is your chance to say like Joseph, "God, I trust you even when I don't understand. Even when it's not fair, I'm going to keep being my best. When I could be complaining, I'm going to keep giving you praise. When I feel like I'm falling backwards, God, I'm going to keep taking steps forward". There will always be struggles, your faith, that you don't understand.

This is what faith is all about. When we face hardships, bad breaks, disappointments, it may seem like the enemy's in control. That's when we want to fight and resist. That's when we get upset and can't live worried, but God is saying, "Don't resist anymore. Don't fight it. Don't live bitter. Trust me, I'm in control. I'm directing your steps". And yes, we have to resist sickness, resist addictions, but you shouldn't fight everything that comes your way. You shouldn't live upset and let the enemy keep you awake at night. He doesn't have the upper hand. God is still on the throne. The betrayal was unfair. God didn't stop it because it's leading you to your destiny.

1959, my father was pastoring a successful church, he just built a new auditorium, he was on the state board for his denomination. Life was good. The future looked very bright. But my sister Lisa was born with something like cerebral palsy. My father went to a downtown hotel to be alone for a few days. He read the Bible as though it was the first time he ever read it. He saw how God is a healer, how he wants us to live a blessed, victorious life. He came back and started sharing this new message of faith with his congregation. Much to his surprise, some of the church members didn't like it, didn't fit into their tradition. Some of them said he needed to leave. He was very disappointed. He spent years pouring his life and soul into those people.

My father could have fought it, made a big deal, showed them he was right and they were wrong. Instead, he didn't resist. He recognized that closed door was the hand of God. He resigned from the church, left feeling rejected, betrayed. He and my mother went out and started Lakewood in an abandoned feed store with 90 people. Critics said it would never last, but 64 years later, we're still going strong. God knew my father couldn't reach his destiny staying in that limited environment. The people who were against him, they weren't bad people. They thought they were doing the right thing, but they became instruments in the hands of God to push my father into his highest potential.

What if my father would have been bitter and stubborn, not willing to move on? God, I know you want me to pastor here. He would have missed his destiny. Don't try to control how it's going to happen and resist. Release control and rest. Be open to what God is going to do. The scripture says what is meant for harm, God will turn to your advantage. Are you resting or are you resisting? Are you trying to control everything, trying to force it, living upset because it's not happening your way? You may not understand it now. May not make sense yet, but one day, you will see it was a necessary step to reach your destiny. Look like a setback, but really, it was a setup. The trouble is your transportation. Instead of asking why did this happen to me, remember like Joseph. Remember like my father. God knows what he's doing. He has you in the palm of his hand. He may not do it the way you had planned, but where he's taking you is better than you could ever imagine.

An abundant life starts on the inside and works its way out. You should be your biggest encourager because your happy, healthy life can't happen without you. Here are some words to live by. Every day, I choose joy. God has me in the palm of his hand. I never have to worry. As a child of God, I am unoffendable and quick to forgive. I forgive because I am forgiven. As the scripture says:

I am strong in the Lord and the power of his might.

in all circumstances, I will bless the Lord, for this is the day he has made.

God is on the throne. He is ordering my steps. He is providing for my every need.

I can surrender my worries, my burdens, and all my cares into his hands.

I look forward to tomorrow, but embrace the present.

I have grace for today, and God will give me grace for tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

I'll fight for those who cannot fight for themselves because my God fights for me.

my rest comes from God. He is the one who restores my soul.

I am who God says I am, and I will reach my full God-given potential no matter what comes my way. I have everything I need to live an abundant life.

Psalm 55 says, "Cast your burdens on the Lord, release the weight of them, and he will sustain you". How many weights are you carrying? Perhaps it's the weight of worry, the weight of what you don't understand, the weight of how you're going to make it through a difficult season. God is not going to take that burden away. There's something you have to do. You have to release the worry, release the frustration, release having to figure it all out. Come back to a place of peace. If you'll release control, I believe and declare, weights that have burdened you down are lifting off of you right now. God's about to shift the winds of that storm, and instead of blowing you backward, it's going to blow you forward. Promotion is coming, healing is coming, freedom is coming, the fullness of your destiny. I hope you'll join me next time as we explore more ways to live longer and healthier. My prayer is that these strategies will help you make a real change that lasts not just for a week or a month, but for the rest of your life.
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