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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Feed Your Faith

Joel Osteen - Feed Your Faith

Joel Osteen - Feed Your Faith
TOPICS: Spiritual Growth, Faith, Choices

I want to talk to you today аbout: Feed Your Faith. You get to choose what grows in your life. What you're feeding is getting stronger. If you're feeding doubt, thinking about what you can't do, and how the obstacles are too big, and how you're at a disadvantage, because you're feeding it, that doubt is getting bigger, just like you're giving it vitamins, nutrients, helping it to grow. If you're feeding fear, "What if I get laid off? What if I come down with that illness", or "I'm afraid for my children", that fear is growing, you're helping it to become a reality. Sometimes we're feeding insecurity, "I'm not attractive, I don't have a good personality, I'm not that talented". We wonder why we don't have much confidence, why we don't feel valuable? It's because we're feeding the wrong things.

You've heard the saying, "You are what you eat". It's the same thing in your mind: if you feed fear, you're going to live fearful. If you feed discouragement, "Nothing good's in my future. I have so many problems", you're going to live discouraged. If you feed the past, "Look what I've been through, they hurt me, I wasn't raised right", if you keep dwelling on what didn't work out, the mistakes you've made, even though God has beauty for the ashes, even though there are great things in your future, because you're feeding the past, you won't see it. You live bitter, in regrets, with no passion. Pay attention to what you're feeding. We all have doubt, fear, insecurity, guilt, but we also have faith, hope, confidence, value, victory. Don't feed things you don't want to grow. You have to starve your doubts, and feed your faith. Starve the discouragement and feed your hope. Starve the inferiority and feed your confidence. You'll be amazed at what happens if you'll quit giving life to the negative, and start feeding the positive.

The scripture says, "The enemy goes around as a roaring lion". He has this loud roar, these threats, trying to intimidate, bring fear and cause us to shrink back, live doubting, insecure and unworthy. But if you take a lion, a big, strong, healthy animal, has these incredible muscles, can run fast, chase down its prey, jump and attack, has this powerful roar, this growl that strikes fear, it's called the king of the jungle, he rules wherever he goes. But if you were to quit feeding that lion, you didn't give him any food for a week, his growl is not going to be near what it was. In two weeks he's not going to have the strength, the energy to attack like he used to. In a month he's going to be so weak, so famished, he can't get up off the ground. We couldn't defeat a lion one on one when he's healthy. He's way too big, and strong, and powerful, but if you quit feeding him, it's a different story. He loses all of his power, his strength, his control.

In the same way fear, worry, doubt can seem too powerful. We can't defeat it, it's like it has the upper hand, but if you'll quit feeding it, if you'll quit dwelling on it, quit giving it attention, quit letting it play in your mind, little by little it'll get weaker and weaker. You'll get to the point where it can't control you. Every time doubt comes saying, "Nothing good is in your future, this sickness is going to be the end. Your child is never going to get back on course", that's the roaring lion, trying to deceive, manipulate and limit. Now, you get to make the choice, "Am I going to feed this lion"? When you dwell on it, it's like you giving him food, making the doubt stronger, the fear, the discouragement. Do yourself a favor: start starving those things. They lose all their power when you quit feeding them. Instead of feeding your fears, take that same energy and feed your hope, feed your faith, feed confidence, feed courage, feed value.

I get up every morning and say, "Father, thank you that this is going to be a great day. Thank you that your favor surrounds me like a shield. Thank you that I'm anointed, equipped and empowered. That you've armed me with strength for every battle. Lord, thank you that my children are mighty in the land, that they will fulfill their purposes. Thank you, Lord, that our latter days will be better than our former days, that the best is still yet to come". That's not just being positive, that's feeding my faith, that's feeding my hope. What you're feeding is growing. I found that fear can't stay where faith lives, doubt can't stay where hope lives, defeat can't stay where victory lives.

You hear about all these different kinds of diets a no-carb diet: you can't eat any carbohydrates. People that struggle with diabetes, a no-sugar diet: there's a known red-meat diet, a gluten-free diet. I have a friend that eats no white flour and no dairy. We went to lunch the other day, and I ordered a hamburger and French fries, and he ordered a piece of tree bark. He can't eat anything. I felt bad about eating my food, but he's so disciplined about it. I'm not a nutritionist, I'm not a doctor, but I'm putting you on a very strict diet: no more worry, no more doubt, no more insecurity, offense, bitterness, self-pity, shame, regret. You're new diet is restricted to faith food: feed your faith, feed your hope, feed peace, feed joy, feed positive expectations, feed the promises God put in your heart, feed the dreams he's placed in your spirit. You're going to become what you're feeding: positive, hopeful, confident, secure, valuable. Or negative, worried, doubtful, afraid, inferior.

I can be around a person 20 minutes, and tell what they've been feeding. About what they're saying, their attitude, how they respond to pressure, how they handle adversity. "Joel, just my luck, seems like trouble follows me around. I always have these disappointments", they're feeding discouragement. Another person, same circumstances, "I know what was meant for harm God's turning to my advantage. I'm going to come out better than I was before", they're feeding faith. "I never get any good breaks, people at work don't appreciate me, I'm always overlooked". Another person, same situation, "Something good is going to happen to me. Blessings are chasing me down. The favor of God is on my life".

"Well, I'll always be lonely. I don't think I'll ever meet anyone and fall in love. This is just my lot in life", they're feeding doubt. They are what they eat. They think single, they think lonely, they think unattractive, and they become that. Another person, same circumstance, "The right person is headed my way. A divine connection, somebody better than I've imagined". They're feeding faith, they become attractive, they become favored, they draw in the goodness of God. Or how about, "This problem will never change. This sickness, this trouble at work, this wayward child, I'm always going to have to deal with it", they're feeding the negative. They become more discouraged. Another person, "This trouble didn't come to stay, it came to pass. I know it's only temporary, a breakthrough is coming. Things are about to shift in my favor", they're feeding hope, feeding expectancy. That's what causes God to go to work.

Years ago there was a man that did work at the other church, some maintenance and landscaping, some repairs. And I was in the television department back then, and I would see him from time to time during the week. And he was very friendly, but he was so negative. Every time we would talk he would tell me how tough life was, how he was having problems at home, a leak in the roof, child causing him trouble. He didn't know how he's going to be able to pay his bills. He would constantly use the phrase, "It's so hard", a dozen times in a short conversation. And I'm not saying that there weren't difficulties, but he was making it so much worse feeding the wrong things. There was faith in him, there was hope, there was victory, but it never got fed. He starved his faith, and fed his fears. He starved his hope, and fed his doubt.

In his early 50s he was diagnosed with a terminal disease, and he lived a couple more years and then he passed. A very sad, discouraging life. I thought about how all those years he had told me how hard life was, how it was such a struggle, there was so much disappointment. You become what you eat. If you're always feeding doubt, discouragement, "I'm afraid I'm going to get sick. This problem's never going to change", you are drawing in all the defeat, the struggle, the heartache. You need to get back on your diet. Quit eating junk food, and start eating faith food. When doubt comes saying, "You'll always struggle. You'll always have difficulties paying your bill, no funds for your dreams, never get out of debt", just say, "No, thanks, you're not on my diet. I only eat faith food. Father, thank you that you're supplying all of my needs. You said I would lend and not borrow, that my cup would run over. That I live under the open windows of heaven. Blessings that I cannot contain". That's feeding your faith, not your doubts. That's what allows God to go to work.

When fear comes, trying to get you to worry, "What about your children, are they safe in school? What about the crime, there's so much violence, what are you going to do"? Don't feed that fear, it's not on your diet. Switch over into faith, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not fear. No weapon formed against me will prosper. A thousand may fall at my side, 10,000 at my right hand, but it will not come near me". You keep doing that, and fear is getting weaker and weaker, and your faith is getting stronger and stronger. You're becoming what you eat, you'll have a peace and a trust, knowing that God has you in the palm of his hand.

Or when thoughts whisper, "You're not that valuable. You're not attractive. Look at how beautiful your cousin is. Look at how talented that coworker is, what happened to you"? Just say, "No, thanks, that's not on my eating plan. I have a very strict diet. I don't feed insecurity, I don't feed inferiority, I don't feed shame and guilt, not up to par. I feed confidence, I feed value. Father, you said I am fearfully and wonderfully made, you call me a masterpiece, one of a kind. You've crowned me with favor. You put royal blood flowing through my veins. I know I'm not ordinary, I'm a child of the Most High God". You go around thinking like that, and insecurity cannot stay. You'll have a boldness, a confidence to put your shoulders back, to hold your head up high, knowing that you're a son, a daughter of Almighty God.

In the scripture, a young man named Gideon was hiding in a wine press, afraid of the Midianites. Every time the people of Israel would grow crops or have any kind of flocks and herds, the Midianites would come and raid the city, and take whatever they wanted. They were much bigger and more powerful than the Israelites. Well, Gideon was threshing wheat in this cave so he wouldn't be seen. An angel appeared and said (judges 6:12,14), "Mighty hero, the Lord is with you. You are to deliver the Israelites from this enemy". He said to the angel, "How can I deliver the people, I come from the poorest family, and I'm the least one in my father's house". You can tell what Gideon's been feeding insecurity, doubt, fear, "I'm not talented enough. I come from the wrong family. We're at a disadvantage".

God knew, if Gideon was going to fulfill his purpose, he had to get him to change his diet. That's why the angel showed up and said, "Mighty hero". He could have just said, "Hey, Gideon, God wants you to go do something", just called him by his name. But when he said, "Mighty hero", something came alive in Gideon, a spark of faith. He thought, "Doesn't he know I'm poor? That I come from the weakest family, that I'm not leadership material, why is he calling me a hero, as if am I missing something"? He was intrigued, "Maybe he knows something about me that I don't know"? After he told the angel these excuses of why he couldn't do it, and how his family wasn't qualified, and he wasn't influential enough. God could have said, "Fine, Gideon, I'll go find someone else. Someone more confident, more talented, more courageous". No, God said to him, "Gideon, you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man".

Gideon was at this critical point, "Am I going to keep feeding my doubt, my fear, my insecurity? Or am I going to get in on new diet, am I going to believe I am who God says I am, that I can do what God says I can do, that I'm not lacking, unqualified, not able, but I'm a mighty hero, raised up to leave my mark"? Gideon did what we all must do: he quit eating the junk food, he changed what he was feeding. Instead of feeding fear, he started feeding faith. Instead of feeding intimidation, he started feeding courage. Instead of feeding the weak, poor, defeated man, hiding in the wine press, he started feeding the mighty hero. He changed his attitude from, "I can't do this" to "God, I know you being for me is more than the the world being against me". He went out with just 300 men and defeated this army of thousands and thousands, a supernatural victory.

He became what he was feeding. All those years weak, afraid, insecure, that's what he was dwelling on. But when he changed his diet, and started feeding the mighty hero, that's when the faith, the courage, the the favor came out. He stepped into his purpose, into his destiny. Could it be like Gideon you're feeding the wrong things? You're dwelling on what you can't do, how you've made too many mistakes, you come from a limited family? Or that giant, the sickness, the addiction, the dream is too big? God is saying to you what he said to Gideon, "You're a mighty hero. You are destined to do great things". You are not limited by your background, your education, by how big the opposition is. Well, what limits us is our wrong diet, our thinking. Stop feeding the limited, average, can't do it you, and start feeding the mighty hero you, "I can do all things through Christ, I am strong in the Lord, equipped, empowered and anointed".

This is what I had to do when my father went to be with the Lord. I stepped up to pastor the church, but I was very insecure and nervous. I didn't feel qualified, I didn't have the training. Every thought told me that I couldn't do it, "Nobody's going to listen to you, Joel. You're going to get up there and fail". The enemy specializes in serving junk food: doubt, fear, inferiority. And for years I'd convinced myself that I couldn't minister, that's what I told my dad, "I didn't have the right personality". I was too quiet, I wouldn't know what to say. I had fed those thoughts again and again, and I became what I was feeding: intimidated, insecure, no way.

But when my father died something changed on the inside. There was this boldness, this faith. All of the sudden I believed I could do it. I had never felt that before. It was like God showed up and said, "Joel, you're a mighty hero. This is your time to shine". I felt the faith, but the problem was: the doubt didn't leave, the fear didn't leave, the insecurity. I had to make a decision, "Am I going to keep feeding this fear, this doubt, this intimidation? Or am I going to change my diet, and start feeding faith, feeding hope, feeding courage"? I did what I'm asking you to do. When fear came saying, "Joel, you're not going to know what to say, you better not get up there", I said, "No, thanks, you're not on my diet. I am well able. The favor of God is on my life. I've been raised up for such a time as this".

"But Joel, you're not qualified. You've never been to cemetery... I mean seminary, you don't have the degrees". Lord, I thank you that you qualified me. You chose me before I was born. You've approved me, you've anointed me, you put your hand of blessing on my life. I would not be up here today if I had not changed my diet. I've learned to stay on a very strict eating plan. It's easy to feed worry, feed bitterness, feed hurts, betrayals, negative things people people have said. You need to pay them back, they're making you look bad. Don't feed that, that's junk food. You can't feed faith and feed fear at the same time. You can't feed hope when you're feeding bitterness. You can't feed peace when you're trying to get even with that coworker. You can't feed the mighty hero if you're feeding insecurity, comparing yourself to a friend.

Life is short. You need all your energy for the right things. Every time you feed worry, that's energy you could be using to feed faith. When you feed doubts, that's taking time away from the dreams you could be feeding. Bottom line: don't feed what you don't want to grow. If you'll start starving the doubt: not dwelling on how it's not going to work out, how you'll never get well. Starving the insecurity: how you're not up to par, you're at a disadvantage. Starving the fear: "What if I get laid off? What if I never meet someone"? Use that same energy to feed faith, feed hope, feed victory.

Maybe you're struggling with an illness, those negative thoughts will come, "What if you don't get better? What if this is more serious? What if it doesn't work out"? If you feed that fear, it's going to pull you down, get you discouraged. It's harder to recover when you're worried and stressed. Try a different approach: don't don't feed the fear, you don't want it bigger. Feed your faith, that's what you want to grow. All through the day in your thoughts, under your breath, "Father, thank you that you're restoring health back into me. Thank you that healing, wholeness, strength, energy, vitality is flowing through my body. Lord, thank you that I'll live and not die, that the number of my days you will fulfill". That's building up your faith, building up your hope.

In the scripture several times it compares the life of a believer to an eagle. Isaiah 40:31 said, "You will mount up with wings like the eagles". Well, eagles are known for soaring, how they can rise above the storms. They're known for their keen sense of vision. They can spot a fish in the ocean from a hundred yards away. They're a strong majestic bird. It's been said, "The strength of the eagle is found in its diet". An eagle feed off of live foods. Their main source of food is fresh fish and other live animals. They don't feed off of dead things nearly as much as other animals. It's not a coincidence that God chose an eagle to compare us to. An eagle doesn't go around eating junk food. It couldn't soar and reach great heights, if it was feeding on the wrong things. In the same way our strength is found in our diet: we're not going to soar if we're eating dead things, worry, bitterness, doubt, fear. That's junk food. That's going to limit your height, cloud your vision, stunt your growth. You need to feed on live food: faith, hope, favor, victory. Live foods are the promises in the scripture.

When you're in tough times, it's easy to go get some junk food, "Why did this happen? God, where were you? I don't understand it". No, get some faith food, "Father, you said many are the afflictions of the righteous, but you deliver me out of them all. Lord, I think I'm coming out better than I was before". "Well, Joel, my child got off course. I don't think he'll ever get back on track". That's feeding discouragement, that dead food is going to drag you down. Feed on live food, "Father, thank you that as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. That my children are marked, set apart, called, anointed, that they are mighty in the land, that they will fulfill their destinies". Or your dream may seem too big, you don't have the connections, no doors have opened. It's tempting to eat dead food, "It's never going to happen, wasn't meant to be. I don't have what it takes", that's going to talk you out of it.

Eating dead food is causing the wrong things to grow: doubt, discouragement, "You can't do it". Change your diet. You're not a chicken, pecking around on the ground and anything they can find. You're not a crow, eating roadkill, leftover, stinky, stale. That junk's going to poison your spirit. You're an eagle. You were made for live food. The healthiest food you can find is what God says about you. "Father, my dream looks impossible, but I know you can do the impossible. That you're making ways where I don't see a way. That your favor is causing me to stand out. That what you have promised me will come to pass". That's feeding faith, feeding hope. That's what's going to cause you to soar and go places that you've never dreamed.

This is where the Israelites missed it. God brought them out of slavery, they saw the Red Sea part, Pharaoh's army drowned, water come out of a rock. God supernaturally delivered them and sustained them. They were headed toward the Promised Land when Moses sent 12 men to spy out. Ten came back and said, "Moses, we don't have a chance. There are giants in the land, the people are huge. We felt like grasshoppers compared to them". After all God had done, you would think they would be confident, believe that they could take the land. But instead of feeding their faith, they made the mistake of feeding their fears. That negative report got back to the camp, and before long all two million people were discouraged, afraid, saying, "Moses, let's go back to Egypt. Let's just go back to being slaves". That's how powerful what we're feeding is. If you feed the wrong things, it will keep you out of your Promised Land.

There were two other spies, Joshua and Caleb, they said, "We are well able. Let us go in at once and take the land". They fed their faith, not their fears. They were the only two out of all those people that ever went into the Promised Land. Are you feeding the grasshopper, or are you feeding the mighty hero? They're both in you, you determine which one is going to show up by what you're feeding, what you're dwelling on, what's playing in your mind: is it faith, like Joshua and Caleb, knowing that you are well able, knowing that God being for you is more than what's against you? Or are you feeding the grasshopper, "We can't get the Compaq Center. Man, that other company's too big. I can't beat this cancer, Joel, the doctor said it's permanent. I'll never get out of debt, everybody in my family struggles". Do yourself a favor: change your diet. Quit feeding the grasshopper, the doubt, the worry, the fear, and start feeding your faith.

Friends, you have an assignment. There's a calling on your life, something God has destined you to accomplish. He didn't put you here to just take up space, hopefully make it through. He created you to leave your mark, to set a new standard for your family. He's put greatness in you. There's a mighty hero waiting to emerge. But here's the key: the enemy would love to deceive us into feeding the grasshopper, living weak, intimidated, thinking you can't do it. No more eating junk food. You can't soar like the eagles if you're eating dead things. Stay on this new diet: faith food! Feed your hope, feed your confidence, feed the promises God put in your heart. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: forces that have held you back are being broken right now. Like Gideon, the mighty heroes about to come out. Like Joshua and Caleb, you're going to go into your Promised Land, and become all that you were created to be, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen? I receive it as well.
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