Joel Osteen — Activate Faith, Not Fear
I want to talk to you today about "Activating faith and not fear". All through the day we have the choice to believe that either God is in control and good things are in store, or we can go around worried, negative, I hear people say, "I'm afraid I'm going to get laid off. I'm afraid my marriage is not going to last. I'm afraid my children are going to get into trouble".
They don't realize it, but they're activating fear instead of faith. Fear and faith have something in common. They both ask us to believe something is going to happen that we cannot see. Fear says that pain in your grandmother died from. It's going to be the end of you. Faith says that pain is not permanent, it's only temporary. Fear says business is slow, you're going to go under. Faith says God is supplying all of my needs. Fear says you've been through so much, you're never going to really be happy again. Faith says my best days are still out in front of me.
Here's the key, whatever you meditate on is what's going to take root. If you dwell on that fear all day and you let it play again and again in your mind, then you give it a right to become a reality. That's what Job said, "The thing I feared came upon me". Fear is using your faith in the wrong direction. Your faith will work in the negative just as well as it will the positive.
I was at the doctor's office with our daughter Alexandra one time, and as the doctor was examining her, he began to talk about how bad the flu season was and how he gets it every year. I said, "Doctor, do you really get it every year"? He said, "Yeah, Joel, it's just automatic with me, something about my immune system". He was so convinced, he was expecting it.
Six weeks later, we were scheduled to go back for his office called and said, "Don't come today. The doctor is out with the flu". I thought, "His faith is working. He got just what he was believing for". The problem is he was using it in the wrong direction.
Just as faith can bring in good things, fear can bring in negative things. When you go around worried, expecting the worst, it's like you're inviting that into your life. "Well, I'm afraid I'm going to get the flu". You just invited the flu. "I'm afraid I might get laid off". You just invited a layoff. No, turn it around. Quit inviting defeat, sickness, bad breaks, and start inviting victory into your life. Use your faith in the right direction.
Years ago, I was facing a situation that had the potential to turn out badly. It had gone on for months and months. Every morning when I woke up, the first thought that came to my mind is, "It's not going to work out. It's going to cause you all kinds of heartache and pain". That's the way fear is. It will try to dominate your thought life. If you allow it, fear will keep you awake at night. I was so tempted to be worried and stressed out.
One day, I heard God say something to me, not out loud, but just an impression down in here. He said, "Joel, if you keep worrying and going over all the reasons why it's not going to work out, then because of your worry, it's going to come to pass. But if you will trust me and use that same energy to believe, I will turn it around and use it".
When I heard that, I gained a new perspective. I realized that fear, worry, negative thinking is not just a bad habit, that allows the read an article in the paper a while back about a 24-year-old Marine. He was about to report to his second tour of duty in Iraq. Before he left, he told his family and friends this would be his last tour. He would not make it out. His family, friends, they tried to encourage him, "Don't say that. Yes, you're going to make it out". He said, "No, I feel it so strongly. This is going to be the end".
Before he left, he wrote farewell letters to his wife and two children telling them goodbye. He was not only convinced in his thinking, but he acted on that fear. Three months later, while he was on a mission, just like he thought, he hit a land mine and lost his life. The thing he feared came upon him.
But I wonder what would have happened if he were to replace that fear with faith. What if he'd gone around saying, "Father, thank you that no weapon formed against me will prosper. Lord, you promised your angels would watch over me and keep me from dashing I don't know, maybe he would still be here. But I know this, when you agree with fear, you are giving what you're fearing the right to come to pass.
The scripture talks about how when any two of us agree, it shall be done. That's a promise that when we believer, God will do what he said. Well, I believe that principle is true even in the negative. When the enemy puts a thought in your mind, if you agree, then your agreement is what gives it the power to come to pass. But if you don't agree, you turn it around.
The thought says, "Your children are going to get into trouble". No, I don't agree. In the land. My children will fulfill their destiny. You just stopped that fear from coming to pass. The thought says, "You better not go out today. You're going to have an accident". No, I don't agree. God has a hedge of protection around me, a bloodline that the enemy cannot cross. "Well, that sickness is going to be what you die from. It's been in your family line for three generations". No thanks, I don't agree. With long life, God's going to satisfy me. Into agreement with the fear.
If you don't agree, the only way it can come to pass is if God gives it the permission, and if God does, you can rest assured it's not going to work against you, it's going to work for you. Now, pay attention to what you're coming into agreement with.
When our son Jonathan was a little baby, I was holding him at a restaurant. While we were eating, this older couple came up and started complimenting us on how good Jonathan was and how quiet he was being. But just before they left, the man turned around and said, "But you just wait 'til he gets to be about 2 years old. He'll turn into a different person. He's good now but the terrible twos are coming.
I wanted to say, "Thank you so much for your my spirits". I told victoria, "I don't receive that. I don't agree with that. I am not letting that take root into my spirit". I said, "For us, it's not going to be the terrible twos. It's going to be the terrific twos".
Do you know, we never had a problem when he was 2, 3, 4. He got to be about 10, people started saying, "Just wait till he gets to be a teenager. Trouble, hard to get along with. You just wait". Jonathan is almost 18 years old now. Our daughter Alexandra is 14. Do you know, they still hadn't started cursing, lying, stealing, fighting, still hadn't caused us any problems.
Next thing people say, "You just wait 'til he gets to be 21. Wait 'til he's legal, Joel. Wait 'til he hits 40, that mid-life crisis. Wait 'til he's 75". No, I am not coming into agreement with fear, and doubt, and bad breaks, disappointments. I am activating my faith and not my fear. If you expect your children, your loved ones to get into trouble, and to cause you heartache, and to barely make it through life, then because you're putting faith in the fear, that allows it to come to pass.