Joel Osteen — Be a Now Person
I want to talk to you today about being a now person. It's easy to put things off. We plan on doing it, we have good intentions, we're just going to do it later. One day, I'm going to start exercising. One day, I'm going to get my finances in order. One day, I'm going to forgive that person that hurt me.
The problem with this kind of thinking is one day never comes. There will always be some reason not to do it. How many people know down in their heart things they need to change? God's been dealing with them for months, maybe even years, but they keep making excuses. "Soon as I get through this busy season, then I'll spend more time with my family. Soon as the price of gas goes down, then I'll start tithing my income. Soon as my child gets out of diapers, then I'm going to get my family back in church".
They try to justify it, knowing that they're planning to do it. But good intentions don't equal obedience. The quicker you do what you feel down in your spirit, the happier you're going to be. The reason some people go around with this heaviness is they've got so much unfinished business. They know they need to forgive, they know they need to treat someone better, but they just keep putting it off. The longer we put it off, the more difficult it's going to become.
I heard a poem, "Procrastination is my weakness. It only brings me sorrow. I know I should give it up. In fact I will... Tomorrow. Friends, tomorrow never comes, it's always out in the future. When God brings something to light, if you'll deal with it right at the first, you'll have a special grace. You'll feel God's enabling power helping you to do it.
God will never ask you to do something and then not give you the ability to do it. But when we're passive, we think, "Yes, I know I need to do it, maybe next week". Next week turns into next month. Next month turns into next year. What happens is we miss that season of grace.
Let me ask you, is there something you're putting off? You know you should take that class to improve your skills, but you're going to do it later. You know you should get up a little earlier to have that quiet time, but you haven't got around to it. This is a call to action. Your destiny stands before you. God has something amazing in your future.
But it says in proverbs, "Complacency kills". Being passive will keep you from God's best, and many times, it's not big things that hold us back, it's small things. You haven't balanced your check book in 2 years. Every time you go to write a check, you feel guilty. Something says, "Get your finances in order". Don't put it off. If you're not faithful with what you have, God won't entrust you with more.
One lady told me how she hadn't balanced her check book in so long, she just closed the account and opened up a brand new one. At least she took action. I have people tell me, "Joel, I'm going to start giving. I'm going to start tithing my income as soon as I make more money". No, don't wait till you have $1,000, tithe on the $10 you have right now, little things. You drive home and you see that garage you've been meaning to clean for 6 months. Every time you look out there, it depresses you.
Don't go another day like that. Put your foot down. Like Larry the cable guy says, "Get 'er done". Do something about it. It's amazing how much more we'll enjoy life if we don't put things off. When we procrastinate, it causes us to feel badly about ourselves.
Knew a man at the gym years ago, and he started having some health issues. I found out that he didn't have insurance and he was struggling financially. I knew deep down I was supposed to help him. I felt it so strongly, something saying, "Joel, give him a gift". Now, I had good intentions. God knew my heart, but I kept putting it off.
The first week I saw him at the gym, thought, "Oh man, forgot my checkbook again". Next month, still hadn't done anything. Every time I saw him, I felt a gnawing feeling right down in here. One day, I simply did what I'm asking you to do. I left the gym, went home and got my checkbook, wrote him a gift, stuck it in his gym bag. Soon as I did that, I felt the heaviness release off of me.
See, God doesn't reward good intentions, he rewards obedience, and so often, we think like I did, "I'm planning on being a blessing. I'm planning on volunteering. I'm planning on eating healthier". We need to move from planning to doing.
I was talking to a lady recently, there's this person at her work that's very controlling, very manipulating. This has been going on for years. She's allowed this to happen, and it's gotten worse and worse. She knows she needs to confront this lady. She needs to make a change, but she's more quiet and reserved. She doesn't like to deal with conflict. So, she goes on year after year living in mediocrity.
But when God asks you to do something that seems hard, number one, God will always give you the grace to do it, and number two, it's because he has something so much better in your future. But if you just keep putting it off, then you're putting off what God wants to release back to you.
I know people that have been planning to make peace with a relative for 20 years. "One day, I'm going to reconcile. One day, Joel, I'm going to swallow my pride and I'm going to apologize". They don't know what they missed the last 20 years, the joy, the peace, the opportunities that God didn't release back because they kept putting it off.
I was reading about this 42-year-old executive. He was on the cover of newsweek magazine years ago. The headline read "The whiz kid of wall street". He had a brilliant mind, he'd helped start several major companies. The reporter that was doing the story went back to the town he had lived in some years before and interviewed people that knew him. He found out there was an alcoholic that lived in the city park with this man's same name.
Toward the end of the interview, he kind of laughed and said, "I found out something you may not know. There was a homeless man that lived in your city at the same time you did. He had your same name, your same age, your same race, what a coincidence". This executive said, "That wasn't a different man, that was me. I was an alcoholic, I was homeless, doing nothing with my life".
The reporter's eyes got so big, he said, "Tell me more". He said, "When I was living in the city park, using newspapers to cover me up, I always knew one day I would be successful. I knew one day, I would be sitting here, but I was just waiting to get started". Many people are like him. They may not be homeless, may not have a big addiction, but they're waiting to get started. They have incredible gifts, talents, businesses, ideas, movies, books, inventions, but they keep putting off moving forward, thinking, "One day, I'll take a step of faith. One day, I'll be more disciplined. One day, I'll get my life straightened out. One day, I'll go back to school".
No, don't live waiting for one day. Start doing what you know to do today. Friends, life is short. Time is flying by. You can't afford to put off what God's put in your heart. You don't have time to live with things holding you back. You have seeds of greatness on the inside. Today can be your new beginning. Today can be the start of something amazing.
If we're going to reach our highest potential, we have to be now people because there are some opportunities that God brings across our path that have a limited window. They are not always going to be there. The prophet Joel said in the scripture to wake up the mighty men, wake up the mighty women. I know I am looking at the mighty men, the mighty women right now of faith. You are history makers. You are world changers.
God wants you to leave your mark on this generation. But there is an enemy of your soul. One of his main tools is procrastination. If he can't deceive you into getting totally off course, he'll use something much more subtle. He'll try to get you to put it off, to be passive, to have an "I'll do it later" attitude. No, the scripture says, "Today, when you hear God's voice, do not turn away". When you hear God speaking to you, be a now person. "Today, I'm going to respond. Today, I'm going to make changes. Today, I'm going to come up higher".
Your act of obedience is what triggers God's supernatural favor. This is what happened to a young lady in the scripture named Esther. She was an orphan, she didn't necessarily feel qualified. But her cousin mordecai said, "Esther, you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this". He was saying, "Esther, this is a window of opportunity to make your mark on this generation".
It wasn't something that she could decide to do 5 years from now, after she got out of college, after she raised her children. This was a destiny moment, and she was supposed to stand before the king and ask him to save the people of Israel. Mordecai said something interesting, "Esther, if you don't do it, it will still happen. God's plan will come to pass, but you will miss your opportunity to be a part of it".
See, when we put things off, we're not stopping God's plan, we're stopping the fullness of what God has in store for us. Esther stepped out in faith and helped save the people of Israel. Today, she's listed as one of the heroes of faith. Friends, it's not how talented you are, what family you come from, or how many people know your name. When you walk in God's ways, he will take you places that you've never dreamed of.
God will help you to accomplish what you could not accomplish on your own. I want to light a fire on the inside. Some of you are allowing something small to keep you from God's best. Unforgiveness is small. Fear is small. An addiction is small. Being undisciplined is small. You have the seed of almighty God. The greatest force in the universe is breathing in your direction. There is no challenge too difficult for you. Don't miss your season.
I think about Joshua and Caleb, when they came back from spying out the promised land, they said, "Moses, we are well able to take the land. Let us go in at once". Notice not next week, not next year, they were now people. But if you overanalyze your situation, you think about all the what-ifs, and you try to get approval from all your family and friends, you'll never move off of dead center.
When God puts something in your heart, and deep down you know it's a destiny moment, it's a widow of opportunity, you don't need ten confirmations, three angels to appear, lightning to strike next door. No, be like Joshua and Caleb, "I'm going to go in at once. I'm not going to delay, I'm not going to make excuses, I'm not going to argue with God. I'm going to do what romans 13 says, "It is high time to wake up out of your sleep, for your salvation is closer than when you first believed".
Some of you have you're not pursuing what God's put in your heart. You've become passive. But God is saying, "It's high time to wake up". Notice the phrasing, not just time, but high time. That means it's incredibly important. You are coming in to a destiny moment. You are sitting on the launching pad. God is about to thrust you to a new level. What he has in your future is going to far supersede what he has in your past. Now is not the time to be passive, to be sloppy, to be undisciplined. Now more than ever is the time to get focused, take care of business, don't put things off.
Why is this so important? Your salvation is nearer than it's ever been. That means you are closer to seeing that dream come to pass than you've ever been. You are closer to meeting the right person than you've ever been. You're coming into the final stretch. That healing, that breakthrough, that promotion, that provision is already headed your way. You may not be able to see it, don't worry about it, it can see you. Your victory is right around the corner.
Now, it's our high time to do what God's asking us to do. We have to be in position to receive what God has in store. In the scripture, there was a lady that had been sick with a bleeding disorder for 12 years. She had been to the best doctors, received the finest treatment, but she continued to go downhill. But one day, she got word that Jesus was coming through her town. When she heard that, something came alive on the inside. In her spirit, she knew it was a destiny moment, a window of opportunity.
Now, she could've talked herself out of it, thought, "Man, I've been to the best doctors. It's going to be so crowded. I don't feel well". It would've been easy for her to dismiss it, to be passive, but she didn't do that. She knew it was her high time. She knew her healing was headed her way. Instead of putting it off, you know the story, she fought her way through the crowd, touched the edge of Jesus' robe. When she did, immediately she was made whole.
But I thought about how many other people were there like her in that same type of situation. They were sick, they were discouraged, they had trouble. But they just watched Jesus pass by. They thought, "Maybe next time somebody will help me. Maybe one day I'll have a chance. Maybe one time it won't be so crowded". No, making excuses keeps us from our miracle. The right attitude is, "It's my high time. I'm close to my healing, I'm close to my breakthrough, I'm close to seeing my family restored". That's what it means to wake up out of your sleep.