Joel Osteen — Be Positive Or Be Quiet
I want to talk to you today about "Be positive or be quiet". Every one of us has promises that we're standing on, things that we're believing for. Maybe it's to get out of to meet the right person, to start our own business. We know God has spoken to us, but we don't see any sign of it happening. Nothing is changing, it looks just like it did six months ago, and the mistake we make too often is we start to talk ourselves out of it. "Well, I don't think I'm going to get out of debt, business is too slow". Or "I could never accomplish my dreams, I'm too old, Joel. I missed my opportunity".
We don't realize our words are what's keeping the promise from coming to pass. You cannot talk defeat and expect to have victory. The moment you speak something out, you are giving life to what you're saying, either good or bad. That's what allows it negative thoughts come to every person. You can't stop the thoughts from coming, the key is don't verbalize the negative. You may think it, but don't speak it out. If you're not going to say anything good about your health, your finances, your children, your future, do yourself a favor, zip it up. Don't say anything at all. Be positive or be quiet.
Proverbs 6 says, "We are snared by the words of our mouth". Do you know you can talk yourself out of a promotion. Negative words can keep you from your God-given destiny. This is what almost happened to a man in the scripture named Jeremiah. God gave him a great promise that he would become a prophet to the nations, but when he heard this, he was very young and unsure of himself. He said, "God, I can't do that. I'm too young, I wouldn't know what to say". God said, "Jeremiah, say not that you are too young".
The first thing God did was stopped his negative words. Why did God do that? God knew if he went around saying I'm not qualified, I can't do this, I don't have what it takes, he would become exactly what he was saying. So, God said, in effect, Jeremiah, zip it up. You may think it, but don't speak it out, and it goes on to tell how Jeremiah changed what he was saying, and he became a prophet to to pass.
In the same way, God has called every one of us to do something great. He's put dreams, desires on the inside, but it's easy to say like Jeremiah, I can't do that, I'm too young, I'm too old, I've made too many mistakes, I don't have the education, I don't have the experience. We can all make excuses, but God is saying to us what he said to Jeremiah, stop saying that. Don't curse your future.
Those negative words can keep you from God's best, and sometimes the reason a promise is being delayed is because of what we're saying. Imagine your answer is on the way. God has already dispatched the angel with your healing, your promotion, your vindication, but right before it gets here, God says to the angel, "Hold on. Don't go any further, stay right where you are". The angel says, "Why, God? This is what you promised, it's in your word". God says, "No, listen to what they're saying. They're talking about how it's not going to happen, how the problem's too big, how it's been too long, how they'll never meet the right person".
Negative words stop God's promises, and I wonder how many times we're just a couple of months away from seeing the answer, a couple of months from meeting you've been praying for years that God would bring somebody great into your life, but right before they show up, you let your guard down, and start saying, "Oh, it's not going to happen, I'm too old, nobody's interested in me". God has to say to the angel.
The good news is, that promise is still in your future. God didn't cancel it because we get negative. He still has the right person for you, and if you'll zip up the doubt and switch over into faith, at the right time, they will show up. God will release what negative words have delayed. God still has your healing, your promotion, your restoration, now do your part, quit talking about how it's not going to happen.
You may not see a way, but God still has a way. It may look impossible, but God can do the impossible. Just because you don't see anything happening doesn't mean God is not working. Right now, behind the scenes, God is arranging things in your favor. He's lining up the right people, he's moving the wrong people out of the way, he's positioning you exactly where he wants you to be. Now, don't delay the promise.
Our son Jonathan is 17 years old, and we're in the process of applying to different colleges. Some schools only accept 5% that means, of course, that 95% of the applicants get turned down, and it's easy to think, "Why do we even want to apply to those schools? It's practically impossible, more than nine out of ten get denied". Jonathan, don't get your hopes up, I don't see how you could get in there.
If we're not careful, we'll talk ourselves out of it. You may think those thoughts, but don't make the mistake of verbalizing them. Learn to turn it around. God, I know you have my son in the palm of your hand. You've already picked out the right college for him to attend. There may be only a 5% chance for some schools, but God, I know with you, there's a 100% chance he'll get in exactly where you want him to go.
God, you control that's much better than going around, "All the odds are against me. It doesn't look good, I don't see how it's going to happen". No, zip that up. If you can't be positive, at least be quiet. You are prophesying your future. If you say I'll never get in, then you'll never get in. If you say this problem is going to sink me, then it will sink you. To afford a nice house, you'll never be able to afford a nice house. You're being snared by the words of your mouth.
Luke chapter 1, an angel appeared to a man named Zachariah. The angel told him that his wife, Elizabeth, was going to have a baby and they were to name him John. Zachariah was very surprised, because he and his wife were way up there in years. He said to the angel, "Are you sure this is going to happen? It sounds great, but do you see how old we are? To me, it just doesn't seem possible". The angel said, "Zachariah, I am Gabriel, I stand in the presence of almighty God, and what God says".
But God knows the power of our words. He knew if Zachariah went around speaking defeat, it would stop his plan, so God did something unusual. The angel said, "Zachariah, because you doubted, you will remain silent and not be able to speak until the baby is born". Zachariah left there unable to talk, couldn't say one word for nine months why did God take away his speech?
God knew he would go out and start telling his friends how it wasn't going to happen. "Hey, man, this angel appeared, said we're going to have a baby, he must have got the wrong person, we're too old". God knows with our words we are prophesying our future.
A lot of times we think, "Well, Joel, God's God, if he wants to bless me, he'll bless me". No, God works by laws, and yes, God wants to bless you, but it will not happen if you're speaking defeat over your life. That's why the scripture says, "Put a watch over your mouth". In other words, be careful what you allow to come out of your mouth. This is especially important in difficult times. That's when it's easy to get negative, start saying, "Well, I don't think I'm ever going to get well. I've had this sickness for three years". No, put a watch over your mouth. Don't prophesy that defeat.
If you're going to say anything, say what God says, I will live and not die. God is restoring health back unto me. The number of my days, that's what we should be saying. The thought comes, you'll never accomplish your dreams. You'll never rise any higher. You've gone as far as you can go. You can't stop the thoughts from coming, but you can choose to not give them life when you don't speak it, that thought will die stillborn. It can't take root and become a reality. But when you say it, you are giving birth to what you're speaking.
All through the day, you need to ask yourself, "Is what I'm about to say what I want to come into my life"? Because what you're saying, you're inviting in. When you say, "I'll never get out of debt, the economy's too slow," you're inviting struggle and lack. When you say, "This problem's too big, I don't think I'll ever get out of that," you're inviting defeat, mediocrity.
You need to send out some new invitations. And not borrow. "God's favor surrounds me like a shield. Whatever I touch prospers and succeeds". You are inviting increase, good breaks, success. When you say, "I will overcome this problem. If God be for me, who dare be against me"? You're inviting strength, healing, restoration, vindication, breakthroughs.
Now, pay attention to what you're inviting. "Well, I'll never pass this algebra course. I've never been good in math. I just don't understand it". Change the invitation. "I can do all things through Christ. I have good understanding, I am full of wisdom, I am an a student". When you do that, you're inviting wisdom, you're inviting God's blessings. Make sure you're sending out the right invitations.
When I first started ministering back in 1999, I had never done this before, and I was very nervous, and very unsure of myself. Every negative thought imaginable would come to my mind. Things like, "Joel, you're going to get up there and make a fool of yourself. You're not going to know what to say. Nobody's going to listen to you. You don't have the experience".
All through the day, I had and I would go around saying, under my breath, "I am anointed. I am equipped. I am strong in the Lord". Before I would come to church and minister, I would look at myself in the mirror, and say, "Joel, you are well able. You've ben raised up the services would go out all over through the television". Those thoughts would come saying, "What are you doing on television? Other ministers are so much more qualified. Nobody's going to tune you in".
Instead of repeating that, from the very first, I started saying, "Father, I want to thank you that people are being drawn to me, and when they turn me on, they cannot turn me off". Do you know I get letters every day from people saying, "Joel, I never watch TV ministers, but I was flipping through the channels, and when I turned you on, I couldn't turn you off".
That's much better than going around saying, "I'm not qualified. I don't have the experience. I don't have what it takes". Well, the scripture says you've got to call the things that are not as if they already were. I didn't feel confident, but I called myself confident. I didn't feel anointed, but I called myself anointed.
Now, you may not feel blessed, but you need to call yourself blessed. The circumstances may not say you're prosperous, but by faith, you need to call yourself prosperous. You may not feel healthy today, but don't go around telling everyone how you're not going to make it. Start calling yourself healthy, whole, strong, full of energy, full of life.
When Joshua was leading the people of Israel toward the promised land, they came to the city of Jericho. It stood between them and their destiny. They couldn't go around it, the problem is, Jericho was surrounded by a huge, thick, tall wall made up of stone and mortar.
It didn't look like there was any way the israelites could get in. But God told them to do something that sounded wall for six days, and on the seventh day, they were to march around seven times. If that wasn't odd enough, God gave them one final instruction, the key to the whole thing working. He said while you're marching around the walls, I don't want you to say one word, not a whisper, not a short conversation, not an update on how it's going, keep totally silent.
Why did God not allow them to speak? God knew, after a couple of times around, they'd start saying, "What in the world are we doing out here? This wall's never going to fall. Look how thick it is. Joshua must have heard God wrong". Somebody else speak up, "Yeah, and I'm tired, and I'm hot, and I'm hungry. This dust is getting in my face".
God knew they would talk in fact, it had happened years before. Their parents, their relatives were camped next door to the promised land, but when the spies came back and told everyone how big their enemies were, that negative report spread like wildfire throughout the rest of the camp. Before long, all two million people were complaining, saying, "We don't have a chance. We'll never defeat these enemies".
Even though they were next door, their negative words kept them from going in. God knew it had happened once, and it would happen again, so he told them to be quiet. He was saying, in effect, I know you're not going to be positive, so just stay silent.
There are times in all of our lives where it's difficult to be positive, and that's okay, just stay silent. Don't tell everyone what you're thinking. You know how the story ends. On the seventh time around, on the seventh day, the walls came tumbling down.
Here's the question today. Could it be that negative words are keeping you out of your promised land? Could it be, if you would remain silent, not talk about how big the problem is, not complain about what didn't work out, not tell a friend how you're never going to be successful, that if you would zip it up, maybe the walls that are holding you back would come down?
Imagine behind that wall is your healing, your promotion, your dream coming to pass. Every day, so to speak, you're walking around the wall. What are you saying? "This wall's never going to fall, Joel. I've had this addiction since high school. I'll never be able to start my own business. I don't know the right people". No, God is saying to us what he said to the israelites. If you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all. Don't let your negative words keep you from God's best. If you'll stop talking defeat, lack, how it's not going to happen, and simply remain silent, God can do for you what he did for them.