Joel Osteen — Making God a Part of Your Everyday Life
I want to talk to you today about making God a part of your everyday life. God wants to help you, not just in the big things. God wants to help you cooking dinning, driving in the traffic. He wants to help you with your schoolwork, help you be more productive at the office; but here's the key. God will only be involved in as much of your life as you allow him to.
And a lot of people have God in a Sunday morning box. That's when they come to church, pray, think about God. Then they go out during the week, and they don't really include God in their life. They love God. They reverence him, but they think, "There's nothing spiritual about going to the grocery store or cooking dinner or meeting with a client". Because they keep God in this box, they're missing the blessings and favor that God wants to give them.
Proverbs 3:6 says, "Acknowledge God in all of your ways," not some of your ways, not just the big things. If you'll start acknowledging God in all of your ways, he will crown your efforts with success. And one way to acknowledge God is simply ask for his help. On the way to the grocery store, under your breath, "God, help me to find what I'm looking for. Help this to be a productive trip". That's acknowledging God. You're saying, in effect, "God, I need you".
That simple acknowledgment allows the creator of the universe to direct your steps. God will help you find what you may not have found. He'll put you at the right place at the right time. And sure, you can do this without God's help. You can do it in your own strength, but life will go so much better. There will be less frustration. You'll accomplish more when you develop this habit of acknowledging God.
When you acknowledge God, he breathes his favor on your life. You'll come into an anointing of ease. What should have been a struggle won't be a struggle. That's God crowning your and it doesn't have to be some long, drawn-out thing. Brushing your teeth in the morning, "Lord, thank you for another beautiful day". You just acknowledged God. Driving in the traffic, "Lord, thank you for a safe trip". That's acknowledging God. Before you go into the restaurant, under your breath, "God, help us to have a good dinner". When God sees you showing your dependency on him like that, relying on him in your everyday life, that's what'll cause him to make your life easier.
"Well, Joel, I don't think I need to pray about that, something so small, so routine". You don't have to. But if you want God to help you, if you want him to direct your steps and cause things to fall into place, you have to invite him into your everyday life.
Years ago, I was in another city, leaving a hotel room early in the morning, and I had a large suitcase and a big binder under this arm and a heavy suit bag and my computer under this arm. And normally, we travel together as a team; but this day, I was coming down by myself. And I was making it okay, but it was a struggle to carry all the luggage; plus, I was running a little late.
And under my breath, I was doing what I'm asking you to do, thanking God for the day, thanking him for a safe trip home, thanking him that it would all work out. Nothing deep, nothing complicated, just acknowledging God, making him a part of everyday life. And about halfway down the hallway, a young man that worked for the hotel showed up out of nowhere and said, "Let me carry those bags". He didn't take part of them. He took all of them. He wouldn't let me carry anything.
We got down to the elevator. There's a bunch of people waiting, looked like a big sports group. He took me to a service elevator. It opened right up, didn't wait one second. We went down, put the bag in the car. I got to the airport. The line for security was very long. It looked like it'd take at least a half an hour. As I was standing there, a man came up wearing a badge and said, "Come with me". I didn't know if I was in trouble he opened the new line, took my bags through security for me. I never asked him to. He ordered a car I got home and sat in my favorite green chair, put my legs up in the air. About that time, Victoria brought my dinner in on a tray. At that point, I knew the day was miracles was not over.
If you'll acknowledge God, he'll go before you and make crooked places straight. He'll cause the right people to show up. He'll open doors that you could not open. He'll crown your efforts with success. And this is something we shouldn't do every once in a while. On Sundays, we'll pray. Or maybe before dinner, we'll thank God for the food. Before we go to bed, we'll say a prayer. That's all good, but what I'm saying today is God wants to help you all through the day.
One translation says, "In everything you do, acknowledge God". That means when you get up in the morning, acknowledge God. "Good morning, Lord. I love you today. Lord, I wouldn't be alive without your goodness". When you see your children, "God, thank you for these amazing children". At the office, "Lord, thank you for your favor. Thank you that I excel at what you've called me to do". Even mowing the lawn, "Lord, thank you that I'm healthy and strong".
The scripture says to pray without ceasing. That doesn't mean 24 hours a day to get on our knees and never do anything else, never go to work. It's talking about an attitude. Under our breath, in our thoughts, we're constantly thinking about God, thanking him for his goodness, meditating on his promises, asking for his help. This should be a lifestyle where it's so ingrained in us it's automatic. Anything you do, you include God. You've developed that habit of acknowledging him. That's when God will fight your battles. That's when God will make the crooked places smooth.
Now, don't go the next 20 years doing everything on your own. If you'll acknowledge God before you go to the mall, he'll help you to find the best deals. Victoria, be sure you're listening here. If you'll acknowledge God before you go to the gym, he'll help you get a better workout. If you'll acknowledge God before you go into that meeting, ten seconds under your breath, "God, give me your favor, God, I need your blessing," that meeting will go better. God will give you the words to speak. He'll give you ideas, creativity. He could even cause those people to like you.
When you need to clean the house, instead of complaining, getting negative, acknowledge God, and he'll he'll help you to get it done in less time. Jesus put it this way, "Without me, you can do nothing". He was saying, "Without inviting Me into every area of your life, that day is not going to be what it could have been". And we should live with this attitude, "God, I realize this day is not going to be as productive, as successful, nor as easy without your blessing and your favor; so, I'm going to make it a priority to acknowledge you in all of my ways".
When you acknowledge God, you're saying, "God, I know you created the whole universe. You flung the stars into space. You tell every raindrop where to fall. I'm not here by accident. You breathed your life into me. You made me in your image. You crowned me with your favor. Now, God, I can't make it on my own. I need you in my life".
When you show that kind of dependency on God, there is nothing he won't do for you. God will move heaven and earth to get you to where you're supposed to be. You may struggle in a certain area. It's been that way year after year. Again, instead of complaining, instead of getting negative, all through the day, "God, I need your help. God, I'm asking for your strength".
When you humble yourself and admit that you cannot do it on your own, that's when God can exalt you. That's when he can turn it around. The dependency on God is not a weakness; it's a strength. It activates God's power. In our weakness, God shows up the strongest. But when we don't acknowledge God, really, that's a sign of pride. We're saying, "God, I don't really need you to help me run my life. I'm doing okay. I got it all figured out". God will step back and let us do it on our own. God is a gentleman. He will not force his way into your life.
Jesus said, "If you abide in me, you will bear much fruit". One translation says, the word "Depend" indicates continual action. You don't depend once, and then you're done. "Joel, I went to church on Sunday. I spent a couple hours. I did my duty". No, if you're going to depend on God, all through the day, "God, I need you. God, help me to understand this subject in school. God, help me to raise these children". That's what it means to depend on God.
I've learned, the more you depend on God, the better things will work out. You will bear much fruit. But I wonder how many times we don't have as fruitful or productive day as we could have because we're not taking time to acknowledge God. Simple things, driving in the car, "Lord, thank you that your angels have charge over me". You just invited God into your car. At school, "God, help me to understand this lesson today". You invited God into your studies. Working out, mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, "Lord, thank you for your health, your strength". You invited the creator we can take the opposite of what Jesus said.
If we don't depend on him, we're not going to be as productive as we could have been. We've all had one of those days where you drive across town to pick something up. When you get there, you find out they just closed. Or you work all day long, and then your computer crush crashes. You lose the information. You forgot your tennis shoes. You can't work out. Little things can cause us to be unproductive. And not every time, of course, but I believe sometimes it's because we're not asking God for his help. We're doing all on our own. God has politely stepped away. Make sure that you're acknowledging God.
Hebrews 11:6 says, "God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him". Notice who God rewards. Not people that half-heartedly seek him, people that just think about him on Sundays, people that just pray once a week. No, God rewards people like you, that get up every morning and thank him for his goodness, people that go through the day meditating on his promises, people that acknowledge him in all of their ways.
And when you diligently seek God, there will be a reward. Your life will go better. God will take you where you could not go on your own. And the amazing thing about God is he says, "You don't even have to find me. If you just seek me, I'll give you the reward. If you just make an effort to please me, if you just take time to thank me, if you just acknowledge me throughout the day, then I'll reward you for just making the effort".
My father was raised in a family that knew nothing about God. At the age of 17, when he gave his life to Christ, he started preaching on the street corners, in the prisons, in the seniors' home. He'd never been to seminary. He didn't know much about the Bible. One time, he preached a whole message on Samson and realized at the end, he had been calling him Tarson.
At 17, daddy didn't have it all figured out. But one thing he had was a desire to please God. He was seeking him. He was making the effort. See, God doesn't say, "As long as you can quote all the scriptures, as long as you understand all the theology, I'll reward you". No, God says, "I'll pay you for seeking me. I'll pay you for simply making the effort".
From the time I was little boy, my parents taught me the importance of honoring God. I wasn't perfect. I made plenty of mistakes; but, for as long as I can remember, I would get up every morning, take a moment, and thank God for that day and ask him for wisdom and protection. Every day I would read a chapter in my Bible. Didn't always understand it, still don't, and I'm the pastor of a big church. God has not blessed me because I'm the smartest, the most talented, the most skilled. God has blessed me because I've made it a goal to seek him, I still take the first half hour of every day to thank God for his goodness, read my Bible, and pray.
I ask every day, "God, let everything I do today bring honor to your name". God has taken me places that I've never dreamed of. He's blessed our family more than I can imagine. And I'd love to tell you I'm just that smart. I'm just that talented. I'm just an overachiever. No, I've done my part to develop what God's put in me, but I know the blessings, the favor, the honor has come because I've done my best to diligently seek God, to keep him first place in my life. That's what I'm asking you to do.
Jesus said in Matthew 6, "Seek first the Kingdom of God". That word "Seek" one definition is, "To require as a vital necessity". You have to see spending time with God as being vital to living a victorious life because some mornings we think, "I don't want to get up early. I don't feel like reading my Bible. I don't feel like going to church today". But once you get in a habit and you see the benefits of how you feel refreshed and restored, you make better decisions, you're more creative, you have God's favor, then you'll think, "I can't afford not to do it. When I don't spend time with God, I don't feel right. Something is missing". It says, "Seek first". That indicates take time for God at the start of the day. Make him a part of your normal routine.
My father was on dialysis the last few months of his life. Three times a week for four hours a day, he would have to go up to the clinic and have this blood cleaned. There were days he didn't feel like doing it, he was tired, he was busy, he had other things to do. Didn't matter. He went up anyway. Why? His life depended on it. It wasn't an option. It was vital. In life, things get busy. It's hectic at the office. Your children need you. You've got a thousand things do to. But you've got to see spending time with God like my father on dialysis. It's not an option.
If you're going to stay strong, if you're going to have God's wisdom and favor, you may have to rearrange some things so you can make it a priority to spend time with God. You draw strength, encouragement, wisdom from spending time with God. That's what's going to keep and just like we have to feed our physical person, we need to feed our spiritual person.
Learn to invest in yourself. Sometimes we feed our physical man three hot meals a day, but we only feed our spiritual man one cold snack a week. And then we wonder why we don't have energy, it's because we're not taking time to get filled back up. In God's presence is fullness of joy, peace, victory. That's where you get refreshed and re-energized. Every day you ought to take time to read the scripture, meditate on God's promises. Put on good praise music when you can. Have a quiet time with you and God.
Everything's so busy, hectic, noisy these days, but when you get quiet and say, "God, I love you today. Lord, thank you for my life, my family, my dreams. Lord, I realize every good thing comes from you," that's what's going to keep you strong. Jesus said, "I am the living water. If you drink of me, you'll never thirst again".
During the day, things come against you. It's easy to get upset, maybe stressed out. You need to take a two-minute break and go drink of the living water. Get quiet and say, "God, I need you. I'm asking you, God, help me to stay strong. Help me to stay in peace". When you do that, you're taking a drink. You're strengthening your inner man. When the boss is giving you a hard time, just tell him, "I've got to go get a drink".
I'm talking about in our quiet time, people tell me, "Joel, I don't know how to pray. I'm not a religious person". But prayer is simply talking to God. Sometimes religion makes things complicated, makes us think we have to pray these long, fancy "thees" and "thous" prayers. No, talk to God in your everyday language. If you talk country, the good news is God talks country. If you talk New York, God talks New York. He understands you. We don't, but he does.
When you pray, talk to God like you're talking to your best friend. Tell him your needs, your concerns. Ask him for help, and then thank him for what he's already done.
Our praise should outweigh our petitions. Don't spend your whole quiet time telling God your problems, your needs. He already knows your needs. Take time to thank him. And when you read the scripture, you may not understand everything, but that's okay. Just read it and move on.
The Holy Spirit is called our teacher. He'll make sure you understand what you need to understand. And God's word is like a seed. Once you put it in you, it will never die. You may not understand it now, but at the right time, when you need it, God will cause it to come alive.
I read about a young man in junior high. He didn't have any kind of spiritual upbringing. One summer, all of his friends invited him to a camp put on by the local church. When he got there, he noticed on the platform there was a big trophy. He was very competitive, great in sports, great in academics. He made up his mind right then and there he come to find out, it was going to be given to the person who could memorize the most scripture verses.
This young man had never picked up the Bible, never been to church before, but he was so competitive, in two days, he memorized 30 verses of scripture, and he won the trophy. Fifteen years later, he was an all-american football player, headed to the NFL, very bright future, when one day, he felt a terrible pain in his chest, didn't know what was happening. He soon passed out.
At 22 years of age, he had laying there, he woke up in the emergency room, tubes coming out of everywhere, scared to death, didn't know what to do. Laying on that emergency room table, all of a sudden, from right down in here, all those scriptures he had memorized 15 years earlier began to come up once again.
Friends, God's word is full of power. When you need it, it's going to take root, and God's going to cause it to come alive. He started quoting scripture after scripture, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me". The doctors didn't think he was going to make it, but today that young man is healthy and whole. In fact, he's a minister. He goes all over, telling people what God has done for him. But it all started when he put the seed of God's word on the inside. You may not understand it now, but you can rest assured, when you need it, God's going to cause it to come alive in your own life.
In Malachi chapter 3, verse 16, it talks about how God has a book of remembrance. And in this book, every time we talk about God, we thank him for his goodness, we ask for his help, God has the angels write that down in this book over remembrance on your behalf. When you even think about God, the angels record it. In fact, this moment right now, the angels are writing it down in the book of remembrance. "They're at Lakewood, honoring God". This book is not up on a storeroom shelf in heaven somewhere. The scripture says before God, wide open, as a reminder of those who are thinking of him.
Imagine with me. God sees the angel start to write in the book of remembrance. God asks the angel, "Who are you writing about"? The angel says, "I'm writing about Julie. She's attending Lakewood again. She's down there singing praises, listening to your word. I'm going to make a record of it". God asks again, "Who are you writing about now"? The angel says, "I'm still writing about Julie. She's at lunch with some of her friends, talking about you". Same thing, "Who are you writing about now"? Angel says, "I'm still writing about Julie. She's driving in her car. She's got some praise music on".
Early the next morning, God asks again, "Who are you writing about"? "I'm still writing about Julie. She's up early, got her coffee, reading her Bible". A few hours later, God sees the angel start to write. God says, "Let me guess. Don't tell me. You're writing about Julie, aren't you"? The angel says, "You're exactly right. God, all through the day, she's acknowledging you, thanking you, depending on you".
Julie has a need. She goes boldly to the throne, says, "God, I need your help. I've got this problem". "Who is this"? God asks. God says, "Oh yeah. I know you, Julie. You're always talking about me. You've always got me on your mind. What can I do for you"? That's the way we should live. We should keep God constantly in our thoughts, meditating on his promises, thanking him for his goodness, acknowledging him throughout the day.
Our goal should be to give that angel a cramp in his hand from writing about us in that book of remembrance. You've got to let God out of your Sunday morning box. Include him in every part of our life. Take time each day to get if you will keep God first in everything you do, he promises he's going to crown your efforts with success.
And because you diligently seek him, I believe and declare a reward is coming. Favor is coming. Good breaks are coming. Promotion is coming. A shift is coming. Healing's coming. Restoration is coming. You need to get ready. You're not going to live an average, ordinary life. Because you depend on him, God is going to increase you. You're going to bear much fruit. He's going to make you more productive. You're going to get more done in less time. He's going to make your life easier, take you where you could not going on your own. It's going to be greater than you ever even dreamed of. I believe it, in Jesus' name.