Joel Osteen — Meditate on What God Says About You
I want to talk to you today about "Meditating on what God says". The word "Meditate" means to think about over and over and studies tell us that we talk to ourselves up to 30,000 times a day. Playing in our minds. We need to pay attention to what we're meditating on.
Really, meditating is the same principle as worrying. When you worry, you're just meditating on the wrong thing. You're using your faith in reverse. If you go through the day worried about your finances, worried about your family, worried about your future, because you're allowing the wrong thoughts to play, it's going to cause you to be anxious, fearful, negative, discouraged. The whole problem is what you're choosing to meditate on.
Friends, you control the doorway to your mind. When those negative thoughts come knocking, you don't have to answer the door. You can say, "No thanks, I'm going to choose to meditate on what God says". And today, more than ever, there's a lot of doom and gloom. If you watch the news very long you can get depressed. The stock market, one phrase I saw in several newspapers last week was "Total fear in the Marketplace". People are panicked.
If you go through the day thinking about how bad it is, I wonder if I'm going to make it, and what if I lose my job? What if my retirement goes down? If you dwell on that, you're going to be stressed out; and I like to watch the news, I'm not saying to hide your head in the sand, but I've learned not to meditate on the negative reports.
Philippians 4:8 says: "Think on things that are wholesome, things that are pure, things that are of a good report". Don't dwell on it. That's going to poison your spirit. Instead of replaying the doom and gloom over and over, replay what God says; and yes, the financial situation may be a little shaky but God says he will supply all of your needs. He said he will prosper you even in a famine. He said he will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings that you cannot contain.
Now go through the day meditating on that. Get your mind going in the right direction. After all, the economy is not our source. God is our source. We may not know what all the future holds but we do know who holds the future, and our trust is not in the stock market, not in the economy. I say it respectfully, not even in the government. Our trust is in the Lord.
David said, "Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, but our trust is in the name of the Lord our God". In modern times, he'd say, "Some trust in their money, some trust in their job, some trust in what the economists say, but our trust is in the God who created it all. Our trust is in Jehovah-Jireh. When you meditate on that, you won't have total fear, you'll have total peace. You'll be at total rest. You know God's in control and he can give you total victory. But it all depends on what's going on in our thought life.
You can meditate on the problem or you can meditate on the promises. You can meditate on the news reports or you can meditate on God's report. What you allow to play in your mind will determine your future. And God said in Isaiah 26:3, "If you will keep your mind fixed on me then I will keep you in perfect peace". Notice, there's a way but to have perfect peace. How? Keep your thoughts fixed on him, and some of you would go to a new level if you'd pay more attention to what's playing in your mind.
You can't go through the day thinking, "I hope my child straightens up," and "What's going to happen if I get laid off," or "I might not overcome this illness". When you dwell on that, you're not going to have peace. Meditating on the problem doesn't make it better. It makes it worse. You've got to change what you're dwelling on. All through the day, go around thinking, "God has me in the palm of his hand. All things are going to work together for my good. This problem didn't come to stay; it came to pass. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers me out of them all".
When you meditate on that, you'll have greater peace, greater joy, greater strength. The apostle Paul understood this principle. He said, "I think myself happy". Happiness starts in our thinking. Paul had been through a lot of disappointments. He'd been shipwrecked, put in jail, mistreated, yet he wasn't focused on his problems. He wasn't meditating on how bad it was, replaying all of his disappointments. No, he's the one that said, "Thanks be to God who always causes me to triumph. I am more than a conqueror". His mind was filled with thoughts of hope, thoughts of faith, thoughts of victory.
He was saying, "It may look bad but I've learned this secret of how to think some people have thought themselves depressed. They've focused on their problems so long, they've thought themselves discouraged. They've watched so many news reports, they've thought themselves afraid. The good news is just as you can think yourself depressed and fearful and negative, you can think yourself happy. You can think yourself peaceful. You can even think yourself into a better mood.
The scripture tells us: "Arise from the depression that has kept you down. Rise to a new life". The first place we have to arise is in our thinking. You have to put on a new attitude. Don't go through the day thinking about your problems, dwelling on who hurt you. That's going to keep you discouraged. You've got to start in other words, all through the day, we should be go around thinking, "My best days are in front of me. Something big is coming my way. What's meant for my harm God's going to use to my advantage. My greatest victories are still in my future".
On purpose, think power thoughts: "I'm strong. I'm healthy. I'm blessed," and when you wake up in the morning and those thoughts come, telling you, "Ah, you don't want to go to work today. You've got so many problems. You've got so much coming against you," more than ever you need to kick it into gear. This is going to be a great day. This is the day the Lord has made. I'm excited about my future. Something good's going to happen to me today.
See, here's a key. Don't ever start the day in neutral. You cannot wait to see what kind of day it's going to be. When you first get out of bed in the morning, before you check the news, before you check the weather, before you check to see how you feel, you need to set your mind in the right direction: "This is going to be a great day". If you don't set your mind, the enemy will set it for you. He'll remind you of how bad you have it and how many mistakes you've made and all the people that have come against you, on and on.
Very often, the way we start the day we're going to have. If you start it negative, discouraged, complaining, you are setting the tone for a lousy day. You've got to get your mind going in the right direction. Your life is going to follow your thoughts. If you get up thinking, "Nothing good ever happens to me. I never get any breaks. I'll probably never get out of debt. I don't think I'll ever meet the right person and get married," that's what you're releasing your faith for.
Jesus said, "Become what you believe". If you believe you'll never meet the right person and get married, unfortunately, you probably won't. Your faith is working. If you believe you're going to get laid off, don't be surprised if you do. You're going to become what you believe. I'm asking you to believe what God says about you. Believe that you're blessed. Believe that your best days are in front of you. Believe that you're strong, healthy, talented, creative, well able.
Get rid of those wrong thoughts that are contaminating your thinking and start meditating on what God says about you. "If you will meditate on God's word day and night then you will be like a tree planted by the water. Your leaf will not wither but you will bear fruit in every season without fail". Notice, not in some seasons that means even if the economy goes down, you'll still be bearing fruit. It means when others are going under, you'll be going over. When others have total fear, you'll have total peace. When others are complaining, you'll have a song of praise. When others are surviving, you'll be thriving.
The message translation says: "When you meditate on God's word you will always be in blossom". That's God's dream for your life, that you always have a smile, that you're always in peace, that you're always excited about your future, and no, it doesn't mean that we'll not have difficult times, but in those difficult times, because you have your thoughts fixed on him, deep down there'll be a confidence, a knowing that everything is going to be all right. You know God is still on the throne. He's fighting your battles, and you're not only going to come out, you're going to come out better off than you were before.
I have these friends that live in another state, working for a large corporation. Recently, he got a huge promotion that he'd been hoping to get for a long time. They were so excited, but it meant they had to move to a different city and the problem was the housing market in their area was very down, hardly anything was selling. They couldn't afford two house payments so they had to sell their house before he could really take the promotion. But instead of getting discouraged and thinking, "Well, just our luck. Got the promotion at the wrong time. Our house is never going to sell," they kept their mind filled with faith.
All through the day, they'd go around saying, "Father, you said your favor surrounds us like a shield. You said we would always be in blossom. You said you would prosper us even in a famine". There were over 60 homes for sale in their neighborhood. In the last 7 months, only 3 houses have sold. In the natural, it didn't look good but they put their house on the market and 2 weeks later they had a contract to purchase their home. They talked to the new owners and, out of curiosity, they asked him, "Why did you choose our house"? They said, "Well, we looked at over 30 houses in the neighborhood but when we drove by your home, it just seemed to jump out at us and when we went inside, we felt such a peace we knew this was supposed to be our house".
That's what happens when you meditate on God's promises. You will always in other words, your property will sell when others are not selling. You'll get well when the medical report says you won't. You'll be promoted even though you're not the most qualified. Why is that? You've got your mind filled when you're in agreement with God, the creator of the universe goes to work. God will cause his favor to shine down on you. He will cause your house to stand out in the neighborhood. He will cause you to be at the right place at the right time, making sure that you succeed.
Bottom line is you're going to become what you believe. Take inventory of what's playing in your mind. If you go around thinking, "Well, Joel, my house is never going to sell. You should see my neighborhood. Joel, I'm afraid I'm never going to get well. I'm afraid my child's going to go off on the wrong path," your faith is going to draw in the negative. Job said, "The thing I feared came upon me," and just as our faith can work in the right direction, it can work in the wrong direction.
I heard about this lady. She bought a new plant for her bedroom. It was a 6-foot ficus tree. She loved plants. She had them all over her house and she was very experienced at taking care of them. But she said the first morning she woke up and saw the new plant in her bedroom she thought to herself, "This plant is not going to make it. It's not going to live". That negative thought came out of the blue and she made the mistake of dwelling on it, thinking about it over and over. "I think I've wasted my money on this plant. I'm just afraid that it's not going to live". He said, "What are you talking about? All your plants have lived. Why would you say that"? She said, "Ah, something just tells me it's not going to make it".
Three weeks later, she went over to the plant and, for no reason, the leaves were starting to turn yellow. A few days later, the leaves had all fallen off. Had totally withered up, completely died. One day, she was thinking about it and she said God spoke something to her, not out loud but an impression down in here. God said, "I just want you to know you killed that plant with your thoughts". When she heard that, chills went up and down her spine.
See, when we dwell on the negative, we're releasing our faith in the wrong direction. She told her husband, "I know you're going to think I'm crazy but I think I killed this plant with my thoughts". He looked at her very strangely and said, "All I can say is I hope you're thinking good thoughts about me".
Pay attention to what's playing in your mind. Here's what I've learned. If you'll fill your mind with the right thoughts, there won't be any room for the wrong thoughts. When you go around constantly thinking, "I'm strong, I'm healthy, I'm blessed, I've got the favor of God," then when the negative thoughts come knocking, there will be a "no vacancy" sign. Sorry, no room for you.
I was traveling overseas with my father to India and our plane was delayed because of weather and we missed our connecting flight over in Europe. It was late at night and there was a hotel at the airport and we went up to the counter and my father asked the young man for a room the computer but he said, "Sorry, sir, we're totally full tonight". Well, my dad wasn't about to take NO for an answer and he said, "Can you please look again? We're really tired. We really need a room". He checked and checked again. He said, "Sorry. No vacancy. Totally full".
My dad asked to speak to the manager and he came out and went through the same exercise and even went back in the back. But he came back and he said, "Sir, I'm sorry, we don't have any rooms". My dad said, "We're just going to be here a few hours. Can't we have some place to stay"? The manager looked at my father and said, "Sir, I can't make anyone leave the hotel. We are totally full".
That's how it is when you keep your mind filled with God's word. That thought or fear comes knocking, you're not going to make it, the problem is too big, let me in, give me a room to stay. No, just like that hotel manager, "Sorry, fear, no vacancy. No room. You're going to have to go somewhere else to stay". That thought, "You'll never sell your house. Have you seen the market"? No vacancy. God's favor surrounds me like a shield. "You'll never get well. Have you seen the medical report"? No vacancy. God is restoring health unto me. "Well, you've seen your best days". No vacancy. This hotel, this mind, is filled with thoughts of faith, hope, victory, increase, abundance, restoration. There's no room for doubt, unbelief, anxiety, fear, depression.
You need to take inventory of who's staying in your house. Who's occupying your rooms? If you give fear a room, then faith gets left outside. There's not room for both. If you give "I can't" a room, then "I can" is left outside. If you give lack, barely get by, "I'll never make it," a room, then increase, promotion, abundance is left at the door. Get rid of the wrong thoughts and let what God says about think of it like this.
When you go to bed at night, you lock the doors to your house. You don't want any strangers coming in. That's where you live. That's your home. You need to have that same thinking when it comes to your mind. This is who I am. This is my future. I'm not going to let just any thought come in and have a permanent home. I'm going to guard the doorway to my mind and only give a room to thoughts of hope, thoughts of faith, thoughts of victory.
I've heard it put like this. If you owned an apartment complex and you rented out 80% of the apartments to drug dealers, thieves, cheaters, and the other 20% to normal, law-abiding citizens, after a few months the drug dealers and cheaters would run off all the normal people. Same way in our thoughts. If you go around thinking about how bad it is, dwelling on your problems, all that you don't have, how tough your future's going to be, all those negative thoughts are going to run off any positive thoughts. You've got to quit renting out space in your mind to your problems.
Quit renting out valuable space to self-pity. Don't rent it out to "Can't do it, not going to happen" thoughts. You only have so much space in your mind. Some of you today, you need to serve an eviction notice, tell those negative thoughts, "You've occupied my rooms long enough. I'm got my new renter is faith, joy, peace, healing. My new tenant is victory". I'm not saying to deny the negative reports and act like they don't exist. I'm simply saying don't dwell on them. Don't let it consume you where that's all you think about, all you talk about. Learn to downplay it.
You remember in the scripture when Jesus was headed off to pray for a person that was very sick but he kept getting delayed. Finally, these people came back and said to the disciples who were very close to Jesus, standing there. They said, "Tell Jesus he doesn't need to come any longer. It's too late. The person has already died". The scripture says: "Jesus, overhearing, but ignoring". In other words, Jesus heard the negative reports but he didn't let it take root. He didn't meditate on it. He didn't get discouraged. He didn't turn round and go back home. No, he knew people don't have the final say. God has the final say.
Sometimes in order to stay in faith you have to ignore a negative report. You have to ignore what somebody said about you. You have to ignore what your own thoughts are telling you. You may hear it but you can do like Jesus and choose not to dwell on it.
When I stepped up to pastor the church, every thought in my mind told me, "Joel, you can't do this. You're not a minister. You're going to get up there and look like a fool". I heard the thoughts but I chose not to dwell on it. I meditated on, "I can do all things through Christ. I am strong in the Lord. If God be for me, who dare be against me"? When you get in agreement with God, you will fulfill your God-given destiny.
When we were trying to acquire this beautiful new facility, many people told us, "It's never going to happen. You're wasting your time, Joel. You're not going to get that building". I heard the reports but I let them go in one ear and out the other. I didn't pay any attention.
When our children were younger and one of their friends was talking too much and they didn't want to hear it, they'd put out their arm and say, "Talk to the hand". That meant, "You're talking but I'm not listening". That's what we need to do when the negative thoughts come. In your imagination, just put out your arm and say, "Talk to the hand. You're talking but I'm not hearing you. You're trying to rent a room but I'm telling you 'no vacancy here.'"
I was watching a football game several years ago. It was the play-offs and a very important game and there were only a few seconds left, and the visiting team was down by 2 points and they were about to attempt a field goal to win the game. The kicker was on the field, lining up, and getting ready for the biggest kick of his life. The opposing fans were hollering at him, screaming, jeering, and just as he was about to kick, the other team called time-out to give the fans more time to try to intimidate him.
They started playing in the stadium on the big screen, all the times this kicker had missed before, even years back. They replayed all of his failures and every time he missed, the whole crowd with 80,000 people screaming against him, he stepped up and kicked the ball right through the uprights and won the game. Afterwards, a reporter asked him how he could handle the pressure with so many thousands of people screaming against him. He said, "You know, it's kind of funny. I didn't hear anybody screaming. I just kept telling myself, 'you can do this. You've got what it takes.'" The reporter said, "Well, what about on the big screen when they were replaying all your failures"? He said, "Oh, yeah, I saw that but I didn't pay any attention. I just ignored it".
In life, there will be times where it feels like every voice is telling you, "You can't do it. It's not going to work out. You'll never overcome this problem". It may be physical voices, people around you, critics, naysayers. Or it may just be voices in your mind, thoughts trying to discourage you. Don't be surprised even if the enemy starts replaying your failures, replaying the times that you've missed it, replaying all your disappointments.
Listen, you've got dig your heels in. You may hear the negative reports, but choose to ignore it. People don't determine your destiny, God does. If you'll get in agreement with God, and not let those distractions pull you off course, let me tell you, God will get you to where he wants you to be.
Friends, the first place we lose the victory is in our own thinking. You may feel like 80,000 voices are screaming against you, saying, "It's never going to work out. This problem is too big. You might as well just settle where you are". No, put your hand out. Tell those negative thoughts, "Talk to the hand". They want to rent a room? Show them the "No vacancy" sign. If you'll keep your thoughts fixed on what God says, you will overcome those obstacles and accomplish your dreams.
That's what it says in Joshua 1:8: "If you will meditate on God's word day and night you will prosper and have good success". The whole key is what's going on in your thought life. What are you meditating on? Make a decision with me that you're going to keep your thoughts fixed on what God says. On purpose, think power thoughts: "I'm strong. I'm talented. I'm creative. I've got the favor of God".
Remember, you're going to become what you believe. Get up every morning. Set your mind in the right direction. Don't meditate on the problem. Meditate on the promises. Learn to think yourself happy, think yourself peaceful, think yourself victorious. Victory starts in our thinking, and if you'll develop this habit of meditating on what God says, here's what's going to happen. You're going to have perfect peace. You will always be in blossom. You will prosper. You will have good success and I believe and declare you will overcome every obstacle, defeat every enemy. You're going to become everything God's created you to be, amen?