Joel Osteen — Reprogram Your Mind
I want to talk to you today about "Reprogramming your mind". Our mind is like a computer. How we program it is the way it's going to function. You can have the most powerful computer made, the latest, fastest, holds the most memory, but if you put the wrong software in it, it's not going to function like it was designed.
We've all had to deal with these computer viruses. They can get into a perfectly good computer and start to contaminate the software. Before long, the computer is slow, and you can't access your files. All these problems occur. Not because it's defective, it's poorly made. No, the hardware is fine. It's because somebody reprogrammed the software. Somehow the insides got messed up. Now the software is contaminated.
In the same way, when God created you, he stepped back and said, "Another masterpiece. Your hardware is perfect. You're the right size, the right nationality. You have the right gifts". Not only that, God put the right software in you. From the very beginning, he programmed you to be victorious, healthy, strong, creative. Your original software says, "You can do all things through Christ". He programmed whatever you touch will prosper and succeed. He programmed the head and not the tail, lend and not borrow, victor and not victim. You were programmed to live an abundant, victorious, faith-filled life.
That's how your creator designed you. But the reason we don't always experience this abundant life is we've allowed viruses to contaminate our software. We think, "I'll never be successful. I'm not that talented". "I'll never break this addiction. I've had it too long". "I'm slow, clumsy, unattractive. Nothing good is in my future".
Because our software is infected, we go around low self-esteem, negative, not believing for dreams to come to pass, not expecting problems to turn around. Here's the good news. There is nothing wrong with you. Like that computer, you're not a mistake. You're not faulty. The problem is your software. You've got to get rid of the viruses. All through the day, dwell on what your Creator says about you. "I'm blessed. I'm strong. I'm healthy. I'm confident. I'm attractive. I'm valuable. I am victorious". You've got to get back to your original software. If your thinking is limited, your life will be limited.
One of the best things we can learn to do is hit the delete button. When negative, discouraging thoughts come, trying to contaminate your software, just hit delete. That thought says, "You've seen your best days. It's all downhill from here". Recognize that's a virus trying to keep you from your destiny. It's real simple: delete. Not dwelling on that. My software says, "The path of the righteous gets brighter and brighter". "Well, you'll never get well. You saw the medical report". Delete. God is restoring health back unto me. The number of my days he will fulfill. I will live and not die.
You may hear, "You'll never accomplish your dreams. You're not that talented. You don't have what it takes". Delete, delete, delete. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have the favor of God. Whatever I touch prospers and succeeds. Perhaps you'll hear, "You'll never break that addiction. Your father was an alcoholic, and you'll be one, too". Delete. No weapon formed against me will prosper. Whom the son sets free is free indeed, and I am free. If you're going to reach your highest potential, you've got to get good at hitting the delete button.
When I stepped up to pastor the church, every thought told me, "You can't do this, Joel. You don't know how to minister. You're too young. You don't have the experience. Nobody is going to come". It would have been easy to let that virus take root and keep me from my destiny. I did what I'm asking you to do. I kept hitting the delete button. "You can't do it". Delete. "You're too young". Delete. "Nobody is going to come". Delete. "You don't have the experience". Delete. "It's not going to work out". Delete.
I wouldn't be standing here if I wasn't an expert at one Sunday, right after I first got started, I overheard two ladies talking in the lobby after the service about me. One said, "He's not as good as his father". The other answered, "Yeah, I don't think he's going to make it". The enemy will use people to try to contaminate your software. I was already insecure, intimidated, didn't think I could do it. When I heard that, my first thought was to panic. My worst fears had come true. But then something rose up on the inside. God gives you grace for every season. He arms you with strength for every battle.
I thought to myself, "Those two ladies, they don't determine my destiny. They didn't call me. They didn't equip me. They didn't anoint me. And more than anything else, they can't stop me. They don't have the final say. God has the final say". He said I'm well able. I can do all things through Christ. I'm strong in the Lord. Every time I heard their voice, "Delete. No, thanks. Not dwelling on that". It came back again and again and again. I just kept hitting the delete button.
The scripture tells us to guard our mind. You control the doorway to what you allow in. You can dwell on every negative thought, every derogatory comment, or you can choose to delete it and dwell on what God says about you. If I would have let what those two ladies said play over and over, they would have contaminated my confidence, contaminated my self-esteem, contaminated my future. Some of you would go to a new level if you would just start hitting the delete button.
Quit dwelling on every negative thought that comes to your mind. That's the enemy trying to contaminate your software. If he can control your thinking, he can control your whole life. If that thought is negative, discouraging, pushing you down, don't dwell on it. Delete it. Pay attention to what you're thinking. If you go around thinking that you're not talented, then you'll never have the confidence to step into your destiny. If you think you're unattractive, you'll never meet the people you were supposed to meet. If you think you can't break the addiction, then you can't. If you think you've reached your limits, then you have. It's not because you can't go farther, you've just convinced yourself that you can't. The good news is it's not too late. You can still become everything God created you to be.
Here's the key: you've got to clear out all the negative things people have said about you. You are not who people say you are. You are who God says you are. Clear out what the coach, the teacher, said about you, "You're too small. You don't have what it takes". Delete it. Quit dwelling on that. You're the right size. You have exactly what you need for the race that's been designed for you. Clear out what the counselor said, "You're just a C student. You're not college material". Delete it. You're an A student. You have seeds of greatness. Clear out what the ex-boyfriend, the ex-spouse said, "You're not attractive. You're not good enough for me". Delete it. You're a masterpiece, one of a kind, beautiful, attractive, a prized possession. You may have to clear out what a parent said, that person that raised you, "You're so undisciplined. You're never going to amount to much. You can't do anything right". Delete it. You are destined to do great things. You're destined to leave your Mark on this generation.
I read a report about children that had been bullied in school. It talked about how years later those negative words were still having an effect on many of them. They interviewed this one man. He was in his 40s, and he looked to be a bright, intelligent man, but he had not been able to hold down a good job, struggled in his relationships, couldn't seem to get on course. He told how as a child he was overweight. He was chubby, and some of the other children made fun of him and called him names. Things like "Loser," "Failure". He made the mistake of letting those words take root. Now they were keeping him in mediocrity.
When somebody calls you something, either good or bad, that seed is planted in your soil. Now you get to determine whether or not that seed takes root and grows. When you dwell on what was said, you are watering the seed. You're giving it a right to become a reality. That's why it's so important that we're disciplined in our thought life. It's great when people tell you, "You're blessed. You're talented. You're going to do great things". Water those seeds. Meditate on those throughout the day. That's what you want to become a reality. But, too often, the mistake we make is we water the wrong seeds.
Those two ladies that said I wasn't as good as my father, if I would have watered that seed, I would have never gotten off the ground. And the truth is, it wouldn't have been their fault. They can't make a seed take root in me. All they can do is sow the seed. You have complete control over what seeds are going to take root and grow in your own soil.
A lot of times, we blame others. "They were talking about me. They tried to make me look bad. They were criticizing me". No, let them talk all they want. You control your own soil. Don't dwell on the negative. Don't replay what they said over and over. Guard your mind. Those are viruses trying to infiltrate your software. Joshua put it this way: if you will meditate on what God says about you day and night, then you will have good success and prosper in everything you do. When your mind is filled with thoughts of faith, thoughts of hope, thoughts of victory, that's what's going to become a reality.
That man in his 40s that was still struggling, you know why? He let those derogatory comments play over and over. Every time he thought about it, he was watering that seed year after year. Sad to say, but it became a reality. How different would his life be if he'd just learned to hit the delete button? Instead of constantly playing the negative, what if he'd have gone around thinking, "I'm a masterpiece. I'm one of a kind. I'm talented. I've got seeds of greatness"? It would be a whole different story.
Somebody may have spoken negative words over you. Delete it. People don't determine your destiny. God determines your destiny. That's why we start off every message by saying, "I am who God says I am". We're saying, in effect, "I am not who my history teacher says I am. I'm not who my ex-spouse says I am. I am not who the critics say I am. I am who God says I am".
I like to take it a step further. Not only, "I am who God says I am," but, "I can do what God says I can do". That means we know we've been programmed for victory. We've been programmed to reign in life. We've been programmed to overcome obstacles. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us out of them all". We will accomplish our dreams. We will meet the right people. We will step into the fullness of our destinies. When you think like that, all the forces of darkness cannot stop you.
Friends, the real battle is taking place in your mind. If you're defeated in your thoughts, you've already lost. You've got to get rid of the viruses. If you will get back to your original software, put in you by your Creator, you'll go places that you've never dreamed.
It's interesting how little children start off so excited about life. They've got big dreams. They're going to become a scientist, an astronaut, a singer, a teacher, a ballplayer, even the president. They're not intimidated. They're not insecure. They believe they can do anything. It's because they just came from their Creator. Their thinking has not been contaminated. They can still feel the seeds of greatness. But too often, over time, they start to get reprogrammed. Somebody tells them what they can't become, what they can't do. Little by little, their environment starts to squeeze them down.
A coach, a teacher says, "Hey, you're not good enough. You're too small". Their self-esteem goes down. They see somebody more attractive, and they start to feel inferior. All these things begin to distort who they really are. Before long, instead of dreaming big and believing possibility thoughts, they think, "I'll never do anything great. I'm not that talented. I'm just average".
When we find ourselves stuck in these ruts, not believing we can rise any higher, we need to ask, "Why do I think this way? Who programmed me to think that I'm average? Who programmed me to give up on my dreams? Who programmed me to think I can't lose this weight, I can't break this addiction, I've gone as far as I can? Where did those thoughts come from"? Could it be that you have accepted a wrong mindset because of the environment you were raised in, the people that you were around? Just because it seems normal to you doesn't mean that it's necessarily normal.
Sometimes we learn to function in our dysfunction. Maybe everybody you grew up with was negative. Well, you're not supposed to be negative. That's not normal. Maybe your friends didn't have big dreams. They didn't do anything great in life. Well, that's not okay for you. That's not normal. Just because family members had addictions, bad habits, don't make the mistake of thinking that's okay for you to live that way. Those are viruses that have been passed down. They keep infiltrating our thinking. Listen, God created you to go further, to be confident, to be free, to be healthy, positive, happy. You have greatness on the inside. Now it starts by reprogramming your thinking.
I saw a story about this dog, a German Shepherd. She was pregnant with puppies. One day, she was walking across the street and got hit by a car. Both of her back legs were broken. She was able to drag herself off the street and back to her house. As the weeks went by, she began to slowly recover. Her legs finally healed. But because they weren't properly reset, when she walked, all she could do was drag her back legs. She couldn't walk properly. Her joints had been messed up.
Eventually, she had her puppies. They seemed to be healthy and whole. But a few weeks later, when they started walking, just like their mother, they dragged their back legs. The owner was amazed. He thought maybe they had been injured in the accident, as well. Took them to the veterinarian to have them checked out. The doctor discovered there was nothing wrong with their back legs. They were perfectly healthy. Those puppies were simply copying their mother. That's all they had seen modeled. In their mind that's the way they were supposed to walk.
That's what's happened to many of us, what we saw modeled growing up. The people that raised us, they were good people. They were doing their best, but in some way they were dragging their back legs. They were negative, discouraged. Now we live negative, discouraged. They had addictions, low self-esteem. Now we struggle in those same areas. Or, maybe they made poor choices in relationships, got involved with the wrong people. Now we're dealing with the same issues. We saw them accept mediocrity. Now mediocrity has become normal to us.
The good news, just like those puppies, there is nothing wrong with your back legs. Those are simply wrong mindsets that you've developed. As you get your thinking straightened out, your legs will straighten out. God didn't make you faulty. He didn't create you subpar. He created you in his image. You are his masterpiece, crowned with favor, equipped with talent, gifts. You are destined to live a great life: healthy, abundant, happy, faith-filled. Now don't go around dragging your back legs. You are not supposed to go through life inferior, low self-esteem, addicted, little goals, little dreams. That's not who you are. Start reprogramming your mind as the head and not the tail. Program it with excellence, not mediocrity. Program it with abundance, not lack and poverty. Program it with freedom, not addictions.
This is what my father did. He grew up in a very poor environment. His parents lost everything during the great depression. He had no money, no education, no future to speak of. He had been programmed with poverty, defeat, mediocrity. He could have settled there. That's all he had seen, thought, "Hey, this is just my lot in life. We're just poor, defeated people". But at 17 years old, when he gave his life to Christ, he started reprogramming his thinking. Deep down something said, "You were made for more than this. You're not supposed to constantly struggle, to barely make it through life". He could feel those seeds of greatness stirring on the inside, and his attitude was, "This may be where I am, but this is not who I am. I may be in defeat, but I am not defeated. I'm a child of the most high God".
Day after day, he kept hitting the delete button. A thought told him, "You have no future". Delete. God's plans for me are for good, to give me a future and a hope. "You have no money". Delete. I'm blessed. Whatever I touch prospers. "You have no education. You'll never get out of here. It's impossible". Delete, delete, delete. God is making a way where I don't see a way. He's opening doors that no man can shut. He's bringing the right people across my path. I will step into the fullness of my destiny.
He reprogrammed his thinking with thoughts of faith, thoughts of hope, thoughts of victory. That's how he rose up out of that poverty, set a new standard for our family. You may have been raised in a limited environment. All you saw modeled was strife, addictions, conflict, low self-esteem, mediocrity. Don't let that set the limits for your life. Don't go around dragging your back legs. God wants you to go further. Now it starts by getting rid of the viruses. Hit the delete button. The thought tells you, "You've gone as far as you can". Delete. "You'll never get well". Delete. "You'll always be addicted". Delete. "This is as good as it gets". Delete. If you'll get good at hitting the delete button, you will break out of bondages, and you will step into freedom. You will break out of lack and poverty and step into abundance. You'll break out of mediocrity and step up to excellence.
Listen, this is a new day. Strongholds are coming down. Wrong mindsets are being broken. Viruses are being cleared out. Get ready for God to do something new. Get ready to see his goodness in amazing ways. "Well, Joel, this sounds encouraging, but I don't know. All the experts say I'll never get well. The experts say I'll never get out of debt. The experts tell me I've gone as far as my education allows. This is as good as it gets". I say this respectfully, but the experts can be wrong. The experts told us we would never have this building, but here we are today. The experts told my mother that she had a few weeks to live, but 33 years later she's still alive and healthy. The experts told us Lakewood would never make it without my father, but we're doing pretty good.
I read about a bumblebee. According to all the laws of aerodynamics, a bumblebee should not be able to fly. Its wingspan is too small for the size of its body. It can't get enough lift, but here's the key. Nobody told the bumblebee. It didn't get the memo. No experts were able to talk it out of it. The bumblebee felt its wings on its side, and something in its DNA said, "I'm supposed to fly. I'm not made to just crawl around on the ground". It didn't go check with the experts. It didn't read the latest engineering report. It just did what was natural and started flapping its wings. Took off up into the air.
If that bumblebee would have been able to read the negative reports, would have been able to listen to the naysayers, it would have never gotten off the ground. It starts in our thinking. If you don't think you can be successful, you won't. If you don't think you're talented, then you're not. If you don't think you'll meet the right people, you never will. Not because you're not able to, but because of your software. Your thinking is limiting you.
When Carl Lewis was training for the Olympic Games, the experts said no person can jump over 30 feet. The scientists had run all their calculations, done all their research. According to their data, no one would ever be able to jump that far. A reporter asked Carl Lewis what he thought about it. He said, "Yes, I know the experts say it can't be done, but I don't listen to that kind of talk. I know thoughts like that have a way of slipping down to my feet". He went on later, that same year, to jump over 30 feet and break the world record.
Are you allowing negative thoughts to drop down to your feet, stifle your potential? Why don't you do like he did? Start hitting the delete button. The experts may have told you how impossible it is, how it's not going to work out, how you're not going to get well. And, again, I mean it respectfully, because the experts are doing the best they can with the knowledge that they have. What I'm saying is God has the final say. He wouldn't have put the dream in your heart, he wouldn't have given you that promise, if he didn't have a way to bring it to pass.
Delete what the naysayers have told you. Delete the discouraging words. Delete the negative reports. You've got to get back to your original software. Some of you, this is the only thing that's holding you back.
Who told you that you can't be successful? Who told you, you can only make Cs in school? Who told you you're not tall enough, not smart enough, that you've reached your limits? I can assure you that did not come from your Creator. Those are viruses that are trying to contaminate your software. Don't let what anyone told you or what anyone showed you to limit your life. There is nothing wrong with your back legs. Start reprogramming your mind. All through the day, dwell on what your Creator says about you, "I'm blessed. I'm healthy. I'm talented. I'm valuable. My best days are still out in front of me". If you'll do this, I believe and declare every virus is being cleared out, even right now. Strongholds are coming down. Wrong mindsets that have held you back for years will no longer have any effect on you. Like Joshua promised, you will have good success and prosper in everything you do. I declare it in Jesus' name.