Joel Osteen — Stay In Peace
I want to talk to you today about staying in peace. We all have opportunities to get worried, go around upset, frustrated, offended. Somebody is not treating us right. We're dealing with a health issue. The project is taking a lot longer than we thought.
Life happens. God never promised that we wouldn't have challenges and everything will always go smoothly. No, the storms of life come to every person. But God did promise that we can have peace in the midst of the storm. Just because we're in a stressful situation doesn't mean that we have to get stressed out. Just because the medical report wasn't good or your plans didn't work out, it doesn't mean that you have to be frustrated.
You may be in the storm. The key is don't let the storm get in you. A boat can be surrounded by water, sailing through a vast ocean, water for miles in every direction. It's not any problem unless the boat starts taking on the water. If the boat starts allowing the ocean on the inside, before long it will sink. And it's the same principle in life. You can have trouble all around you. At the office, people gossiping, playing politics. At school, somebody trying to make you look bad. At home, raising a difficult child. Stress. Frustration. Worry. It's all around you. But the good news is, just like the boat, you don't have to allow what's on the outside to get on the inside just because you're surrounded by a situation that should be frustrating.
"Joel, they're talking about me. I should be offended". "Traffic is taking twice as long as normal. I should be upset". No, don't let the storm get in you. Don't start taking on the water. If you're controlled by your circumstances, up when things are up, down when things don't go your way, life is going to be a roller-coaster. God wants you to be stable, consistent, not moved by any of these things. And when you face an adversity, when you hit a tough time, one of the best things you can do is simply stay calm. Keep your peace. When you're in peace that's a position of power. You're saying with your actions, "God, I trust you. I know you are still on the throne. This may be difficult but I know you are fighting my battles".
When you're in peace you're showing God by your actions that you're trusting him. The scripture says, "Those who have believed enter into rest". Notice when you're really believing, there is a rest. "Well, you didn't get the promotion. Aren't you upset? You were the most qualified". "No, I'm at peace. I know God has something better. Promotion doesn't come from people. Promotion comes from the Lord. When it's my time to be promoted I will be promoted". That's what it means to stay at rest.
Some of you have been on that roller-coaster for a long time allowing your circumstances to determine whether or not you're going to be happy. You need to put your foot down and say, "That's it. From now on I'm keeping my peace. I'm not going to allow what's on the outside to get on the inside. I'm not going to keep letting the same people frustrate me, the same circumstances upset me. I'm going to enter in to that place of rest". That not only allows God to work in your life but it's better for your health. We were never created to live uptight, worried, stressed out. That weakens our immune system. It won't fight off diseases like it should.
The reason some people can't overcome an illness, they're always tired, run down. They don't have any energy. It's because they worry all the time. On the inside they're constantly wrought up. Even when they go to bed at night their mind is still going 90 to nothing, thinking about that problem, "What if I can't make that payment"? All that time you spend worrying you are draining your energy. It's making you weaker, taking your creativity.
You don't do your best work when you're worried. You don't make good decisions when you're stressed out. The scripture even says, "You cannot add one inch to your height by worrying". If we could some of us would be 20 feet tall; we've worried so long. Worry is like a rocking chair. You're always moving but you're never going anywhere.
When God created Adam, he put him in the Garden of Eden, a very quiet, peaceful, tranquil place. That's where God met him and spoke with him, at a place of peace. In life it can be very noisy. If we allow it, all of us can lived stressed, uptight, in a hurry, on edge. But in all the busyness, the bills to pay, the deadlines at the office, the children to raise, the problems we're concerned about, in the midst of the hectic society we've got to learn to not let the busyness, the frustration, the stress, to get on the inside. It may be very hectic on the outside but deep down in your spirit person there needs to be a calmness, a rest, to where you know God has you in the palm of his hand.
You know no weapon formed against you will ever prosper. The scripture says, "Be still and know that I am God". Some of you have been worried for a long time, stressed because a dream hasn't come to pass, upset over a challenge you're dealing with. You can't sleep at night. It's taken your joy. But just like God met Adam at a place of peace, God is saying, "There may be trouble, turmoil, all around on the outside but if you'll come back to that place of peace on the inside, I will meet you there. I will give you wisdom. I will give you strength. I will turn that situation around".
God meets us when we're in peace. I've been in a hurricane before. In the center of the hurricane there's something called the "Eye of the storm" where it's very calm and peaceful. All around there is chaos; winds blowing 100 plus miles an hour, debris flying left and right, danger everywhere. But as long as you're in the eye it's as calm and peaceful as can be.
In life there will be times where it seems like everything is out of control. "My child is acting up. My company is talking about laying people off. My loved one is about to pass". Challenges, adversities, stress will come. But just like with the eye of the storm, in the midst of that difficulty, there is a place of peace that you can go to. The scripture calls it, "The peace that passes all understanding". That means you'll have peace when you should be upset. You'll have peace when really you should be stressed out.
I remember when my father went to be with the Lord in 1999. That was the most difficult thing that I had ever faced. Suddenly, I lost my best friend. We had all these questions. What's going to happen to the church? What if people don't keep coming? The critics said we would never make it without my father. The winds, the rains, were very strong. But in the midst of that storm I felt this indescribable peace. I should have been worried but I wasn't. I should have been stressed out, depressed, but I wasn't. Why? I was in the eye of the storm. I chose to enter that place of rest. I said, "God, we know you are still on the throne. This may be a surprise to us, but God, we know it's not a surprise to you".
When you stay calm in the midst of the storm you will feel a peace that passes all understanding, a peace that doesn't even make sense.
One time Jesus was on a boat asleep. This huge storm arose. The disciples were so afraid, so distraught, they ran in frantically and said, "Jesus, wake up! We're all about to die"! Jesus got up and simply spoke to the storm. He said, "Peace. Be still". Instantly, everything calmed down. The reason Jesus could bring peace to that situation was because he had peace on the inside. He was in the storm but he didn't let the storm get in him.
If you get upset, bent out of shape every time things don't go your way, you can't bring peace to that situation. Peace is not the absence of trouble. Peace is not getting rid of all your enemies, overcoming all your challenges, paying off all your bills. No, there can be trouble, conflict, challenges all around you on the outside but real peace is not allowing it on the inside.
I read about this contest where whoever painted the picture that displayed peace in the greatest most compelling way would win the prize. There were all these paintings of very beautiful, peaceful scenery; the sun setting over an ocean, palm trees blowing in the wind, so peaceful. There was a pasture scene, these rolling, lush, green hills, white picket fence, beautiful lake in the background. One was a winter scene with fresh snow and a small log cabin. You could see through the window the fireplace, majestic mountains in the background. It looked so warm and cozy.
But the painting that won first prize was a picture of a huge storm, lightning flashing across the sky, rain coming down, wind blowing the trees. It looked just the opposite of peace. But over in the corner, in the cleft of a rock, there was a bird in her nest tucked away. Underneath her outstretched wings were six of her baby birds. In the midst of this huge storm they were just sitting there as calm and as peaceful as can be.
See, peace is not the absence of trouble. Peace is knowing God is right there with you in the midst of the trouble. It talks about in Psalms how God will cover us under his wings. God will hide us in the rock. What am I saying? Don't wait for all your problems to resolve and then you'll decide to quit worrying. "Joel, as soon as the traffic gets better, as soon as my boss retires, as soon as my husband straightens up". If you have that attitude there will always be something to keep you upset, frustrated, offended, discouraged. No, make up your mind you're going to have peace right in the midst of the storm.
You've heard the saying, "Still waters run deep". In the ocean, on the surface the water is always changing, depending on the wind, the tide, what time of year, even what time of day. It can be very smooth and calm. Later in the day it can be rough and choppy. When the wind is strong and the tide is just right there can be ten-foot waves where a few days earlier it was just small whitecaps.
What's interesting is if you go down about 30 feet deep the water never changes. It's as calm and still as can be. Right above it on the surface it may change a dozen times a day but 30 feet down it never changes; always calm. That's the way we need to be. In life, on the surface, things will always be going on: waves, wind, sometimes bigger than others. You can't get away from all the traffic, or a person that irritates you, a challenge in your relationship, in your health. That's just life. That will create waves up on the surface. But deep down in that spirit person you've got to have a calmness, a peace in your spirit.
The scripture says, "In quietness and calmness will be my strength". But when you're worried, you're moved by every circumstance, upset because you're not getting your way, offended at what a neighbor said, then you're living a very shallow life. You're focused on the surface.
The problem is you don't control the wind. You can't control the tide. In other words, you don't control what other people do. You can't control what your neighbor says or even what battles you fight. Really, the only thing we can control is our own attitude.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond. If you worry all the time, get upset every time the traffic is bad, frustrated because you have an unexpected bill, my encouragement to you today is go deeper. The surface is always going to be changing. You'll never get away from the tests, the challenges, the adversities.
As long as you're alive there will be something to deal with. But when you learn to go down to the deep waters you have this calmness, this rest. You know what's on the surface is only temporary. A big wave hits you in your marriage, in your finances. In the natural you should be upset. On the surface it looks big, insurmountable. But deep down you've got a peace, a calmness. You know this too shall pass.
That's what happened to three teenagers in the scripture - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They wouldn't bow down to the king's golden idol. They were about to be thrown into a fiery furnace. The king threatened them one last time, "If you don't bow this is it. Your life is going to be over". You would think they would be upset, discouraged, all devastated. No, they were in the storm but they didn't let the storm get in them. They knew God had them in the palm of his hand.
Listen, the enemy cannot stop God's destiny for your life. He is not in control. God is in control. Satan had to ask permission to even test Job. God has a hedge of protection around you. Nothing can happen without God's permission. And God will not allow a difficulty unless he has a divine purpose for it. If you will keep your peace you'll pass the test and God will bring you out better than you were before.
The Israelites were facing an impossible situation. God told them, "Hold your peace. Remain at rest and I will fight your battles". Notice there was a condition, something we have to do. Hold your peace. That indicates something is trying to take it away: thoughts of worry, fear, anxiety. "What if it doesn't happen? What am I going to do"? If you can just stay in peace the Creator of the universe, the Most High God, will go to work in your behalf.
Nothing can stand against our God. He has all power. He stopped the sun for Joshua. He closed the mouths of hungry lions for Daniel. He healed my mother of terminal cancer. He gave us this building when it looked impossible. Whatever you face in life, if you will just hold your peace, remain at rest, God promises he will fight your battles. He will make a way even when you don't see a way.
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego; they should have been afraid, should have been distraught, but they understood this principle. They said, "King, we're not going to bow down to your idol. Even if you throw us into the furnace we're not worried. We know our God will deliver us and even if he doesn't we're still not going to bow down". They were saying, "If it happens our way, great. But if it doesn't work out the way we wanted we're still going to stay in peace". I like that.
"Joel, I'm believing to get healed but even if I don't I'm still in peace. I know when I die I'm going to go to heaven and be with the Lord. That's not too bad". "That person at the office that gets on my nerves, if God removes them, fine. If God chooses to leave them, fine. I'm still going to stay in peace". When you have a made up mind that no matter what life deals your away you're going to stay calm and in peace all the forces of darkness cannot keep you from your destiny.
This is what the apostle Paul did. All kinds of things came against him. He was shipwrecked, went days without food or water. He was beaten with rods, falsely accused, put into prison. Yet he said, "None of these things move me". Paul wasn't living on the surface. He was stable, consistent, living in the deep waters.
That's the attitude we need to have. "None of these things move me. Business is a little slow. I'm not moved by it. I'm not losing any sleep. I know Jehovah jireh, the Lord my provider, he is supplying all of my needs". "Traffic is backed up. "I'm not moved by it. My steps are ordered by the Lord". "Somebody is talking about me. I'm not moved by it. That's a small wave. That's on the surface. I'm in the deep waters". "Well, I heard you got a bad medical report". "Yes, that's true but I'm not moved by it. I know God made my body. The number of my days he will fulfill". "Well, I saw your son got into trouble again". "Yes, but I'm not moved by it. It's only temporary. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord".
Some of you today would go to a new level if you would quit letting so many things move you. Life is too short to live it offended, upset, stressed out, discouraged. Every day is a gift from God. Before you leave the house you need to make up your mind, "Nothing is going to move me today. Nothing is going to upset me, the traffic, the weather, what somebody says, a delay; a disappointment. My plans may not work out but I know this; my God is still on the throne and if he be for me who dare be against me"?
The scripture talks about putting on the armor of God. One piece of that armor is our shoes of peace. When you get up in the morning you need to make sure to put your shoes on. You've got to prepare ahead of time that nothing is going to frustrate you. Your child forgets his lunch. You've got to run back to the school and it stresses you out. What's the problem? You're barefoot. You forgot to put your shoes on. At the grocery story somebody is rude to you. You're about to be rude back to them. No, quit leaving the house barefoot. Make sure you put your shoes of peace on every morning.
Victoria and I and our children went to Australia not long ago to hold a night of hope. It was a sixteen-hour flight over there. Before we left, someone gave us a small bag of toiletries as a gift. It had a toothbrush in it, mouthwash, earplugs, things you might need on a long flight. About 30 minutes before we landed in Sydney, Victoria opened hers up and got out this small aerosol can. It looked like that kind of water you spray on your face to freshen up.
She leaned over to me and was going to use me as the guinea pig, "Joel, you want some of this"? I said, "No, Victoria. I don't want any". "Oh! Come on, Joel! It'll make you feel good. Just try some". I said, "Victoria, I don't want any". "Oh, Joel! It'll just freshen you up. Come on. Try it". I said, "Victoria, I do not want any of that in my face". she said, "Okay". She started spraying it all over her face and saying real dramatically, "Ah! This feels so good"! She'd spray some more, "Oh! Joel, you don't know what you're missing". On and on; over dramatic.
About that time I smelled something really strange. I said, "Victoria, are you sure that's water? It smells like perfume". She touched her face. She said, "I don't know. It's sticky too". I said, "Give me that bottle". It's all in another language. The only thing I could read, right at the very bottom, it said, "Spray deodorant". She said, "What am I going to do"? I said, "Keep your peace". When you live right God will protect you. Even from your wife.
Second timothy 4 says, "Be calm, cool and steady, unflinchingly endure hardships". I like that word "Unflinchingly". If somebody says something derogatory about you don't even flinch. Don't blink. Don't let it phase you. "I've got my shoes of peace on. Plus, I've got my earplugs in". You didn't get a good report about your health. Don't fall apart. "Oh, man. I've been praying. I've been eating right. I don't understand. Joel, I'm so upset". Don't flinch. Tap into the deep waters. That's the surface. Waves come and go. Be calm, cool and steady.
That's not just being tough. That's showing God that you're trusting him. You applied for the loan. It didn't go through. Don't flinch. God knows what he is doing. You had big plans. They got canceled. Don't flinch. It's only a test. You thought that person you were dating was the right one. It didn't work out. Don't flinch. God has somebody better in store. See, it's one thing to go through a difficulty and everybody knows about it. Your family is praying. Friends are cheering you on. Your coworkers are standing with you.
There's nothing wrong with that. We certainly need each other. But when you go through a difficulty and nobody knows anything about it, you've still got a smile on your face, you're still being good to people, you're still singing in the choir, you're still giving it your all at the office, the enemy did his best but you didn't flinch. You didn't have a nervous breakdown. You didn't get bitter. You didn't give up on your marriage. You didn't drop out of church. You didn't quit dreaming. You kept being your best.
God is saying, "Because you have endured unflinchingly I'm about to turn that situation around. I'm about to restore what's been stolen". "I'm about to show you healing, favor, promotion, breakthroughs, like you've never seen". When you endure unflinchingly the Creator of the universe goes to work.
Some of you have been in a difficulty for a long time. You're wondering if it's ever going to change, is it ever going to get better. God made a promise in exodus 33. He is saying it to you. "I will give you rest. Everything will be fine for you".
Let those words sink down into your spirit. Everything will be fine. Your marriage may be a little rocky right now. Don't worry about it. Everything will turn out fine. Your child may be off course. Keep your peace. God is working behind the scenes. Everything will be fine. You may be struggling in your finances. You don't see how you're going to make it. Listen, God feeds the birds of the air. How much more is he going to take care of you? Everything will be fine. Maybe you went through a loss, a disappointment. The future doesn't look very bright. Stay at rest. A new beginning is coming. Everything will be fine.
Friends, we don't really know what the future holds but we do know who holds the future. God has you in the palm of his hand. Nothing can snatch you away. the storms of life come to every person. My challenge today: don't let the storm get in you. Hold your peace. Remain at rest. That's your position of power. When you're in peace the Creator of the universe goes to work. Before you leave the house each day make up your mind, "Nothing is going to move me today. Nothing is going to upset me". If you do this you'll not only live healthier but God promises he will show up, fight your battles, turn situations around. I believe and declare you will live the life of victory he has in store. In Jesus' name.