Joel Osteen — Stay Passionate About Life
I want to talk to you today about staying passionate about life. The word, "Enthusiasm" comes from the Greek word "Entheos". "Theos" is God. When you're enthusiastic it simply means you are full of God. When you get up in the morning excited about your future, recognizing that day is a gift and you go out with a spring in your step, pursuing your goals, passionate about life, then God will breathe in your direction.
Studies even tell us people that are enthusiastic get better breaks. They're promoted more often. That's not a coincidence. When you're full of passion you have the favor of God. But too many people have lost their enthusiasm. At one time they were excited about their dreams, excited about their marriage, excited about their future, but along the way they had some setbacks. They didn't get the promotion they wanted. They went through a health issue. A relationship didn't work out.
Now it's taken the wind out of their sails. They're just going through the motions of life: getting up, going to work, coming home, going to bed. No zeal. No enthusiasm. But God didn't breathe his life into us to drag through the day. He didn't create us in his image, crown us with his favor, equip us with his power to just go through the motions with no enthusiasm. You may have had some setbacks, the wind may have been taken out of your sail, but this is a new day. God wants to breathe new life back into you. If you'll get your fire back, get your passion back, the wind will start blowing once again, not against you, but when you're in agreement with God, he can cause the wind to shift in your direction.
A couple of years ago I was watching the news when captain Sullenberger successfully landed a jet airplane in the Hudson river. All 155 passengers survived. It's known as "The miracle on the Hudson". A reporter asked this one passenger, a man that had just been rescued, what he thought about it all. He was soaking wet, freezing cold, a little bit frazzled, but he had this incredible glow about him, an excitement in his voice. I'll never forget what he said. He told the reporter, "I was alive before but now I'm really alive".
My question to you, "Are you really alive"? Are you passionate about the life God has given you? Do you get up every morning with enthusiasm, pursuing your dreams? Or are you stuck in a rut, going through the motions, letting the pressures of life weigh you down? No, God doesn't want you to just be alive, just exist; just endure. He wants you to be really alive. You have seeds of greatness on the inside. There is something more for you to accomplish. The day you quit being excited about your future is the day you quit living. The day you quit being passionate about what's in front of you is the day you go from living to existing.
In the natural there may not be anything exciting in your future. When you look out you may see just more of the same. You could easily have the blahs. But you've got to dig your heels in and say like David, "This is another day the Lord has made. I refuse to drag through it with no passion"."I am grateful that I'm alive. I'm grateful that I can breathe without pain. I'm grateful that I have a family. I'm grateful that I wasn't harmed in that accident. I'm not just alive; I'm really alive". When you release your passion like that then your faith allows God to do amazing things.
That's what the apostle Paul told Timothy in this passage. "Stir up the gift. Fan the flame". Every day we have to make the decision, "I am not going to get stuck in a rut. I am not going to take this day for granted and just go through the motions. I'm going to stay passionate about the life God's given me". The truth is most of life is routine. You can't wait for something exciting to happen before you decide to be excited. Faith says, "I'm going to stay passionate just knowing that my God is still on the throne and what he has promised is in my future. It will be greater than my past".
I was talking to a professional baseball player a while back. He has been in the big leagues about fifteen years. His life seems so exciting, far from routine, far from ordinary. He said, "No, Joel. It's not what you think. We travel all the time. We're always on the road, in hotels, eating out, away from our family".
My point is, anything can become routine if we let it. We have to keep it fresh. If you're going to stay passionate about life you can't let what once was a miracle become ordinary. When God opened the door and gave you that new job, that promotion, you were so excited. You called your friends. You knew it was God's favor. Well, don't let the passion wear off just because you've had it five years. When you met that person and fell in love you were on cloud nine. You knew it was God's goodness. Don't take it for granted.
Remember what God has done. When your children were born you cried for joy. You knew their birth was a miracle. That was God's favor. Now they're a teenager and you think, "God, why did you do this to me"? No, don't let it become so common that you lose your enthusiasm. Every time you see your children you should say, "Thank you, Lord". Your children are a gift from God.
When we were trying to acquire this new facility, the former Compaq Center, it was a three-year process. Many times, if there wasn't a ballgame going on or a concert, Victoria and I would come up late at night where nobody could see us and we'd walk around the building and pray and ask God for favor and dream. When the city voted for us to have the facility we were so excited. We all celebrated. Now seven years later it's easy to get used to. It can become common, ordinary, routine. After all, this is where we always have our services. No, every time I walk into this building, any time I even drive by, I can't help but say, "Lord, thank you for your goodness. You've done more than I could ask or think".
Every one of you has seen God's goodness in your life in some way. God opened a door and gave you a promotion. Or he caused you to meet someone. He had you at the right place at the right time. It was God's hand of favor. Don't let it become ordinary. We should live in amazement at what God has done. Every time I see my children I think, "God, you're amazing". When I see Victoria, "Lord, thank you for your goodness". When I look out at all of you, "Lord, thank you for bringing incredible people into my life". Don't let your miracles become so common that you lose the excitement.
I read about this medical doctor. He was in his late 80's. He still went to the office every day. He loved to operate. His friends and family tried to get him to retire but he just wouldn't do it. He had invented a procedure that he had performed over 10,000 times. He was asked in an interview if he ever got tired of doing it, if it ever got old. He said, "No. The reason why is because I act like every operation is my very first one". He was saying, "I don't let it become so common that I lose the awe".
What has God done in your life? Do you have healthy children? Do you have people in your life to love? Do you recognize what you thought was a lucky break was really God directing your steps? There are miracles all around us. Don't lose the amazement at what God has done in your own life. See, sometimes we're waiting for the next big thing to come along then we're going to be excited, then we're going to get the spring back in our step. But I've learned if you don't get happy where you are you won't get to where you want to be. You've got to sow a seed.
Maybe today nothing exciting is going on in your life. Perhaps you're even facing challenges. You could easily be discouraged and give up on your dreams and quit believing. But when you go to work each day with a smile on your face and you give it your best and you're good to other people and you're always thanking God for what he has done, you are sowing a seed. God will take that seed and use it to bring something exciting into your life.
The scripture tells how God will take us from glory to glory, from victory to victory. Now you may be in between a victory right now but keep your passion. Keep your enthusiasm. The good news is another victory is coming your way, another level of glory, another level of God's favor. It says in Ecclesiastes, "Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart and you'll honor God".
When you give something 100%, when you do it to the best of your ability, because you are honoring God you will have his blessing. That means it will be easier, it will go better and you will accomplish more. Let's make it practical. When you do the dishes don't complain. Do it with all of your heart and you honor God. When you mow the lawn don't drag around all sour. Mow it with enthusiasm. Mow it like you're on a mission from God. With every step thank God that your legs work. Thank him that you're healthy. Thank him that you're strong.
At the office don't just do what you have to in order to get by. You're not working unto people. You're working unto God. Do it with your whole heart, to the best of your ability. When you usher, when you sing in the choir, not, "Awe, man. It's Sunday again. Why did I volunteer? I don't want to go to church". No, usher with all your heart. Sing like these people with all your heart. Teach our children with all your heart. When you do it with all your heart you honor God.
I remember growing up there was this police officer that directed traffic by the Galleria Mall. He was at one of the busiest intersections in the city. He didn't just direct traffic. He practically danced while he directed. His feet would be shuffling. His hands constantly moving. He had that whistle and he would turn his head like a drum major. He could direct traffic and moonwalk at the same time. He literally put on a show. People would pull over into the parking lots just to watch him.
See, he wasn't dragging through the day, "Awe, man. I gotta go to work. Gotta direct traffic. Gotta make a living". He was passionate. That's the way we should be. Don't drag through life. Put a smile on your face. Have a spring in your step. Moonwalk if you have to. But when you do it to the best of your ability you are honoring God.
Well, you say, "Joel, I'd be passionate if I had your life. I'd be excited if I was married to a beautiful girl like Victoria". No, run your race. You will never stay passionate as long as you're comparing your life to someone else's. Don't fall into that trap. You could be all excited about the big vacation you have planned, looking so forward to it, until your friend tells how she's going to Europe for two weeks with her family. They're going to take a train through the swiss alps, meet friends in Paris and celebrate her birthday in Italy.
All of a sudden, your vacation to Conroe doesn't seem so exciting. That's funny, isn't it? You could be all excited about your husband until you meet your coworker's husband. He is tall, dark and handsome. Your husband is short, white and not so handsome. Her husband looks like he just stepped out of GQ. Your husband just looks like he stepped out of DQ-dairy queen. No. That's not in the Bible but its good.
Don't compare your spouse, your talent, your looks, your car, your house. This is what keeps many people from staying passionate about life. The problem is if you're comparing you will always see someone more talented, more beautiful, more successful. Run your own race. Be the best that you can be. The scripture talks about how God has given us the power to enjoy what is allotted and appointed to us. That simply means I don't have the power to enjoy your life. You may have more success, more money, more friends, a better job, but if you put me in your life I'm not going to enjoy it. We are uniquely designed to run our own race.
Now quit wishing you were someone else. "If I had his talent...". No, if God wanted you to have his talent he would have given it to you. Take what you have and develop it. Make the most of it. "If I had her looks...". No, God gave you your looks. That's not an accident. The life you have has been perfectly matched for you. Now you've got to do your part and get excited about your life. Be excited about your looks, your talent, your ability, your personality.
When you're passionate about who you are it brings honor to God. That's when God will breathe in your direction and the seeds of greatness in you will take root and begin to flourish. Really, it's an insult to God to wish we were someone else. We're saying, "God, why did you make me subpar? Why did you make me less than"?
Listen, God didn't make anyone inferior. He didn't make any person second-class. Every one of you is a masterpiece. You are fully loaded and totally equipped for the race that's been designed for you.Our attitude should be, "I may not be as tall, as dark, as successful as someone else. That's okay. Nobody will ever be a better me. I'm anointed to be me. I'm equipped to be me. Not only that, it's easy to be me".
It's easy to be yourself because you're equipped with what you need. But so often we're trying to be something that we're not. I've seen dark-skinned people put cream on them to try to become lighter. Then I know light-skinned people that go to the tanning bed every day trying to become darker.
This elderly lady stopped me at a book signing last week and she touched my hair and said, "Joel, I wish I had that curly hair". It's funny. These days you can do something about it. If you have straight hair and you want curly hair - perm it. If you have Grey hair and you want dark hair - dye it. And if you have no hair and you want hair - buy it.
Another key to staying passionate about life is you have to stay productive. You have to have a reason to get out of bed every morning. Keep your goals in front of you. You may retire from the job but don't ever retire from life. Stay busy. Keep your mind active. Keep growing. Keep learning. Keep helping others. Find some way to stay productive. When you stop producing you start slowly dying.
God promises us if we'll keep him first place he will give us a long, satisfied life. You say, "Joel, how long is a long life"? Until you're satisfied. If you quit producing at 50 and you're satisfied then the promise is fulfilled. I don't know about you but I've got too much in me to die right now. I'm not satisfied. I've got dreams that haven't come to pass. I've got messages I haven't given. I've got children to enjoy, a wife to raise...I mean, a wife to enjoy. I'm going to need a ride home today. I've got grandchildren I've not yet seen.
When I get to be about 90 years old and I'm still strong, still healthy, still full of joy, then I'll say, "All right, God. I'm satisfied. I'm ready for my change of address. Let's go". But I know people that are too easily satisfied. They quit living at 50. We don't bury them until they're 80. They're alive but they're not really living. They went through a disappointment. They had a failure. Somebody did them wrong. Now they've lost their joy and settled where they are.
No, God has another victory in front of you. You wouldn't be breathing unless God had something amazing in your future. You've got to get your passion back. The scripture says God will bring us to a flourishing finish, not a fizzled out finish. You've got to do your part and shake off the self-pity. Shake off the disappointment. You may have a good reason to feel sorry for yourself. I say this respectfully but you don't have a right. God has promised what was meant for your harm he will turn it around and not only bring you out but he will bring you out better off than you were before.
Now get in agreement with God. David said, "Lift up your head and the king of glory will come in". As long as your head is down, discouraged, no joy, no passion, no enthusiasm, the king of glory will not come in. But when you get up in the morning and say, "Father, thank you for another day. Thank you for another sunrise. Lord, I'm excited about this day".
When you're really alive, hopeful, grateful, passionate, productive, then the king of glory, the most high God will come in and make a way even when you don't see a way. The truth is, we all face disappointments. We all have unfair things happen to us. Don't let that sour your life. I love the saying, "Trouble is inevitable but misery is optional". Just because you had a bad break doesn't mean that your life is over.
I know this well-known minister. He is well up into his 80's. For many years he pastored his church and was a great speaker. He was in great demand. But a few years ago he came down with Parkinson's disease. It got to the place where he could not speak anymore. He had to resign from his church. He once was so eloquent and strong and vibrant. Now it looked like he was finished. It looked like his best days were behind him.
But not long after that I received a package in the mail from him. It was a manuscript. The cover letter said, "Joel, as you know I cannot speak anymore so I have taken up writing. Here's a copy of my new book".
See, just because you can't do what you used to do doesn't mean you're supposed to sit on the sidelines. If you can't speak; write. If you can't run; walk. If you can't stand up; sit up. If you can't sing; tap your foot. If you can't dance at least shake your head. But as long as you have breath you have something to offer. Don't lose your passion.
Think about the apostle Paul. He was thrown in the prison at the height of his career, the very peak. Just when everything was going great he had this incredible disappointment. He could have easily gotten discouraged, thought, "Too bad for me," given up on his dreams, given up on life. No, Paul kept his passion and it was in that very prison that he wrote nearly half of the New Testament. What looked like a setback was really a setup for God to do something greater.
You may have gone through a disappointment or had an unfair situation but keep your passion. Nothing that's happened to you is a surprise to God. He is still on the throne. If you will lift up your head the king of glory will still get you to where he wants you to be.
Pastor Dutch Sheets told a story about a 40-year-old woman that was having open-heart surgery. There was blockage in one of her arteries and she had to have what's known as bypass surgery. Although it's a delicate procedure it's become a routine operation. It's performed thousands of times successfully every year.
During the operation the surgeon clamps off the main artery to the heart and hooks it up to a machine and the machine pumps the blood and keeps the lungs working. The heart actually stops beating during the surgery. And once the operation is over and they remove the machine the warmth from the blood usually causes the heart to wake back up and start beating again. If not, they have some drugs that they can give the heart to wake it up.
Well this lady was on the operating table. The bypass was finished but when they removed the machine, for some reason, her blood didn't cause her heart to wake back up; no heartbeat. They gave her this drug, another drug, another drug, with no success. The surgeon was so troubled, so concerned. He actually reached in and began massaging her heart trying to stimulate that muscle. But still no heartbeat.
After doing everything he could medically he leaned over the patient and whispered in her ear, "Mary, this is the doctor. I've done everything I can do. Now I need you to tell your heart to beat again". He stepped back and in just a couple of seconds he heard that, "Bump-bum, bump-bum". The heart kicked in and started beating once again.
Some of you today, you've been through disappointments and life hasn't turned out the way you had hoped. You could easily just sit on the sidelines. But God is telling you, "You need to tell your heart to beat again. Tell your heart to dream again. Tell your heart to believe again".
I have a friend. After 26 years of marriage he went through a divorce. His wife left a note on the kitchen table saying she had found somebody else. He was once so outgoing and fun and energetic but after this he was solemn, depressed, no joy. I told him what I'm telling you. That is not the end. God has a new beginning but you have to tell your heart to beat again.
Little by little he began to get his joy back, his vision back, his passion back. Not long after that, God brought a beautiful lady into his life and he got married. He told me a while back that he's happier today than he's ever been before.
You too may have been through a setback but don't sit around in self-pity. Tell your heart to beat again. Tell your heart to love again. Maybe somebody did you wrong. Don't let that poison you. Tell your heart to forgive again. A dream didn't work out. Nothing is going to change if you just expect more of the same. You've got to tell your heart to dream again.
Some of you have allowed the pressures of life to weigh you down. You're solemn. You're serious all the time. You need to tell your heart to laugh again. Tell your heart to smile again. Get your joy back. Get your enthusiasm back. This day is a gift from God.
If you will get excited about your future, if you'll start expecting God's goodness, then like that lady, when you tell your heart to beat again the Creator of the universe goes to work. New doors will open. The right people will show up. You'll see God's favor in a greater way.
Jesus said in revelation 2, "I have one thing against you. You have left your first love". It doesn't say you have lost it. It says you have left it. That means you can go get it. You haven't lost your passion. You've just left it. Now go get it. You haven't lost the love for your family. You've just left it. Why don't you go get it? You haven't lost that dream. It's still in you. You just have to stir up what's on the inside.
Fan that flame. Don't just be alive. God wants you to be really alive. I'm asking you today to stay passionate about your life. Get up every morning excited about that day, recognizing that it's a gift. Then don't compare. Be happy with who God made you to be. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart and you honor God.
Remember, there are miracles all around you. Don't take them for granted. Stay amazed at God's goodness. You may have had some setbacks but I believe today is a new day. Hearts are starting to beat again. Dreams are coming back to life. Passion is being restored. Get ready for God's goodness. Get ready for his favor. Your greatest victories are still in your future. Amen.