Joel Osteen — The Power of I Am
I want to talk to you today about the power of, "I Am". What follows these two simple words will determine what kind of life you live. "I am blessed. I am strong. I am healthy". Or, "I am slow. I am unattractive. I am a terrible mother". The "I Am's" that are coming out of your mouth will bring either success or failure.
All through the day the power of "I Am" is at work. We make a mistake; "I am so clumsy". We look in the mirror; "I am so old". We see somebody very talented; "I am so average". We get caught in traffic; "I am so unlucky". Many times we use the power of "I Am" against us. We don't realize how it's affecting our future.
Here's the principle. What follows the "I Am" will always come looking for you. When you say, "I am so clumsy," clumsiness comes looking for you. "I am so old". Wrinkles come looking for you. "I am so overweight". Calories come looking for you. It's just like you're inviting them. Whatever you follow the "I Am" with, you're handing it an invitation, opening the door, giving it permission to be in your life.
Now, the good news is you get to choose what follows the "I Am". When you go through the day saying, "I am blessed," blessings come looking for you. "I am talented". Talent comes looking for you. You may not feel up to par but when you say, "I am healthy," health starts heading your way. "I am strong". Strength starts tracking you down. You're inviting that into your life.
That's why you have to be careful what follows the "I Am". Don't ever say, "I am so unlucky. I never get any good breaks". You're inviting disappointments. "I am so broke. I am so in debt". You are inviting struggle. You're inviting lack. You need to send out some new invitations. Get up in the morning and invite good things into your life. "I am blessed. I am strong. I am talented. I am disciplined. I am focused. I am prosperous".
When you talk like that, talent gets summoned by almighty God, "Go find that person". Health, strength, abundance, discipline starts heading your way. But how many people when they wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, the first thing they say, "I am so old. I am so wrinkled. I am so worn out". You are inviting oldness. You're inviting fatigue. Do us all a favor; stop inviting that. When you get up in the morning look in the mirror, instead of complaining you should be saying, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am attractive. I am getting younger". You talk like that and God will renew your youth. I know people, the older they get the more attractive they are. A lot has to do with our attitude.
The other day our daughter Alexandra had a copy of my first book from 2004. She was comparing the picture to my new book that was just released. She said, "Daddy, you look better now then you did back then". I said, "What would you like me to buy you"? I was with my college roommate last week. He said, "Joel, what are you doing? You're getting taller. You're growing". I said, "I receive that".
I didn't want to tell him that he is getting shorter. But when you go around saying, "I am being renewed in my youth. I am full of health, vitality, wholeness," that's one of the best anti-aging treatments you could ever take. My mother is a great example of this. I mentioned how she just turned 78. She still looks fantastic. She's still strong, still energetic, still beautiful. But when you get up in the morning don't talk about how old you are, how bad you look. Dare to say, "I am young. I am energetic. I am vibrant. I am radiant. I am fresh".
Some of you women have never once said, "I am beautiful". You're so focused on your flaws and what you don't like about yourself and how you wish you had more here and less there. I'm not pointing but you know where I mean. When you say, "I am beautiful," beauty comes looking for you. Youth comes looking for you. Freshness comes looking for you. Nobody can do this for you. It's got to come out of your own mouth.
Listen, ladies. Don't go around telling your husbands how unattractive you are. You should never put yourself down and especially don't put yourself down in front of your own husband. You are his prize. To him you are the most beautiful woman in the world. Why would you want to tell him anything differently? The last thing he needs to hear is how bad you think you look. Don't put those thoughts in his mind. It's not going to do him nor you any good to discredit yourself.
If you keep telling him how bad you look, one day he may believe you. But when you say, "I am beautiful," not only does beauty, youth, freshness starts coming your way but on the inside your spirit person comes alive. Your self-image begins to improve and you'll start carrying yourself like you're someone special. You won't drag through the day feeling less than, inferior. You'll have that spring in your step, that "You go girl"! Attitude.
Beauty is not in how thin or tall you are, how perfect you look. Beauty is in being who God made you to be with confidence. If you're a size 4, great. If you're a size 24, great. Take what you have and make the most of it. God made you like you are on purpose. He gave you your looks, your height, your skin color, your nose, your personality. Nothing about you is by accident. You didn't get overlooked. You didn't get left out. God said in Ephesians, "You are my masterpiece". Instead of going around down on yourself, feeling unattractive, too tall, too short, not enough of this, too much of that; no, dare to get up in the morning and say, "I am a masterpiece. I am created in the image of almighty God".
David said in Psalm 139, "God, I praise you because you have made me in an amazing way. What you have done is wonderful". Notice David's "I Am's". He was saying, not in pride but in praise to God, "I am wonderful. I am amazing. I am a masterpiece". That goes against human nature. Most of us think, "There's nothing amazing about me. Nothing wonderful. I'm just average. I'm just ordinary". No, the fact is there is nothing ordinary about you. You have a fingerprint that nobody else has. There will never be another you. Even if you have a twin, somebody that looks exactly like you, they don't have your same personality, your same goals, your same fingerprints. You are an original.
When God made you he threw away the mold. But as long as you go around thinking, "I'm just average. Joel, I'm just one of the billions of people on the earth. Nothing special about me". The wrong "I Am" can keep you from rising higher. I wonder what would happen if all through the day, not in front of other people but in privacy, in the shower, driving to work, underneath our breath, instead of being down on ourselves and discrediting who we are and focusing on all of our flaws, what would happen if we would be bold like David to say, "I am amazing. I am wonderful. I am valuable. I am a masterpiece. I am a child of the most high God". You talk like that and amazing comes chasing you down. Awesome starts heading in your direction.
You won't have that weak, defeated, "I'm just average" mentality. No, you'll carry yourself like a king, like a queen. Not in pride. Not being better than somebody but with a quiet confidence, with a knowing that you've been hand-picked by the Creator of the universe and you have something amazing to offer this world.
That's what happened to a lady in the scripture named Sarah. She had to change her "I Am". God promised Sarah and her husband Abraham that they would have a baby. But Sarah was 80 years old, way past the child-bearing years. Back in those days if a wife didn't give her husband a child, she couldn't conceive for some reason, even if it was the husband's fault, the wife was seen as a failure. She was looked down on greatly. There was a sense of shame for not being able to have a baby.
This is how Sarah felt. She was 80 years old and never had a baby. She felt like she had let Abraham down. Her self-esteem is so low. I can imagine some of her "I Am's". "I am a failure. I am inferior. I am not good enough. I am unattractive". Now she's got this promise that as an older woman she's going to have a baby. God knew that it would never come to pass unless he could convince Sarah to change her "I Am's". It was so imperative that she have this new mindset, God actually changed her name from Sarai to Sarah.
Sarah means, "Princess". Now every time someone said, "Good morning, Sarah," they were saying, "Good morning, princess". "How are you, Sarah"? "How are you, princess"? "Would you pass me the ketchup, Sarah"? "Would you pass me the ketchup, princess"? She heard this over and over. Those words got on the inside and began to change her self-image. She went from, "I am a failure" to "I am a princess". From, "I am unattractive" to "I am beautiful". From, "I am ashamed," to "I am crowned by almighty God".
Instead of hanging her head in defeat, in embarrassment, she started holding her head up high. From, "I'm not good enough" to "I am a child of the Most High God". From, "I'm inferior" to "I am fearfully and wonderfully made". Her new attitude was, "I am amazing. I am wonderful. I am a masterpiece".
And ladies, like Sarah, you may have had a lot of things in life try to push you down. Bad breaks, disappointments, maybe even people have tried to make you feel like you just don't measure up. You're not quite attractive enough. You could easily let that seed get on the inside and ruin your sense of value, cause you to live inferior. But God is saying to you what he said to Sarah, "I want you to change your name to princess". Not physically, but in your attitude.
You've got to shake off the negative things people have said about you. Shake off the low self-esteem; the inferiority and start carrying yourself like a princess. Start walking like a princess. Start talking like a princess. Start thinking like a princess. Start waving like a princess. Instead of, "I am inferior. I am less than". No, "I am one of a kind. I am handpicked by almighty God. I am valuable. I am a masterpiece".
When you get up in the morning don't focus on all your flaws. Look in the mirror and dare to say, "I am beautiful. I am young. I am vibrant. I am confident. I am secure". You may have had some disappointments. People may have tried to push you down but quit telling yourself you're all washed up. Do like Sarah and say, "I am Royalty. I am crowned with favor. I am excited about my future".
This princess spirit got on the inside of Sarah. It changed her self-image. I've learned you've got to change on the inside before you'll see change on the outside. At 100 years old, against all odds, she gave birth to that baby. The promise came to pass.
My question today is, "What kind of 'I Am's' are coming out of your mouth"? "I am victorious. I am blessed. I am talented. I am anointed". When you have the right "I Am's" you're inviting the goodness of God. Some of you, if you would just change the "I Am" you would go to a new level.
Words have creative power. With your words you can bless your future or you can curse your future. Words are like electricity. Used the right way they can be very helpful. It can give us lights, air conditioning, all kinds of good things. But electricity used the wrong way can be very dangerous. It can harm you. It could even kill you. Same way with our words. Proverbs says, "Life and death are in the power of our tongue". It's up to you to choose what follows the "I Am".
My encouragement is never say negative things about yourself. Most of us would never go up to another person, at least to their face and criticize them yet we have no problems criticizing ourselves. "I am so slow. I am so unattractive. I am so undisciplined". That is cursing your future. Do yourself a favor and zip that up. We have enough in life against us already. Don't be against yourself.
I had a friend I used to play basketball with. When he would miss an important shot he would say, "I'm an idiot. I'm an idiot. I'm an idiot," three or four times. I heard that month after month. He didn't realize it but "Idiot" was coming, looking for him. I hate to say it, but I think it found him. If you go around saying, "I am so dumb," it may not be good English but "Dumbness" is coming your way. "I am so unattractive. I am so plain". Ugliness says, "I hear somebody calling my name".
Use your words to bless your future not curse your future. The scripture says, "Let the weak say, 'I am strong.'" Notice just the opposite. Not, "I am so tired. I am so rundown". That's calling in the wrong things. Let the poor say, "I am well off". Not, "I am broke. I am so in debt". Let the sick say, "I am healthy. I am improving. I am getting better and better".
See, it says in Romans 4:18 to, "Call the things that are not as if they already were". That simply means don't talk about the way you are. Talk about the way you want to be. If you're struggling in your finances don't go around saying, "Ah, man. Business is so slow. The economy is so down. It's never going to work out". That's calling the things that are as if they will always be that way. That's just describing the situation. By faith you've got to say, "I am blessed. I am successful. I am surrounded by God's favor".
I asked a young man after church last week how he was doing in high school. He said, "Oh, Joel. I'm doing okay. I'm just a 'C' student". Come to find out, one of his teachers back in elementary school years ago told him he was a 'C' student and he let that seed take root. I told him what I'm telling you. As long as you're saying, "I am a 'C' student," you're not going to make A's. You're calling in the C's and those C's will come find you wherever you go. If you're not careful you'll make a 'C' in homeroom, a 'C' in lunch, and 'C' in PE. Change the "I Am". "I am an A student. I am smart. I am full of wisdom. I am a good learner".
Some of you like this young man, you've allowed what somebody said about you to hold you back: a coach, a teacher, a parent, an ex-spouse. They've planted these negative seeds of what you cannot do. "You're not smart enough. You're not talented enough. You're not disciplined enough. You're not attractive enough. You'll always make C's. You'll always be mediocre. You'll always struggle with your weight". No, get rid of those lies. That is not who you are. You are who God says you are.
People may have tried to push you down and tell you what you can't become. Let that go in one ear and out the other ear. What somebody said about you doesn't determine your destiny; God does. You need to know not only what you are but you need to know what you are not. In other words, "I am not who people say I am. I am who God says I am. I am not the tail. I am the head. I am not a borrower. I am a lender. I am not cursed. I am blessed".
Like this young man, somebody may have spoken negative words over you even when you were younger. But know this; before anyone could put a curse on you God put a blessing on you. Before you were formed in your mother's womb, God knew you and he approved you. When God made you he stepped back and said, "I like that. That was good. Another masterpiece". He stamped his approval on you. Other people may try to disapprove you. Don't go around feeling less than, feeling inferior. Our attitude should be, "I am approved by almighty God. I am accepted. I am a masterpiece".
When you talk like that the seeds of greatness God has placed on the inside will begin to spring forth. See, you have gifts and talents that you've not yet tapped into. There is a treasure on the inside. Throughout life the enemy will do his best to try to keep it pushed down. He doesn't want us to reach our full potential. That's why there are forces constantly trying to make us feel intimidated, inferior, unqualified. If you're going to fulfill your destiny you've got to shake off the negative voices. Shake off the thoughts that are telling you, "I am unable. I am unqualified". No, don't invite weakness in. Don't give intimidation an invitation.
You may feel unqualified but before you were born God equipped you. He empowered you. You are not lacking anything. God has already stamped his approval on you. People may try to push you down but when you know God has approved you, you realize, "I don't need other people's approval. I've been equipped, empowered, anointed by the Creator of the universe".
I know a man. He was told by his high school counselor that he wasn't very smart and he should focus on the lowest skilled job that he could find. I'm sure the counselor meant well but he didn't know what was on the inside. He didn't see the seeds of greatness God had planted in this young man. As a high school student his "I Am" was distorted. "I am not up to par. I am not smart. I am very average". He didn't realize he was inviting that into his life. Sure enough it showed up.
After high school he got a job at the local factory and he stayed at the lowest level year after year after year. One day the factory closed down. He went across town and applied at another factory. This company had a policy that you had to take an IQ test. He took the test and he scored the highest in the company's 63-year history. His IQ came back at a genius level. He went on to start his own business and he invented and patented two very successful products. Today, he is extremely blessed.
What happened? He changed his "I Am". Could it be what someone has told you is keeping you from God's best? Could it be that the wrong "I Am" is keeping you from rising higher and reaching your full potential" do like he did. Change the "I Am". Don't let what somebody had spoken over you determine your destiny. Get in agreement with God. Know what you are and know what you are not. "I am not lacking. I am not average. I am not inferior. I am equipped. I am empowered. I am anointed. I am wise. I am a masterpiece".
In the book of Numbers, Moses sent twelve men in to spy out the Promised Land. After 40 days, ten of them came back and said, "Moses, we don't have a chance. The people are huge. Compared to them we felt like we were grasshoppers". Notice their "I Am's". "I am weak. I am inferior. I am intimidated. I am afraid". What happened? Fear, intimidation, inferiority came knocking at the door.
The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a different report. They said, "Moses, yes, the people are big but we know our God is much bigger. We are well able. Let us go in and take the land at once". Notice their "I Am" was just the opposite. "I am strong. I am equipped. I am confident. I am more than a conqueror".
What's interesting is the negative report from the ten spies spread like wildfire throughout the rest of the camp. Before long some 2,000,000 people were intimidated and afraid. Nobody even paid attention to Joshua and Caleb, the report of faith.
Here's what I've learned; a negative report always spreads faster than a positive report. When people are murmuring, complaining, talking defeat, be on guard. Make sure you don't let the wrong "I Am" take root". These ten spies went on to say, "Moses, why did you even bring us out here? We're going to die in the wilderness. Our children, our wives, they're going to be taken as plunder".
God answered back something very powerful. He said in numbers 14:28, "I will do for you exactly what you have said. You said you're going to die in the wilderness so you will die in the wilderness". God is saying the same thing to us. "I am going to do exactly what you've been saying". Don't ever say, "I am weak. I'm intimidated. I'm inferior". Friends, the wrong "I Am" can keep you from your destiny.
In the scripture have you ever heard of a man named Sethur, a man named Gaddi, a man named Shaphat? Never heard of them. You know why? There were some of the ten spies. They were some of the ones that never made it into the Promised Land. The fact is they were called to be a history maker. They had seeds of greatness on the inside but the wrong "I Am" kept them from really making their mark.
Don't let that be you. You may be facing some major obstacles. My challenge is be a Joshua. Be a Caleb. "I am strong. I am confident. I am equipped. I am more than a conqueror. I am well able". Make sure you have the right "I Am's" coming out of your mouth.
Joshua and Caleb were the only two from that whole group to ever make it into the Promised Land. It would do us all good to make a list of a dozen or two of these "I Am's" and read over them all through the day. Get them down in your spirit. Meditate on them.
They may not all be true right now but you have to call the things that are not as if they already were. "I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am free. I am talented. I am young. I am beautiful. I am attractive".
Remember, what follows the "I Am" is going to come looking for you. If you will invite the right things into your life, the Creator of the universe will breathe in your direction. I believe and declare you will overcome every obstacle, defeat every enemy and you will become everything that God has created you to be.