Joel Osteen — Your Second Wind Is On Its Way
I want to talk to you today about how your second wind is on its way. There are times in life that we all get tired, tired of trying to make a business grow, tired of dealing with the sickness, tired of raising a difficult child, tired of living lonely, waiting to meet the right person. We can even be doing what we love, living in the house of our dreams, raising great children, working at a good job. But if we're not careful, we can lose our passion and allow weariness to set in.
I watched a documentary about a war, and these soldiers had been overseas for many years engaged in conflict, and this four-star general was testifying in front of congress. The senator asked how the troops were doing. He said, "Sir, our troops are tired. We never expected the war to go on this long, now they're dealing with battle fatigue".
What do you do when the battle has lasted longer than you thought? You've prayed, you've believed, you've done what you're supposed to, but you're still waiting to meet the right person, you're still looking for the right job, you're still believing for the marriage to turn around, or you're still praying that that child will get back on track. The word "Weary" means to lose the sense of pleasure, to not feel the enjoyment that you once felt.
When those soldiers are first shipped off overseas, they're excited. They're fired up. They can't wait to make a difference. But when the battle goes on and on, that's when fatigue can set in. The problem is if you allow yourself to become weary, you'll be tempted to quit, to quit growing, to quit standing for that wayward child, to quit believing to get healthy and whole, to quit pursuing your goals and dreams.
I had a lady tell last week how she was in town at the cancer center, MD Anderson, for a checkup. She had taken 6 months worth of chemotherapy. She was hoping she was done, of course, and she found out that the chemo did do some good, but they told her she was going to need to take the same treatment for another 6 months. She was so disappointed, she said, "Joel, I'm tired. I don't think I can do this for six more months".
On the way to our victory, we will always face the weariness test, where we're tempted to get discouraged and give up. The test never comes when we're fresh, never comes when we first start out. It always comes when we're tired. That's when we're the most vulnerable, and the apostle Paul said, Galatians 6:9, "Don't grow weary in doing what's right, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not".
Two words are the key to this whole passage, faint not. In other words, if you don't give up, if you shake off the weariness, if you put on a new attitude knowing that God is still in control, if you dig your heels in and say, "I've come too far to stop now". If you faint not, you will see the promise come to pass, and instead of complaining about how long the battle is taking, we should be saying, "This too shall pass. I know it's not permanent, it's only temporary. I'm not camping here, I'm moving forward".
This is what kept the people of Israel out of the Promised Land. They were close to their victory, next door to the Promised Land. God already said he would give them the land, all they had to do was go in and fight for it. The problem is they allowed weariness to set in. They had gone through the wilderness, overcoming obstacles, defeating all kinds of enemies.
Now, they were tired. Moses tried to get them to go in, but weariness leads to discouragement, and when you're discouraged, you see the problem instead of the possibility. You talk about the way it is instead of the way it can become. They started complaining. "Moses, the people are too big. We don't have a chance. We'll never defeat them".
They made a permanent decision based on a temporary feeling, and if you allow yourself to become weary and you lose your passion, your enthusiasm, you too will be tempted to make decisions based on how you feel rather than based on what you know, and when you feel that weariness come on, you need to start talking to yourself. "God, you said you have armed me with strength for every battle. You said I can do all things through Christ who infuses inner strength into me. You said I am more than a conqueror, a victor, not a victim". If you'll talk to yourself the right way, you'll feel the second wind begin to kick in.
But too often we do like they did and think, "Oh, I can't take this anymore. I'm so tired, I'm so run down. It's just too hard". No, the more you talk about how tired you are, the more tired you're going to become. You're just adding fuel to the fire. Don't talk about the way you are, talk about the way you want to be. You need to have faith and victory coming out of your mouth. In other words, "This may be hard, but I know I'm well able. I'm equipped, I'm empowered, I am strong in the Lord".
The truth is we all get tired, we all get weary. In fact, if you never feel like giving up, then your dreams are too small. If you never feel like quitting, then you need to set some larger goals. When that pressure comes to get discouraged and to think about how you can't take it anymore, that is completely normal. Every person feels that way at times. Isaiah gives us the solution. He said, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get weary. They will walk and not faint".
See, God knew there would be times that we would feel battle fatigue. That's why he said, "There's a way to get your second wind. There's a way to have your strength renewed". What is it? Wait on the Lord. One translation says, "Hope in the Lord". Now, that doesn't mean to sit around passive, complacent. It means to wait with expectancy. Not complaining, not discouraged, talking about all the reasons why it's not going to work out. No, if you want your strength renewed, the right way to wait is by saying, "Father, thank you that you're fighting my battles. Thank you that the answer's on the way. Thank you that you're bigger than these obstacles. Thank you that you're bringing my dreams to pass".
When you give God praise, you talk about his greatness and you go through the day expecting him to turn it around, God promises he will renew your strength, and it says you will run and not get weary. That's talking about your second wind. That's God breathing strength, energy, passion, vision, vitality back into your spirit, and you won't just come out the way you were, you will come out on wings like eagles. That means you're going to come out stronger, higher, better off than you were before, and I know some of you are up against major obstacles. When you look out into your future, it can be very overwhelming. You don't see how you're going to make it.
I know this lady, she raised her children and got them off to college, and she was looking forward to this new season in her life where she'd have some more free time. But because of some unusual circumstances, she just found out she's going to need to raise her little grandson. He's just a toddler, and of course she loves her grand-baby, but she said, "Joel, I don't think I can do this again. Another 15 years, I don't think I have the strength to make it". No, you can't look 15 years down the road. If you look way out, you'll be overwhelmed. You have to take it one day at a time. You don't have the strength you need for tomorrow.
When you get to tomorrow, you'll have the strength for that day, but God is not going to give you the strength for tomorrow today. So, if you're always looking out, thinking, "Well, I can't take this treatment another 6 months, I thought I'd be done. I can't raise this child another 15 years," no, God's not asking you to raise him 15 years. He's asking you, "Will you do it today? Will you take hold of my strength today? Will you wait on the Lord will you not give up and thank today"?
If you'll pass the test and do it today, then when you get to tomorrow, the strength you need for that day will be there. As long as you're worried about how I'm going to make it next week, or next month, or 20 years from now, that worry is going to drain your strength, drain your energy, drain your passion, drain your victory. All worry does is weigh us down and keep us from enjoying life.
Instead of worrying about your future, get up every morning and say to yourself, "I can do this one more day. I may not know how I can do it the next 20 years, but I do know this, I can do it for 24 more hours. I can stay in faith one more day. I can keep a good attitude one more day. I can have a smile on my face 24 more hours". Take it a day at a time.
I like to run. Sometimes when I'm out running, especially now when it's hot and humid, and I get tired and those thoughts start coming, saying, "You need to stop. You're uncomfortable. It's hard and look at how far you've got to go". The battle is taking place in our minds, and if I dwell on those thoughts and start thinking about how I feel, and how many hills there are, and how far I've got to go, I'll talk myself out of it and quit. I've got to quit looking at the next 2 miles and just start telling myself I can do this one more step, one more step, one more step.
When I focus not on how far I have to go, but on the next step, before long, I look up and I'm almost there. I've pressed past the pain of being uncomfortable. I've gotten into a rhythm, and all of a sudden my second wind has kicked in, and instead of barely making it, now I'm mounting up on those wings like eagles, I'm finishing strong.
And when those thoughts come to you, saying, "It's never going to change. You're never going to get well. You're never going to reach your goals". No, God said in Job that he has set an end to the difficulty. God has already established an end date for the trouble. He set an end to the struggle, an end to the sickness, an end to the addiction, an end to the loneliness.
When you're in a difficult season and you feel the weariness creeping in, telling you, "It's not worth it. You're too uncomfortable. You've got too far to go," no, you need to remind yourself, "I'm not always going to be lonely. God has set an end to this loneliness. He is bringing somebody great into my life. I'm not going to always struggle in my finances, God has set an end to this lack. He has promotion and increase coming my way. I'm not always going to fight these addictions. These bad habits are not going to dog me my whole life. God has set an end to it. He has freedom and victory in my future. I'm not always going to have to deal with these medical issues. Not going to always have to put up with this pain. Jehovah Rapha, the Lord my healer, has set an end to this sickness".
Friends, the end has already been set. I'm asking you to stand strong. Don't grow weary. Keep believing, keep expecting, keep being your best. If you will not get tired of doing what's right, you will see the end come to pass. That's what it means. If you faint not, you will receive the reward, and I know today, I'm not looking at people that are fainters, I'm looking at people that are fighters. I'm not looking at people that are weaklings, I'm looking at people that are warriors, people that are victors and not victims.
When life gets tough, you've got to remind yourself what God said about you. "God, you said I've been armed with strength for every battle". Think about that, God calls strength a weapon. In the natural, you could be armed with a pistol, armed with a hand grenade, armed with a bazooka. Those are powerful weapons, but that's nothing compared to what God has armed you with. You are full of can do power. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of you. Now, don't go around saying, "Well, I'm weak and defeated, and I can't take this anymore". No, if you couldn't take it anymore, God wouldn't have allowed it.
Instead of complaining, start telling yourself, "I can handle this. This child may be difficult, but I can handle it. Business may be slow, but I can handle it. The medical report wasn't good, but I can handle it. The boss is getting on my nerves, but I can handle it. It's hot outside, but I can handle it". You got to put your shoulders back, look those obstacles in the eye, and say to them, "You're no match for me. Cancer, you're no match for me. Cranky coworker, you're no match for me. Depression, you're no match for me. Addictions, you're no match for me. Struggle and lack, you're no match for me. I know your end has already been set, and it's just a matter of time before God turns it around. It's just a matter of time before he brings that dream to pass".
I know this couple, they're in the military, and the man just found out he's going to be deployed overseas for one year. They've never really been apart before and they have two small children. This wife was very worried and wondering how she was going to make it, and I told her what I'm telling you, "It may be difficult, but you can handle it. God has given you the grace for the season that you're in. If you weren't up to it, God wouldn't have brought it across your path". It'll help you to stand strong if you'll remind yourself on the other side of that difficulty is promotion.
There's always a reward for doing what's right. God never asks you to do something and then doesn't compensate you for it. God is a rewarder. He pays very good. The season may be difficult, but if you'll just keep doing the right thing, you need to get ready, a reward is coming your way. When you stand strong and have a good attitude, when you really feel like complaining and being discouraged, when you serve and give and treat people right even when they're not saying thank you, when nobody's giving you credit, when you pass these weariness tests, the scripture says payday is coming your way.
And some of you, like the people of Israel back then, you too are camped next door to your Promised Land. You're on the verge of stepping into a new level of God's favor. But the problem is you're tired, the battle has taken longer than you expected. Now, you stand at a crossroads. You can either let that weariness weigh you down, cause you to give up and settle where you are, or you can dig your heels in and say, "No, I've come too far to stop now. I'm going to keep pressing forward. I'm going to keep pursuing my goals. I'm going to keep being good to people. I'm going to keep hoping, praying, stretching, growing".
When you have that kind of attitude, you will feel your second wind begin to kick in. I've learned this, when you face the greatest pressure, you are close to your victory. When the intensity has been turned up, that's a sign you're about to step into a new level of God's favor. It's just like a lady having a baby. When she faces the greatest pain, she's close to giving birth. Same principle in life. When it's the most uncomfortable, when it gets the most unfair, when you're tempted to give up the most, that's a sure sign you're about to give birth to the new thing God wants to do.
And I can sense in my spirit the season is changing. The depression is coming to an end, and joy is about to break forth. That lack and struggle is coming to an end, and a new season of increase, promotion, more than enough is coming your way. The constant medical problems and not feeling up to par, that is coming to an end, and a season of health, wholeness, vitality is coming your way.
Now, don't do like the people of Israel and get discouraged, and be too weary, and just want to settle where you are. No, press past the pain of being uncomfortable. Press past the feelings that are telling you to settle there. Press past the weariness and get your fire back. Get your enthusiasm back. You have not seen your best days. Your greatest victories are still in your future, and every adversity, every struggle, that didn't go to waste. God is using that to get you prepared for the amazing future he has in store.
When I used to run track in high school, our coach would give us unbelievable workouts. One time, we had to run 18 half-mile runs. We would run a half a mile, get a 2-minute break and run the next one 18 times in a row. We thought, "This man is trying to kill us. There is something wrong with him". But several months later, when we were all running at new levels, when we were breaking our old records, we realized he wasn't trying to kill us, he was simply increasing our endurance. He was stretching us so we could reach our full potential.
In the same way, sometimes God will allow difficulties to increase our endurance, to stretch us so we can reach our full potential. We may think, "This is too hard. This boss is too unfair. This math teacher is too difficult. How can I raise these children"? It may be hard, it may have even been meant for your harm, but when you stand strong and say, "Hey, I can handle this. It's not too much for me. I've been armed with strength for this battle," then when you make it to the other side, you'll not only receive your reward, but you will have an inner strength, a confidence, a resolve that you never had before. You will face situations where, 10 years ago, you would've fallen apart and you'd have gotten all upset.
But now, because you passed these tests, it's deposited something on the inside, and what used to be a big deal is now not a big deal at all. What's happening? You're growing, you're increasing, you're stepping up to new levels.
One time in the scripture, there was a man that was totally paralyzed. He heard that Jesus was teaching in another city in some house over there. He convinced four of his friends to put him on a stretcher and carry him to that house. But when they got there after this long journey, after walking for hours and hours, the house was totally packed, completely full, no possible way to get in.
It's interesting, walking down the road, they didn't have any problem. Leaving their city, everything was great. Getting to the next town, no difficulty. It was when they got close to their miracle things got rough. That's when the pressure was intensified. Many people would've given up, said, "Too bad, we tried our best, didn't work out". Not this man.
He said to his four friends, "Guys, you're going to need to take me up on the roof, cut a hole in the ceiling, and let me down so I can get to Jesus". Now, these four men are tired. You can imagine the weight of that stretcher on their shoulder has left an imprint as they've walked hour after hour. Just when they think they've reached their destination, just when they think they can finally sit down and relax, they realized the battle is not over. It's taken longer than they thought. It's more difficult than they expected.
They could've said to their friend, "Hey man, we love you, we sacrificed to get you here, but we are not going to take you up on that roof, we are too tired". No, these four men understood this principle, "If you faint not, you shall reap". Their attitude was, "We can handle this. We've been armed with strength for this battle. If we need to get him on the roof, somehow we're going to get him on the roof".
They were hot, tired, thirsty, uncomfortable, probably a little frustrated, but they didn't grow weary in well doing. They knew they were close to their victory. They got him up on the roof, let him down through the ceiling. The scripture says when Jesus saw their faith, the man was instantly made whole.
And when you face great adversities, when the pressure has been turned up, you can either let God see your discouragement, or you can let God see your faith. You can say, "God, it's not fair. I came all this way, I prayed, I believed, I did everything I'm supposed to, but it didn't work out". Or you can say, "God, I can handle this. I'm well able. I know this difficulty means I'm close to my victory".
And like these four men, your greatest test will always come when you're tired, when it's taken longer than you thought, when it didn't work out the way you expected. You prayed, you believed, but it didn't turn around. You're at the house, so to speak, where you can't get in. Now, don't let the weariness cause you to give up and settle there. No, dig your heels in and say, like these four men, "I've come too far to stop now. I've made too many sacrifices to give up now. I've won too many battles in my past to let this one defeat me. I'm not going to let a temporary feeling cause me to miss out on a permanent blessing".
Keep moving forward. Keep believing, keep hoping, keep praying, stretching, growing, being good to people. When you do that, that second wind will begin to kick in. You'll feel a strength, a resolve, a determination like you've never felt before.
And listen, some of you, you're too close to finishing school to quit now. It may be hard, but you are well able. You're too close to that promotion to quit trying now. It may not have happened last year, but it can happen this year. You're too close to meeting the right person to give up now. You're too close to getting healthy and whole to get discouraged now. You're too close to a breakthrough in your finances to settle where you are. It may be difficult, but it's no match for you.
The Creator of the universe, the Most High God, is breathing a second wind into you right now. Just receive it by faith. Strength is coming into your body, strength is coming into your mind. You're going to feel his resurrection power. You're going to mount up on wings like eagles, and whatever comes against you in life, get this down in your spirit, you can handle it. You can outlast any attack. God has already equipped you. You are full of can do power, and yes, the battle may be taking longer than you thought, but don't let fatigue set in.
Keep reminding yourself the end has already been set. The greater the intensity, the closer you are to your victory. Now, shake off the weariness, get your fire back. If one dream died, dream another dream, and remember, when you feel tired, and we all do, wait upon the Lord, hope in the Lord.
In other words, thank God that he is fighting your battles. Thank him that he's still on the throne. Thank him that he's turning it around. If you do that, you will feel your second wind. God promises he will renew your strength, and here's what's going to happen. You're going to run and not get weary. You're going to walk and not faint. You're not going to drag through life defeated, depressed, under the circumstances. You're going to soar through life on wings like eagles, overcoming every obstacle, defeating every enemy, and accomplishing every God-given dream. I believe it and I declare it in Jesus' name.