Joel Osteen — Say So
I want to talk to you today about say so. Words have creative power. When you speak something out you give life to what you're saying. It's one thing to believe that you're blessed. That's important. But when you say, "I am blessed," it takes on a whole new meaning. That's when blessings come looking for you. The scripture says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so". It doesn't say, "Let the redeemed think so, or believe so or hope so". That's all good but you have to take it one step further and say so.
If you're going to go to the next level you've got to say so. If you're going to accomplish a dream, overcome an obstacle, break an addiction, you've got to start declaring it. It has to come out of your mouth. That's how you give life to your faith. When God created the worlds he didn't just think them into being. He didn't just believe there would be light and land and oceans and animals. He had it in his heart but nothing happened until he spoke. He said, "Let there be light," and light came. His thoughts didn't set it into motion. His words set it into motion.
It's the same principle today. You can believe all day long and not see anything happen. You can have faith in your heart, big dreams, be standing on God's promises and never see anything change. What's the problem? Nothing happens until you speak. Instead of just believing you're going to get out of debt, you've got to say so. Declare every day, "I'm coming out of debt. I'm the head and not the tail. God's favor surrounds me like a shield".
When you speak, just like when God spoke, things begin to happen. Opportunities will find you. Good breaks, promotion, ideas, will track you down. Instead of just thinking, "I hope I get over this illness. Joel, I'm praying I'll get better". That's good but you've got to take it one more step and start declaring it. I'm strong. I'm healthy. I will live and not die. With long life God is going to satisfy me. That's what activates your faith.
Instead of just hoping you have a good year, instead of just hoping that you accomplish your dreams. Hope is good but nothing happens until you speak. Before you leave the house every day declare it: "2018 is my year. Things have shifted in my favor. God is about to show me something that I've never seen". When you talk like that the angels go to work, opening up new doors, lining up the right people, arranging things in your favor. All of us are hoping, believing, praying about something.
My question today is, "Are you giving life to your faith by speaking it out"? Psalm 91 says, "I will say of the Lord, 'he is my refuge, my fortress, my shield.'" The next verse says, "He will deliver me, protect me, cover me". Notice the connection. I will say and he will do. It doesn't say, "I believe he is my refuge. I believe he will be my strength". No, the Psalmist went around declaring it, speaking it out, "The Lord is my refuge. The Lord is my strength". Notice what happened. God became his refuge, his strength. God was saying in effect, "If you're bold enough to speak it, then I'm bold enough to do it".
Have you ever declared that your dreams are coming to pass? Have you ever said, "I will pay off my house? I will start my own business. I will get my degree. I will lose this weight. I will see my family restored". Whatever God has put in your heart it needs to get in your conversation. Talk like it's going to happen. Talk like it's already on the way, "When I get married, when I graduate from college, when I see my family restored". Not if it's going to happen but when it's going to happen. That's your faith being released.
One of our staff members had been trying for a long, long time to have a baby; over ten years. No success. One day we were in a staff meeting planning out the next year. She made the statement, "When I have my baby I'm going to be out for a couple of months. We'll have to find somebody to fill in". Well, I thought she was pregnant and nobody had told me. So I didn't act surprised or say anything. After the meeting, my sister Lisa was in there as well, I said, "Lisa, why didn't you tell me she was pregnant"? She said, "Joel, she's not pregnant. She just talks like it's going to happen".
This went on for years, "When I have my baby. When I get pregnant. When my child shows up". What was she doing? Saying so. She didn't just believe it. She was declaring it. In the natural she was getting too old to have a baby. Her doctors told her it wasn't going to happen. It looked impossible. Most people would have given up and accepted it. But not this lady. She kept saying so, kept declaring it, "When my baby shows up".
Do you know twenty years later she gave birth not to one baby but to two. She had twins. She declared of the Lord and God did what he promised. But think about the opposite of Psalm 91, "I will not say of the Lord and he will not do". That's the principle. Nothing happens until you speak.
When we were trying to acquire this facility, Victoria and I would drive around it night after night and say, "That's our building. Father, thank you for fighting our battles. Lord, thank you that you are making a way where we don't see a way". We didn't just think about it, pray about it, believe that it would happen. And that's all important but we took one more step and declared that it was ours. It became a part of our everyday conversation.
At the dinner table, "When we get the Compaq Center we could do this. When we renovate it, when we move in, when we have the grand opening". Not, "I don't know, Victoria. It's going to be very expensive. Where are we going to get the funds? I don't know. The opponents, they're really, really strong". No, we said of the Lord, like the Psalmist, "God, we know you are bigger than any obstacle. We know you are supplying all of our needs. Lord, we know if you be for us who dare be against us"? We declared it and God did it.
What are you saying of the Lord? "Well, Joel. My problems are really big today. My dreams look impossible. My marriage is so messed up. We'll never be restored". No, don't talk about how big your problem is. Talk about how big your God is. When you say of the Lord, "You're my healer, my way maker, my dream giver, my restorer, my vindicator, my health, my peace, my victory," that's when God will show up and do more than you can ask or think.
I have some friends that were believing to have another child. They have a daughter but they really wanted to have a son. Every time the wife got pregnant she had a miscarriage. This happened five times in nine years. They were very discouraged and tempted to give up. The man's name is Joe. He had gone by Joe his whole life. But one day he read where his full name, Joseph, means, "God will add". When he saw that, something came alive on the inside. He knew God was saying, "I'm going to add to you a son.
He remembered the story in the scripture where God changed Abram's name to Abraham, which means, "Father of many nations". God gave Abraham a child, a son, at a very old age when it looked impossible. Joe decided to go back to using his original name. He told his family, his friends, coworkers, "Don't call me Joe anymore. Call me Joseph". They thought he was having a midlife crisis. But every time someone said, "Hello Joseph," they were saying, "God will add". They were speaking victory over his life. He kept saying so, declaring it.
About six months later his wife became pregnant with a baby boy. For the first time in ten years she carried him full term. The baby was born healthy and whole. As a testimony to God's goodness they named that little boy Joseph, "God will add".
Well, let me ask you are you declaring victory over your life, over your family, over your career? Nothing happens until you speak. When you get up in the morning you need to make some declarations of faith. Whatever God has put in your heart declare that it will come to pass.
I say every day, "I am increasing in the anointing, in wisdom, in favor and in influence. Every message is getting better. God is taking our ministry where no ministry has ever gone". You've got to speak favor into your future. I declare every day, "My children will fulfill their destinies. Their gifts and talents will come out to the full. They will supersede anything that we've done". Ever since I took over for my father I have said, "When people turn me on, on teLevision, they cannot turn me off".
Do you know how many letters I get from people that say, "Joel, I was flipping through the channels. I don't like TV preachers. I never watch TV preachers but when I turned you on I couldn't turn you off". I think to myself, "I called you in. I said so".
One man wrote and told how his wife tried to get him to watch the program for many, many years but he wouldn't do it. One day he was flipping through the channels. He came across our program. Normally he would flip by it very quickly. But for some reason this day his remote control stopped working and he got stuck on our program. He was so frustrated. He finagled with it. Ended up changing the batteries. It still wouldn't work. He said, "Joel, even though I tried to act like I wasn't listening you were speaking directly to me".
The funny thing is, when our program was over the remote control went back to working just fine. He said, "Now I never miss one of your programs". When you declare favor over your life, over your future, God will make things happen that should have never happened. Our attitude should be, "I'm coming out of debt and I'm saying so. 2018 is my year and I'm saying so. I will overcome every obstacle and I'm saying so".
When I first started ministering I was very nervous and very intimidated. I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church but I'm naturally more quiet and reserved. I didn't know if I could get up here, really, and speak and minister in front of people. During the week negative thoughts would bombard my mind. I would go and stand in front of a mirror and talk to myself. I would say, "Joel, you are strong. You are well able. You have what it takes. You are anointed. You are talented. You can do this".
At that time nothing that I was saying was true. I was not strong or confident. I did not feel talented, anointed, well able. But as I kept saying it, day after day, month after month, things started to change. I began to become what I was saying. Over time it became a reality.
Here's the key; what you keep saying you are moving toward. You may be struggling in your finances but when you keep declaring, "I'm blessed. I'm prosperous. I have the favor of God," every time you say it you're moving toward increase. You're getting closer to seeing that come to pass. You may be facing a sickness. It doesn't look good. But every time you declare, "I'm healthy. I'm strong. I'm getting better". You're moving toward health, wholeness, victory. Or perhaps you're struggling with an addiction. Every time you declare, "I am free. This addiction does not control me". You're moving toward freedom. You're moving toward breakthroughs.
Now here's the catch. This works in the positive and in the negative. If you're always saying, "I am so unlucky. I never get any good breaks," you're moving toward bad breaks, more disappointment. "Joel, my back has been hurting for three years. I don't think I'll ever get well". You're moving toward more sickness, more pain. Or, "I've been through so much. I don't think I'll ever be happy again". Moving toward more discouragement, more sadness. If you will change what you're saying, you will change what you're seeing.
The scripture says, "Call the things that are not as if they already were". A lot of times we do just the opposite. We call the things that are as if they will always be that way. In other words, we just describe the situation. "Man, gas is so high. I don't see how I'm going to make it". You're calling in more struggle, more lack. "I can't stand my job. My boss gets on my nerves". You're calling in more frustration, more defeat.
Don't use your words to describe the situation. Use your words to change the situation. If I would have just complained about how nervous and intimidated I was, if I would have gone around saying, "You know, I can't do this. I'm afraid. I don't have what it takes". If I would have described the situation I wouldn't be standing here today. If you want to know what you're going to be like five years from now, listen to what you are saying about yourself. You are prophesying your future. Five years from now my messages are going to be better than they are right now. And don't you say, "Thank God". Five years from now I'm going to be stronger, healthier, wiser, better looking.
Our daughter Alexandra had a copy of my first book from ten years ago the other day and a copy of my newest book. She was comparing the pictures on the cover. She said, "Wow, daddy! You look better today than you did ten years ago". I said, "What would you like me to buy you"? But do you know how many times I have said, "I'm getting stronger, healthier, wiser. My youth is being renewed like the eagles". Every time you say it you're moving toward it. But if you're always saying, "Man, I'm so out of shape. I'll never lose this weight," you're moving toward the wrong thing.
A gentleman told me last week. He looked to be about 70. "Joel, when you get old it's all downhill". That was his say so. He was declaring, "I'm going down". He was calling in poor health, lack of vision, hard of hearing. If he keeps that up he'll keep moving toward it. By the way he looked he had already been saying it for a long time. And I realize we're all going to get old. We're all eventually going to die but don't make plans to go downhill. Don't start speaking defeat over your life.
Moses was 120 years old and the scripture says, "His eye was not dim, his natural strength not abated". 120. Healthy. Strong. 20/20 vision. Didn't have glasses. Wasn't wearing a "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up" button around his chest. He had a clear memory, a strong, sharp mind. I know I'm going to get a letter on that one, but...
Here's what I'm saying. In spite of how you feel, in spite of what's been passed down in your family line, every day you need to declare, "Everything about me is getting better and better: my bones, my joints, my ligaments, my blood, my organs, my memory, my vision, my hearing, my talent, my skill, my looks, my skin. My youth is being renewed. Like Moses, I will finish my course with my eye not dim, my natural strength not abated".
You talk like that: you're moving toward renewed youth, health, energy, vitality. That's a lot better than getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror and saying, "Oh, man. I'm getting so old. Look at these wrinkles. Look how bad I look. This gray hair. I'm so out of shape". You keep moving toward that, in five years, it's going to be scary. You need to have a better say so. Don't talk about the way you are. Talk about the way you want to be. You are prophesying your future. Maybe you're in a difficult time today. Instead of complaining, that's just going to draw in more defeat. Your declaration should be, "I have grace for this season. I am strong in the Lord. Those that are for me are greater than those that are against me".
When you say that strength comes. Courage comes. Confidence comes. Endurance comes. You go through a disappointment, a bad break, a loss. "I don't know how this has happened to me, Joel. It's so unfair". No, that's just going to draw in more self-pity. Your declaration should be, "God promised me beauty for ashes, joy for mourning. I'm not staying here. I'm moving forward. New beginnings are in my future. The rest of my life will be the best of my life". You talk like that and you're moving toward double for your trouble. You're moving away from self-pity and toward God's goodness in a new way.
One of the best things we can do is take a few minutes every morning and make these positive declarations over our lives. Write down not only your dreams, your goals, your vision, but make a list of any area you want to improve in, anything you want to see changed. Put that list on your bathroom mirror, somewhere private. Before you leave the house take a couple of minutes and declare that over your life.
In other words, if you struggle with your self-esteem, feeling less than, you need to declare every day, "I am confident. I am valuable. I am one of a kind. I have royal blood flowing through my veins. I am wearing a crown of favor. I am a child of the most high God". You declare that and you'll go out with your shoulders back, with your head held high. You struggle with your weight, declare, "I am in shape. I am healthy. I'm full of energy. I weigh what I should weigh". It may not be true right now but you keep saying it and you're going to move toward it". Instead of living guilty, condemned, focused on past mistakes, no: declare, "I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I'm wearing a robe of righteousness. God is pleased with me".
See, the scripture says, "Let the weak say, 'I'm strong.'" it doesn't say, "Let the weak talk about the weakness. Discuss the weakness. Call five friends and explain the weakness". No, you cannot talk defeat and expect to have victory. You can't talk sickness and expect to have health. You can't talk lack and struggle and expect to have abundance. You've got to send your words out in the direction you want your life to go.
When you're in a tough time, somebody asks you how you're doing, don't go through a sad song of everything that's wrong in your life. "Oh, man. My back's been hurting. Traffic is so bad out today. Boss isn't treating me right. Dishwasher broke. Goldfish died. Dog doesn't like me". All that's going to do is draw in more defeat. Turn it around. Have a report of victory. How are you doing? "I'm blessed. I'm healthy. I'm prosperous. I have the favor of God".
What you consistently talk about, you're moving toward. Proverbs 6 says, "We are snared by the words of our mouth". Could it be if you would simply change what you're saying you would see a dream come to pass, a breakthrough, a healing, restoration?
That's what happened to a friend of mine. She had smoked cigarettes from an early age. She had tried again and again but she just could not stop. She was constantly saying, "I'll never break this addiction. It's too hard. And even if I do I know I will gain so much weight". This went on for years. One day someone told her what I'm telling you, to change what she was saying, to call things that are not as if they were. She started saying, "I don't like to smoke. I can't stand the taste of nicotine. I'm going to quit and not gain any extra weight".
She said that day after day. Even when she was smoking and enjoying it, she would say, "I can't stand to smoke". She wasn't talking about the way she was. She was talking about the way she wanted to be. About three months later one morning she noticed the cigarette tasted funny, almost bitter. She thought she got a bad pack. It got worse and worse. Several months later it had gotten so bad she couldn't stand it anymore. She stopped smoking and do you know she never gained one extra pound? Today she is totally free. She broke that addiction, in part, by the power of her words. She prophesied her future.
Some of you, like her, have spent years saying negative things over your life. "I can't break this addiction, Joel. My marriage is never going to make it. I'll never get out of debt". No, you've got to send your words out in a new direction. You are prophesying the wrong thing. Get in a habit of making these positive declarations over your life. Every day declare that your dreams are coming to pass. It's not enough to just believe it. Nothing happens until you speak. Like the Psalmist, when you say of the Lord, God will do what he promised.
Let me lead you in a few of these declarations today. Say it like you mean it. "I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am strong. I am healthy. I am talented. I am creative. I am confident. I am secure. I am disciplined. I am focused. I am attractive. I am well liked. I have a good personality. The right people are in my future. The right opportunities are headed my way. I will accomplish my dreams. I will overcome every obstacle. 2018 is my year. Things have shifted in my favor. God is about to show me something, that I have never seen. It's going to be bigger, better, greater, than I ever imagined. I am the redeemed of the Lord, and I say so today in Jesus' name".