Joel Osteen — You Cannot Be Defeated
I want to talk to you today about how you cannot be defeated. We all face situations where the odds are against us. We don't see how we could get well, how a relationship could be restored, maybe how we could ever break an addiction. In the natural it seems impossible. It's easy to just accept it and think, "This is my lot in life". But David said in Psalm 41, "The favor of God keeps my enemies from defeating me".
When you walk in God's favor, honoring him with your life, knowing who you are and whose you are, you cannot be defeated. You may suffer a temporary setback, a disappointment, an unfair situation, but if you'll keep moving forward it won't be permanent. One touch of God's favor can turn any situation around. What you're facing may seem bigger, stronger, more powerful but deep down don't be intimidated. You've got to know you cannot be defeated. The Creator of the universe has put his favor on your life.
This is what Joseph did. He had one bad break after another. His brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery. He spent years in prison for something that he didn't do. It looked like that had ruined his life. Joseph could have become bitter, angry, "God, it's not fair". No, he understood this principle. He knew because of God's favor on his life those enemies could not keep him defeated. He just kept being his best honoring God. I can hear him in the prisons, "Lord, thank you that your favor is turning this around. Thank you that this is not my destiny". In the end, in spite of his brothers trying to hold him back, in spite of Potiphar's wife lying about him, in spite of being sold into slavery, God not only delivered him, God not only vindicated him, but God paid him back for all that trouble. He was promoted and put second in command of the whole nation of Egypt.
What am I saying? The enemy of betrayal couldn't defeat him. The enemy of being lied about and falsely accused couldn't defeat him. The enemy of injustice, bad breaks, being put in prison, couldn't hold him down. Why? The favor of God kept his enemies from defeating him. You too may have had a rough past. Maybe you've had some bad breaks. The good news is it's not over. God is not finished. God always ends in "All is well". If all is not well it simply means it is not the end. You haven't seen what God is about to do. God is about to take what is meant for your harm and use it to your advantage. God is about to pay you back for the unfair things that have happened.
And just like with Joseph, when you keep a good attitude when it's not fair, when you do the right thing when the wrong thing is happening, the favor of God on your life will cause you to rise above every difficulty. It may not happen overnight but God promises those enemies cannot keep you defeated. Are you facing a situation that seems permanent? A sickness? An addiction? A relationship issue? Don't sit around in self-pity. God is saying, "That bad break, that disappointment, is not going to stop your destiny". That sickness cannot snatch you out of God's hands. That addiction, that trouble, that lack, is not permanent. God has put his favor on you and his favor always causes you to triumph.
Now you've got to get in agreement with God. All through the day instead of thinking, "Oh, Joel. I can't get well. Have you seen the medical report"? "I'll never accomplish my dreams". No, "Lord, thank you that your favor is turning this around. Thank you that your favor is vindicating me, restoring me, opening up new doors". When you're tempted to be discouraged under your breath just keep declaring it. "The favor of God keeps my enemies from defeating me". I've learned the more you brag on God's favor the more of his favor you're going to see. We've all heard little boys bragging on their father. "My dad is stronger than your dad. My dad can run faster than your dad. Well, my dad can whoop your dad". That's the way we should be concerning our Heavenly Father. Instead of talking about how big the problem is, how impossible it is: no, start bragging on the favor of God.
This is what Nehemiah did, a man in the scripture. He had a dream to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He didn't have the money, the supplies, the manpower. He had incredible opposition. The city leaders weren't for him. The critics tried to talk him out of it. He could have gotten discouraged and thought, "These obstacles are too big. I'll never overcome these enemies". No, right in the middle of the difficulty he said, "I can do this because the gracious hand of God is on my life". He was saying, "The favor of God is making a way".
Again and again he made this same statement, "The gracious hand of God will help me overcome". He was constantly bragging on God's goodness. In the end, he not only rebuilt the wall but he did it in record time. It should have taken a year or two but he did it in just 52 days. When you're always talking about God's goodness, "Lord, thank you that your favor is turning this around. God, thank you that your favor is defeating my enemies". Then you're going to see his favor, his goodness, his protection in new ways. You may be in a tough time but don't magnify your problem. Magnify your God. The bigger you make God the smaller your problems will become.
It's interesting, when David faced Goliath he never called him a giant. Other people did but not David. He didn't brag on the enemy's power. He didn't magnify the obstacle. He did just the opposite. He called him an "Uncircumcised Philistine". Not only did he not acknowledge who Goliath was, his strength, his power, his experience, he took it one step further and he diminished him. When he said, "He's an uncircumcised Philistine," he was saying, "This man is not in covenant with my God. He's not in covenant with Jehovah". In other words, "He doesn't have the favor on his life that's on my life. I know the favor of my God causes my enemies to not be able to defeat me".
So when he went to face Goliath he said, "This day I will defeat you and feed your head to the birds of the air". How could David, a teenager, practically half his size, no military experience, go out with such confidence and face Goliath, a skilled warrior wearing a full set of armor? It's because he understood this principle. David is the one that said, "The favor of God keeps my enemies from defeating me". I can imagine him running to the battlefield. Negative thoughts were bombarding his mind saying, "David, this is a big mistake. This giant is too big. You better turn around". David not only dismissed Goliath's size he dismissed those negative thoughts.
In difficult times it makes a difference what you're thinking about. If you're telling yourself, "This sickness is too big. It's going to be the end of me". "I'll never get out of debt, Joel". "My marriage is doomed. We don't have a chance". That's going to limit what God can do. You've got to do like David and switch over to an attitude of faith. In other words, "This sickness is no match for me. This trouble doesn't have a chance. I have a secret weapon. I know the favor of God keeps my enemies from defeating me. I know God's favor causes me to overcome, to outlast, to accomplish what I could not accomplish on my own".
See, in tough times you're going to be saying something. Don't talk about how big the problem is. Talk about how big your God is. Say like David, "I will defeat you". Say like Nehemiah, "The gracious hand of God, his favor, is on my life". Every day you need to declare this. Not only so that you can hear it, not only so that God can hear it. You need to say it so the enemy can hear it. Look at that negative medical report and say to the enemy of sickness, "The favor of God is causing me to defeat you". Look at that checkbook. Say to the enemy of debt, "The favor of God is defeating you". That child that's off course. Instead of complaining, "He's never going to straighten up". No, say to the enemy, "You can't have my children. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord". when you have this attitude of faith all the forces of darkness cannot stop you.
You may have seen on the news this week. A man was working in a convenience store. This robber came in with a gun. He told the man to open up the safe. The man was so nervous he couldn't open it up quickly enough. The robber got upset and shot him in the chest point blank range and ran out of the store. Other customers that were hiding rushed over to help the man. They noticed there wasn't any blood. Come to find out the man had his cell phone on the inside pocket of his jacket.
When the robber shot him the bullet hit the cell phone and ricocheted off. The paramedic said, "You are one lucky man". The truth is you and I know that wasn't a lucky break. That was the favor of God, causing the cell phone to be at the exact right place. If it's not your time to go you're not going to go. Why? The favor of God keeps your enemies from defeating you.
I read an article about a man that was cleaning his hunting rifle when it accidentally went off. The bullet went up through his chin and was headed toward his brain but along the way the bullet hit the man's dentures and it slightly changed the course. The surgeon said that that bullet missed the main part of his brain by less than a millimeter. Had it not had that slight change in path it would have certainly ended his life. You may not like your dentures but you better thank God for your dentures.
Some of you have teeth like the stars. They come out at night. I know that's corny. Listen, God can use your cell phone, your false teeth, your wig, your bling, to spare your life. You don't have to live in fear. The favor of God is like a shield. It's a hedge of protection that the enemy cannot penetrate. Don't go around worried and nervous and anxious, intimidated. The Creator of the universe has you in the palm of his hand. Nothing can snatch you away.
I saw on television this group was filming a movie. The man, the lead actor, he was in a helicopter flying over the ocean. In this scene he was supposed to hand something to the people on the boat below. The helicopter came real close toward the water. All of the sudden there was a huge burst of wind. You could watch all this take place. The pilot lost control of the helicopter. It started spinning around a couple of times, hit the water and quickly sunk. About 30 seconds later the pilot surfaced. He was okay.
Everyone was relieved but there was no sign of this other man, the lead actor. A minute went by. It seemed like an eternity. Two minutes. Three minutes. Four minutes. Five minutes later his head popped up out of the water. He told how he was unconscious. When he came to he didn't know where he was. Totally confused. He said, "I want to thank all the rescuers and especially the one that grabbed the back of my shirt, pulled me out of the helicopter and gave me that big push toward the top of the water". The people that were watching, they were amazed. They said, "What do you mean? There were no rescuers. You were down there by yourself". He looked up and said, "Then I want to thank God. I know it was him that lifted me out".
Friends, God has the final say. The enemy is not in control of your life. God is in control. It may look like the difficulty is going to defeat you but you need to keep telling yourself, "This sickness can't take my life". "This cancer can't defeat me". "No bad break, no disappointment, no accident can shorten one second of my divine destiny". Isaiah said, "When you go through the water you will not drown. When you go through the rivers you won't go under. When you go through the fire you'll come out without the smell of smoke".
You may be in the fire today. God is saying, "You're coming out and you're not going to come out beat up, bedraggled, barely making it. You're going to come out without a bruise, without a scratch, without a blemish, better off than you were before. now you've got to dig your heels in and say, "That's it. I'm done living worried, depressed, discouraged. I know I have a protector. I have a defender. I have a deliverer. I have a way maker. I have a vindicator. A healer. A provider. A dream giver. A promise keeper". No weapon formed against you can ever prosper.
Psalms 89 says, "Our power is based on his favor". If you want to be powerful you've got to tap into God's favor. If you want to overcome challenges, if you want to break free from bondages, it doesn't just happen in your own strength, in your own effort. It happens when you go through the day bragging on the goodness of God, acknowledging his power. "Lord, thank you that your favor is defeating my enemies for me". That's when God will do things for you that you could never make happen on your own.
I remember when we were trying to acquire this facility, the former Compaq Center, we needed ten votes from the city council members. We had worked on it for nearly three years and we had our ten votes. We were very excited. But two days before the main vote, one of the council members got so much pressure from the other side they decided to be out of town. Him not being there was basically a 'NO' vote. We wouldn't get the facility. In the natural it didn't look good. We could have gotten discouraged but we knew it's not over until God says it's over. We stood on this same promise. The favor of God keeps our enemies from defeating us.
Instead of complaining, "Lord, we recognize our power is based on your favor. God, we know you can do what we can't do. You can make a way where we don't see a way". What were we doing? Acknowledging God's goodness, bragging on his power, magnifying his greatness. The day before the main vote, a young Jewish council member who had been against us the whole time, he decided to change his vote and instead of voting against us he voted for us and we got the facility.
I asked him afterwards what caused him to change his vote. He told how an elderly Jewish lady that he had grown up with called him out of the blue. He hadn't spoken to this lady in over 20 years but he always admired and respected her. She told him in no uncertain terms, "You are to vote for Lakewood having the Compaq Center". He said, "Joel, you were very persuasive. Your team put on a good presentation but you didn't convince me to change my mind. It was that phone call. That one lady. She's the one that caused me to change my vote".
What's interesting is I don't know that lady. I had never talked to her. I didn't ask her to call but when you go around bragging on God's goodness he will make things happen for you that you could never make happen on your own. He will put the right people at the right place. our power is based on his favor. That's why it's so important that you activate your faith in this area. There are enemies that you cannot defeat in your own strength. There are obstacles that you can't overcome by yourself. There are doors that need to open for you for you to reach the fullness of your destiny but you can't open them in your own talent, your own strength, your own ability. It's going to take the favor of God.
When you have this attitude of faith, bragging on God's goodness, God will make things happen for you that you couldn't make happen on your own. He will defeat enemies that you could have never defeated. God will open doors that you could have never opened. He will cause you to live even when the medical report says you don't have a chance. His favor can defeat cancer. His favor can change a council member's mind. His favor can cause the bullet to hit the cell phone. His favor can take you from the pit to the palace like it did for Joseph. Every day we should say, "Lord, I recognize my power is based on your favor. So Lord, I want to thank you that your favor is defeating my enemies for me".
I talked to a young lady. She had been addicted to cocaine for fourteen years. She had been through rehab, counseling, different clinics again and again. She would get out and stay clean for a couple of weeks and then go right back to it. The reason is you cannot break bad habits and addictions just in your willpower, just in your own strength. Those strongholds are not just physical those are unseen forces that are holding you back. And it's good to do your part in the physical but you have to deal with the spiritual side as well.
You've got to humble yourself and ask God to help you. You've got to recognize your power is based on his favor. Without his favor you'll stay addicted. Without God's favor our life will be limited. We'll get stuck. I told her what I'm telling you. Every day declare, "The favor of God is defeating my enemies. The favor of God is breaking every stronghold, every addiction". She got out of this defeated mindset. "I can't do it. It's too hard. I tried and failed". She switched over to a favor mindset. The last time I saw her she had been clean for nine months, the most she's ever gone in those fourteen years. She looked like a different person. She had gained weight back. Her skin had cleared up. She had a big smile on her face. She was radiating with God's glory.
That's what happens when you tap into God's favor. He will help you overcome challenges that you could never overcome on your own. Psalm 44 says it this way, "They did not get the land in their own strength or by their own sword but because you favored them". You may be up against a big challenge today. You've done everything you can in your own strength, in your own ability. And that's important but let me encourage you. When you come to the end of your ability, when you don't see a way, when all the odds are against you, don't get discouraged. Don't let the negative thoughts keep playing in your mind. Just keep thanking God for his favor and God will do for you what he did for these people. What you couldn't make happen on your own, what you couldn't fix in your own ability, because of the favor of God, he will make it happen for you.
See, I couldn't change that council member's mind. I tried my best. I worked on him again and again. I told him all the reasons why Lakewood would be good for the Compaq Center. We would help people. We would be a lighthouse of hope. This would be good for the city. It went in one ear and out the other. But what I couldn't do God could do.
What am I saying? God knows how to solve your problems. God knows how to change people's minds. God knows how to restore your health. He is the one that made your body. It may look like that financial situation is never going to turn around, but one touch of God's favor can put you into overflow. You'll have more than enough. God is not limited by what you're facing. He is limited by what you're believing. When you believe, all things are possible. When you go through the day saying, "Lord, thank you for your favor," that's when God can do things for you that you could never do on your own.
Psalm 44, same scripture in the message translation says, "We didn't have to work for the land. You freely gave it to us. You sent our enemies packing and gave it to us smiling". You may have struggled in an area for a long time. You need to get ready. God is about to send that enemy packing. Just imagine that sickness, that cancer, that chronic pain packing up and leaving your body. God is going to send that addiction packing. He is going to send that debt, that struggle, that lack packing. Or how about that relationship problem, the legal issue, the infertility? It's not going to be with you your whole life. God is not only going to send it packing but he is going to release the healing, the breakthrough, the baby you've been praying about, the business you've been wanting to start, the person you've been dreaming to meet.
Notice how God is going to do it. It says, "God gave it to them smiling". That's the way God is. He wants to be good to you. God wants you to live in victory, healthy, whole, free: an abundant life. Why don't you get in agreement with God and say, "Lord, I want to thank you that you are sending my enemies packing, that you are doing for me what I could not do on my own".
First Peter says, "Hope to the end for the divine favor that is coming". In difficult times negative thoughts will tell you, "It's never going to change. You're never going to get out of this problem". No, down deep you've got to know favor is headed your way. Keep reminding yourself healing is coming. Breakthroughs are coming. Restoration is coming. Hope to the end. That means keep believing for God's favor. Get up every morning expecting it to turn around. Go out during the day knowing that you have a secret weapon. You cannot be defeated. The favor of God is on your life. You may be in a tough time but that setback is simply a setup for a greater comeback. The winds that are trying to stop you, all God has to do is shift the direction and instead of holding you back they will push you forward.
Some of you are about to see this shift. You're about to see God defeat an enemy. You're about to break an addiction. You're about to see a relationship restored. You're about to be thrust into the fullness of your destiny. If you will have this attitude of faith knowing that you cannot be defeated then I believe and declare that God is going to send your enemies packing. He is going to do for you what you couldn't do on your own. Favor is coming. Healing is coming. Breakthrough is coming. Victory is coming. You're going to rise above every obstacle and become everything God has created you to be. In Jesus' name.