Joel Osteen — Your Destiny is Calling
I want to talk to you today about your destiny is calling. In the scripture, God called Abraham a father of many nations. At that time, he didn't have any children. He and his wife Sarah were too old to have kids. It looked like God made a mistake. Abraham could have thought, "God, what do you mean? I'm not a father of many nations. I'm childless. My wife is barren".
Here's the principle. God calls you what you are before you become it. People call you what you are after it happens: God calls you what you are before it happens.
When God rejected Saul as the king of Israel, he told Samuel, "I have found a man after my own heart. David will be the next king". What's interesting is David wasn't a man, he was a teenager. He was out taking care of his father's sheep. He was a boy, yet God called him what he would become.
In the same way, God calls you blessed, successful, strong, healthy, talented. That may not all be true right now. You could say, like Abraham, "God, what do you mean? I'm not blessed. I'm struggling in my finances. I'm not healthy. I'm dealing with this illness". Don't worry, it's on the way. God calls things that are not as if they already were, and there are promises that God has spoken over you, dreams and goals he's placed in your heart. You didn't come up with them on your own. Those aren't just your ideas. God put them there, and the scripture talks about the secret petitions of your heart. That means the things you're dreaming about. You haven't told anyone. Seems too big, too far out.
That's your destiny calling. That's God telling you what you can become. You may not see how it can happen. Every circumstance may say you don't have the talent, you don't come from the right family. You tried last time, it didn't work out. Don't talk yourself out of it. God has spoken it. He controls the universe. All he's looking for is someone how will agree with him, someone who will rise up in faith and say, "Yes, I can hear my destiny calling. I may not see a way, but God, I know you have a way. If you speak it, I believe I can become it".
Human nature says, "When I see it, I'll believe it". Faith says, "I'll believe it, then I'll see it," and God will speak things over you that don't seem logical. When you're sick, the medical report says you won't get well. God says just the opposite. He calls you healthy, whole, strong. When the odds are against you, you don't have the connections, the resources, the experience, God calls you successful, prosperous, the head and not the tail. When you're struggling with an addiction, everybody in your family has had it, if you'll listen, you'll hear your destiny saying, "You are free. This addiction is temporary. The buck stops with you". God doesn't call you what you are; he calls you what you can become.
This is what happened with my father. He was raised on a cotton farm. His family lost everything during the great depression. They were very poor, barely had enough food to survive. He went to school with holes in his pants, holes in his shoes. Eventually, he had to drop out of high school to help his parents on the farm. Didn't look like he had much of a future, limited education, poverty, defeated mind-set.
But at the age of 17, daddy gave his life to Christ, the first one in his family, and all of a sudden, he had a desire to become a minister. He knew that's what he was going to do with his life. Notice the principle. God called him a pastor before he ever had a church, before he had any credentials, before he had ever been to seminary. He could hear his destiny calling. He could have talked himself out of it, thought, "Me be a pastor? That's never going to work out".
Instead, he let the seed take root. He believed what God had spoken over him, and he started telling people, "I'm a pastor. I'm a minister". They looked at him like he wasn't all there. Even his family told him, "John, you're not a minister. You better stay here on the farm with us. All you know how to do is pick cotton". But people can't see what God sees in you. God sees your potential. He knows what you're capable of. He's the one that breathed life into you.
Don't let people talk you out of it. Don't let family members convince you you don't have what it takes. They're calling you what you are. God is calling you what you can become. They can't hear what you hear. Don't expect people to cheer you on. Don't count on your friends to keep you encouraged. They may not be for you. They may think you're far out, and try to talk you out of it. Don't worry, you don't have to have other people. When you hear your destiny calling, that's between you and God, and some things, you have to go alone. You have to say, "God, they may not be for me, but I know you are for me. You put this promise in my heart, and I'm not going to be moved by who's not cheering me on, not going to give up because nobody's encouraging me. I know you being for me is more than enough to get me to where I'm supposed to be".
Friends, you and God are a majority. That promise is not dependent on your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your boss, the critics, the naysayers. It's dependent on you, and when you're tempted to get discouraged, to settle for mediocrity, you have to dig your heels in and say, "I don't think so. I am in it to win it". Keep pressing forward, keep honoring God. Your destiny is calling.
Luke chapter 1, an Angel appeared to Zechariah and told him that he was going to have a son that they were to name John. Zechariah's wife, Elizabeth, had been barren for many years. They had been praying, believing to have a child, and while Zechariah was excited about the news, he started reasoning it out. It didn't seem possible. Like Abraham and Sarah, they too were way too old, and Zechariah said to the Angel, "How can I be sure this is going to happen? I'm an old man, and my wife is well along in years". He was saying, in effect, "I can hear my destiny calling, but I don't see how it can happen. We're too old".
God was telling him what he could become. But because he had been childless for so many years, he couldn't conceive it, and when you've been a certain way for a long time, you've prayed and believed, and it hasn't happened, it's easy to settle for who you are instead of believing for who you can become, and too often, we get comfortable with mediocrity.
I talked to a gentleman recently, he struggled with an addiction since high school. He's in his 40s. He said, "Joel, I've done everything I can. I've gone through treatment, rehab, counseling. Nothing has worked. I guess this is my lot in life". He was saying, "This is who I am," and yes, that may be who you are, but you don't have to stay that way. God is telling you what you can become. Freedom is in your future. Wholeness is in your future. Breakthroughs are headed your way.
Maybe you've been single a long time. You don't think you'll ever meet the right person. That is not the end, that's a season. God has already lined up a divine connection for you, somebody better than you can imagine. Perhaps you feel stuck in your career. You can't seem to get a good break. That's not permanent, it's only temporary. There is promotion in your future. There are new levels up ahead.
Now, don't do like Zechariah, "Joel, this is too good to be true. I don't see how". Let the seed take root. That's your destiny calling. Zechariah said to the Angel, "Are you sure this is going to happen"? The Angel said, "Zechariah, I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God. He sent me to tell you this good news, but because you didn't believe my words, you will remain silent and not able to speak until the day it happens". From that moment on, Zechariah couldn't talk. He walked out, saw his family and friends, couldn't get a word out. For 9 months, he was silent.
Why was that? God knew if he went around saying, "It's never going to happen. This Angel told us we're going to have a baby. We're too old," the promise never would have come to pass. You can talk yourself out of your victory, and when you hear your destiny calling, you may not see how it can happen, but don't start talking about how it's not going to work out. Do yourself a favor and zip it up. It may seem unlikely. The medical report says no way. The child is off-course. But if Gabriel were standing here today, he would say the same thing to you that he said to Zechariah, "I stand in the presence of almighty God. What he promised you will come to pass".
If you will stay in faith, all the forces of darkness cannot keep it from happening. God will open doors that no man can shut. He'll turn situations around that look impossible. When there are obstacles trying to stop you, God said he'll cause you to run through a troop or leap over a wall. That means if you can't get through it, God will cause you to go over it.
Bottom line is God will get you to where you're supposed to be. People can't stop you. Bad breaks can't stop you. Sickness can't stop you. God has the final say, and we're not supposed to get stuck in one level. Be grateful for where you are, thank God for what he's done, but keep your faith stirred up. God wants to take you from glory to glory, from victory to victory. There are new mountains for you to climb. He's going to open new doors, and give you greater influence, bring gifts and talents out in a new way. This is where you are, but God is saying you can become something greater.
Nine months later, Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy. The promise was fulfilled, and her friends and family were so excited for her. They knew that was the favor of God, and on the eighth day, they came together. They decided to name the baby Zechariah after the father. The friends and family came up with the name. But Elizabeth the mother spoke up and said, "No, his name will not be Zechariah. His name will be John". They looked at her strangely. "Elizabeth, what do you mean? Nobody in your family is named John"
And back in those days, it wasn't good enough for the mother to name the baby. Women didn't have the authority and influence that they have today. So, they looked at the father. Zechariah, well, he still couldn't talk. He motioned for something to write on. Much to their surprise, he wrote down the name John. The moment he did, he could speak again, his mouth was opened.
But the scripture says they named the baby. Not the mother or the father, but friends and family came up with what they thought the best name for the child was, and sometimes, well-meaning people will try to name your baby.
And I say this respectfully, we all have "theys" in our life, and we should listen to counsel, take advice, but you cannot let other people name your baby. Don't let somebody else name your future. You know what God put in your heart, and you can't please people all the time and please God all the time, and sometimes, people will name you something that you're not. They'll name you average, not talented, addicted, too short, too tall. Don't let then put limitations on you and convince you that you can't accomplish your dreams.
Sometimes because of their own issues they're not dealing with, their own insecurities, they'll try to keep you down so they don't look so bad. You may have to disappoint a few people in order to fulfill your purpose, and life is too short to hang around people who are not making you better, who are not pushing you forward. You don't have time to waste with people that are causing you to compromise, draining your energy, getting you off-course, negative, critical, bitter, jealous people.
Your destiny is calling. You have an assignment to fulfill. "Well, Joel, what if I hurt their feelings"? What if you miss your destiny? What if you don't become all you were created to be? Who's naming your baby? It's interesting how, back then, the mother couldn't name the child, so they had to look to Zechariah, the father, and ask him what's the baby's name.
The principal is let your Heavenly Father name your future. That's why we say every service, "I am who God says I am". We're saying, in effect, "I am not who people say I am. I am not who my circumstances say I am. I am not who my past says I am. I am not who my mistakes say I am. I am who the Most High God, the Creator of the universe, the one who spoke worlds into existence, I am who he says I am".
People may tell you, "You're addicted. You'll never get on the right course". The good news is they can't name your future. God says you are free, you are clean, you are whole. You may not be there yet, but God's telling you what you can become. Your past may tell you you're washed up, you made too many mistakes, you're a failure. But your Heavenly Father says, "You are forgiven, you are redeemed, you are restored. My mercy is bigger than any mistake".
The critics, the naysayers, the haters may tell you, "You're not valuable. You're not attractive. You don't have anything to offer". Don't believe those lies. They don't have the authority to name your future. Your Heavenly Father says, "You are one of a kind". He named you a masterpiece, a prized possession. He said you've been fearfully and wonderfully made. He's crowned you with favor. You have Royal blood flowing through your veins. He's created you to reign in life as a king. Make sure your Heavenly Father is naming your future.
When God gave Abraham the promise that his wife Sarah was going to have a baby, she was 70 years old. Didn't seem possible. In fact, when Abraham told Sarah, the scripture says she laughed. She thought, "Yeah right, Abraham. Me have a baby at my age"? She had been barren for so many years. They had prayed and believed. Everybody else was having babies, but Sarah couldn't have one. Now, when she heard this promise that after all these years, when it defied the laws of nature, that she was going to have a baby, that was so far out that it was funny to her.
And sometimes, God will put a promise in our heart that's difficult to believe. Instead of latching onto it, too often we do like Sarah and think, "That's never going to happen for me. Joel, I'll never get out of debt, be able to pay my house off. I'll never have the funds to build that orphanage I'm dreaming about. I'll never be free from this depression. I've had it my whole life". This is the way Sarah felt, and God did something interesting. He changed her name from Sarai to Sarah. Sarah means princess, and if anybody didn't feel like a princess, it would have been Sarah.
I can imagine she felt inadequate, unattractive, left out. Life hadn't treated her fairly, and God knew he had to change her mind-set. Her destiny was calling, but she had been through so much, she couldn't hear it any longer. Now, every time someone said, "Good morning, Sarah," they were saying, "Good morning, princess. How are you, Sarah? How are you, princess"? Over and over, she heard that word "Princess". Something began to come alive on the inside. She started carrying herself differently. Instead of discounting the promise, now I can hear her telling people, "I'm going to have a baby. God's going to do something special in my life". She let the seed take root.
At the age of 90, against all odds, she gave birth to a baby boy, and the promise God put in you may seem far out. It's taken a long time, you tried and it didn't work, but God didn't bring you this far to leave you. What he started in your life, he's going to finish. There's no problem too big, no dream too great. God is not limited by your age, your income, your background, your nationality, by a medical report. He has all power. When he speaks, worlds come into existence. He wouldn't have given you that promise if he didn't know how to bring it to pass.
Why don't you shake off doubt, shake off negativity, and get a fresh new vision for your life? God is calling you into new levels. He's calling you into freedom, into health, into abundance, into victory. If you'll get in agreement with him, he'll take you places that you've never dreamed. He'll make things happen that you could never make happen on your own.
This is what happened to a friend of mine. She grew up in a small town in Mississippi, and she was raised very poor, in a dysfunctional environment where she suffered abuse. It looked like she would become a statistic, never amount to much. But one morning, at the age of five, when the milkman was dropping off the milk at their small house, he looked her in the eyes and said, "Young lady, one day, you're going to become miss America".
Up to that point, nobody had ever told her what she could become. All she had seen and heard was dysfunction, defeat, abuse, mediocrity, and when she heard that, a seed was planted in her heart, and every Tuesday, year after year, this milkman would tell her the same thing, "You're going to become miss America". In the natural, she had no reason to even entertain that thought. She didn't have connections, resources, stability, nobody to help her with her dreams. But if you could do it on your own, it wouldn't take faith, and God will put things in your heart that seem beyond your talent, beyond your ability, beyond your reach.
And at 11 years old, this young girl was involved in a head-on automobile accident. She was thrown from the car and broke her leg in 32 places. She had to have 200 stitches on her face. So much for becoming miss America. For 5 years, she was crippled and in a wheelchair. Most people would have given up. Not this young lady. That dream was deep down in her heart. At 19, she entered her local beauty pageant, and won first place. She went on to win the miss Mississippi contest. Later that same year, 1980, our friend Cheryl Prewitt Salem became miss America.
The promise was fulfilled. She and her husband, harry, are now ministers. They go around the world helping others. But it all started when that milkman told her what she could become, and God will use people to speak life into your destiny. I believe he's using me now to let you know you have seeds of greatness. You haven't seen your best days. You have what it takes to accomplish your dreams. That obstacle cannot stop you. That sickness is not going to defeat you. You haven't made too many mistakes. You haven't missed too many opportunities. Your future will be brighter than your past.
Now, do your part and stir your faith back up. Don't let disappointments talk you out of it. Don't let what somebody did cause you to live bitter and give up on your dreams. God has beauty for those ashes. He said he would pay you back double for the unfair situations. Nothing that's happened to you can keep you from your destiny. There are new levels up ahead, new friendships, new opportunities. Don't let a bad break name your future. Don't let a disadvantage convince you to settle for mediocrity. God put greatness in you. He created you to leave your mark on this generation. You're supposed to do like her and set a new standard for your family, and you may have had some setbacks, but the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. The Most High God is breathing in your direction.
In the scripture, God called Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah was young and unsure of himself. He said, "God, I can't speak to the nations. I'm too young, I'm afraid. I wouldn't know what to say". God said, "Jeremiah, before you were formed in your mother's womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I consecrated you and set you apart".
God was saying, "Jeremiah, before you showed up on this earth, I already knew everything about you. I knew every weakness you would have, every shortcoming. I knew every person that would do you wrong, every bad break, and I've already calculated all that into my plan for your life".
But like Jeremiah, it's easy to come up with excuses. "God, I don't have a good personality. I still struggle with my temper. God, these people did me wrong. I didn't have a good childhood. My boss plays favorites". God has already taken that into account. It doesn't have to stop you. God went on to tell Jeremiah, "Say not that you are too young".
If you're going to reach the fullness of your destiny, you have to get rid of the say-nots. Say not this problem is too big. Say not I'll never get well. Say not I don't have the talent. Say not I've had too many disadvantages, I have too many weaknesses, gone as far as I can. Before you were formed in your mother's womb, God equipped you and empowered you. You are not lacking, you didn't get shortchanged. You are well able.
Now, don't let the say-nots keep you from your destiny. Get your mind, your words, your vision going in the right direction. You are who God says you are. He says you are strong, healthy, forgiven, redeemed, successful. Now, you may not be all that yet. You have to believe it first, and then you'll become it. If you'll do this, I believe and declare you are about to rise to a new level, overcome every obstacle, accomplish every dream, and become everything God's created you to be in Jesus' name.