Joel Osteen - Disconnect From Discord
I want to talk to you today about disconnect from discord. We all have people that are trying to get us riled up: they complain about the company, exaggerate problems, spread the latest gossip, they are professional troublemakers. If you allow them to draw you in, before long you'll be upset, focused on the wrong, bitter over what you're not getting. But one of the things the scripture says that God hates, is when a person sows discord, that's someone that's always stirring up trouble, trying to incite you to unrest. You can be perfectly happy, you have a great job, but they start planting these seeds of discontentment, things like "Hey, you know you're not really treated right there. You should be making more money. Have you noticed how everyone gets promoted except you"? They're not interested in your well-being, they're just trying to get you stirred up.
And Paul said in Romans 16:17, "I urge you, watch out for those that cost division. Stay away from them. They're not serving Christ, they're only serving themselves". Don't let them poison you, don't let that discord get in you. You have to be careful who you take advice from, be careful who you let influence use. Are they healthy, productive, do they have good judgment, clear vision or are they discontent, bitter, living from a place of offense? Most of the people that are sowing discord have issues that they're not dealing with. They're jealous of others, that's why they talk bad behind their backs. Or they've been hurt, they've gone through things that are not fair, they haven't forgiven, they haven't moved on, that's why they see everything from a bitter perspective. Or they have regrets, they've made mistakes, they're mad at themselves, they don't want you to be happy, that's why they're always stirring up the negative.
Before you get riled up, consider the source. Healthy people don't go around stirring up trouble. Secure people don't talk bad behind other people's back, they celebrate their success. Grateful people don't focus on what's wrong, they don't find fault, they're grateful to be alive. If someone is constantly disgruntled, bitter, jealous, bringing division, that's a sure sign they're not for you. Your time is too valuable to let them poison your spirit. Don't sit there and listen to them gossip about the friends they're jealous of, tell you how you're not being treated right, this other person would be a much better spouse than the one you have now - they are not healthy enough to give you good advice. Be kind, be respectful, but be gone, don't hang around them. If God hates when someone shows discord, then I'm going to distance myself from what God hates, because I need God's blessings, we need his favor, we need him to open doors that we can't open.
Psalm 1:1 says in the amplified, "Don't sit inactive in the path of the ungodly". That means don't go to lunch every day with people that badmouth the boss, especially if you work here. Don't spend an hour on the phone with that trend that gossips about all your other friends. Don't hang out with that colleague that brings out the worst in you, convinces you how bad your life is. Is one thing when someone wants to correct a problem, there are times we need to talk about a situation at home, at work, I'm not saying to not address issues. If someone brings something up that they're just a troublemaker, they can do it with right motives and it's helpful, but that's very different from someone that's just stirring up trouble, exaggerating the wrong, bringing strife and division. The enemy loves when we're divided, he loves when we're fighting in our homes, in turmoil at the office, this coworker is mad at the other, we're jealous of this friend, bitter over how we were treated, we're playing right into his hand.
There's no power when we're divided, the power comes when we're in unity. Stay away from troublemakers, keep your distance from people that are stirring you up. You cannot sit inactive with people that are sowing discontentment and stay in peace and have healthy relationships at the same time.
Proverbs 13:20 says, "If you walk with wise men, you will become wise, but if you associate with fools, you'll be foolish". You're going to become like the people you're around: if you're spending time with sowers of discord, disgruntled people, fault finders, bitter, those same qualities are going to rub off on you. And sometimes the reason we're having difficulties, the reason we have dysfunction it's not the enemy, it's the people we're choosing to be around, we're listening to the wrong voices. I've made up my mind, I'm not going to listen to gossip, I'm not going to let that poison in my spirit. "Well, can I tell you what I heard about so-and-so? It's really juicy, you won't believe what they did". No, thanks, I'm not going to be a participator with the sower of discord. Your ears are not garbage cans to fill with a bunch of trash.
"Well, Joel what they're saying is true, you can't hide your head in the sand". Yes, but ask yourself: what is it going to benefit you? What purpose is it going to serve for you to know that? If it's only to have a bad opinion of them, then you don't need to hear it. The scripture says: love covers a fault, love covers a weakness. Is it covering or is it exposing? If it's just exposing, showing their faults, then it's not for me, I'm gonna keep my heart pure, I'm not going to be a part of sowing discord, of making somebody else look bad.
Proverb 6:14-15 says: a person that constantly stirs up trouble will suddenly be destroyed. Doesn't mean you'll lose your life, but your dreams won't come to pass, you won't have good relationships, you'll miss your destiny. That's why Paul use such strong language, "I urge you, stay away from those that cause division". He was saying, "I implore you, I challenge you", he knew, it would keep us from becoming what we were created to be.
And sometimes it's just subtle things that can plant these seeds of discontentment. A friend comes up says, "My husband bought me this beautiful bracelet for my birthday, what did your husband get you"? You don't tell them, but all you got was a small box of chocolates on sale from walmart. She goes on to say: he brings me breakfast in bed every morning, he sends me fresh flowers every week, he writes poetry and takes me on picnics by the lake. If you keep dwelling on that, thoughts are gonna tell you, you're at a disadvantage, it's time to trade that old goat (I mean that husband) in, he's not treating you right, you don't have to put up with all of this. Don't compare your life to anyone elses, run your race.
I'll admit, I'm not the most Romantic person in the world, but I remind Victoria: you didn't marry Romeo, you marry Joelio. If you make the mistake of comparing your situation, you're going to be disgruntled, because there will always be somebody that's ahead of you, somebody that has it better, somebody that makes it look like you're at a disadvantage. But can I tell, you somebody has it worse, somebody would gladly take that husband, somebody would love to have the wife that you've gotten sour with, they'd love to have your job. Don't let people talk you in to being disgruntled, sour, you've got to put your foot down and say, "I will not let these seeds of discontentment take root in my life, I will not let this poison my spirit. I am grateful for what I have, I'm blessed to have a job, I'm blessed to have a spouse, I'm blessed to be alive". If you don't stay on the offensive, subtle things can't sour you.
You can be coming to Lakewood happy, enjoying the services, and a friend says "Do you really like parking that far away? Don't you think the service is a little too long, that music was a little too loud? I mean, I came last week, I didn't get anything out of the message, when Dr. Paul spoke. You've been volunteering there for years, when was the last time they told you thank you? It's been that long, do you really think they appreciate you and you're still there"? You know what that is? A sower of discord. Someone trying to get you stirred up, so you see your situation in a negative light, don't take that bait.
In Junior High I played on the basketball team and one game I was on the bench and a good friend of mine was sitting next to me. I'd known him my whole life and I knew, I could get him riled up. I didn't mean anything wrong, I just kind of bored and wanted to have fun, so when the referee called a foul on our team, I turned to him and said, "That was a terrible call. I can't believe that was a foul, you need to say something". He shouted, "Come on ref, open your eyes". I couldn't believe he shouted that loud, I thought if he's this gullible, I'll try something more. The next foul, I noticed him and said, "That was ridiculous". He shouted, "Oh, my goodness wrath, this is terrible". I kept egging him on, tell him "I've never seen anything so unfair, this is not right, got him all worked up".
The next foul he jumped up off the bench, took a couple of steps onto the court and started shouting at the ref. Our coats looked at him like he had lost his mind, he said: "Son, what in the world are you doing? Go to the locker room". My friend looked at me, I kept looking straight ahead as innocent as can be. In a few minutes I was in the game, playing, having fun, while he was stuck in the locker room.
And that's what happens in life: we let people get us riled up, talked into being discontent, arguing with someone, having a bad attitude. Because we're sour, our relationships suffer, we don't get the promotion, nobody wants to be around us. The people that provoked us, they're still enjoying the game. Are you letting someone get you stirred up, causing you to be jealous, offended, disgruntled? Recognize what's happening, they're sowing discord into your life. Don't sit inactive with people that bring out the worst, stay away from those that are causing division, convincing you of everything wrong with your spouse, with your job, with your life. Don't let their poison cause you to make decisions, where you get sent to the locker round.
Numbers 16, a man named Korah was disgruntled with Moses, he didn't like that Moses was the leader, that he was getting all the credit. He conspired with two other men to start a rebellion against Moses. They rounded up 250 people, he said in verse 3, "Moses you've gone too far. Everyone in Israel has been set apart for the Lord. What right do you have to act like you're better than all of us"? - questioning Moses leadership and whether God had called him. The truth is, Korah was jealous of Moses, he had seen the favor on his life. He went to these other leaders and started sowing discord, "Hey, Moses is not that hot, he's just trying to take all the credit. You should be up there, I should be up there, this is not right".
There's nothing God dislikes any more than people that bring division. If there's something you don't like about your job, your boss, your friends, your church, the right thing to do is to go to the people in charge and express your concerns. The wrong thing to do is to talk bad behind their backs, stir up trouble and try to exaggerate things that you don't like, try to get other people on board. At some point a Korah will come to you, badmouth the boss, complain about the company, talk about a friend they're jealous of. A sower of discord is not happy, unless they contaminate others. Don't sit there inactive, you have to be bold and say, "No, thanks, this is not for me".
Korah ended up talking 250 men into being discontent. I could understand if Moses was arrogant, domineering, rude, but he was just the opposite. The scripture says he was the most humble man in all the earth, he wasn't trying to take the credit. He said the Korah, "You're not revolting against me, you're revolting against God". When people are jealous of you, they try to discredit you, make you look mad, you don't have to fight that battle. They may think they're coming against you, they don't realize, they're coming against the God, who put the blessing and favor on you.
Moses told Korah, that the next day God would show them who was in charge. He instructed Korah to bring the 250 leaders and they would meet. Verse 19 says, that Korah stired up the entire community against Moses. It's amazing how quickly disunity can spread. If you're not going to let that discord get in you, you have to go against the grain. The whole city turned against Moses, it all started because one man was disgruntled. The next morning Moses went to Korah's tent. The two men that conspired with him lived next door, they were all standing outside with their families. Moses said in verse 28, "By this you will know, that the Lord has sent me to do the things I've done". While he was still speaking, the ground opened up, an earthquake swallowed those three men, all their families, their tents, their belongings, then closed back up. The 250 men that had joined the revolt, they took off running, I don't blame them. Suddenly a bolt of lightning wiped them all out.
God doesn't play around when it comes to stirring up trouble. Make sure you're not letting poison get in you, disconnect from any discord, you have a destiny to fulfill. There's nothing that enemy would love any more, than for you to go around discontent, distracted, mad at people, feeling shortchanged. And some of that may be valid, maybe people hurt you, they did you wrong - you have to let God be your vindicator, let God fight your battles. If you're hanging around people that are sowing division, there's a good chance you're going to start bringing division. The problem is, when you go to Korah's side, you step out of God's protection. God is against a troublemaker, he's against a sower of discord, a tale bearer. And even if what you know is true, the right thing to do is to cover it, not going around stirring up more trouble.
The Book of Genesis talks about how when Noah got off the ark, he went to his tent and got drunk. He had been on the ark 40 days while it rained, plus an additional 150 days while the water receded. Somebody said, if you had been cramped up with all of your relatives for a hundred and ninety days, you'd get drunk too. Noah was lying on the ground outside his tent totally naked, passed out from being drunk. His youngest son Ham went to the tent, saw his father with no clothes, instead of covering him, instead of keeping it to himself, he went out and started telling people, he tried to get others stirred up. I can imagine him saying to his brothers, "You'll never believe what I saw. Dad's making a fool of himself, he's drunk, he's naked". He could have downplayed it, but he tried to get others stirred up. His two brothers didn't take the bait, their attitude was, "We're not going to be drawn into discord, to gossiping, to making people look bad". Even though it was true, they didn't get on board with bringing division, spreading the negative.
They went to Noah's tent. When they saw their father lying there with no clothes on, they turned around and walked in backwards. They've refused to look at him. They got a blanket and covered him up. What if we had that kind of attitude, when we hear something juicy, it's true, we have every right to say it, but instead of exposing it, we cover it up, we don't tell anyone, we don't go around announcing what we saw? When you cover a person's fault, you're on God's side. When you expose their faults, use what you know to discredit them, you're on the wrong side. God said: touch not my anointed. Noah was drunk, but he was still anointed. People can make mistakes, have weaknesses, but they're still anointed. I'm not going to touch God's anointed. "Well, Joel, they're off course. They're not honoring God". Maybe not, but they're still made in the image of God. When you come against them, you're coming against the God, who created them.
When Noah woke up and found out what happened, how his youngest son exposed him, his two other sons covered him, he said to Ham, the youngest: "Your children and grandchildren will always struggle. There will be hardships on your descendants, because you dishonored me". He said to the other two sons, "Because you covered me, because you didn't spread the negative, your descendants will always be blessed, they will rule over cities, their land will increase, they will always have favor". God doesn't look favorably on people that sow discord, people that stir things up. If you're tempted to gossip, talk about somebody, keep the negative going, don't fall into that trap. If you'll cover it, like these two sons, you and your family will see blessings and favor.
This is where Moses sister Miriam got into trouble. Moses married a Kushite woman, a foreigner. Miriam didn't like this new wife, she started talking behind Moses back, criticizing him. I can hear her telling their brother Aaron, "I don't like this new girl, this foreigner. Yeah, she's nice, but she's not one of us. I think she's just after Moses money, she's just waiting for the movie royalties, from the Ten Commandments". It's easy to have an opinion about everything, tell people what we think, what we would do. Here's a key that will make your life much more peaceful: mind your own business! Who they marry, what they drive, how they spend their money - none of our business. While Miriam was criticizing Moses, suddenly her skin became full of leprosy. It seems kind of extreme, just for talking about her family. That's how much God doesn't like when we so discord, he knows how harmful strife and division is. Moses prayed for Miriam and her skin went back to normal.
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, "Make it your ambition to live a quiet life and to mind your own affairs". He was saying, "Don't be a busybody, where you have to try to know everything, mind your own business". Really some things we shouldn't have an opinion, and if we do, we should keep it to ourselves unless they ask. It's hard enough to run our own life don't try to run somebody else's.
2 Samuel 20 David had a man criticizing him, bringing conflict, trying to make him look bad, sowing discord. Verse 1 says, "A troublemaker named Sheba said: David we will have nothing to do with you, come on men of Israel, let's go home". That day everyone left David except the tribe of Judah. The truth is, we all have some troublemakers. You can't live very long without either having people try to stir you into discontentment or people try to stir others against you. It's easy to try to straighten out the troublemakers, get baited into conflict, that's their goal, to get you distracted, where you're fighting battles that you're not supposed to fight. And you can't stop people from sowing discord, but you can stop it from getting in you. You don't have to get upset. They can't stop your destiny. People can't overrule the plan God laid out for your life. If you'll stay on the high road, God will take care of your troublemakers, he will silence the people, that are trying to discredit you.
It says in Psalms, that trap the enemy set for you they will fall in themselves. But David got all riled up, he didn't like this man Sheba, he was going to do something about it. He told his men in verse 6, "This troublemaker Sheba is going to harm us. Quick, take the troops and chase after him". Here David had defeated powerful armies, he had brought down experienced military leaders, now he's chasing after this one man Sheba, thinking that he's going to stop him. When you get riled up, let what somebody says get on the inside, it's easy to lose perspective and start fighting battles that don't matter. David's men chased after Sheba, he ran to this city and he barricaded himself behind the walls. David's men started tearing the wall down. Lady came out and said, "Why are you destroying our city? What do you want"? They said all we want is a man named Sheba. She said, "Fine". In a little while, Sheba's lifeless body was thrown over the wall.
God was showing us, he will deal with your troublemakers, he will take care of the people that are spreading negative things. Now don't do like David, get all worked up, think you have to pay them back. Stay in peace, God sees what's happening, he is not going to let a sower of discord continue to succeed. The good news is, you don't have to fight, that's not your battle. I'm asking you to disconnect from any discord, stay away from people that are bringing division, don't sit inactive with those that are keeping you stirred up. You can't let those seeds of discontentment take root, you have a destiny to fulfill. Now pay attention to who you're letting speak into your life, don't go on Korah's side, stay on God's side. If you'll do this, I believe and declare, like with David, God is about to defeat some troublemakers for you, he's about to turn some negative situations around, vindicate you, promotes you and take you to new levels of your destiny, in Jesus name.