Joel Osteen - The Fight For Your Future
I want to talk to you today about the fight for your future. We all have things that come against us in life: people that aren't fair, a sickness that won't seem to go away, or a setback in our finances. Sometimes it was no fault of our own, we were born in the difficulties, parents that weren't around, depression addictions that keep getting passed down. We wonder: "Why am I having this opposition? Why was I raised in an unhealthy environment? Why did this company let me go after all these years"? It's because there's something in you that the enemy's trying to stop. Those bad breaks weren't random, you weren't just unlucky, those were strategic attacks. If you weren't a threat to the enemy, he wouldn't be trying to hold you back. If he didn't know there was greatness in you, he wouldn't waste his time bringing those challenges.
When you gave your life to Christ God marked you, he said: "You're mine", he put that crown of favor on your head. That's all great, but the challenge is: you became a target to the enemy. He knows, you're destined to take new ground, he knows God has favored you to leave your mark, so he's going to work overtime trying to stop you. Many times the enemy knows who we are, even before we realize who we are.
When David was a teenager out working in the shepherd's fields, there was nothing usual about him, he didn't have a significant position, taking care of his father sheep. He didn't come from wealth and influence, they were a low income family - nothing about him stood out. Why did his father leave him in the fields when the prophet came to anoint one of the sons as the next king? Was no big deal to bring him in. Why did his father disrespect him and look down on him like that? When David took lunch to his brothers, when they were in the army, why did his oldest brother make fun of him and belittle him? Why was he intimidated or why was he jealous? David wasn't intimidating, didn't look like he was any threat to them, but the enemy can see things in you, that you may not see in yourself. David saw himself as ordinary, but even the enemy knew he was a giant killer, he knew he was a history maker, that's why he came against David so strongly.
Many of the difficulties you faced, things that didn't make sense, opposition that came out of nowhere, people that turned on you, it's because there's a giant killer in you, there's a history maker. You may not be able to see it yet, but even the enemy can see, there's greatness in you. Have a new perspective, those difficulties are assigned: something amazing is in your future.
Mark chapter 5, there was a man that was possessed with evil spirits. It had gotten so bad, nobody could control him. They sent him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, to a place called the Gadarenes to live among the tombs in a graveyard, this deserted area. They tried chaining him up, but he was so strong he would break the chains. All through the night and day he would wander through the tombs, wherein no clothes, screaming and cutting himself. This man didn't look like he had a chance, deranged in his mind, society had written him off, but I can imagine some nights there were moments of sanity, where he would look up and say, "God, please help me. Why am I so tormented, God, I want to go back home". I can see his little boy being for him, his wife weeping, so discouraged. It looked like that was his destiny.
People had given up on him but God never gives up on us. Nobody is too far gone, don't write your child off, don't write your neighbor off, your cousin off, may look like they're too bad, to addicted, to depressed, too far off course. The enemy wouldn't be fighting them that hard, if there wasn't something amazing on the inside of them. Jesus was in Galilee on the shore teaching the people, at the end of the day, instead of going back and rest what he normally did, he told the disciples, he wanted to cross to the other side of the lake, to where the man was. In the middle of the night, while they were on the boat, a huge storm arose. The waves started crashing over the boat, filling it with water, looked like it was going to sink. Jesus was asleep in the back and they ran to impractically, "Jesus wake up, we're about to die". Jesus stood up and spoke to the storm, "Peace, be still". Suddenly the winds and waves stopped, everything was perfectly calm.
The next morning when they arrived at the shore, Jesus was getting out of the boat, the deranged man came running up to him, fell at his knees and started screaming. Jesus told those demons to come out and instantly the men was healed. The scripture says, (Mark 5:15) "They saw the man sitting, fully clothed and in his right mind". What's interesting, when Jesus was on the boat headed toward demand, that huge storm was not random, wasn't just an act of nature, a coincidence - that was the enemy trying to stop Jesus from getting to this man. You would think, the enemy would be satisfied, I mean the man was possessed, out of his mind, cutting himself. Surely he's no threat, he'll never do anything great. No, the enemy knew, despite all he had done, despite the confusion, the cutting that this man still had greatness in him, that he still had a destiny to fulfill, dreams to accomplish. So, when he saw Jesus crossing the lake, he thought "I've got to stop him, I've got to keep him from getting to that man".
There is a fight for your future, but what I want you to see is: it's not your battle, God is fighting for you. The enemy may send the storms, opposition that seems too big, don't worry God controls the winds, he overrides every negative force. Those winds that are trying to keep you from your destiny, God is speaking to them right now: breakthroughs are coming, healing is coming, freedom is coming. Things that look like they would never turn around, the storm seems darker than ever, on your own you don't have a chance: you're not on your own, get ready, favor is coming, victory is coming, like this man you're going to see God override what's trying to stop you. There's no storm too strong that he can't calm, no giant too big that he can't defeat, no fire too hot that he can't step in and bring you out.
This man that was deranged, he didn't know that Jesus had spoken to the winds, he didn't know there was a huge storm, Jesus had gone to great lengths to get to him, he just show up on the shores. You don't know how many storms the enemy has has sent to try to keep God from getting to you, how many times God has said, "Peace, be still, that's my son, that's my daughter, break the chains, they're going to fulfill their purpose". God has been fighting for you your whole life, pushing back the darkness, calming storms, crossing lakes just to get to you. Some of these battles started, when you were a small child. The enemy knew way back then who you were called to be, he could see the favor and anointing on your life, he could see you were destined for greatness, so he's worked overtime trying to stop you from your destiny, things that you had no control over.
My father as a two old boy was walking by a fire and fell into it. Nobody was around, he could have been killed, out of nowhere someone came and pulled him out. He couldn't save himself, that was God fighting for him. The enemy sent the storm, but God said, "Peace be still, I have the final say". The enemy can't stop your destiny, he can't end your life. David said in Psalm 30, "God, I praise you, for you refused to let my enemies triumph over me". Why did that fire not take my father out? God refused to let the enemy triumph. Why did that accident not harm you? God refused to let it harm you. How did you beat the cancer? Why did that unhealthy childhood not stop you? How has that addiction not finished you off? Because God's purpose is more powerful, than the enemy's plan. The forces of darkness cannot stop what God has ordained for you. If you only knew all the things God refused to let happen to you.
You may have had some bad breaks, things that weren't fair, but just the fact that you're still here is a sign: God's favor is on your life. There may be obstacles trying to stop you now, you can't understand why — it's because of the greatness in you. The enemy doesn't come against people that don't have anything. If you weren't a threat, he wouldn't be bothering you. In one sense, you can take it as a compliment, "Yes, I have big obstacles, but I know, it's because I have a big future. I've had some bad breaks, some disappointments, but it couldn't finish me off, I'm still standing". The enemy wouldn't have wasted so much time and energy on you, if there wasn't something amazing in you future.
Now, do your part, stay in faith, don't go around complaining about what didn't work out, what you didn't get. God is still working, he's a God of justice, he will make up for what was unfair, he will pay you back for the wrongs that were done.
Way back as a little child the enemy knew, my father would be the first one in our family to give his life to Christ, he knew he would be the one to break the cycle of poverty, that limited us for generations. He knew daddy would start Lakewood and that he would lead children and grandchildren to continue it on. No wonder he tried to take him out as a little boy, no wonder his family told him that all he knew how to do was pick cotton, that he could never become a minister, no wonder a church asked him to resign, because his message of faith and victory didn't fit in. When you have a big future, the enemy is not going to roll out the red carpet and let you fulfill it.
Paul said in first Corinthians: a wide door of opportunity is open for me and there are many adversaries. The many adversaries is not because God has forgotten about you, it's not because you've got short chains, it's because of the wide doors that are about to open for you, it's because of the favor that's in your future. When you look back over your life, you can see things that came against you, some you had nothing to do with. Things that weren't fair: you were left out, you were mischaracterized, made to look bad. Other times you tried to step up to a new level, you tried to set a new standard, but opposition came out of the woodwork, things that you've never faced. There are forces that don't want you to take new ground. And then, when the enemy sees you start to make progress, he'll send the storm, the winds, the waves. That's when God will step up and say, "Peace, be still". The storms cannot stop our God, and what's come against you is not a sign that you're stuck, it's a sign: promotion is coming. The storm is a sign: God is close to the shore, you're about to see things change in your favor.
When Moses was born, the Pharaoh had put out a decree, that all the male Hebrew babies were to be killed at birth. The Pharaoh was concerned that the Israelites were getting too big, and that they could overtake the Egyptians. Not only that, it was prophesied that Moses would deliver the Israelites out of slavery. It wasn't a coincidence that Moses was born into adversity, born with forces against him. Nothing he had done, wasn't his poor choices, but from his birth the enemy was trying to stop him. Mother hid him in the house for three months, but eventually he was too big, she thought he would be found and killed, so she put him in a small basket and sent him floating down the Nile River.
It just so happened, Pharaoh's daughter was out at the river taking a bath. When she heard the cries coming from the basket, she opened it and couldn't believe it: she fell in love with this little baby. What's interesting is, she knew he was a Hebrew baby, she knew he wasn't supposed to live, her father, the Pharaoh was the one that made the decree. But for some reason she and her father decided: it was okay for her to keep the baby and raise it as her own.
When God is fighting your battles, things will happen that don't make sense. When he says, "Peace, be still", storms that seem impossible will suddenly calm down. Now, maybe you were raised in an environment that wasn't real healthy, you have plenty of reasons to be sour and think you can't do anything great, you been through too much. How do you know you're not a Moses? How do you know those adversities weren't a sign, that greatness was in you, that the enemy was trying to push you down and keep you from leaving your mark, but God stepped in and said, "Peace, be still"? God didn't bring you out because you're ordinary. Now, you need to step into your greatness, quit believe in those lies that you've had too many bad breaks, too much institute, it's not fair. It doesn't have to be fair for God to do something awesome in your life. In fact when it's not fair, when you're the underdog, when the enemy is trying to stop you, that's when God will step in and show out the most.
Wasn't fair for David's own family to belittle him, but that didn't keep him from taking the throne. Wasn't fair for Joseph to be thrown into a pit, lied about, put in prison, but that didn't keep him from becoming the prime minister. Wasn't fair for Moses to be born under a death threat, his family having to hide him - that didn't stop him from delivering the Israelites. Who says it has to be fair for you to fulfill your destiny? No bad break has canceled God's plan for your life, no injustice, no disappointment, no person. The reason it's not fair, is there something in you, that the enemy doesn't want out. There's an assignment God has for you, that he's trying to stop. There's an anointing and empowerment of favor that the enemy doesn't want you to see. The good news: he doesn't have the final say. Now, get ready to step in to your greatness.
My sister Lisa was born with something like cerebral palsy, the doctors told my parents that she would probably never be able to walk or feed herself. The first year she couldn't lift her head, she had no sucking reflexes, but by the grace of God over time she defied the Gods and kept getting better and better. Well, growing up there were five of us kids in the house and all of us except Lisa, we're very athletic, played sports, stayed active, but Lisa coming through that birth injury, couldn't do everything we did. When we were choosing to play kickball with our friends in the neighborhood, Lisa would always get chosen toward the very end, right before my brother Paul. But it seemed like for Lisa it was one bad break after another, in her early 20s she went through a breakup in a relationship, it's very hurtful and very unfair.
Not long after that she was working with us at the church, opening my father's mail. One day she opened a package and and it exploded in her lap, it was a mail bomb, blew up part of her leg and injured her stomach, she was rushed to the hospital, had to have surgery. The investigators told us, if the package hadn't had been turned long ways in her lap, instead of sideways, she would have instantly been killed. It was a pipe bomb when it exploded, the nails blew out the side away from her, instead of into her. But why did Lisa have all these things come against her, since she was a baby? The enemy knew there was something special in her: and anointing to teach, a gifting to lead, a favor to help build people. Every time the enemy sent the storm, God stepped up and said, "Peace, be still". When the bomb exploded, God said "Bomb, you can't finish her off, you don't have the final say". God refused to let her enemies triumph. Lisa says, "I opened the bomb, but now I am the bomb".
What's come against you hasn't been random, those were strategic attacks for one reason: because of what's in you — purpose, destiny, greatness. If you will stay in faith and keep moving forward, not be bitter over what didn't work out, then at some point you're going to step in to what the enemy didn't want you to see: new levels of favor, opportunities like you've never dreamed. God has taken you where you can't go on your own.
A friend of mine was raised in a large family in Puerto Rico, had 17 brothers and sisters. His parents were heavily involved in witchcraft. When he was three years old, his mother was in a trance, she declared over him that he was the son of satan. He was so young, he didn't know any better, but imagine heavens people speaking things like that over your life. Didn't seem fair, look like he was at a disadvantage, but people don't have the final say. What you can't see, is behind the scenes the Most High God is fighting for you, he overrides negative things people have spoken.
15 years old he moved to New York city with one of his brothers. Six months later he was the leader of one of the most violent and feared street gangs, fighting and stealing were a part of his everyday life. A year later his best friend was stabbed and died in his arms. Like the deranged man that was cutting himself, didn't look like this young man had any future, he wouldn't have never amount to much, he was too far off course. But what he couldn't see was God was crossing the lake to get to him, God was on the way to turn things around. And when forces come against you that strongly, you can be assured, there's a great purpose on your life, there's great potential on the inside.
One night a minister came up to him on the streets and invited him to a meeting to a service that he was in. The young man made fun of him and threatened to beat him up. But when you plant a seed, you never know when it's going to take root. The next night the young man and all of his gang showed up at the service, they were planning to disrupt things and to cause trouble, but when begin to hear about the love and forgiveness of our God, he felt something on the inside that he had never felt. At the end of the service, against all odds, he stood up and gave his life to Christ. Instantly chains were broken off of his mind, he felt a new sense of freedom, a new sense of destiny. He knew, he was no longer the son of satan, he was the son of the Most High God.
When you can't fight for yourself, you have to know: God is fighting for you. He's bigger than any force that's trying to hold you back, he's bigger than the negative words people have spoken over you. He's bigger than the addiction, bigger than how you were raised, bigger than that sickness. You wouldn't have those difficulties, if there wasn't greatness in you. Today our friend Nicky Cruz is an amazing minister and he goes around the world telling people what God has done. But my point is: Nicky couldn't change that on his own, being born in that environment didn't seem fair, the deranged man, he couldn't get free by himself, even people couldn't help him, that's why they sent him away. But the good news is, you have someone fighting for you. Behind the scenes God's pushing back forces of darkness, he's making things happen that you couldn't make happen.
The scripture says (Exodus 14:13) "Stand still and you will see the deliverance of the Lord". You keep doing the right thing and God will take care of what's stopping you, he'll turn the opposition around, he'll move wrong people out of the way, he'll give you the breaks to get you to where you're supposed to be.
When I first started ministering, back in 1999, it seemed like everyone was for me, people were so supported, so encouraging, many of you. But after a couple of years I started having some opposition, people that didn't understand me. I used to think: why are they against me? I'm just trying to keep the church going, talking about the goodness of God, I'm not bothering anyone else. I realize now, the enemy doesn't fight you for where you are, he fights you for where you're going. I thought, I would always be at that same level, I was satisfied to maintain where we were, but God had something bigger in me, things that I couldn't see. The enemy wasn't fighting me for where I was, he was fighting me for the Compaq Center, he was fighting me for my books, for the nights of hope, for Sirius XM.
You may be doing the right thing and you have opposition, you don't understand it. It's because there's something in your future, much bigger than you think. You can't see it right now, but even the enemy knows it's coming, he knows you're a giant killer, a history maker, that you're going to affect generations to come. Now, quit being discouraged about what's against you. If you weren't a threat, the enemy would leave you alone. What you're up against maybe bigger, stronger, you can't change it on your own: don't worry, in this fight for your future it's not just up to you, God is fighting for you. Right now he's crossing the lake, saying "Peace, be still". Now, I believe and declare: every storm you're facing is beginning to dissipate, chains that have held you back are being broken right now, the greatness in you is about to come out. New levels of favor, influence, anointing, healing, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.