Joel Osteen - It's Just a Matter of Time
I want to talk to you today аbout: It's Just a Matter of Time. We all have things that were believing will change: we're fighting an illness, we're struggling with an addiction, we're dealing with fear, depression, anxiety. We know what God promised that he would restore our health, that he would free us from the fear, we prayed, we believed, but we don't see anything improving. But what you can't see is: the moment you prayed in the unseen realm, the source of what was coming against you was cut off - the source of the fear, the source of the addiction, the source of the sickness.
Now, you may not see any manifestation for some time, there may not be any evidence that things have changed, and this is when many people get discouraged. But there will always be a period of time, where it looks like God didn't do what he promised: the fear still comes, the medical report hasn't improved, the addiction looks just the same, but what's feeding those things has been cut off. May seem like it's still alive, but the truth is: the fear is dead, the sickness is dead, the trouble at work is dead. Don't be discouraged because you don't see anything happening, it's just a matter of time.
One day Jesus was leaving Bethany, he saw a fig tree off in the distance, he was hungry, so he went over to get something to eat, but the tree didn't have any figs. Jesus said to the tree: "May no person ever eat fruit from you again". He cursed the tree, but when he said it nothing on the outside looked any different, the tree was still just as full and healthy as before. I can hear the disciples begin to whisper, "What happened? It didn't work, did he lose his power"? They had seen Jesus speak to a blind man and healed his eyes, and they heard him speak to the storm and calmed the sea, but this time when Jesus spoke nothing changed, there was no evidence that what he said had happened.
But the next morning, as the disciples were passing by, they saw the tree, the scripture says, "The tree had withered from the roots". When Jesus spoke to the tree nothing happened on the outside, but on the inside, down in the roots, the source was cut off. When the roots are dead, the tree is dead. It may still look alive, it may still have green leaves, still have wide branches, but it's just a matter of time before the outside catches up with the inside.
It may look like that sickness you're dealing with is still alive, that anxiety is just as bad as ever, the addiction just is strong. You prayed, wondered: why God won't do something? God did do something: the moment you prayed, he cut off the source. That addiction may look like it's alive, but if you could see the roots, you would realize - it's dead, it's just a matter of time before the outside catches up. That sickness may seem permanent, like you'll never get well, have a new perspective: the roots have been cut off and don't be discouraged because it still has green leaves, you don't see anything changing.
The Psalmist said, "The strength of the wicked is being cut off, and the power of the godly is being increased". Everything that's trying to stop you, you need to see that power as being cut off. It may be hindering you now, but it's not permanent, it's not going to last. Why? It lost its source. Every day it's withering, every day it's getting weaker, may look the same on the outside, but on the inside it's drying up.
When Jesus spoke to the tree, there was no evidence that anything changed. Maybe you're believing for something and you don't see any sign of things improving. You're speaking faith over your health, but the medical report is not getting better. You're praying for your child, but he's not getting back on track. If you just had some evidence, if you just saw a little sign, then you would believe. No, this is what faith is all аbout: you can't be moved by what you don't see, you have to be moved by what you know. "Father, I want to thank you, that the moment I prayed, you cut off the roots. I know this sick this is not permanent - healing is coming. I know this addiction is not how my story ends - freedom is coming. I know this depression doesn't have the final say. Father, I thank you, that it's withering up".
And some of the things that you're concerned about, God has already done. You haven't seen it yet, but in the unseen realm things have changed. That anxiety you've been praying about, asking God to take it away, it's already dead. That trouble at work - God has already cut off the source. Now, do your part: stay in faith until it manifest, keep thanking God, keep talking like you're free, keep thinking like you're healthy, keep living like you're victorious.
I talked to a man that had struggled with an addiction for many years. He said, "Joel, I asked God to help me, but nothing happened". He didn't see anything on the outside changing. Wasn't getting any easier, so he assumed that God wasn't doing anything. He lived with the mindset, "I'm addicted, I'll never be free, it's too strong". He was waiting to see the manifestation before he believed God was working, but faith says, you have to believe that when you prayed the miracle was set into motion. You can't wait to see the evidence and then you're going to believe - you have to believe first. You may not see any sign of it, but deep down you have to know, the source of that addiction has been cut off. When you know the roots have been cursed, you'll have a different mindset. Instead of thinking, "Maybe one day it will happen", you'll know, it's just a matter of time. God has already spoken it, he's already cut off the source. Now, all you have to do is walk it out.
And I told him what I'm telling you: you may not see anything happening, but the moment you prayed, God did something. Instead of thinking, "One day I'll be free", try a new approach, "Father, thank you, that I am free. Thank you, that this addiction is dead, that it doesn't control me, that you've already put an end to it". He started living with the attitude, that it was already cut off. He kept thanking God he was free, talking like he was free. And I saw him about six months later, he said, "After 22 years of being addicted, today I am totally free".
Are you waiting for the evidence to believe what God said about you? Are you talking yourself out of it, because you don't see any sign? If you'll get in agreement with God, you'll see what he's done on the inside, show up on the outside. The source of what's trying to stop you has been cut off. "Well, Joel, it seems like it's still alive. Seems like as strong as ever". Don't be moved, don't be fooled by the outside.
Victoria was in our backyard one time, we had these beautiful rose bushes. She's got some scissors and cut off one of the roses and brought it inside. The moment she cut it off it was dead, it was separated from its source of life. What's interesting, is it didn't look dead it didn't look any different from the other roses that were still on the bush: it was still beautiful, still colorful, still smelled good. She put it in a vase, for a couple of weeks it was right by our kitchen sink: still looked beautiful, healthy, but the whole time it was dead, it was just a matter of time before it withered up.
You may have things in your life like that rose: the sickness has already been cut off, the depression, the fear, the addiction. The moment you prayed it died, but it still looks just the same. You don't feel any difference, nothing is changing: that's okay, that doesn't mean that it's still alive. Like that rose, at some point it's going to wither, you're going to see what God promised you.
Now the scripture says, "Don't faint in mind". The first place we lose the battle is in our own thinking. Thoughts will tell you, "Nothing happened when you prayed, you'll never get well, you'll never break the addiction, you've had it too long". Don't believe those lies, the roots have been cut off, it's just a matter of time before you see things change in your favor.
We have some friends, every Easter they send us a dozen rosebuds. They come in this large box, they have a long stem with the rose bud on the top. What's interesting is even though the rose is dead, even though it's been cut off from the bush, when you put that stem in water, the rose will bloom. It's dead, but it will still blossom. It has no life, but it will still get bigger, increase and expand.
There are times when even though God has cut something off, it will get bigger. Even though he cut off the trouble, it will blossom, you'll be tempted to think, "Joel, this sickness isn't dead, it's getting worse. This anxiety is not dead, it's increasing instead of decreasing". No, stay in faith, it may bloom, it may blossom, but it's still dead. All through the day, "Father, thank you, that the source of this trouble has been cut off. Thank you, that you have cursed the roots of this fear. Thank you, that you said this sickness has to go. So, Lord, I'm gonna stay in agreement with you, I know it's just a matter of time before it withers up".
When we were trying to acquire this building, the former Compaq Center, we had all kinds of opposition. But after two years we finally got enough city council members to be for us and we won the vote. We were so excited, we knew that God gave us the building, but three days later a company that owned most of the property around the facility filed a federal lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. I thought the opposition was over, but it was just beginning. We had this huge company coming against us, they were the largest taxpayer in Texas, a big real estate company.
Now we had this giant in our path, I was tempted to think, "God, what are we gonna do? They have more resources, they have more influence". But I did what I'm asking you to do, I said, "Father, I want to thank you, that the source of those coming against us has been cut off. They may be bigger, stronger, but God, I know, you being for us is more than the world being against us".
Like that rosebud that blooms even though it's dead. Don't be surprised if opposition blossoms against you, adversity blooms, giants try to stop you. It looks like they have the upper hand, no, stay in peace, their source has been cut off. It is not permanent, it is just a matter of time before you see the hand of God.
All the odds were against us, it looked like this building could be tied up in the courts for many years. We were told, that the other side would never back down, but one day they called out of the blue and said they wanted to meet. We met, they agreed to not only let us have the building, but to lease us nine thousand covered parking spaces. That two-year legal battle suddenly came to an end.
You may have things that you thought were dead: the addiction, the trouble at work, the legal situation, but now it's blooming, it's getting bigger. You think that your prayers must not have worked, no, the roots have been cut off. It may bloom, but it lost its source. What you're dealing with is only temporary, it cannot last without the source. That rose bloom looks so beautiful for a couple of weeks, seems so vibrant and so healthy, but then it suddenly begins to wither.
You're about to see some of these suddenlies: things you've been praying about, you believe that the source has been cut off, but it seems like it's still alive - no, get ready, that addiction is about to suddenly go. That depression is about to suddenly stop. That opposition is about to suddenly be defeated. That sickness about to suddenly change. It may be blooming now, that's a sign that it's on the way out, that's a sign that you are close to your breakthrough, you are close to a new level, you are close to seeing freedom, like you've never seen.
When you walk into someone's house and see a beautiful bouquet of flowers. They can smell nice, they can look nice, you never think about the fact that the flowers are dead, that in a few weeks they're going to be thrown out. When negative things are blooming in your life, like those roses, it may seem like they're permanent, like they're going to be there forever. What do you have to remind yourself: it's only temporary. That sickness may be blooming, it looks so impressive, I know a secret: it's not going to last.
That trouble in your marriage looks permanent - no, this too shall pass. Your child's off-course, looks like he'll miss his destiny. No, the source of that trouble has been cut off. Maybe blooming now, that doesn't mean that it's not dead. God is already putting end to it. Now it may take a little time to see what God promised, but it's on the way. Don't talk yourself out of it, don't get discouraged by what's not happening.
I've heard it said, "The enemy makes the most noise when he's on his way out". You think about how, when Jesus told demons to leave people, very often they let out a loud scream, they'd make all this noise, all this commotion. When the enemies stirring up trouble in your life, making a lot of noise: your health went down, finance is not good, your child is acting worse - don't panic, that's a sign he's on the way out, he makes the most no commotion when he's about to leave.
There was a lady that had a dream. In this dream she was in her house, she saw this very evil looking person come in and start taking her possessions. She was watching from the second-floor over the banister, he was putting her things in this large bag. In this dream she began to pray, she said, "In the name of Jesus I have authority over you, leave my things alone". The men begin to mock her, he said, "I don't have to listen to you, I'm not stopped by you, I'm not afraid of you or your prayers".
He continued through the house, putting her things in that bag. She said it again, "You have to go". He laughed and said, "I don't have to leave, your prayers don't stop me, you have no authority over me". But this time she noticed, while he was saying that, he started putting all of her things back. He kept mocking her, laughing, causing a commotion, at the same time he was returning everything that he took. This went on until he put everything back in its proper place. As he was running out of the house, she could hear him down the street still saying: I'm not afraid of you, you have no authority over me.
See the scripture says, "The enemy comes like a roaring lion". He's not a lion, but it'll make a lot of noise, he'll talk a lot of trash, but his bite is not near as much as his roar. Sometimes though, we're praying and it doesn't seem like anything is happening, it's like the enemy is mocking us, saying, "You'll never get well, you never break the addiction, your child will never get back on track". If you'll just stay in faith, keep praying, keep believing all that time he stirring up trouble, causing a commotion, what he won't tell you - is he's putting everything back. He may laugh, but he's putting your children back, it's putting your health back, putting your freedom back, putting your dreams back. Don't get discouraged when things get worse. What you lost is only temporary, it's all coming back.
Jesus said in Mark 11, "Whatever you desire when you pray, believe that you receive it and you will have it". It doesn't say believe that you receive it when you see it, when your health turns around, when the breakthrough comes. The key is: you have to believe that it happens when you pray, when nothing has changed, the medical report hasn't improved, the fig tree looks just the same. You don't have any evidence, but you believe, when you prayed, your healing came. You believe, when you prayed, you were free from the addiction.
You have to receive it in your spirit before you'll ever see it in the natural. You have to be healed in your spirit, before you'll be healed in your physical body. But too often we believe we're going to receive it, "One day I'm going to get well. I'm going to be free" - that will limit us. The prayer of faith says, "When I pray according to God's word, I believe it happens right when I pray. I have it in my spirit". You have to receive it in your spirit or you won't see it in the natural.
When my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she and my father prayed on December 11th 1981. That day my mother believed she received her healing. She had just been given a few weeks to live, she looked so yellow, she only weighed 89 pounds, nothing in the natural said she was healed. For months nothing even looked any different, she didn't feel any better, in fact it looked like the cancer was winning. But my mother just kept saying, "Father, thank you, that on December 11th, when we prayed, I received my healing. Thank you, that that day the tide of the battle turned in my help".
She kept thanking God, she kept calling herself healthy, she kept declaring scriptures over her life: I will live and not die, with long life God will satisfy me. Eventually the healing she received in her spirit, when she wasn't well, begin to show up in her physical body. She started getting better and better today 38 years later my mom is still healthy and whole.
But when you believe, that you receive when you pray, you don't keep asking God to do it, you start thanking him. If I've already received my healing, I don't have to keep asking God to heal me, keep begging him, "God please heal me". No, instead you start saying, "Father, thank you that I am healed. Thank you, that I am free. Thank you, that I am blessed". Maybe you're believing for a scholarship, "Father, I'm asking you for this scholarship, so I can continue my education. Lord, I believe, I'll receive it right now in my spirit" - you receive it by faith. From then on, "Father, thank you for that scholarship".
You keep thanking God, you keep talking like it's coming. Every circumstance may say, "It's never going to work out", you may not see anything changing - that's when you have to dig down deep and say, "I am not going to give up on what God promised me. I am not going to let negative thoughts talk me out of it. I'm not going to let what I don't see, talk me out of what God put in my heart. I know, what I've received in my spirit is already on the way".
Hebrew 10:23 says, "Hold fast the confession of your faith". You have to hold fast what God put in your heart. There are forces constantly trying to convince us, that what God said is never going to happen: it's been too long, there's no sign, it would have happened by now. No, in the unseen realm things have already changed, the miracle has already been set into motion. The roots of what's been trying to stop you have already been cut off. Now, stay in faith until you see the manifestations. Don't talk yourself out of it. You may be tempted to let it go, you're about to give up on your dream, your health, your children. No, get a new grip: it's closer than you think, you wouldn't be hearing this if it wasn't about to happen.
When I was growing up, my father would always have a big conference at Lakewood every thanksgiving - it's one of the highlights of the year. He would fly in missionaries that we support from all over the world. One year he decided, he wanted to feed everyone at Lakewood. So, months before the conference, he prayed and asked God to give him two cows, that way we would have enough food to feed all the people. He believed, he received it when he prayed, but week after week went by and there were no sign of any cows. He kept believing, telling the church that the cows were coming, but every voice said, "You're wasting your time, nobody has ever given you a cow. You better go down to chick-fil-a and eat more chicken".
As it got closer, thoughts whispered. "Just buy the cows. You have the money, it's never going to happen". He finally got so worn down, he quit talking about the cows and went out and bought the meat for the conference. A couple of weeks later he had a dream one night. In this dream he saw this huge snake out in a field. Inside this snake he could see the distinct outline of two cows. He woke up and it was like God said to him, "I just want you to know, you let the enemy have your cows".
Those cows already belong to my father, in the unseen realm they were on the way, but when we get discouraged, when we quit believing, "Well, it's never going to happen, I'll never get well, never meet the right person. Joel, look at the fig tree, it hasn't changed". Now my challenge to you is: don't lose your cows. What you've received in your spirit is already in route, it's just a matter of time, before it shows up.
Hold fast your profession, keep believing, keep thanking God that it's on the way. God is faithful. Don't let the lack of evidence convince you, that nothing is happening. In the unseen realm things are changing, forces that have stopped you in the past have been broken, the roots have been cut off of that depression, that addiction, that sickness. May look like it's still alive, but it's just a matter of time, you're going to see what God promised. And the reason it's more difficult, the reason it seems like it's getting worse, is because the enemy is on his way out. I believe and declare: what you've received in your spirit is about to show up in the natural. Get ready for healing, promotion, breakthrough, the right people, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.