Joel Osteen - No More Distractions
I want to talk to you today аbout: No More Distractions. The older we get, the more we realize: we're not going to be here forever. Life is flying by, seems like just the other day I was in high school, now that I'm 35. I think, "Where has this time gone"? I'm kidding y'all, I'm 39, but when you realize how fast time is going it should bring a sense of urgency, a sense of focus. Your assignment has an expiration date, your time on this earth is not unlimited. When Jesus was about to be crucified, the scripture says (Luke 9:51), "He set his face toward Jerusalem", because his hour had come. No more going to the desert, feeding the 5000, no more waiting for the woman at the well, no more stopping by Zacchaeus house for dinner. Those things were fine for a season, but now he didn't have time for distractions, his hour had come.
God is saying to you: your hour has come. If you're going to reach your highest potential, you have to do like Jesus and set your face. You can't be distracted by things that are keeping you from your purpose. You don't have time to waste, worried about what people think about you. Your time is too valuable to respond to every critic, every negative comment, try to convince people that you really are okay - those are distractions. Everyone is not going to like you, everyone's not going to accept you. Quit trying to convince someone to understand you, that's determined to misunderstand you. Some people don't want to be for you and that's okay, you don't need them to fulfill your destiny.
But the enemy would love for us to spend time and energy trying to win someone over, that's never going to be won over. You have to set your face, the people that need to be for you will be for you. God has already lined up the right people, people that will celebrate you, people that will cheer you on, people that stick with you through thick and thin. But too often we're trying to convince people to be our friend, convince them to spend time with us, but if someone doesn't see the gift you are, if they don't recognize your talents, value your friendship, do yourself a favor and move on. No offense, but they are not a part of your destiny.
You don't have to play up to people, let them manipulate you, hope that they call, maybe they'll include you in their group. No, the people God has for you don't have to be talked in to liking you. You won't be able to keep them away, they'll light up when you walk in the room, they can't wait to spend time with you, they'll go out of their way to do you favors. Now, don't waste another minute trying to convince someone to like you, to call you, to come see you. If you have to talk them into it, they are not for you, they are a distraction.
"Well, Joel, these people that work are saying negative things about me, they're trying to make me look bad", it's not your job to straighten them out, let God to fight your battles, let God be your vindicator. You're not supposed to engage in every conflict. Don't fight battles that are not between you and your destiny. Most of the things that come against us are simply distractions. You have to keep your face set, it takes focus, it takes discipline to say, "I am not going to respond, not going to waste my valuable time. I have a destiny to fulfill. My hour has come".
Proverbs 20:3 says, "Avoiding a fight is a Mark of honor". It's easy to get in conflict, upset, offended, want to pay people back - that doesn't take any discipline. Avoiding a fight, not taking the bait, not being drawn into conflict - that takes your face being set. The next time something comes against you, ask yourself, "Is this a battle worth fighting or is it simply a distraction"? That person that cut you off in traffic, is it worth getting upset over, when you're never going to see them again? That co-worker that leaves you out, doesn't give you credit, do you think they can stop your destiny, that somehow they're more powerful, than what God has ordained for you? They're distractions. The only way they can hinder you is if you get baited into conflict. Best thing you could do - ignore it, don't give it the time of day.
When David heard Goliath taunting the Israelites, he asked: "What the reward was for killing the giant"? He didn't just run out and fight him because he was saying negative things. Sure David didn't like that, but he understood this principle. He didn't get involved in battles that weren't between him and his destiny. They told him, "Whoever killed the giant would get the king's daughter as his wife, and their family would be exempt from taxes". With that one victory David's whole family line would change, they would go from a low-income family of shepherds to royalty. They would be in the king's family.
David thought, "This is a battle worth engaging, this is worth spending my time and energy". I'm not saying to be passive and don't fight any battles, I'm saying to look at what the spoils are. Will it just feed your ego, "You paid them back, you made them look bad", or will it propel you into your destiny? We fight too many battles that don't matter, "They're talking about me, I'm gonna go straighten them out". After you straighten them out, someone else will start talking.
Here's what I've learned: nobody talks about people that aren't doing anything. Nobody tries to discredit someone that doesn't have any influence. The reason they're talking about you is because you're a difference maker, you're a world changer, they can see the gifts, the influence, the favor on your life. And the brighter the light, the more the heat. The higher God takes you, the more people are going to see you. And sometimes instead of celebrating you people will get jealous, try to pull you down, get you into conflict. Don't take the bait - it's a distraction. Keep your face set, stay focused on your purpose.
Before David faced Goliath, his father asked him to take lunch to his brothers that were in another city on the battlefield. David arrived and gave the lunch to his oldest brother, he was jealous of David, he said in front of everyone, "What are you doing here David? What did you do with those few sheep you're supposed to be taken care of"? Instead of thanking David for traveling several days, he insulted him, tried to belittle him. Now, David had killed a lion and a bear with his own hands, he was young but he was not a weakling. I have no doubt, he could have taken care of his brother. But David thought, "What are the spoils? What good is it going to do me, if I embarrass my brother in front of his peers, like he did me"? He realized, all that would do was feed his ego, there was no reward.
The scripture says David turned and walked away. He ignored it. One reason we're talking about him is he knew which battles to fight, he didn't engage in every conflict. And Paul said in Romans 12:18, "As far as you can live at peace with everyone". It doesn't say that you're always going to have peace with every person, some people don't want to have peace with you. David's brother didn't want peace, he was jealous, he was small-minded, he wanted to stir things up. David had to accept that his brother was not going to be at peace with him.
"Well, Joel, should not go the extra mile? Should not be the bigger person"? Yes, but if you do all that and they still don't want peace, you need to move on, you have a destiny to fulfill, you're a sign is waiting on you. You can't worry about people that don't want to have peace with you. And I'm all for being nice, but at some point you have to put your foot down and say, "You may have a problem with me, no disrespect, but I don't have time to have a problem with you, I don't have time to play petty games, to try to convince you that I'm okay".
Life is too short to try to have peace with people, that don't want to have peace with you. And some of your relatives, you love them, but you have to love them from a distance. Don't frustrate yourself trying to make things happen that they don't want to happen. And that's not being disrespectful, that's being responsible with the gifts God has given you.
My nature is to be a peacemaker. I want everybody to be happy, I'll go out of my way, I'll go the extra mile four hundred times to make peace. But some people have their own issues, they don't get along with themselves, how are they going to get along with you? They don't like who they are, how are they going to like who you are? And no matter what you do, it's not going to be enough. They're going to find faults, be critical, try to make you feel guilty. If you keep trying to appease them, keep bending over backwards, spending all your time and energy - all that's doing is letting them control you. Be nice, but don't get distracted, trying to have peace with someone that doesn't want peace.
We all have people in our life like David's brother. They don't like seeing you happy, rising higher, go in places. It's not about you, it's about the favor on your life, it's about the blessing God put on you. Don't take it personally, keep your face set. You won't fulfill your destiny, if you're trying to keep everyone happy. And some people that make the most withdrawals put in the least deposits, there are high maintenance people. They expect you to always be there to help them, to encourage them, to meet their every demand, but when you need something they're never around, they're too busy. If that friendship is one-sided, they're doing all the taking and none of the giving, you need to make a change.
I've heard it said, "Quit swimming across an ocean to be good to someone, that won't jump across a puddle to be good to you". And if they get offended because you don't meet every expectation, they weren't a true friend, they just want you for what you can do for them. Those are distractions. You need to gradually break away from people like that. You are not created to be controlled, to never have any time to pursue what God put in your heart. "Well, Joel, what if they get upset? What if I hurt their feelings"? I would rather disappoint a few people, than to disappoint God. Because when you come to the end of life, you won't give an account to people of what you did with your time, your talents, your resources - you'll give an account to God.
Romans 13 says, "Owe no person anything except to love them". The only thing you really owe people is to love them, but if you think you have to keep everyone happy - "I've got to keep this one cheered up, I've got to call this one every day or they'll get upset. I've got to play up to my coworker or they won't be my friend" - you are carrying a debt, that you don't owe. Don't go through life trying to please everyone. If you try to keep every person happy, the one person that won't be happy is you. Come out from under that debt, be nice, go the extra mile, but don't be a people pleaser.
This was hard for me, because I want people to like me, I'll go out of my way, do everything I can, but some people as said, no matter what you do is not going to be enough. It's very freeing when you realize: you are not responsible to keep other people happy, you're responsible for your own happiness. Now, I don't mean to live selfish and only think about you, but don't take that false sense of responsibility, thinking that other people's happiness depends on you.
There was this couple I knew years ago, I went out of my way to be good to them. They moved to another city and I helped him move, I gave them money, I would call and check on them if they needed anything, I was always available. But the feeling I got from them is I was never doing enough, they were never satisfied, they always had a complaint. Here I was going overboard to be kind and generous, but they were constantly finding fault, trying to make me feel guilty.
I was concerned that they would get upset and they weren't going to be my friend. One day I realized what I'm telling you, they were only making withdrawals, never any deposits. I was nice, but I quit letting them control me. When I stopped, you would have thought I'd taken their firstborn child. They tried to make me feel so guilty, so ashamed, but my attitude was, "I love you, but I don't owe you".
If someone is controlling you, it's not their fault, it's yours. You have to put your foot down, make a change, this is your hour. You cannot reach your destiny dragging people along, trying to keep everyone happy. I know people that spend more time worried about what other people think about them, than they do pursuing their own dreams and goals. And it's great to get free from addictions, free from depression, but one of the greatest freedoms is to get free from people, because everyone has an opinion. These days with social media it's easier to express than ever. People will tell you what to wear, how to raise your kids, what you're doing wrong and what to drive. They're quick to tell you how to run their life, sometimes, they can't even run their own life.
And it's good to take advice, it's good to listen to wise counsel, but nobody can hear what you hear on the inside. Other people may mean well, but they don't know what God put in you, they don't know the gifts, the dreams, the calling. Now has that be a boldness in you to become who God created you to be. You can't worry about what everybody else thinks. "Well, Joel, what if they get upset? What if they don't agree"? If someone gets offended because you're not taking their advice, that's not your problem. If you live by the opinion of others, you will never become who you were created to be, because people will try to keep you in their box, in who they want you to be.
There was this grandfather, he and his small grandson were taking a trip into town. He started off letting the grandson ride the donkey, he was walking alongside. Someone passed by and said, "Look at that selfish little boy, making that old man walk". He took the boy off and put him on the ground, he got on the donkey, the boy was walking alongside. Somebody passed by and said, "Look at that man, making that little boy walk, while he rides". He picked the boy up and put him on the donkey with him. Few minutes someone passed and said, "How cruel of the two of you, to place that heavy load on the donkey". By the time they got to town, the grandfather and grandson were carrying the donkey.
Everybody has a right to have their opinion and you have the right not to take it. No matter what you do, someone is not going to understand. Are you carrying the donkey? Are you being pressured into doing what people want you to do, not want to disappoint anything? It's time to put the donkey down, the donkey don't look good on you. Start running your own race, start follow what God put in your heart.
My father went to be with the Lord 21 years ago, this week, when I stepped up to pastor the church, I had a lot of people giving me advice, telling me how to run the church, how to minister, which direction we should go. One minister that we've known a long time and very prominent, he called me and told me what I should do. He's a good man, I respect him, but nothing he said bore witness on the inside. I felt pressured to be who he wanted me to be, pressured to be who someone else wanted me to be. All these good opinions from good people, but deep down I knew which direction I was supposed to go. I didn't know if it's going to work out, but I wasn't going to be squeezed into somebody else's mall.
And I told that minister, "It's that's not what I felt on the inside", and he didn't agree, he thought I was making a mistake, but I knew: when I came to the end he wouldn't be on the throne, I wouldn't have to answer to him. I followed what God put in my heart, and God has taken me further than I've ever dreamed. Don't let people squeeze you into their mold. God is doing a new thing, he's going to take you further than your parents, further than those that have gone before you. Listen to their advice, but be strong to follow that still small voice on the inside. Nobody can hear God's direction for your life like you. God won't give someone else more insight into your destiny, than he does you. Sure some people may see things, but God speaks directly to your spirit. Some people won't understand you, they'll get upset when you break out of the box.
Someone told me, "Joel, I like the old days. You've forgotten where we've come from". I thought, "I haven't forgotten, I just didn't want to stay there". God is a progressive God, don't get stuck in the past, don't get stuck in tradition. "What are they going to think? What if they don't accept me? What if they don't approve me"? You don't need their approval, the Most High God has approved you, the Creator of the universe has already accepted you.
Now, you have to set your face, this is your hour, there is greatness in you, God is calling you out of the ordinary, out of what you're used to. He has things in your future that are going to break barriers, you're gonna go where no one in your family has gone. It's going to be unusual, out of the ordinary. Sure there will be people that find fault, try to discredit, think that you're missing it. That's okay, nobody has ever done anything great without opposition, without critics, without people thinking they were missing it. Keep your face set.
My father had always said, that he would never move Lakewood from the original location. When I became pastor I wasn't about to move it either. I was new and young and I wasn't going to rock the boat. We needed a bigger place to meet, we look for land in that area, but nothing worked out, then the Compaq Center, this place became available. It's about 20 minutes from the original location. I knew it was supposed to be ours, I felt it so strongly in my spirit, but I didn't know what other people would think? They had heard my father say for many years, that he would never move the location. My thoughts whispered in my mind, "Joel, this is not right, they're not going to understand, you better stay in your box".
I felt something so strongly in my spirit, but my mind was telling me just the opposite. One day I heard something down in here say, "Your father said he would never move it, but I never said you wouldn't move it" - that's all I needed to hear. I announced that we were going to pursue the Compaq Center. 99.99 percent of the people were for it, but there will always be that one jerk, I mean that one person, this man came up all bent out of shape, "Joel, your dad said he wouldn't move it. This is a mistake. If you move it, I'm not going to come". I wanted to say, "You promised". Some people will not accept the new thing God puts in your heart, they're stuck in what was, while God is telling you what is. It's much bigger, it's new levels, it's greater influence, it's uncommon favor, it's something that you've never seen. Don't let the fear of what people are going to think keep you in your box.
This is one reason king Saul lost the throne. God told him to do certain things, he did them partially. When Samuel confronted him, Saul admitted, "I disobeyed the Lord's instructions, because I was afraid of the people, so I did what they asked". God had greatness in Saul, he was going to take him amazing places, but Saul didn't want to disappoint the people, he didn't want to rock the boat. You can't be a people pleaser and reach your potential, because people will try to squeeze you into who they want you to be. You may have to disappoint a few people, in order to reach your destiny.
Genesis 12, God told Abraham to leave his country, his relatives and his father's house and go to the land of Canaan. Abraham gathered up his belongings, got his flocks and herds and he left, but he took his nephew Lot with him. God just told him to leave his relatives. I don't know, maybe he thought, "Lot will get his feelings hurt, he may be offended". He knew the right thing to do, but he was afraid someone wouldn't understand. When they arrived, the land wouldn't sustain both he and Lot, all their flocks and herds. Their shepherd started arguing, there was strife and division, all because Lot wasn't supposed to be there in the first place.
Finally Lot moved to a different part of the country. The scripture says, after Lot left God said to Abraham: look around, all the lands you see I will give it to you. It's interesting that God didn't speak until after Lot left. When Abraham finally did what he knew he was supposed to do, when Lot moved away, that's when Abraham stepped in to the fullness of the blessing.
Do you have some Lots in your life? Are you letting the fear of what people think, keep you from hearing the new thing God has for you? "What if we move the church? What if they get upset? What if people don't understand"? Why don't you get rid of the Lots? Quit being afraid of the people, quit letting them squeeze you into their mold. Don't get stuck in tradition, God has blessings you've never seen, increase that you've never imagined. I'm asking you to get rid of any distractions: no more living to please people, no more worrying about what others thinks, no more fighting battles that don't matter. This is your hour, this is your time. Make up your mind, you're going to set your face, you're going to become who God created you to be. If you'll do this, I believe and declare, like with Abraham, you're about to see unprecedented favor, new doors are about to open, divine connections, breakthroughs, the right people, healing, favor, victory, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.