Joel Osteen - It Has to Go Back
I want to talk to you today about It Has to Go Back. We all have things that come against us in life that look permanent: a child is off course, an addiction we're struggling with, a health issue - it seems so big, so intimidating, it's easy to be overcome and think that it will never turn around. But Isaiah 54:17 said, "No weapon formed against you will prosper". He didn't say nothing would ever form, we'd never have times where we feel outnumbered, it looks impossible. God said, "Trouble may come, sickness may form, people may do you wrong, but don't worry it's not going to prosper, that's not how your story ends". God has the final say. He doesn't stop every difficulty. It may come, but he promises it's got to go back, it's not permanent.
That addiction is not going to hinder you your whole life, it's got to go back. That sickness didn't come to stay it came to pass, it's got to go back. God didn't create you to go through life overcome by problems, burdened down. When thoughts whisper, "You'll never get well, never break the addiction, never get out of debt", just smile and say, "No, thanks I know a secret - you have to go back. Sickness you can't stay in my body, I am a temple of the Most High God, you're on foreign territory, you're not welcome here you've got to go back". If you're having trouble at work, people aren't fair, "You're not going to steal my joy, keep me from my purpose, you've got to go back".
Whatever is trying to hold you down, whatever looks permanent in your imagination you need to see it turning around, walking away from you, getting smaller and smaller. And all through the day instead of complaining, "Father, thank you that it has to go back. It may have formed, but Lord, thank you that it's not going to prosper".
God said in Jeremiah 5:22, "I have placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so it cannot go beyond. Though the waves toss to and fro, they cannot prevail. Though they roar, they cannot pass over it". God put an eternal decree in the sand. One translation says "An everlasting ordinance". You could say, God put his word in every grain of sand, that gives it the ability to keep the ocean in its boundaries. That doesn't seem possible. The sand is tiny, it's nothing compared to the vast ocean. The ocean is massive and powerful, yet the tiny sand holds it in place, all because God put the decree in the sand.
I can imagine the sand and the ocean having a conversation. The ocean says, "Little sand, do you really think you can keep me in my boundary? I'm billions of times bigger, stronger, mightier, you don't have a chance". The sands says, "Listen here, mister ocean, you may have a loud roar, but you don't intimidate me. It doesn't matter how small I am or what I look like, you'll never be able to overpower me, because Almighty God put his word in me. There's an everlasting ordinance that says I can hold you back".
That makes the ocean so mad, he begins to churn and churn, a great storm comes, the water rushes past the sand way beyond its normal boundaries. The ocean begins to laugh and laugh, "I told you I could do it, I told you I was more powerful than you, that you'll never contain me". But the little sand is not worried, he doesn't begin to complain, "God, what happened? I thought you put a decree in me? I thought you gave me your promise"? No, all the grains of sand, like a big choir begin to sing, "You've got to go back. You've got to go back. You've got to go back".
Just like God promised, when the storm is over, the ocean recedes and goes back to its normal boundaries, not because the sand was more powerful, but because God put his decree in the sand. What you're up against may look bigger, more powerful, but when you have God's word in your heart, that's the everlasting ordinance. His word is the decree that enables you to withstand storms that are stronger, overcome enemies that are bigger, accomplish dreams that seem impossible. When you go around declaring his promises, speaking what he says about you, "I can do all things through Christ. I am blessed and cannot be cursed. I will live and not die", just like that sand, the Creator of the universe will push back forces of darkness. He won't let that obstacle defeat you. It may go past its boundaries temporarily, don't get discouraged, it's got to go back.
Now, make sure you do your part and keep God's word in your heart - that's the everlasting decree. In any area that you're struggling in, you need to find scriptures that you can stand on. It's good to pray, it's good to ask God to help you, but there's nothing more powerful than saying what God says about you. Even when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, he said "It is written". Each time he went back to the scripture and quoted what God said. When you're in difficult times, don't just say what you feel, what you think, what you want - say what God says about your situation.
The scripture says (Isaiah 55:11), "God's word will not return void". It will not be ineffective. When you have God's promises coming out of your mouth, you can't be defeated. When you go around with what he said, playing in your thoughts all day, "I'm blessed, I'm prosperous, I'm redeemed, I'm healthy, I'm a masterpiece, I have the mind of Christ, I have peace that passes understanding. I'm more than a conqueror, God always causes me to triumph. My latter days will be better than my former days", you are activating a power, that will take you where you can't go on your own. You will overcome obstacles that look insurmountable.
If you feel like you're stuck in your career, you've reached your limits, instead of going around discouraged get that eternal decree in your heart, "Father, you said your favor surrounds me like a shield. You said you're taking me from glory to glory, that the path of the righteous gets brighter and brighter". When you agree with what God said, he'll open doors you couldn't open, he'll do what medicine cannot do, you'll defeat enemies that were much bigger.
Jeremiah said, "Though the ocean roars, it cannot cross its boundaries". You may have some thoughts that are roaring in your mind, thoughts that are so loud telling you, "Look at the medical report, you'll never get well. You've been single all those years, you'll never meet the right person. This depression is permanent, you'll never be free".
The scripture says (1 Peter 5:8), "The enemy goes about as a roaring lion". He loves to roar, he loves to make loud threats, loud accusations, trying to get you to live in fear, worried, thinking that what you're up against too big, too strong, "Just accept it, live defeated, live addicted, live depressed". Don't let the roar fool you. He's all bark and no bite. When God breathed life into you, like that sand, he put an eternal decree in you. He said, he will always cause you to triumph, he said, when the enemy comes against you one way, he will defeat them and cause him to flee seven different ways.
When the enemy roars at you, sometimes the best thing to do is just ignore it, don't pay it any attention. But there are times you need to roar back at him. When those threats come loud in your thoughts, enter back boldly what God says. That thought roars, "You'll never get over this sickness" - roar back, "I will live and not die, the number of my days God will fulfill". When he roars, "You can't accomplish your dreams. You don't have the talent" - roar back, "Whatever I touch prospers and succeeds. Goodness and mercy are following me". "Well, this anxiety, this depression is always going to sour your life. There's no way you can overcome". Don't let him have the last roar, "There's nothing too difficult for my God. What he started in my life he will finish. Though I am surrounded by trouble, I will know no fear, for God being for me is more than the world being against me".
I talked to a young lady, she was in her mid-20s and she was so concerned that she wasn't going to be able to have a baby. Her mother had a difficult time getting pregnant, her grandmother had trouble conceiving as well. It had been in their family line for generations. It seemed like it was going to be passed down to her. From the time she was a little girl, she was afraid that she couldn't have children. And sometimes we believe a lie early in life, and it's keeping us from our destiny.
She and her husband had tried to have a baby for several years, but she couldn't conceive. She took the fertility treatments, did what she could, but still no success. She came down to the front for prayer, very discouraged. I told her to find the scriptures about having a child and start dwelling on them. The enemy had been roaring in her thoughts for years. As long as she let those lies play, it was going to hold her back, it was her time to start roaring. She began to declare what God said in Psalms, "God will make the barren woman a happy mother of children. God, you said the fruit of my womb is blessed. You said no good thing would you withhold, because I walk uprightly. Lord, thank you that my baby is on the way".
When you get the eternal decree on the inside, God will make things happen that you couldn't make happen. Like the ocean, infertility seemed so much bigger, the medical report said, "You can't have children". She was like the sand. It seemed impossible, but the sand with the decree will push back the mighty ocean.
A few years later she came down front with a beautiful two-year-old daughter. She was so happy, she said, "God blessed me with this child, and now I'm pregnant with another baby". The enemy may be roaring in your life, it's time that he hears you roar. You need to start boldly declaring what God says about you.
When my father went to be with the Lord and I stepped up to pastor the church, I had never ministered. Thoughts roared, "Joel, you can't do this, nobody's going to come, you don't have the training, the experience, you're too quiet". What's funny, is most of that was true. In the middle of the night I would wake up and those thoughts played so loud. The enemy will try to talk you out of your destiny. I did what I'm asking you to do, every time he roared - I roared back.
"You can't do this" - "I can do all things through Christ". "You don't have what it takes" - "I am fearfully and wonderfully made". "Joel, you're too quiet" - "I am strong in the Lord. I am equipped, empowered, anointed. I have seeds of greatness. I am well able to fulfill my destiny. I'm full of can-do power". I started declaring what God promised. His words have an eternal decree. I felt like the sand, I was up against the ocean, there were times it overtook me, but every time it had to go back. 20 years later I can tell you - God is faithful, he's taking me further than I've ever dreamed.
You may have things roaring in your life, telling you what you can't become, how you'll never get out of debt, never get free from that problem - start roaring back. The scripture says (Ephesians 4:27), "Give no place to the enemy". Don't let him fill your mind with thoughts of defeat, lack, insecurity - roar back, declare favor, declare strength, declare health, declare victory.
This is what my mother did. In 1981 she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and given a few weeks to live. There was nothing more doctors could do. She weighed only 89 pounds and her skin was very yellow, she looked like she wouldn't make it much longer. But instead of giving up, she found about 40 passages of scripture that had to do with healing. Her voice was very weak, but she would go around the house saying, "By his stripes I am healed. I will live and not die, and declare the works of the Lord. With long life God will satisfy me".
It was barely even a whisper, but Jesus said in Mark 4, "God's word is like a seed". When it's sown in our hearts, if we'll keep believing, keep thanking him for it, keep declaring it, it will grow and become what God promised. In the natural, we could hear that word "Cancer" booming out, like thunder throughout the house. God's promises seemed so small compared to what she was up against. But my mother wasn't moved by the size of the ocean so to speak, she didn't get discouraged by the roar of the waves and intimidated by the circumstances, tossing her to and fro. She just kept declaring what God said.
Week by week she got a little stronger, she would say it with a little more power, "By his stripes I am healed". It seemed like the enemy would roar back even louder, with greater force, "You're not healed, you have terminal cancer, you'll be gone in a few weeks". Mother wasn't moved by the roar, she knew the enemy is like a roaring lion. He's not a lion, he doesn't have any power over you, his only weapons are deceit, fear and lies.
My mother kept watering that seed, thanking God for what he promised - the seed kept growing. A few months later, the tables had completely turned. Instead of the word cancer booming out in our house, dominating our thoughts, all we could hear was my mother's voice booming out, "I will live and not die. God is restoring health back into me". Now the word cancer was barely even a whisper.
The scripture says (Acts 19:20), "So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed". When you get an agreement with God and let his word grow, you speak his promises, thank him for what he said, then you will see that eternal decree, that everlasting ordinates come to pass. His word will prevail over sickness, prevail over addictions, prevail over fear and depression.
Like the sand, when things come against you, you could live overwhelmed, think it's never going to work out - you need to tell it, "You've got to go back". If you're facing a health issue, don't learn to live with it, tell the diabetes, "You've got to go back. Cancer, you've got to go back. High blood pressure, you may have overtaken me for now, but you are not permanent, you have no right to stay here, you've got to go back".
"Well, Joel, the stock market being down, has cost me so much. This pandemic, not being able to work, it's going to sink me financially". No, start telling it, "You've got to go back". "Father, you said you would open the windows of heaven, pour out blessings that I can't contain. I know the economy is not my source, but you are my source. You said even in famine I would have more than enough". You can't be passive and reach your destiny. Tell the addiction, the alcohol, the nicotine, "You've got to go back. You controlled me long enough, this is a new day, whom the Son sets free is free indeed". Start telling the fear, "You've got to go back. Anxiety, you're not welcome here, you've got to go back".
Maybe it's a child that's off-course, instead of complaining about the trouble you need to start speaking to the trouble. "Father, you said as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. That my children will be mighty in the land. Lord, I thank you that every force that's trying to stop them has to go back". If you'll get an agreement with God, start declaring his promises, like the ocean has to recede from the sand, even though it's bigger and more powerful, anything that's trying to keep you down will only be temporary - it has to go back.
I talked to a lady that struggled with depression for many years. She'd gone through some health issues, things weren't getting any better. The enemy kept roaring, telling her that she had seen her best days. She didn't know any better, she believed those lies, she fell into a very dark place. She was a mother, but she couldn't take care of her children. She had no desire to live, no passion, she was numb. When she would go outside it could be bright and sunny, but for her everything was grey. She never saw blue sky, never saw green grass, never saw a red bird, it was always gray, depressing.
A friend gave her a copy of my book called "I Declare". It has 31 promises from the scripture to speak over your life. She had never heard anything like that, and at first she was too discouraged to read it, it sat on her bedside table for months. But one night, at her lowest point, when she didn't think she could go on, she opened the book and started to read. It was like pouring life back into her spirit. She couldn't put it down. Every day she started declaring what God said about her. She began to memorize the promises and she went around declaring health, declaring victory, declaring a bright future.
She quit believing that the depression was permanent, she always talked about it as "My depression, my illness". She stopped taking ownership of it and started saying, "This is what I'm dealing with now, but it's not going to be here forever. This too shall pass". She was saying in effect "You've got to go back, you don't belong here". And little by little, things begin to turn around. She got her passion back, she started smiling again. One day she went outside and for the first time in years the sky was blue, the grass was green, color had returned. Today she's happy, enjoying her children, living the victorious life that belongs to her.
When you get the seed of God's word down in your heart, when you declare his promises, then you'll tap in to that eternal decree, that power that overrules anything that's trying to hold you back. The waves may overtake you at times, it feels like you're overwhelmed, what you're up against seems so much bigger - don't worry, it has to go back. It's not permanent, it's not how your story ends. You may not see anything changing yet, but God is working behind the scenes. It's just a matter of time before that trouble recedes, that depression lifts, that addiction is taken away. Like this lady your story doesn't end in defeat. Don't take ownership of the problem, start telling it: it's got to go back. Something powerful happens when you speak it out.
Jesus said (Matthew 17:20), "If you have faith the size of a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, be removed and it will move. And nothing will be impossible to you". The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds, it's so tiny you can barely grasp it in your hand. Yet, God said, "If you just have mustard seed faith, if you just have a little faith, you can speak to a huge mountain, a huge obstacle and it will be removed".
It's the same type illustration as that tiny grain of sand up against a huge ocean. God is showing us that when we're up against big challenges, when we're facing things that look impossible - it's not the size of our faith, it's not the size of what we have, it's what God has put in the tiny seed, it's the everlasting ordinance in the tiny grain of sand.
How do we activate this mustard seed faith? How do we keep the ocean from overtaking us? By speaking to the mountain, it's with our words. If you will say to the mountain be removed, then God will make things happen that seem impossible. There may be a mountain in your life right now, a mountain of debt, a mountain of fear, a mountain of addiction. When there's a mountain, you can't see your future, it looks insurmountable. God used a mountain to let us know, when you have these big obstacles, things that should keep you from your destiny, it's not the end.
The mountain looks permanent, seems like it could never change - the truth is: you have what you need to move the mountain. All it takes is mustard seed faith, that's the smallest amount of faith. Now, instead of complaining about the mountain, being depressed over the mountain, telling your friends how you'll never get past the mountain, why don't you start speaking to the mountain? Tell that depression, "You cannot keep me from my destiny". Tell the sickness, "You don't have the final say". Tell that addiction, "You're not going to hold me back, you have to move".
There was a man in the scripture named Zerubbabel. He was in charge of rebuilding the temple, but everything came against him. City leaders hired lawyers to try to stop him, they wouldn't give him permits. Other people were causing trouble and strife - it looked impossible. He could have been discouraged, but he understood this principle. He said (Zechariah 4:7), "Who are you o great mountain that stands before me. You shall become a mere molehill and I will finish the temple by shouting grace to it". He was saying, "I have this big mountain in front of me, but I'm not worried, I know it's going to be turned into a molehill". How was it going to happen? What was his secret? By speaking grace to it.
Another word for grace is favor. His attitude was, "Yes, this obstacle is big, but I have the favor of God. Mountain, you can't defeat me, I will accomplish what God put in my heart". He didn't talk about his mountain, he talked to his mountain. Against all odds, things fell into place and he completed the temple.
I believe today God is about to flatten out some mountains, problems that look permanent are about to be turned into molehills. No more sign of them, nothing stopping you, nothing keeping you from your destiny. Mountains of depression, mountains of insecurity, mountains of addictions, it may look like they could never change, but there's no mountain God can't move, there's no wall he can't break through. May not have happened yet, but this is a new day, God is doing a new thing. That setback isn't there to stop you, it's there to promote you. What God put in your heart will still come to pass. The dreams he's given you will still be completed.
Now, do your part like Zerubbabel and start declaring favor, start thanking God that you're coming out, start talking like it's going to happen. As you keep God's word in your heart, God promises it will prevail. Not the sickness, not the trouble, not the fear - you will be victorious.
When those thoughts come roaring in your mind, telling you it's never going to work out, like the waves roaring at the beach - don't believe those lies. Remember, like that sand, you have the eternal decree in you. You have his word. Now, tell the ocean, "You've got to go back. Sickness, you've got to go back. Trouble, you've got to go back. Addictions, you've got to go back". If you'll do this, I believe and declare, whatever has been hindering you is about to go back, mountains are about to be flattened out, problems that look permanent are about to resolve. Healing is coming, promotion is coming, freedom is coming, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.