Joel Osteen - Keep On Walking
I want to talk to you today about "Keep On Walking". We all have things that we're believing for: dreams to come to pass, problems to turn around. We have the promise is in our heart, but nothing is happening. We pray, we believe, but we don't see any signs of things improving. It's easy to get discouraged and think it's never going to work out. But most of the time God doesn't do things instantly, there will be a waiting period. Thoughts will tell you "It's too late. If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now". But just because you don't see anything doesn't mean that God is not working. As you keep believing, keep praising, keep doing the right thing you're going to see things begin to change. Many times the miracle is in the process, it happens when you keep being obedient. Don't be frustrated because you're not seeing immediate results, what you're believing for is still on the way.
In Luke 17 there were 10 lepers sitting by the side of the road. As Jesus came passing through on his way to Jerusalem, they begin to shout "Jesus have mercy on us and heal us". Jesus could have gone over and heal them right there. He could have spoken to them and cause that leprosy to suddenly disappear. But he did something interesting: he said (Luke 17:14) "Go show yourselves to the priest". Well, leprosy was contagious, they were forbidden to be around people. They had to live in colonies, isolated from society. Jesus asked them to do something, that didn't make sense, something out of the ordinary. They could've thought: "Once I'm healed, once I see my skin clear up, then I'll go see the priest". But faith says, "You have to believe it before you see it. You have to act like it's on the way, when you don't see any sign of it".
These lepers started walking toward the priest. It could have been several miles, maybe taken them most of the day. I can hear people saying, "Why are you going to the priest? You're not well, you look just the same". The first couple of hours they looked at their skin did you see anything different. Thoughts said "You must've turn around, go back home, you're just wasting your time". But these lepers just kept on walking. No sign of things improving, no changes in their skin, but hour after hour they kept walking.
I can imagine at one point one of them looked at their skin and thought: "It looks like it's getting better". Another begin to move his hand, "My fingers are starting to function". Another, "My skin is starting to clear up". The scripture says, "As they went they were healed". If they would have stayed where they were, waiting for things to change, they would have never seen the miracle. The healing was in the obedience, in the go in. By the time they got to the priest, they were all perfectly well.
God is put promises in your heart. He's told you that he is restoring health back into you, that you're going to land and not borrow, that as for you and your house you will serve the Lord. But maybe like these lepers nothing looks any different: the medical report hasn't changed, your child still of course, business hasn't improved... You could get discouraged, think it's never going to happen. No, just keep walking, keep being obedient, keep praising, keep thanking. That's when the miracle is going to take place. You can't go by what you see or by what you don't see - go by what God promised you.
"Joel, I still have these symptoms" - keep on walking. "My business is still slow" - keep on walking. "These people at work are still not treating me right" - keep on walking. God sees your obedience. He sees you believing when you could be discouraged, he hears you praising when you could be complaining. He sees you stretching when you could be striking back. Now, I believe for many of you, you're about to walk into your healing, walk into your freedom, walk into a great spouse, walk into abundance. As you keep walking, you're going to see God show out in your life.
Many of the miracles Jesus performed required an act of obedience. His first miracle, turning water into wine. He told the staff at the wedding to go fill up these large pots with water. They had to do something that didn't make sense. They could have said, "Jesus we need wine, not water. What good is this going to do"? The obedience is what brought the miracle. Without them filling the water pots, there would be no wine. Is God asking you to do something that doesn't make sense? To step out in faith, when you don't have the experience? To forgive that person that did you wrong? To pray for others that need healing, when you're still not feeling well? Is he asking you to bring him 5 loaves and 2 fish, when you need to feed thousands? It's not so much what you're doing, it's the obedience. When you prove to God that you're going to do the right thing even when it's hard, even when it doesn't make sense, then you're going to see God do awesome things in your life.
In the Old Testament there was a window. Her husband had died and left her in great debt. She finally ran out of funds, now the creditors were coming to take her two sons as payment. The prophet Elisha showed up and asked her what she had in her house. She said, "I don't have anything except a small jar of oil". He told her to go out and borrow as many empty containers and she could find. That didn't make sense. What good was it going to do to borrow empty containers? She could have said, "Elisha, I need full containers. I need provision. I need funds". What God asked us to do doesn't always make sense. His ways are not our ways. Many times it's simply a test: if you'll obey, the miracle will follow.
Don't talk yourself out of what you know God is telling you to do. Sometimes it seems ordinary: you're asking God to promote you, he is saying, "Get to work on time. Produce more than you have to". You're asking God for healing, he is saying, "Eat healthier. Exercise. Get more sleep". You're believing for your child to get on course, God is saying "Help that neighbor's child, invest into that young man". It doesn't have to make since, that's what faith is all about.
This will win out and borrowed all these empty containers. I can see her knocking on door after door. The neighbors thinking: what does she need my container for? She doesn't have any food, no reason for it. But faith makes room for provision. You can't wait till it happens, you have to make room for it, when you don't see any sign of it. You have to talk like it's on the way, plan like it's on the way, think like it's on the way.
After working all day she came back to her house, now she had a couple dozen empty containers. Elisha told her to pour the little oil that she had into one of the empty containers. She could have said, "Elisha, that doesn't make sense. What good is that going to do to just transfer the oil from one container to the other"? But instead of talking herself out of it, she poured that little bit of oil and kept pouring and pouring and pouring. She couldn't believe it. She filled up the first empty container, then another and another, the oil never ran out until all the containers were full. She sold the oil, not only had enough to pay the creditors, but she had plenty left over to live off of. But none of this would have happened if she had not been willing to do something that didn't make sense. Are you missing your miracle because your reasoning everything out? You're looking at it all in the natural? God is supernatural, he ask you to do things that you may not understand.
After Moses died, God raised up Joshua to lead the Israelites. The earlier generation never made it into the Promised Land. Because they complained and doubted, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Now, the children of that generation had grown up. Joshua was their new leader. They were headed to the Promised Land, but they had to cross the Jordan river. There were no bridges in that day. The problem was, it was the rainy season, and the Jordan was in flood stage, it was over 150 feet wide with a violent currents, rushing down from the melting snow. Joshua what was familiar with this type of scene. As a young man he was there when Moses held up his staff in the Red Sea parting. He had seen God make a way.
When these 2000000 people came to the Jordan river and saw how swollen it was and how strong the currents were, they didn't want to have anything to do with it. I can imagine, Joshua did like his mentor Moses, he held up his rod and said "Lord, please let these waters park". Everyone was watching with great anticipation, but nothing happened. Joshua what thought, "God, this is my first test to show these people that you're really with me. Don't leave me hanging here". God promised, "Joshua, as I was with Moses I will be with you". He didn't say I'm going to do for you everything I did from Moses. God does things different ways. You have a unique anointing, there's a distinct calling on your life. You don't have to copy someone else, try to be what they are, prove your worth, prove that you measure up - walk in your own anointing, walk in your own calling.
The Jordan river didn't part. Joshua had to make a decision: are we going to turn around and go back, wander more in the desert? Or are we going to keep walking? Josh was attitude was: "We've come too far to stop now. God you wouldn't have promised us this land, if you weren't going to give us the victory". Instead of turning back, Joshua put the priest out in front. He told all the people, "Let's keep walking". I can hear them say, "Excuse me, Joshua, do you not see there's a violent raging river a few hundred feet in front of us? There's nowhere to go". Joshua acted like he didn't hear them. His instructions were: keep on walking.
There will always be people that try to convince you to turn back, "Your dream is too big. The opposition to strong. Nothing's working out, just accept it". You have to do like Joshua and have a made up mind, "I'm going to keep walking. I'm going to become all I was created to be". The priest got right up to the water: it was do or die, now or never, but the water still didn't part. They look back at Joshua one last time, thinking, "Surely he's going to retreat now. Surely he'll come to his senses". Joshua answered with 3 simple words: "Keep on walking". The scripture says, "When the priests got in the water, when their feet got wet, suddenly the waters begin to push back. All 2000000 people went through on dry ground".
Miracles happen when there's obedience. God doesn't give us all the details. He doesn't show you how it's going to work out. May not happen like you've seen happen with your family. There may not be any sign of things changing. Like Joshua, every circumstance may say "It's not going to turn around. Go back, no useful even for your dreams, it's too late. You'll never get well, it would have happened by now". Don't believe those lies - keep walking. God is not moved by what's not moving. He's not intimidated by waters that aren't parting, by how big the obstacle is, by how impossible it looks. In fact many times God will wait on purpose to the river is in flood stage, he'll wait 'till the experts say "There's no way", the odds are against you, so when he turns it around everyone will know: it was his favor, his power, his goodness in your life.
You may have situations you don't see how it can work out in your health, your finances, your relationships - you're tempted to quit believing. If Joshua were here today, he would tell you: keep walking. You're on the verge of a miracle. Those waters are about to open up. Now, you may have to get your feet wet. May not happen like with Moses, where the waters part first, you can see your way clearly, you know exactly how it's going to work out.
Sometimes God waits to see if you're going to trust him when the waters haven't parted. Are you going to believe when you don't see any sign of things changing? You don't feel like you have the strength, the courage, the ability? If you'll just keep walking, praying, expecting - doors are going to open that you couldn't open, healing that defies the odds, freedom from things that have held you back, some Jordan rivers are about to part. Things you've been standing in faith for for a long time, it's about to come to pass. It's not going to be ordinary, it's going to be the hand of God.
When God parted the Red Sea for Moses, the waters opened before the people went through, they could see their way clearly. It was a great miracle, but that doesn't take as much faith - when you know where the funds are coming from, the medical report is good, your child is excelling. Those people wandered in the desert for 40 years, but when God parted the Jordan river for Joshua, when the people had to get their feet wet and keep walking when it didn't look like it was working, that group of people made it into their Promised Land. I believe it's significant. When you don't see how it can work out, but you keep walking, you keep believing, you keep being good to people, that means you're about to enter your Promised Land. God is setting you up to go where you've never been, to see favor you've never seen.
Now, don't complain because the water is not parting, that doesn't mean God is not going to do it - that's a sign that what he's up to is bigger than you've imagined. You may be at the Jordan river right now, nothing is changing. God is waiting to see: are you going to turn around and go back? "Joel, I prayed, I believed, but my dreams didn't come to pass. These people at work stop me. I couldn't break the addiction. The waters didn't part". You're right where Joshua was. Didn't work the first time, the obstacle looks impassable, the river is swollen, the problem bigger than it's ever been - that's a test. You have to get your feet wet. If you'll keep walking, you're going to see God open up things you never dreamed would open, turn problems around you never dreamed would turn around. That Jordan river is setting you up for your Promised Land. David said (Psalm 37:25), "I was young and now I'm old, and I've never seen the righteous forsaken". He was saying in effect, "I've never seen a Jordan river God won't part. I've never seen a sickness that he won't heal. I never seen a dream that he won't bring to pass".
When we were trying to acquire the Compaq Center, God gave us favor and the city councils voted for us to have the building. It was a year and a half process, council members that were against us suddenly changed their mind and the facility was ours. Like Moses we prayed, we believed, God parted the Red Sea. We were grateful, we knew it was the hand of God. But a few days later a company filed a lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. They said that we violated the deed restrictions. Our attorneys told us it could be tied up in the courts for 10 years. It's like a roller coaster, we went from this great celebration to the reality that it may not ever work out.
It's times like these where you don't see a way, the opposition is bigger and stronger that you see what you're made of. It's easy to believe when God parts Red Seas, but what do you do when you come to the Jordan river? You prayed, you believe, but it didn't part. You held up your rod like your mentor, you did what your parents did but nothing happened. Are you going to get your feet wet? Are you going to keep walking even though thought to tell you "Is not going to work out. It's wiser to turn around. After all God's been good to you, be grateful for what you have".
Don't let the enemy talk you out of your Promised Land. God has bigger things in your future. He has no mountains for you to climb. Keep walking when the waters aren't partying. Keep walking when you're not being promoted. Keep walking when your health isn't improving, when the pandemic seems like it stop your dreams. The reason you're facing a Jordan river at flood stage, not just a normal river, but the obstacle is bigger, more stubborn is because your Promised Land is on the other side. You don't come to Jordan rivers, rivers you have to get your feet wet, if it's just another ordinary victory, something common. The Jordan means God is about to thrust you to a new level.
I woke up many times in the middle of the night when we were in that lawsuit with thoughts telling me "You better turn around. You've told people that is you're building, you're raising funds for it, when you have to give it back you're going to look like a fool, nobody's going to listen to you". All these voices saying, "Retreat, it didn't part. If God was for you, you wouldn't have this opposition. If it was going to work out you wouldn't have this lawsuit". Well, God being for you doesn't mean you won't have opposition. The enemy wouldn't be trying to stop you, if you weren't a threat to him. He doesn't come against people that don't have great destinies. The reason you're facing big giants is because you're at the Jordan river, you're about to come in to your Promised Land .
I didn't see how this lawsuit could ever resolve. The other side was stubborn, but I did what I'm asking us to do: I kept on walking. When thoughts told me "It would never work out. This company is bigger, stronger, more influential". "Father, thank you that you're fighting our battles. Thank you, that you being for us is more than the world being against us". Our attorneys told us: the other side would probably pay a large sum of money for us to go away. They threw out numbers that we could practically build another facility, but we didn't want the money, we wanted the building. This building is one of the main landMarks in the city of Houston. 2000000 people a year came through it, it's on the main freeway, has great access.
We could have thought, "Well, just be safe. We may not win, let's take the funds and go do something else". But God doesn't want you to water down your dream, to take less than what you know is in your heart. There will always be people trying to convince you to settle, "Just accept it, you'll never get well, never break the addiction, never get out of this neighborhood". No, don't water down your dream. You may be at the Jordan, your feet are wet, but nothing is partying - it looks like you could drown. God has not failed in the past, he's not going to start with you. Keep on walking, believing, praying, doing the right things - waters are about the part, doors are about to open, problems are about to turn around. Instead of you retreating, the opposition is going to retreat, the water's going to push back. The sickness, the debt, the trouble is about to push back. God is going to make a way where you don't see a way.
The scripture tells us to put on the armor of God, talks about the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith. What's interesting is there's no armor for your backside. There's nothing to cover you from the rear - that's because you weren't created to retreat, you weren't created to run from opposition. You have armor for one direction - to keep moving forward. When you stand strong and fight the good fight of faith opposition will run from you. Psalm 1:14 says, "The Red Sea saw the Israelites coming and hurried out of their way". God is going to part some waters quickly. Looks like it's going to take a long time to get well, long time to accomplish the dream, a long time to get out of debt. No, get ready, it's going to happen sooner than you think. God is going to cause those waters, that opposition, that depression to hurry out of your way.
One day out of the blue the other side called and said they wanted to meet. We hadn't spoken to them in months, everything was at a stalemate. They showed up and in that one meeting changed their minds and said we could have the building. They not only dropped the lawsuit, but they leased us 9000 covered parking spaces, we didn't have to build our own parking structure. What happened? We came in to our Promised Land.
I wonder what awaits you if you just keep walking? "Well, Joel, I have some big obstacles". Can I tell you? We serve a big God. He flung stars into space, he spoke worlds into existence, he can get you to where you're supposed to be. "Well, the medical report says I'm not going to get well". God can do what medicine cannot do. There's not a Jordan river he can't part. That child may be off course making bad choices, it looks permanent, but that is not his destiny. What God started he's going to finish. You can stay in the gap for your children. Yes, they make their own decisions, but as parents you have a God given authority: when you pray, when you speak a life, when you thank God that forces of darkness are broken angels go to work, Jordan rivers are pushed back. God hears your prayers, he sees your faithfulness, he sees you believing when you don't see things changing, thanking him when you could be complaining.
Your time is coming, some waters are about to part. You wouldn't be hearing this, if God didn't have breakthroughs coming your way. And just because your feet are wet, just because you don't see anything improving doesn't mean that it's not going to happen. God is watching you, and at the right time things are going to change. The miracle is a process, it takes time, but when you come into your moment suddenly things will turn around.
My challenge is: stay in faith until you see the suddenly. Keep on walking. The enemy always talks the loudest when you're close to the water's partying. Tune out all the negative voices and tune in what God promised. He has spoken it and he will bring it to pass. He wouldn't let you face a Jordan river, where your Promised Land is on the other side, if that was going to keep you from your purpose. The reason you can't see a way is because it's not going to happen naturally, God is going to do it supernaturally, things that you couldn't make happen. Don't try to figure it out, just keep believing, keep expecting, keep doing the right thing. I believe and declare, as you keep on walking, like these lepers you're going to see healing, favor, promotion. Like Joshua waters are about to part, new doors are about to open, obstacles are about to come down, you're going to make it into your Promised Land, in Jesus name.