Joel Osteen — High Time
I want to talk to you today about high time. When we've been believing for our dreams to come to pass for a long time or problems to turn around, and we don't see anything happening, we're not making progress, we're not getting good breaks, it's easy to lose our passion and not expect things to change.
"It's been that way so long, we start accepting it. I'll never get well. I'll never break this addiction. I'll never accomplish my goals. I tried, I prayed, I believed, but it didn't work out". That may have been true in the past, but I believe you are entering into a new season. The scripture says, "Now is the High Time to wake up out of your sleep. For you are nearer to your salvation than when you first believed".
When God first put the promises in your heart, you were excited, you told people what you were going to do, but now it's been months, maybe years. It hasn't turned out the way you had planned. You don't think it's ever going to happen. God is saying, "You are closer now to seeing it come to pass than you've ever been". You're coming into a high time.
High time is when things suddenly change in your favor. High time is when blessings chase you down. You don't have to go after them, they come after you. High time is when your healing shows up. You meet the right person, you break the addiction. God makes things happen that you couldn't make happen. Now, if you're going to see this high time, there's something you have to do: wake up out of your sleep. That means get your passion back, start believing again, start expecting things to change, start talking like it's going to happen. You can't sleep through your high time and see God's favor. You can't be complacent and step into the fullness of what God has in store.
The amplified version says it's a critical time. It stresses the importance of the season. It's saying don't take it lightly. Don't dismiss it and say, "Ah, this isn't for me today". If you don't stir your faith up, you can miss the new things God wants to do, and what you're believing for is not way off in the distance, it's close, it's at hand. It could happen today.
Live with this expectancy. There has to be an anticipation in your spirit that today could be my day. Not one day in the sweet by and by, I'll be blessed. One day, I'll be free from these problems. One day, Joel, I'll walk on streets of gold, won't have to deal with these bills. The problem with the one day mentality is you will miss what God wants to do today. We're not going to need favor in the sweet by and by. When we get to heaven, we're not going to have any problems. God wants to give you favor right here, right now, and the prophet Joel said, "Wake up the mighty men, wake up the mighty women".
My message today is very simple. Wake up, get your passion back, get your hopes up. You are closer to meeting the right person than you've ever been. You are closer to seeing your health turn around than you've ever been. You are closer to going to new levels, to seeing explosive blessings than you've ever been. My question is, are you awake? Do you recognize this is your high time?
The opposite of high time, of course, is low time, and some people live with a low time mentality. "I never get any good breaks. My boss doesn't like me. I'll never get my business off the ground. Nobody in my family is successful". As long as you have a low time mentality, it will keep you from rising higher. Turn it around. Get in agreement with God. "Father, thank you this is my high time. I believe I'm close to my victory". Somebody asks you how you're doing, don't tell them all the reasons why you're not going to get well, and how your grandmother had the same illness, and she only made it to 47. You can talk yourself into defeat.
Have a high time mentality. "Yes, I haven't been feeling well, but I know I'm close to my healing. I'm close to the turnaround". You're still single? "Yes, but I'm not worried, I'm close to meeting the right person. He may show up today. I could meet her tomorrow". You don't know, they could be in this building. Look around before you leave. Don't go out in a hurry. You're still at that same position. You're still in that same apartment? "Yes, but I know a secret, I'm in high time. I'm close to favor. I'm close to promotion. I'm close to stepping up to a new level of my destiny".
When we were children, we used to play a game. One of us would hide something in the house, and the other person would try to find it, and the one that hid it would give them clues by telling them they were getting hotter or getting colder, and the closer you got to it, the hotter you were. I would play with my little sister April, and when she was going the wrong direction, I'd say, "You're getting cool. You're getting cooler. You're cold. You're freezing". She turned, go the right way, you're getting warm". You're getting warmer. Now, you're hot. Now, you're really hot". When she got right up close to it, I'd say, "you're on fire, you're burning".
What you've been believing for, what you're dreaming about may not have happened for a long time. Now, you're tempted to settled there and think that it wasn't meant to be. God is saying, "You're on fire. You're burning. You're close to your victory. You're close to your breakthrough". This is not the time to get discouraged. This is the time to stir your faith up. You are closer now to seeing it happen than you've ever been.
Now, you may not see any sign of it yet. The medical report hasn't changed. The fertility treatments haven't worked. You still feel stuck in your career. The enemy would love to convince you to go to sleep. "Quit believing, quit dreaming, quit praying. It's never going to work out. You're just wasting your time". Don't believe those lies. You are entering into a new season. In this high time, it's not going to happen the way you thought. God's not going to do it a traditional way. He's going to do something unusual, something out of the ordinary, you didn't see it coming.
It looked like another routine day, nothing special. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, you meet the right person. You didn't go after them, they came after you. Suddenly, your health turns around. Suddenly, you get the promotion. God is full of surprises, and he loves to do things not on a normal timetable, not in a normal way, but when we don't expect it, when it seems the least likely. If we knew it was high time, if we could see it was going to happen, the scripture wouldn't tell us to wake up. High time, when you're closer than you've ever been, is when every circumstance says, "Nothing's changing. It's not going to work out. Just settle where you are".
This is what happened with a man in John chapter 5. He was crippled. Every day, his friends would carry him to the pool of Bethesda. It was surrounded by people in great need, lame, sick, blind, and once a year, the angel would stir the waters, and the first person to get in would be healed. This man had been lying there for 38 years, and I can see the reason why he went. There was a chance he could be well, but I'm not so sure now he wasn't just going there to be around other people that were like him.
Sometimes when we're dysfunctional, we like to be around other dysfunctional people so we feel normal. If I'm insecure and you're insecure, and we go find other insecure people, then being insecure doesn't seem unusual. Don't make the mistake of surrounding yourself with people that feed your dysfunction. As long as you accept the dysfunction, you're giving it permission to stay, and you may have been fighting depression, illnesses, addictions your whole life, but that is not your destiny. Don't be complacent and learn to live with it. If you're depressed, don't go find depressed friends.
Don't get around people that enable your dysfunction. Get around some happy friends. Get around people that lift your spirit, not people that make you more depressed. If you're struggling with an addiction, don't hang around people that are addicted. It's hard enough to stay strong on your own. You don't need them pulling you down. When you get better, when you're free, you can go back and help them, but right now you need to stay out of that dysfunction. Get around people that have what you want, not where being addicted is the norm, but where being free is the norm, where being happy is the norm, where being victorious is the norm.
This man had 38 chances to get well. Thirty-eight times, once a year the angel stirred the waters, but somebody always got in in front of him, and I'm sure they knew when the angel normally came. Maybe it was in the spring. They would especially be on guard, "This is our time. It could happen any moment". When it didn't happen, they would sit there month after month, no expectancy, no passion. They had to wait a whole year just to have another chance.
But one day, Jesus showed up at the pool. I can imagine it was during the fall. There were hundreds of sick people all around, but he walked straight to this crippled man and said, "Do you want to get well"? That seemed like an odd question. He came to the pool to get well, but I believe Jesus could see that he had been there so long, he had gone to sleep. He wasn't expecting anything to change. Early on, the first few years, he was excited. He knew he would be next, but it didn't happen the first year, the fifth year, or the 20th year.
Now, instead of answering Jesus with a simple, "Yes, I want to get well, he said, "Sir, I have nobody to help me. When the angel comes, somebody always gets in front of me". Jesus didn't say, "I understand, I feel sorry for you. You've had a rough life". Jesus said to him, "Get up, pick up your bed, and walk". The man was confused. He thought, "What do you mean? I can't walk. Can't you see I'm crippled? The angel didn't come". It wasn't the right season. It wasn't the normal way. He had seen 38 people healed before. He knew how it happened, he was an expert. In the spring, the angel showed up, that's when you got well.
Now, he was at a crossroads. Was he going to let tradition, how it happened in the past, what he was expecting talk him out of it? Or was he going to say, "If you say I can get up, I'm going to get up"? All of a sudden, something came alive on the inside. What happened? He woke up. He recognized, "This is my high time. I'm closer now than I've ever been. I'm not going to sit around another year discouraged, surrounded by defeat. I'm going to arise". When he started to get up, instantly his legs were healed. He picked up his bed and walked out of there.
But Jesus didn't come at the normal time and do it a normal way. This man didn't see anything different than he had seen in 38 years, yet suddenly he came in to his high time. "Well, Joel, I've had this addiction since high school. I've been praying for my dreams to come to pass for years, nothing's happened. I've been believing for this child to get back on course. I don't think it's possible anymore". I'm here to wake you up. Even if it's been 38 years, it is not too late. In the scripture, Sarah had a baby when she was 80 years old.
What God put in your heart, don't talk yourself out of it. You are coming in to your high time. You're about to see God do unusual things. You weren't the most qualified, but they skipped over others and chose you. You didn't see it coming. It wasn't the normal time to be promoted, but God showed up in the, quote, wrong season. The medical reports said you wouldn't get well, just learn to live with it, but you came in to your high time. God did what medicine couldn't do. He healed you out of season. He promoted you out of season. Your business takes off out of season.
I talked to a lady that works in sales. Last year, everyone in her company had a down year, over 100 sales people. But she said, "Joel, it was like clients were looking for me. I didn't have to go after new business. Every time I turned around, someone was calling me". People she didn't even know were recommending her, sending business her way. She ended up 50% higher than her previous year. Her co-workers couldn't understand how, in a down year, she could be doing so great.
What was that? God showing up in the wrong season, when she wasn't expecting it. God loves to do unusual things. When you think you should be asleep, don't expect much, just make it through this year, no, get ready, God is about to surprise you. He's going to make things happen that you couldn't make happen out of season, out of time, not the traditional way, not ordinary. It's going to happen sooner than you think.
2 Kings chapter 7, there was a great famine in the city of Samaria. Food was so scarce that it cost 100 times what it normally did. To make matters worse, an army had surrounded the city and cut off the food supply. The prophet Elisha showed up and said to the Israelites, "By this time tomorrow, there will be so much food, you'll be able to buy a loaf of bread for one penny and 10 quarts of flour all for one cent". The people thought, "Come on, Elisha, we're starving, we're surrounded by an army, and you're telling us this is our high time? You're saying we're close to our victory? Can't you see it's the wrong circumstances, wrong time, all the odds are against us"?
There was no reason in the natural for them to believe what Elisha said. May be the same thing for you. "Joel, you say it's my high time. If you saw my bank account, you'd say it's my low time. If you saw my medical report, if you saw how these people were treating me at work, you wouldn't tell me I'm close to my victory. You wouldn't say get my hopes up". That's just how these people felt. But just because you don't see a way doesn't mean that God doesn't have a way. It's easy to be discouraged, to be negative, let circumstances talk you out of it. That doesn't take any faith. But when it seems impossible, when you don't have the connections to accomplish your dreams, when the medical report isn't good, that's when you have to dig your heels in and say, "All the odds may be against me, but God, I know you are for me. I believe things are changing in my favor".
There were four lepers sitting outside the city gates of Samaria. They said to each other, "We have nothing to lose. We're going to die anyway. Let's go down to the enemy's camp and see what they're doing". As they walked toward the enemy, God multiplied the sound of their footsteps. It sounded like a huge army was approaching. The enemy panicked and took off running for their lives. They left all their food, all their supplies, all their equipment. The lepers went back and told the Israelites what had happened. Just like Elisha said, there were so much food, you could buy a loaf of bread for one penny. It all happened 24 hours after Elisha said it. God told them, "By this time tomorrow". Seemed impossible, no way in the natural, but we serve a supernatural God.
He has some by this time tomorrows for you. When it looks the most unlikely, get ready for the Most High God to show up and surprise you, and yes, I realize there are seasons of waiting, seasons of being faithful, doing the right thing when it's hard. But at some point, that season of testing is going to come to an end, and like the Israelites, you may feel like you're in a famine, surrounded by difficulties. If you ever wanted to doubt, be discouraged, talk yourself out of it, it would be now. My challenge is stay awake, don't go to sleep. God has some by this time tomorrows for you. He can do it suddenly, unexpectedly, you didn't see it coming.
I received an email from a young lady that just graduated from college, and she was very grateful to have her degree, but she was thousands of dollars in debt. It looked like she would be paying on that for the next 20 years. But recently, the college called and informed her that they were forgiving her debt of $54.000. She was so excited, she said, "Joel, it was like my degree in criminal justice was for free".
One night, she went to bed tens of thousands of dollars in debt, but by that time tomorrow, she was debt-free. She didn't see it coming, she wasn't expecting it. What happened? She came in to her high time. Like her, you are closer to your freedom, closer to your abundance, closer to your breakthrough than you realize. It may look like you're going to be in debt for the next 30 years, but God has some by this time tomorrows for you. You may think you're going to have to struggle with that illness the rest of your life. Well, stay awake, you're coming in to your high time.
I talked to a man that had flown to Houston to have treatment at the medical center. He has a cancerous tumor in his stomach area, and he was told he would need to take treatment for six months, and then they would evaluate to see if the tumor was shrinking. Before he started the new treatment, they took X-Rays and noticed that the tumor was already shrinking. Surprised, they asked the man if he was doing anything differently. He wasn't. They said, "You don't need to take the treatment. Your body is healing itself. Let's wait and see what happens". He flew all that way to have it, but God had a by this time tomorrow waiting for him.
"Well, Joel, what if doesn't happen by tomorrow"? Then you should go to bed that night saying, "Father, thank you, now I know I'm one day closer to seeing it come to pass". Keep this expectancy in your spirit. Those things that have held you back in the past, that is not your destiny. That is not how your story ends. Don't let negative circumstances convince you to settle where you are.
When a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, it spends about three weeks in the cocoon. It develops its wings, and it gets the strength to push out, and finally it comes out of that cocoon, and I'm sure it's happy, you know, at least it's not in the cocoon, it's not dark anymore, it's not confined. But the problem is, even though he has brand new wings, at first the wings don't work. They're soft, they're folded over.
He could think, "Wow, I'm glad I'm not a caterpillar anymore. At least I look better, but I still can't get off the ground. I still can't go any faster". It looks like he's stuck. But for the next few hours, the butterfly starts pumping blood through its wings, and those wings start to spread out. They start to get stronger and firmer. After four hours of pumping blood through them, those wings are now ready for flight. The butterfly takes off into the air.
Like this butterfly, many times we know there's more in us. We know we're supposed to rise higher. We can feel these seeds of greatness. We read God's promises that tell us we're supposed to be healthy, we're supposed to live an abundant life, we're supposed to break the addiction. Our wings are there, but they're not working. We're not getting off the ground. We're not making progress. But like this butterfly, there's nothing wrong with your wings. You're not stuck. As you keep honoring God, as you keep being your best, you know what's happening? You're pumping blood through your wings. They're starting to spread out, they're getting stronger.
Every time you thank God for the victory, you just pump blood into your wings. Every time you come to church, you're pumping more blood into your wings. When you get up in the morning with a grateful heart and thank God for the day, you're pumping in more blood. Your wings are developing. At the right time, suddenly, unexpectedly, you're going to take off. You're going to go further than you ever imagined. Now, don't get discouraged because it hasn't happened yet, just keep pumping that blood. Keep honoring God, keep being faithful, keep hoping, praying, believing.
Isaiah said, "They that wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles". God has some wings for you. When this says to wait, it doesn't mean to be passive, sit back, "God, why aren't you doing anything? Nothing's working out". One translation says, "Wait with expectancy. Wait knowing that it's on the way". In other words, I'm on the ground now, but I know I'm about to fly. I'm close to my healing. I'm close to my breakthrough. I'm close to the promotion.
That's how you get your wings, not dragging around disappointed, focusing on how long it's taking, why it's never going to work out. That's a low time mentality. You have to come over into high time. Those things you're believing for, you've never been closer than right now. It could happen today, it could happen by this time tomorrow. Your wings could be developed this month. Now, get rid of the say NOT's. Quit believing those lies that it's way off in the distance. God is saying, "You're on fire. You're burning. You're closer than you think. You're in your high time". I believe and declare because you're honoring God, you're pumping blood through your wings. You're about to take off, you're about to see what you're believing for. It's going to be better than you thought, and it's going to happen sooner than you expected in Jesus's name.