Joel Osteen - Remember Who You Are
I want to talk to you today about Remember Who You Are. We all face challenges in life that we don't know how are going to work out. How am I going to get well? How am I going to meet the right person? How is this dream going to come to pass? But here's the key: the HOW is not as important as the WHO. When you know who you are, a child of the Most High God, crowned with favor, with royal blood flowing through your veins, then the WHO will override the HOW. The HOW is not up to us. The HOW may look impossible. If you stay focused on HOW, you're going to live worried, discouraged. Your job is not to figure everything out, your job is to honor God, be your best, and he will take care of the HOW.
We spend too much time on the HOW. How is my child going to get back on course? How am I going to make it through this pandemic? How am I going to overcome this opposition at work? Why don't you spend that same time on the WHO? "Father, thank you that I am your child. Thank you that you handpicked me. You chose me before I could choose you. Lord, thank you that you are for me, that you are fighting my battles". If you will focus on the WHO, God will take care of the HOW. When our children were small, they never once said "Daddy how are we going to pay our bills this month? How are we going to get to school tomorrow? How are we going to have something to eat tonight"? They were never concerned about the HOW, because they knew the WHO. Because they belonged to us, they knew their father was going to take care of it. They knew "Daddy's going to keep us safe. Daddy's going to make sure we get there. Daddy's going to provide, protect, show us favor".
What if we had that same kind of childlike faith? Not trying to figure out all the HOW's, worried about how our health is going to improve, how we're going to accomplish a goal, how we're going to get out of this difficulty. Can I tell you? Your Heavenly Father is going to take care of the HOW's. When you understand that you belong to him, then you can live from a place of peace, knowing that daddy's going to protect you, daddy's going to show you favor, daddy's going to turn that problem around.
As an earthly father I knew how to do things that my children didn't know understand: I had experience, wisdom, strength that they didn't have. How much more so our Heavenly Father? He created the universe, he flung stars into space, he has ways of doing things that we can't see. He's working behind the scenes lining up what you need to accomplish your dreams. He already has a solution to that problem that's stressing you out. He has angels watching over you. He has favor surrounding you. He's put a blessing on your life that circumstances and people cannot stop. You have an advantage because of who your Heavenly Father is. When you face situations that you don't see how they can work out, don't live worried, the HOW is not up to you. God wouldn't have allowed it if it was going to keep you from your destiny. He won't let you get in a problem that he can't get you out of. If you'll stay focused on the WHO, knowing that you are his child, that you are blessed, favored, anointed, empowered, then God will take care of the HOW.
This is what David did. At 17 years old he was out in the shepherds fields when his father asked him to take lunch to his brothers. They were serving in the army in another city. When he arrived, he heard Goliath, the champion of the Philistine army taunting the Israelites. They were all afraid, but something rose up in David, a fire, a passion, an anointing. He said "Who is this man that he would defy the armies of the living God"? He told king Saul that he wanted to fight Goliath. Saul laughed. Goliath was twice David's size, he was their most skilled warrior, he was wearing a full set of armor.
David had no military training, no experience. The HOW seemed impossible, no way in the natural. But David understood this principle, that the HOW wasn't up to him. He stood before Goliath, said "You come against me with a sword and a shield, but I come against you in the name of the Lord God of Israel". He was saying in effect "Goliath, I may be small, I may be inexperienced, the odds are against me, but I have a secret: I know who I am. I belong to the Most High. I have an advantage, favor is on my life". He didn't focus on the HOW, he focused on the WHO. He took his slingshot out, slung a rock, hit Goliath in the forehead knocked him unconscious.
When you know who you are, you will defeat giants that are much bigger. You may be facing situations that you don't see how they could work out. You could live worried, stressed - you have to shift your perspective from the HOW to the WHO. Who you are is more powerful than any force that's trying to stop you. You're not just anyone, you belong to the Most High God. He breathed his life into you, he chose you. The good news is: he's backing you up, he has the HOW's already figured out. There's no giant too big for him, no sickness too great, no addiction too powerful, no obstacle too strong.
Like David, you may not see a HOW - that's okay. The HOW is not up to you. When you know who you are you live from a place of faith, a place of trust, a place of confidence, then you're going to see God show out in your life. You don't have to have big resources, big talent, big connections - God will take your slingshot, what seems small, and put his favor on it, and you will defeat great giants. It's not so much what you have, it's the blessing on what you have. It's the favor on what you have. Where does that come from? Your talent? Your family? From being good enough? No, it comes from who you are. When God created you, he put his blessing on you, he put his favor. Now quit trying to figure out all the HOW's and rest in the WHO.
I heard about these baby bear cubs, they were out in the woods playing, having fun when this pack of wolves came out of nowhere and started toward them. The cubs saw the wolves off in the distance, but they didn't get alarmed, they didn't take off running. It seemed like they were naive, like they were about to be harmed, but it didn't bother them. When the wolves got about 20 yards away, out of the woods came this huge mama bear with their paws up in the air, growling forcefully, just like she was saying come on, make my day. Those wolves stopped in their tracks, turned around and went back to where they came from. The reason the cubs weren't upset, the reason they didn't panic is they knew who they belonged to. They didn't worry about the HOW: how they were going to stay safe? How they were not going to be harmed? They knew - mama would take care of the HOW.
You may have things coming against you today, but you are not on your own. Because of who you are you can stay in peace. Not because mama bear is backing you up, but because the Most High God has your back. He's watching over you, he's pushing back forces of darkness. He's not allowing that sickness to take you out, he's not letting those people keep you down. They may have shown up, but God sees it, he knows what's happening, and he's on his way. Quit worrying, quit losing sleep, he has you in the palm of his hand. He never asked us to figure out the HOW, in fact the scripture says (Proverbs 3:5) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding". If you only lean to your understanding, you're going to get frustrated, because sometimes there is no logical solution, there's no way out in the natural. But we serve a supernatural God. He can make things happen that we can't make happen. He can do what medicine can't do. He can open doors that no person can can shut.
When Victoria and I had been married, for a couple of years we lived in an apartment complex. And one evening we were out walking through this nice neighborhood with big two-story homes, and beautiful trees. We came to this one house that was under construction, he was just about finished. Was late in the day and no one was working so we went up to look at it. The front door was unlocked, so we went in. It was so beautiful. I'll never forget the tall ceilings, and the big curved windows, this impressive kitchen was all so spacious and well done. In the backyard there were these huge oak trees with limbs almost touching the ground, it was so picturesque.
As we were walking out the front sidewalk, Victoria stopped, turned around and said: Joel, one day we're going to live in a house just like this one. That was so far out of my thinking, so unbelievable, I couldn't even fathom it. I started telling her all the reasons why it wasn't going to happen. I said, "Victoria, that's impossible. This is how much we make, and I work for a ministry, and even if we save for years we won't have enough". I went on and on. That no more affected her, she said "No, Joel I know down in my spirit, it is going to happen". The more she believed, the more aggravated that made me. I did my best to convince her to be a doubter. "Come on we're limited. We'll never have enough. We're at a disadvantage". Her attitude was, "No, thanks I know who I am. I am blessed, I am favored, I am anointed, I'm a child of the Most High".
I wonder how many times we're doing like I did, "I can't get well, have you seen the medical report? I'll never break this addiction, I've had it since high school. My business will never succeed, I don't have the resources, the connections". All this time you're focused on the HOW, thinking about what you can't do, what you don't have, how big the obstacle is - God is saying, "Let me take care of the HOW. You just focus on the WHO. You believe that you're my child, believe that you have an advantage, believe that I'm a good Father, that I'll take care of you, that I'll heal you, restore you, favor you, prosper you".
We would walk that path several times a week. Every time Victoria would say, "There's that house, one day we're going to live in something like that". After hearing that over and over, she started to convince me. You've heard that saying "If you can't beat them, join them". She wasn't going to sink down to my level, so I decided to rise up to where she was. Don't let people speaking defeat, doubt, negativity, cause you to give up on your dreams. Instead of letting them talk you out of it, you need to keep saying it so much that you talk them into it.
Several years later we bought an old rundown house, close in to the city on a nice piece of property. The day we closed on it a car pulled out front, stopped, this lady got out she said she was a realtor and asked if we wanted to sell the property. I said, "No we just bought it". She said, "How about selling it for a significant profit"? I told her that we wanted to keep it. She said, "Congratulations, you just bought your dream house".
I didn't know what she was talking about. A few months later the neighborhood changed the deed restrictions where you could subdivide the locks. A year later we sold half of the property for more than we paid for the whole property. A builder built two homes on it, one for us. We sold that home and bought a house down the street from that original house, that Victoria said we were going to live in. When we moved in, I said "Victoria, this is that house I always said we would live in". She almost didn't let me live there.
Are you trying to figure out the HOW's? Leave the HOW to God. You focus on the WHO, "Lord, thank you that I am your child, that you have chosen me, that you have ordered my steps. You said your plans for me are for good. You said you would do more than I can ask, think or imagine".
One time the disciples asked Jesus how to pray. He gave them what we now know as the Lord's prayer. He started off saying, "Our Father who art in heaven". Goes on to talk about "Give us our daily bread, protect us from evil, help us to forgive", on and on. But it's significant that before we ask for our needs, before we ask for protection, for guidance, God said "I want you to acknowledge who you are. I want you to see yourself as my child" - "Our Father". You're saying, "God, I know who I am. I belong to you. You're my Father. You created me. You love me. You care for me. You protect me. You favor me". If you don't know who you, are then the rest of this prayer is not going to be effective. You can't ask in faith for the daily bread, the protection, the provision if you don't know you're his child.
You may have some HOW's: you don't know how you're going to finish school, how your family is going to stay together, how you're going to come out of that depression, but if you'll just keep the WHO, "God, you're my Father, I'm your child. God I trust you". When you know the WHO, God will take care of the HOW.
Luke chapter 1, there's the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was a teenager living in Nazareth, one of the poorest cities of that region. An angel appeared to her and said she was going to have a baby without knowing a man, he would be the Messiah, they were to name him Jesus. Mary was confused, she thought "That's impossible. You can't have a baby without a man. That defies the laws of nature". She said to the angel "How can I have a baby? I'm a virgin". Mary had a HOW: I don't see how this can happen. The angel said "The spirit of the Lord will come upon you, the power of the Most High will overshadow you and you will have this child". He was saying in effect, "Mary, don't worry about the HOW, God will take care of the HOW".
Like Mary you may have a HOW. God's given you a promise, but it seems impossible. How can you get well? How can you come out of debt? How can you accomplish that goal? God is saying to you what he said to Mary, "The power of the Most High will overshadow you". One translation says "Overtake you". Those dreams that look impossible, you're going to see God's favor overtake you, healing overtake you, freedom overtake you, promotion overtake you." overtake" means you can't outrun it, you can't hide from it, the power of the Most High is going to make things happen that you couldn't make happen.
Don't worry about the HOW's, may seem too big, too late, too far, too much - that's the way Mary felt. Listen to what she said, she could have doubted like I did "I'll never live in a house like that", "I can't have a baby without a man, are you kidding"? "You're saying I'm going to get well, have you seen the medical report"? But Mary said, in verse 38, "I am the Lord's child. I will accept whatever he wants. May everything you said come true". Instead of focusing on the HOW, she switched over to the WHO. "I know who I am - the Lord's child. I am favored, I'm blessed, I'm anointed".
Why don't you do like Mary and leave the HOW up to God, and just stay focused on who you are? "Lord, thank you that you're my Father, that you're working in my life, that you're taking me where I can't go on my own". God is going to put dreams in your heart that seem impossible. Obstacles will come that look too big, enemies too strong - that's when it's easy to let the HOW's talk you out of it. "I don't see how I can get out of this. How this can work out, Joel"? You don't have to find that, the HOW is not up to you. The power of the Most High is going to work it out. Now take the pressure off yourself, quit living worried, frustrated - it's not going to be by your strength, by your ability, but by the spirit of the living God.
The angel told Mary that it was going to happen without knowing a man. He was talking about the physical, but this has a deeper meaning. God was showing us, you're not dependent on people. What you're believing for can happen without a man. "Well, if I could just get this manager to like me. If I could get this friend to give me a good break". You don't need who you think you need. When it's your time, the power of the Most High will overshadow you. When God shows up, nothing can stand in his way. Chains will break, doors will open, opportunity will come. If it can happen without a man, then it can happen without a bank, without the treatment, without the experience, without the resources. God is going to surprise you. Like with Mary, it's going to be something you've never seen, something that's never happened in your family, something that defies the odds, that catapult you into your destiny.
I talked to a young lady that had big dreams. She knew God's hand was on her life, but she made poor decisions. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time, she ended up in prison. She was so depressed, and so down on herself, that she didn't want to live. Someone gave her one of my books, she started reading it, hope filled her heart, her dream started coming back to life, she got her passion back, she believed that she was still a child of God, redeemed and forgiven. The problem was the HOW. How could she fulfill her purpose? She was in prison, looked like she would be there for many years. But through a series of unusual events she was unexpectedly released years ahead of schedule.
When the power of the Most High overtakes you, doors will open that shouldn't open. She went back to school, got her master's degree in counseling, then her PhD, now she's helping people that were like her in a dark place, struggling with depression. She said "I never dreamed that I would be where I am". You don't have to figure out the HOW, just get the WHO right, and God will take care of the HOW. You may have made mistakes, but that's not who you are, that's what you did. You are still a son, a daughter of the Most High - forgiven, redeemed, restored, called, equipped, chosen and anointed.
Keep your shoulders back, hold your head up high. The enemy would love for you to go through life with your WHO messed up, thinking you blown it, "You missed your chance, you're not worthy, not valuable, just sit on the sidelines" - don't believe those lies. Nothing you've done has changed who you are. No mistake you've made has disqualified you. When you gave your life to Christ, you were born into God's family. You can't be unborn, his calling on your life doesn't go away because you made mistakes, you took wrong turns, you got off course - you are still his child.
In the scripture God told Jonah to go one way, but he went the other way. He knew what he was supposed to do, to go to the city of Nineveh, and tell them to repent, but he went exactly opposite. He ended up on a boat in the middle of a huge storm, he finally admitted to the crew that he was the problem. They were so grateful, they said "Thank you, Jonah", then they threw him overboard. He should have been done, this should have been the end of his story, but it just so happened - there was a big fish that swallowed Jonah. Even when we make mistakes, when we bring trouble on ourselves, God is so merciful he'll still protect us, he'll still provide a way of escape.
Jonah was sitting in the belly of this whale, had seaweed wrapped around his head, it was dark, smelly. He didn't see a HOW. He didn't know how he could get out, he could have complained, been depressed, but he said in verse 7, "My life was slipping away, then I remembered the Lord my God". He was saying in effect, "I was just about done, then I remembered who I am". He started thanking God in the belly of the whale. The HOW looked impossible: how could he get out? How could he survive? All the odds were against him. But as he was thanking God, the scripture says "God caused the fish to spit him up on dry ground". You don't have to figure out the HOW, God controls the universe, he controls fish.
One time he told Peter to go to the lake and the first fish he caught had coins in it to pay their taxes. God controls the economy. He controls finances. He even controls your enemies. The scripture says: God caused Pharaoh to harden his heart. When you remember who you are, God will cause things to happen. The medical report doesn't look good? Don't worry, God can cause you to get well. He controls the number of your days. People at work are against you? They're more powerful, have more influence? God will cause you to overcome. That's not your battle, the HOW is not up to you, the battle is the Lord's. Your business seems stuck? Looks like you've reached your limits? God will cause you to succeed, he'll cause clients to find you, cause opportunity to come your way.
When you know who you are, you won't get discouraged by the HOW, you know the Lord will cause things to happen. I believe even now God is causing your health to turn around, he's causing that depression, that anxiety, that fear to leave. He's causing the right people to find you. He's causing you to conceive that baby you've been dreaming about. He's causing trouble in your family to resolve. Causing that child to get back on course. You couldn't make it happen, the odds were against you, but suddenly things are going to fall into place.
"Well, Joel, this sounds good, but I don't see how this can happen". Neither did Jonah. Neither did Mary. Neither did David. The HOW is not your job. You focus on the WHO, and let God take care of the HOW. He parted Red Seas, he brought water out of a rock, he caused Isaac to prosper in a famine, Sarah to have a baby at 80 years old, four lepers to defeat a huge army. He knows how to get you to your destiny. In difficult times when his life is not fair, when we've made mistakes, we've gone through disappointments, it's tempting to get discouraged, give up on a dream - you have to remember who you are. "Father, thank you that I am your child, that you have me in the palm of your hand, that you are making a way where I don't see a way, that you will get me to where I'm supposed to be".
When we greet people we often ask them "How are you"? If we were honest, sometimes we'd answer "I'm lonely. I'm fighting an illness. I've been through a loss. I'm in the belly of a whale" that's how you are, but that's not who you are. Circumstances may have taken your HOW, the good news is they couldn't take your WHO. You may have been through disappointments, bad breaks, lost - that didn't affect your identity, you are still his child, you are still blessed, you are still favored, you are still forgiven, you still have an awesome destiny to fulfill.
Now quit worrying about the HOW and start focusing on the WHO. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: like Mary the power of the Most High is about to overtake you. God is about to do things you've never seen. Dreams that look impossible are about to come to pass. Problems that seem permanent are about to turn around. Healing is coming, favor is coming, breakthrough is coming, abundance is coming, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.