Joel Osteen - Rule Your Atmosphere
I want to talk to you today about Rule Your Atmosphere. You have a space that belongs only to you: it's your thoughts, your attitude, your emotions, it's who you spend time with, what you watch and listen to - that's your atmosphere, that's what you have control over. The reason some people live worried, offended, negative is because they let everything in. They listen to the news all day, they go to lunch with people that are critical, somebody cuts them off in traffic that sours the rest of the morning. The problem is: they're not ruling their atmosphere. You have to be careful what you allow in. You can't stop everything from coming, but you can stop it from getting down in your spirit.
You need to keep your atmosphere full of faith, full of praise, full of hope, full of victory. Anything that tries to poison that atmosphere it's up to you to say "No, thanks you're not welcome here". Somebody leaves you out at work, they don't invite you to the meeting, the offense will come, saying "Be angry, be bitter that's not right". You can let that offense in, live upset, or you can say "Sorry offense, you're not welcome here. Sorry bitterness there's no place for you, I'm going to stay in peace, I'm going to enjoy this day". You don't have control over what people do, but you do have control over your thoughts, your attitude, how you respond.
And Proverbs 25:28 says "A person that doesn't rule his spirit is like a city with broken down walls". In Bible days walls were what protected the city. If the walls were down then anyone could get in. The opposition would come and take the city. In the same way if you don't keep some walls up around your spirit, if you don't rule your atmosphere, put some boundaries then everything is going to get in. Your child is off course, instead of trusting that God has him in the palm of his hand, worry will get in. You can't sleep at night. Your business slows down, you lost a client: instead of knowing that God is your source, that he's going to provide, the stress will come, anxiety, "What am I going to do"?
Someone's talking about you, trying to make you look bad: instead of letting God fight your battles, you let the offense in, you live defensive, trying to prove to them that you're okay, wasting valuable time on something that doesn't matter. You don't need their approval, God has already approved you. Now keep your walls up, quit allowing all that into your spirit. Your time is too valuable, your assignment too important to let everything in. Be selected: if it's not positive, hopeful, of a good report then don't dwell on it. You can't control the whole world, but you can control your atmosphere.
The scripture says God has made you to be a king, that you are to reign in life. Negative things will come, but you have to remember: you're the ruler, you have the authority to decide what you're going to allow in. Am I going to dwell on this offense? Am I going to hang around this person that's pulling me down? Am I going to stay focused on this bad break, live in self-pity? It's up to you, you rule over your kingdom. We turn the news on these days, and there's so much negative. We hear about how bad the pandemic is, the divisiveness in politics, the unrest in our society - if you let that division get in you, the disrespect, the anger, it's going to pollute your thoughts, steal your joy, make you sour.
You have to be proactive: what are you watching? What are you listening to? Is it building you up, making you more positive, more hopeful? Or is it tearing you down, stressing you out, making you angry, upset? You don't need that in your atmosphere. Life is hard enough without adding all these negative things that make it more difficult.
A man told me how he drove to work an hour every day listening to talk radio. It was about news and politics, and people would get on and argue and debate. He would get so riled up, so upset, by the time he got to work he was angry, on edge. He said "I didn't like who I had become. Nobody wanted to be around me. I was so hard to get along with". One day he accidentally came across our serious xm station, he started listening. Instead of putting all that negative in hours a day that was contaminating him, he started putting in something uplifting, words of faith, hope, and victory. He said "I'm a different person now. I'm positive, I'm grateful, I look forward to work, I enjoy the people". His co-workers even ask him what happened to him? Why he was so much happier and more friendly? It was because he got rid of the poisons in his atmosphere.
I like to watch the news, it's good to stay informed, but you can't listen to the news for hours a day and stay in faith. You can't take that into your spirit and have the energy, the focus, the creativity to be your best. "Well, Joel I wish God would help me to do better". God has done his part, he made you a king, he's given you authority, you have the power to rule your atmosphere. You can't control all that's around you, but you can control what gets in you. Are your walls up? Are you ruling your spirit?
It's important who you're spending time with. Evaluate your friendships: are they making you better, inspiring you, challenging you to go further? Or are they pulling you down, causing you to compromise, bringing out the worst in you? That's contaminating your atmosphere. You're going to become like the people you hang around. If your friends don't have what you want, if they're not going places, they don't have a good attitude, they're not faithful, trustworthy, then you need to make a change. Life is short. You don't have time to waste with people that are not adding to your life. Yes, we need to help others come up higher, but you need a few friends that help you come up higher. This is one of the main things that holds people back: if you will change who you're spending time with, your life will go to a new level.
You shouldn't go to lunch with people at the office that are jealous, talk about the boss, complain about the company, gossip about co-workers. Spirits are transferable. If you hang around jealous people, you're going to become jealous. You hang around unfaithful people, you're going to become unfaithful. The scripture says (Psalm 1:1), "Don't sit inactive in the path of the ungodly". That means don't be passive when it comes to people polluting your life.
"Well, Joel, I've been friends with them for years. If I don't eat lunch with them I may hurt their feelings". What if you miss your destiny? What if they keep you from the awesome future that God has in store? Don't sit inactive and let them poison your atmosphere. Your ears are not garbage cans to heal gossip. You weren't created to take in the latest rumors. "I can't believe what they did". You have greatness in you, God has called you to leave your Mark, to take your family to a new level. Don't waste your valuable time on petty things with small-minded people, that are not moving you forward. The less time you spend with some people, the better off you're going to be. Some people are dream stealers, they'll tell you all the reasons you can't accomplish your goal, why you can't get well, how you'll never break that addiction. You don't need that poison in your atmosphere. Don't sit inactive with people that don't believe in you, people that don't come into agreement with your dream.
When we were trying to acquire the Compaq Center, we met with a group of attorneys at the very first. One of those attorneys said "I'll help you, but I don't think you'll get it. It's too big a battle. The city is not going to sell it to a church". That went in one ear and out the other. He might as well have been talking to the wall. I thought "Sorry doubt, you're not welcome here. Sorry limited thinking, you don't belong in this atmosphere, you don't know who my God is. I'm staying full of faith, full of hope, full of expectancy".
We left that meeting and I told our staff "I don't want that man on our team". He was experienced, respected, but if someone is not for you, if you have to talk them into what God put in your heart, you don't need them. Don't let them poison your spirit, convince you that you can't accomplish your dream. Rule your atmosphere. Get rid of the naySayers. Quit spending time with people that don't see your greatness, don't value what you have to offer, and don't recognize the calling on your life. I've learned: if you'll get rid of the wrong people, God will bring you the right people, he'll bring you divine connections, people that will come into agreement with you, people that will thrust you forward, help you reach your destiny.
The only thing that's holding some people back is who they're spending time with. It's amazing the difference it will make if you'll get around people that inspire you, people that challenge you to go further, like iron sharpens iron, people that sharpen you, people that make you better. Life is too short to spend it with negative, can't-do-it, jealous, critical, small-minded people. You need some eagles in your life. People that soar, people that are doing great things, people that have a great attitude.
Here's a key: you can't soar with eagles if you're hanging around chickens. Chickens are people that have their head down, looking at the ground, focus on what they can't do, this problem is too big. You can't reach new levels hanging out with turkeys. People that compromise, take the easy way out, mediocre. You won't see your greatness hanging around crows: people that complain, find fault, see the worst. You're an eagle. God created you to soar. Now you need to associate with other eagles, people that inspire you to rise higher, not people that drag you down.
There are certain people, when you're around them they drain all your energy, always having a problem, telling you what's wrong, how bad life is - they're energy suckers. When you leave, you feel like you ran a marathon. You can't take that on a regular basis and reach your potential. It's fine to help them, encourage them, but if you're doing all the giving and never receiving, that's out of balance. You need someone that encourages you, someone that speaks life into you. Don't sit inactive around people that you know are limiting you, not bringing out the best in you. "Well, Joel, if I don't hang around them I won't have any friends, I'll be lonely". You may be lonely for a season, but what will happen is: God will bring you new friends, better friends, people that push you up and not pull you down.
Psalm 59 David was on the run from king Saul, he was hiding in the desert. He had been good to Saul, but Saul was jealous, he couldn't stand people celebrating David more than him. Saul and his army were tracking David down, making his life miserable. David said in verse 3 "I have done them no wrong, but they set an ambush for me. They come at me at night, snarling like vicious dogs". David went on and on, telling how bad it was. He could have been panicked, upset, bitter, but in the midst of all this turmoil David went on to say "But as for me, I will sing about your power. I will shout for joy each morning. For you are my refuge, a place of safety in my time of distress".
David understood this principle: he couldn't control Saul, he couldn't make him not be jealous, he couldn't change the mind of his enemies, but he could rule his atmosphere. He didn't let the worry in, the fear, the bitterness, the panic. His attitude was: I'm going to stay in peace. I'm not going to think about how unfair it is, I'm not going to dwell on what didn't work out. God, I'm going to praise you in the middle of this storm, I'm going to shout for joy despite what's coming against me. You can't rule other people's atmosphere, you can't make them do what's right, but you can rule your atmosphere.
The scripture says (Exodus 14:14), "Hold your peace, remain at rest and God will fight your battles". You may be in a situation that's unfair, somebody did you wrong, you're dealing with an illness, you went through a loss. You could be worried, bitter, upset. You can't control what happened, you can't make that go away, this is where you have to do like David: dig down deep and say "I'm keeping my walls up. I'm not letting that negative into my spirit. I'm going to keep singing praises. I'm going to keep thanking God. I'm going to keep speaking the victory".
When you remain at rest, God will fight your battles. He'll take care of your enemies, he'll pay you back for the unfair things, he'll give you beauty for those ashes. Now don't be controlled by what you have no control over. You can't stop the Sauls from coming, you can't stop people from being jealous, you can't stop the bad breaks. What you can control is what you allow in.
A lady told how one of her husband's relatives was very opinionated, he was constantly making these cutting, demeaning remarks toward her. This couple hadn't been married that long, and every time they were at a family get together, this man would invariably say something that offended her. She would get upset and ruined the whole trip. Just like clockwork happened time and time again. She got to where she dreaded going to these family events.
Finally she told her husband "You have to do something about that man, he's your relative". She expected him to say "You're right honey. Nobody should talk to you like that. I'm gonna go set him straight". But the husband said "I love you, but I can't control him. He has every right to have his opinion. He can say what he wants, but you have every right to not let it offend you". He was saying "You have to rule your atmosphere. You have to put your walls up. You can't keep the offenses from coming, but you can keep them from getting in".
That day was a turning point for this lady. The man didn't change, but she changed. She quit letting that upset her. When you allow other people to contaminate your atmosphere, you're giving away your power, you're letting them control you. And sometimes we're waiting for the circumstances to change, "When this pandemic is over I'll quit being so stressed, when my boss treats me better then I'll quit dreading going to work, when I get through this illness, Joel, then I'll quit being so worried" - no, start ruling your atmosphere. You have the authority to allow in only what you want in. You don't have to let the offense in, the worry, the self-pity. Quit dwelling on it. When it comes up in your mind, turn it around "Father, thank you that you are fighting my battles. Thank you that you being for me is more than the world being against me".
The scripture says (Psalm 94:13), "God has given you the power to remain calm in times of adversity". When trouble comes, you don't have to get upset. When your plans don't work out you don't have to fall apart. Someone is rude, you don't have to get offended. You have the power to remain calm. It's because you're a king. God has given you the authority to rule over your kingdom, your mind, your attitude, your response. You can't rule over someone else, you can't rule over all your circumstances, that's not up to you, that's in God's hands. You control what you can control, and trust God to take care of what you can't control.
In 2003 the city council voted for us to have this facility, it had been a two-year battle, we had worked hard and convinced different council members, God caused it to all fall into place. It was a great victory. The vote was on a Wednesday, that night we had a big celebration at church. The next day Victoria and I and our children went out of town to take a few days off. We were on cloud nine, so excited. We arrived at the hotel and started unpacking, my brother-in-law Kevin called, he's our administrator. He said "Joel, a large company just filed a federal lawsuit to try to keep us from moving into the Compaq Center. They said we violate the deed restrictions". I asked what it meant? He said "It means that we can't move in because it's in the legal system, and it could take years to work out. The attorney said there was no guarantee that we would win".
This was less than 24 hours after one of the greatest victories of our lives. We hung up the phone. Victoria overheard everything, she quit unpacking and said "What are you going to do"? I said "I'm going to go down to the beach". She said "What are you going to do there"? I said "I'm going to swim". She looked at me and said, "Aren't you worried"? I said "No, we did our part, now it's in God's hands. I'm not going to worry about something I can't change. I'm going to stay at rest and trust God to fight my battles".
And yes worry came, disappointment came, frustration came, but I had my walls up. I didn't allow that into my atmosphere. When you've had a setback, when you're facing difficulties, that's a very important time, the enemy is going to bombard your space, your mind, your emotions, even use other people to try to discourage you, get you worried, full of doubt, "Why did this happen". That's when you have to take your authority and say "No, I am not allowing that in my atmosphere. I'm not dwelling on it. I'm not reliving my hurts. I'm not thinking about what didn't work out. I'm staying in faith. I know God is still on the throne. I know he didn't bring me this far to leave me. I know the enemy wouldn't be trying to stop me, if there wasn't something awesome in my future".
If you'll do your part, control what you can control, rule your atmosphere, your thoughts, your attitude, then God will do his part, he'll make things happen that you couldn't make happen.
There's a restaurant chain that has a motto that says "Rule the day". They encourage you to eat the right foods and take the right vitamins, so you can have a healthy day. But I like that phrase "Rule the day". When you get up in the morning, make the decision "I'm going to rule my thoughts today. Not just going to think whatever comes to mind, I'm going to think on purpose thoughts that are positive, hopeful, encouraging. I'm going to rule who I spend time with today. Not just anyone, I'm going to be selective, I'm going to associate with eagles. I'm going to rule my attitude today, I'm going to see the best, I'm going to be grateful, I'm going to stay in peace. And I'm going to rule my emotions today, I'm going to forgive the wrongs, I'm going to overlook insults, I'm going to give people the benefit of the doubt".
It's important to make this decision ahead of time before you leave the house, that nothing that happens is going to upset you - you're going to stay in peace. Then when difficulties come, the traffic is bad, your boss is rude, your child has a problem, you've already decided that you're going to rule the day. You have your walls up. You're not going to live upset.
We should go out each day expecting the best, but knowing everything may not be perfect. There may be delays, interruptions, people that are hard to deal with - don't let that ruin the day, rule the day. Keep the negative out of your atmosphere. God is directing your steps. Whatever happens is not a surprise to him. He's given you power to remain calm in times of adversity. It doesn't say power to avoid adversity, to not have challenges, to have a perfect day. The fact is: every day can be a good day, if you rule your atmosphere. David had a good day while Saul was chasing him. I had a good day at the beach when that company filed a lawsuit.
Quit waiting for all the circumstances to be perfect, you can have a good day in the middle of a pandemic. You can have a good day even though you have challenges at work, even though you're dealing with an illness, even though some people don't like you. Stay calm, stay in faith and rule the day. Make the decision like David "This is the day the Lord has made, I'm going to live it in faith, I'm going to be happy today, I'm going to be good to others, I'm going to make the most of this day".
I called to order a pizza one night, and I had done this for many years. The first thing they always ask for is your phone number. A young lady answered, I said very politely "Hello", and I started to give her my number. You would have thought I had just committed a major crime. She practically screamed in my ear "Sir, I am not ready for your phone number. When I want your phone number I will ask you for it". Somehow at that point I didn't feel like a pastor, I felt some other things rising up. I had to make a decision: am I going to rule my atmosphere or am I going to let her poison my atmosphere? Am I going to keep my walls up or am I going to be offended?
People are always trying to bring their atmosphere into your atmosphere. People that are hurting, people that have issues, dealing with things, they'll try to put their poison on you. They're not bad, people they're just hurting. The mistake we make too often is we take the bait, we let the offense in, we get upset, due to them what they did to us. But you don't overcome evil with more evil - you overcome evil with good.
I thought to myself: I've already made the decision, I'm going to stay in peace today. I'm not going to get upset, I'm going to rule this day. You've heard this phrase "Kill them with kindness", that's what I decided to do. I thought of everything I could possibly compliment her on. God knows I had to use my imagination, I said "I sure appreciate you answering the phone so quickly, and taking my order, and being so efficient, you guys make the best pizzas, and you're always on time", went on and on lying... I mean encouraging. By the time I got finished she was throwing in Hot Wings, and Dr. Peppers and Coupons, she was my best friend.
The apostle Paul told Timothy (2 Timothy 4:5) "As for you, be calm, cool and steady". Some people let things upset them way too easily: the traffic, the weather, the grumpy clerk. I wonder how much more you would enjoy life, how much higher you would go if you'd start ruling the day, keeping your walls up, not letting everything get in your spirit. You can't stop it from coming, but you can keep it from getting down in you.
You're a king. You have a kingdom. You're in charge of your thoughts, your attitude. Start ruling your atmosphere, make this decision at the first of the day that you're going to stay in peace, you're not going to let things upset you, you're going to be calm, cool, and steady. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: you're not only going to enjoy life more, but you're going to see more of God's favor. He's going to fight your battles, take care of what's trying to stop you. You're going to rise higher, overcome obstacles, and see new levels of your destiny, in Jesus name.