Joel Osteen - Nothing To Prove
I want to talk to you today about Nothing To Prove. Too often we're trying to get our worth out of what we do, how well we perform: am I a good enough mother? Am I talented enough? Strong enough? Successful enough? We think if we work harder, out perform our co-worker, outdress our friend, out drive our neighbor, then we'll feel good about ourselves. We live in this proving mode, with this need to impress. The problem is: we're getting our value from the wrong place. If you don't know who you are, a child of the Most High God, then you'll spend your energy trying to get other people to validate you. But when you're secure in who God made you to be, when you're comfortable with your gifts, you're content with your looks, you're happy with your personality, then you don't go around competing with others, jealous of a friend that's more talented, living to impress that cousin that's more attractive. You know - you're one of a kind, a masterpiece, made in the image of God.
When you know who you are, you won't live in this proving mode trying to impress people, getting your value out of what they think, "Do they accept me? Do they compliment me? Did they approve me? If not, let me work harder, let me prove to them that I'm good enough". You don't need their applause. Them validating you is not going to move you towards your destiny. Them cheering you on is nice, but if you're getting your worth out of that, if they quit doing it then you'll feel devalued, not good enough. You'll have to work harder, do more to impress them - it's a treadmill. You're doing all this work, but not going anywhere.
Take the pressure off: you have nothing to prove. Your destiny is not contingent on them liking you. Their approval is not keeping you from your purpose. It's a distraction. You're spending time and energy trying to impress, out perform, show them that you're good enough, when in fact you're already good enough, you've already been approved. God created you in his own image. Now, run your race. They may be more talented - celebrate them. You're not competing with them, you don't have to prove to them that you're talented too - you have gifts that they don't have. Be confident in who God made you to be.
I talked to a man, growing up his father was very hard on him, very condescending, told him how he was never going to amount to anything. Now this man is in his 40s working night and day trying to prove to his father that he was wrong, prove to him that he's talented, prove that he's successful. His father still doesn't acknowledge his success, he still doesn't compliment him. I told him what I'm telling you: you don't have to convince him that you're good enough. He doesn't control your destiny, that's a distraction. You're trying to impress someone that's never going to be impressed. No matter what you do it's not going to be good enough.
Your job is not to change people's mind, your job is to run your race. Don't get your value from people, get your value from God. Anytime we're trying to prove something, the root cause is insecurity. Your value should come from who you are, not what you do, and not what you have. If not there will always be a voice saying, "You don't measure up. You need to be stronger, skinnier, taller, wealthier, more talented, a better mother". It's very freeing when you understand: you have nothing to prove. You don't have to prove to others that you're good enough. That neighbor that's a super mom, she does everything for her children, after school they do arts and crafts, then little league, then ballet, then singing lessons, then pilot lessons, then algebra three, they do field trips on the weekends, she makes all of their clothes, every Friday they learn Chinese. You don't have to keep up with her to prove that you're a good mother too. She may have been graced for that, she's walking in her anointing, her calling, her gifting, (i feel sorry for her kids), but you're not competing with her.
If you go into approving mode, trying to outperform, feeling less than because you're not like her, all that's going to do is wear you out and take your joy. You're trying to prove something that you don't have to prove. You've entered a race that you're not competing in. Walk in your anointing, you don't have to keep up with other people. If you're getting your value out of how you measure up to your peers, "Am I as talented as my co-worker? Am I as successful as my cousin?", then you're going to live in this proving mode: working harder, trying to impress - that's a never-ending cycle. Get off that treadmill, you have nothing to prove. You don't have to be better than your neighbor, more talented than your friend, skinnier than your cousin - that's not your race. You're not competing with them, you're competing with yourself. Be the best you that you can be.
I've seen ladies that are naturally a size 14. You can meet someone that's naturally a size six. It's not necessarily about discipline, diet, willpower, it's about genetics, it's about who God made you to be. If you're competing in a race you're not supposed to be in, you're going to live frustrated. You could not eat for three years and still not be a size six. Why are you competing in a race that was never designed for you? What are you trying to prove that if you get small enough, strong enough, successful enough, then you'll feel good about yourself? Get out of that race. You can feel good about who you are right now. You are in a class all of your own. When God made you he threw away the mold, he stepped back and said "That was good, another masterpiece". He put his DNA in you. Who said you don't look good? Who said you're not talented enough? Who said you need to be taller, more creative, have a better personality? Don't believe those lies. Quit comparing, quit competing and run your race.
When our children were small, most of my siblings homeschooled their children. I asked my sister Lisa about it and she said "Well, when you send them off to school that's eight hours a day that they're being influenced by someone else". I thought, "That's eight hours that I get a break". We felt this pressure, you know, kind of to be like them. Sometimes we do things with the wrong motives, "I'm gonna homeschool my children so you won't look down on me, I'm going to prove that I'm a good parent too". You have to follow your own heart. When you compare with others you'll start competing. The problem is: you're not running their race. The grace on their life is going to be different than the grace on your life. It's not one size fits all. If you think you have to do what they're doing or you're going to look less than, you have to prove that you're just as strong, just as committed, just as talented, you're going to get distracted from your destiny.
We put our children in school and four or five years they did great. When we started traveling a lot we did homeschool them. The point is to run your race, you have nothing to prove. You don't have to prove to God that you're worthy, he's already made you worthy. You don't have to prove that you deserve his goodness: he knew every mistake you would ever make, every fault, every weakness, he's already accepted and approved you. Quit trying to win over his approval, thinking if you read your Bible enough, pray enough, quote enough scripture, give enough, serve enough... No, rest in who he made you to be. You're not supposed to live striving, pressured, hoping you can measure up, hoping you can do good enough, maybe you can earn his blessings - you don't have to earn it. When he breathed life into you he put his blessing on you. You're already qualified. Take the pressure off and walk in that anointing.
We weren't created to live in a proving mode, trying to impress, outperform your co-worker, not feeling good unless you're achieving, impressing, outperforming. Living to impress people will keep you from your destiny. That's time and energy that you need for your dreams, for your goals. You may impress people, you may win their approval, they compliment you, "Wow, you sure look great, you sure are successful", but praise from people just feeds our ego. We should live to impress God, he controls the universe. Promotion is not going to come from that person you impress. Proving to your friend that you're talented, you're successful may make you feel good, but they don't open doors, they don't part Red Seas, they don't line up favor, divine connections. Instead of impressing people we should spend our time impressing God.
When you're secure in who God made you to be, you don't feel less than because you can't do what someone else does. God has given us all different gifts. I don't feel inferior because my brother is a medical doctor and I don't have a college degree. I realize he got the brains, but I got the looks. My security is not in how I perform and what I do, what I wear, what title is behind my name - my security is in the fact that I'm a child of Almighty God. I say this with humility, but I realize I'm a masterpiece, I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, I'm equipped, empowered, anointed and approved. You have to get your value from who you are and not what you do, otherwise you'll spend your whole life competing with others, trying to prove your importance, trying to convince them to be for you, "Look at the car I drive, look at the business I've built, look at the position I'm in, look at how great a shape I'm in" - that's all good, but it's superficial. If it changes then your self-worth will change.
I was riding to a friend's house from the gym, this was years ago. He invited us to come over after we played basketball. I jumped in the car with him. He had this very nice sports car, really beautiful. As we were driving to his house I noticed that we drove the long way. We could have saved a few miles, but he went all the way around. I asked him why didn't he go the easy way? He said, "My ex-girlfriend lives on this street, I always drive by to make sure she sees what she missed out on". They had been broken up almost 10 years, but still every chance he got he's going out of his way to prove she was missing out, prove that he was successful, proved that he was happy without her. What's funny is he found out later that she had moved across town a couple years earlier. All that time he was driving by, proving his point, she wasn't even there.
I wonder how many times we're trying to prove something and the other person is not even paying attention? Trying to impress people that don't care? Competing with someone that doesn't even know we're competing? And it's good to have goals, it's good to have people that challenge and inspire us to go further, but we're not going to be blessed if our motives are not pure. When we're trying to prove to people to feed our ego, to pay them back, to show them how great we are or to make up for our lack of self-worth - that's a dead end street. Let God fight your battles, let him promote you, let him vindicate you. His favor is not so we can prove that we're talented, prove that we're as good as someone else - it's to fulfill our assignment, it's to advance the kingdom.
Who are you trying to impress? Who are you competing with? How much energy are you spending trying to feel good enough, talented enough, smart enough, worthy enough? Try a different approach: come out from under that pressure, striving, working - you have nothing to prove. What people think about you doesn't determine your destiny. Accomplishing more is nice, but it's not going to make you more valuable. Your income may increase, but your value is not going to increase. Don't get baited into being competitive, trying to outperform, thinking that's going to give you more worth. Run your race, stay focused on what you're called to. Do don't live for people's applause, live for God's applause.
Luke chapter 3, Jesus was being baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist. When he came out of the water a voice boomed out of the heavens saying (Luke 3:22) "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased". A dove came down and landed on Jesus, representing the Holy Spirit. What's interesting is Jesus had not started his ministry, he had never healed anyone, never opened a blind eye, never turned water into wine, yet his Father said "I am well pleased with you". God was pleased with who he was and not with what he could do. His value didn't come from his performance. I could understand God saying he was pleased with him after he raised Lazarus, after he multiplied the five loaves, after he cured the lepers, but God doesn't base your value on what you do, on how well you perform, how talented you are, how many people look up to you - it's based on the fact that you're his child. He breathed his life into you, he made you in his own image.
There's nothing you can do that will make you more valuable. No matter how good you perform, no matter how successful, it doesn't change how God sees you right now. We think "If I can perform good enough, if I can be more disciplined, if I can become more successful, then God will smile down on me, then he'll show me his favor", he's already smiling on you, he's already crowned you with his favor. And sure you may have areas you need to improve in, we all do, but that doesn't change your value. When God looks at you he says, "That's Charles, that's my son in whom I am well pleased. That's nancy, that's maria, that's rhonda, that's my daughters in whom I am well pleased".
When you understand if God is pleased with you, it doesn't really matter what people think about you. They may not be for you, they may try to discredit you, withhold their approval - big deal, they didn't breathe life into you, they didn't know you before you were formed in your mother's womb, they didn't call you, equipped you, anoint you. Why are you trying to prove to people who you are, when God has already said he's well pleased with you? Why are you spending time and energy trying to impress the neighbor, prove to that person that walked away that you really are okay, prove to that co-worker that you're talented? You don't have anything to prove. They don't control your destiny. They can't stop what God is purpose for your life. And get your eyes off of people and off of your faults, off of how you don't think you measure up - you were approved, you were accepted, you were anointed. Now step in to that destiny.
After Jesus was baptized, this great moment where God announced that he was pleased with him, the spirit came down like a dove, the scripture says (Luke 4:1), "The spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted". On one side of the Jordan river it was lush, green, fruits and vegetables, so fertile and beautiful. On the other side it was barren, dry, nothing growing, hot and dusty. You would think after this incredible moment, surely the spirit would take Jesus into the nice, comfortable, fertile land, so he could start his ministry, but it was just the opposite - he was led into the desert to be tempted. You can be in the desert by design. Sometimes God will take you into the wilderness. The good news is: God will not take you into something that he's not going to bring you out of. Stay faithful in the wilderness, pass the test, keep doing the right thing.
One of the tests that Jesus had to pass in the desert was not proving himself. After 40 days the enemy came and said to Jesus "If you're the Son of God turn these stones into bread". He was saying, "Jesus, prove to us who you are. Prove that you're really the Son of God. Prove that that voice we all heard was really true". Jesus wouldn't do it. He said, "Man doesn't live by bread alone". He was saying, "I don't have anything to prove. I don't need you to be for me. I don't need your validation. I'm not going to waste time trying to convince you who I am". The enemy took Jesus to a high place overlooking the temple, he said it again "If you're the Son of God jump off this ledge. The scripture says 'the angels will keep you from dashing your foot against a stone'".
The enemy knows the scriptures. He can quote them better than some of us. Jesus said in effect, "Why do I need to show you who I am, when just 40 days ago you heard my Father announcing who I am? If I was his child in the water, then I'm his child in the desert. I don't need to impress you, I'm not going to show off hoping you'll could be convinced who I am. I have a destiny to fulfill". Like Jesus you have nothing to prove. Don't get distracted by the negative chatter, people that discount you. Don't start competing with someone that's not in your race, trying to outperform, impress them so they'll be for you. You don't need them to be for you.
The enemy wanted Jesus to show off, "Jump so everyone will see how powerful you are, so you can impress all these people", but Jesus wouldn't use his power for the wrong motives, just to bring attention to himself, just to show how great he was. Before he was crucified, you remember he said "I could have called down ten thousand angels to turn things around, but in effect I'm not living to impress people, I'm not living to prove who I am. I know who I am, I'm living to fulfill my purpose". When your motives are right and you need favor, you need a breakthrough, God will step in and make things happen that you can't make happen. But if anyone could have proved something it was Jesus, he has all power, he could have shut the enemy up, he could have created a state dinner in the desert, he could have flown down off that ledge like a fighter pilot, everyone in amazement. He was showing us - you don't need people's validation.
You may have the power to prove something, you have the talent, the funds, you could get even, you could show off, you could impress, but you realize - it's a distraction. Like with Jesus we're all going to face these tests: are you going to get baited in and start competing in things that don't matter, trying to prove your self-worth, trying to impress people so they'll think good of you, trying to prove your value, when your Heavenly Father has already taken care of that? He's already said he's well pleased. Pass these tests, you don't have anything to prove, you don't have to impress people to feel good about yourself. You don't have to outperform to be more successful. Don't look to the left or to the right, focus on what you're called to do. If we would spend the same amount of time that we're normally trying to prove, trying to impress, trying to feel better about ourselves, pursuing our goals, working on our assignment, focused on our purpose, how much further along would we be? How much more of God's favor would we see?
Takes pressure to live in a proving mode. If you fall into that trap, the enemy won't leave you alone. You'll prove one thing, he'll come again. If you won't turn these stones into bread, then at least jump off the temple, at least prove that you're mighty. Three times he tried to get Jesus to prove who he was, kept coming back again and again. You have to be determined, "I am not going to give in the temptation to prove, to compete, to outperform, to show people that I'm smart enough, talented enough, strong enough, I have nothing to prove".
Years ago my father wanted to build a new sanctuary. We were in an auditorium that held a thousand people, the church was growing, we needed a larger place to meet. For several years he had been making plans and saving the funds, but he just couldn't get it going. And four or five of his pastor friends, men that were much younger than him were building these large sanctuaries. When my father would hear about it he'd get all fired up, try to make it happen. The back of his mind he thought "I can't let them outdo me, I'm getting older, looks like I'm falling behind". There was this underlying pressure to compete, to try to keep up, to prove that he was successful and prove that he wasn't too old. He was tempted to give into it, but he recognized that wasn't his race, he wasn't competing with them, he didn't have to keep up - he passed the test.
Several years later everything fell into place and he built a beautiful new sanctuary debt free. But it's important to keep the right motives. Why do you want to accomplish the dream? Why do you want that bigger sanctuary? Why do you want the new house? Why do you want the promotion? If your motives are pure: to fulfill your destiny, to help more people, to accomplish your assignment, then God will bless it. But if it's to keep up with my neighbors, not look bad in front of my family, impress the people under me, then it's going to be a struggle. God's favor is not to build our ego, it's to build a kingdom.
When David went out to face Goliath his brothers made fun of him, his father didn't think he had what it takes, king Saul thought he was too small. David had all these people that didn't believe in him, but he didn't go to prove to them who he was, prove that he wasn't too small, prove that he was anointed. It wasn't about proving, it was about fulfilling his purpose. He saw Goliath as someone standing in the way of the Israelites, a giant defying the armies of the living God. But if David had gone out just to prove to people, just to show him who he was, to feed his ego, he wouldn't have seen God's favor. His motives were to advance the kingdom. He wasn't doing it for people's applause, for fame, notoriety, "This will make me look good", it was about honoring God. When you have the right motives, God will take your slingshot and cause you to defeat a giant, he'll open doors you couldn't open, he'll cause you to look good, to be honored, to be admired. You weren't seeking that trying to impress others, trying to outperform, you were seeking the kingdom.
My question today is: how much pressure are you putting on yourself trying to prove, trying to measure up, trying to get validation? This can be a new day. You can go out of here much lighter. You have nothing to prove. You don't have to keep up with everyone, you're not in competition with others. You don't have to perform better for God to approve you, he's already said, "You're my beloved son, my beloved daughter in whom I'm well pleased". It wasn't based on what you did or didn't do, it was based on who you are - his child. You're not supposed to live striving, stressed, competing - get off that treadmill, rest in who God made you to be. Run your race, focus on your goals and keep the right motives. If you'll do this, I believe and declare, you're going to live freer, you're going to see God's favor in greater ways, accomplishing dreams, overcoming obstacles, becoming all you were created to be, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today? Amen.