Joel Osteen — Your Words Become Your Reality
I want to talk to you today about how your words become your reality. You are where you are today in part because of what you've been saying about yourself. Words are like seeds. When you speak something out, you give life to what you're saying. If you continue to say it, eventually that can become a reality. Whether you realize it or not, you are prophesying your future.
This is great when we're saying things like, I'm blessed. I'm strong. I will accomplish my dreams. I'm coming out of debt. That's not just being positive, you are prophesying victory, prophesying success, prophesying new levels. Your life will move in the direction of your words. But too many people go around prophesying just the opposite. "I never get any good breaks". "I'll never get back in shape". "Business is slow: I'll probably get laid off". "Flu season is here. I always get it". They don't realize they are prophesying defeat. It's just like they're calling in bad breaks, mediocrity, lack.
The scripture says "We will eat the fruit of our words". You are planting seed when you talk. At some point, you're going to eat that fruit. My challenge is make sure you're planting the right kind of seeds. If you want apples, you have to sow apple seeds. If you want oranges, you can't plant cactus seeds, poison ivy seeds, mushroom seeds. You're going to reap fruit from the exact seeds that you've been sowing.
In other words, you can't talk negative and expect to live a positive life. You can't talk defeat and expect to have victory. You can't talk lack, not enough, can't afford it, never get ahead; and expect to have abundance. If you have a poor mouth, you're going to have a poor life. If you don't like what you're seeing, start sowing some different seeds. Instead of saying, "I'll never get well, Joel, this sickness has been in my family for three generations". No, let me give you the right seeds. "God is restoring health back unto me. This sickness didn't come to stay, it came to pass. I'm getting better and better every day".
You keep sowing those seeds and eventually you'll eat that fruit. Health, wholeness, victory. Instead of saying, "I'll never get out of debt. I'll never rise any higher". No, "I will lend and not borrow. Whatever I touch prospers and succeeds. I'm coming into overflow, into more than enough". Start sowing seeds of increase, seeds of abundance. No more "I'll never accomplish my dreams". No, "I have the favor of God. Blessings are chasing me down. The right people are searching me out. New opportunities, new levels are in my future". If you'll keep talking like that, you'll reap a harvest of good things. James said in the scripture, "With our tongue we can bless our life or we can curse our life".
Many people don't realize with their words they're cursing their future. Every time you say, "I never get any good breaks", you just cursed your life. "I'll never be able to afford that nice house". "I'll never break this addiction". "I'll never meet the right person". No, stop cursing your future. Sometimes the enemy doesn't have to defeat us, we defeat ourselves. Pay attention to what you're saying. Are you blessing your life? Or are you cursing it?
I had a classmate in high school that was always very negative. Every time I asked him what was going on, he had this standard answer. He would always say, "Not much. I'm just getting old, fat, and bald". I heard him say that probably five hundred times. I know he was just kind of kidding but I wouldn't kid about that. He was one of the stars on our football team, always in great shape, and had this thick curly hair. About 15 years later, I ran into him at the mall. When I saw him, I nearly passed out. He had prophesied his future. He looked old, fat, and bald.
Friends, don't speak that defeat over your life. Our attitude should be, "I'm getting younger. God is renewing my youth like the eagles. I'm getting stronger, healthier, better looking. I'm going to keep my hair. I'm going to stay in my right mind. I'm going to live a long productive faith-filled life". Don't go around cursing your future. Start blessing your life. Prophesy good things.
There's a young lady on staff here. Every morning before she leaves the house, she looks in the mirror and says, "Girl, you're looking good today". I saw her one time and asked if she was still doing it. She said, "Yeah, in fact, today when I looked in the mirror, I said, 'girl, some days you look good, but today, you look really good.'"
Why don't you stop criticizing yourself? Talking about all the things you don't like: how you're getting too old, too wrinkled, too this, too that. Stop cursing your life and start blessing your life. Start calling yourself healthy, strong, talented, beautiful, young. Every morning, before you leave the house, look in the mirror and say, "Good morning, you good looking thing". My brother Paul, you need to do this every hour.
Sometimes when we've been traveling a lot, been very busy, Victoria will come to church with me and say, "Joel, I am so tired. Look at me. Can you see how red my eyes are"? I always say, "No Victoria, you look beautiful. You look as great as ever". She'd say, "No, I don't Joel. I know you won't tell me". She's right. I don't want to speak defeat, I want to speak victory over her life. I wonder what she would do if I ever said, "Yeah, you're right. You don't look good at all". I'm smarter than that.
I know this man that was so concerned that he was going to get Alzheimer's disease, several people in his family had it: a grandfather, a great uncle. He was in his early 50's but he was always talking about what might happen. He told me how he was making plans for who could take care of him, get everything lined up. Of course, it's good to use common sense, to be wise. But if you go around talking about when you're going to get it and making plans for it; most likely, you won't be disappointed. You're calling it in. Just like you're sending it an invitation.
I told him what I'm telling you, "Don't say another time that you're going to have Alzheimer's. Start declaring, 'no weapon formed against me will ever prosper. I will live out my days in good health, with a clear mind, with good memory, with clarity of thought. My mind is alert. My senses are sharp. My youth is being renewed.'" You've got to prophesy health. Prophesy a long productive life. Your words will become your reality.
When our daughter, Alexandra, was about four years old, she overhead Victoria and me talking about this little boy that was having a terrible time with headaches. He was having to leave school, causing him all kinds of difficulties. Alexandra spoke up and said, "Daddy, I don't have headaches and I never will have headaches". I thought, you're exactly right. You're prophesying the right thing".
One time I was working on my garage door back then. I couldn't get it to go up. I was kind of frustrated. I didn't even realize Alexandra was there. But under my breath, I said, "This thing is never going to work". I heard this little voice speak up: "Daddy, you're going to have what you say". I thought, "It's terrible when your own children believe your messages".
Proverbs 6 says, "We are snared by the words of our mouth". Snared means to be trapped. Your words can trip you. What you say can cause you to stumble. It can keep you from your potential. You're not snared by what you think. Negative thoughts come to us all. When you speak them out, you give them life. That's when they become a reality. When you say, "I'll never get back in shape," it becomes more difficult. You just made it harder. When you say, "I never get any good breaks". That stops the favor that was ordained for you. If you say, "I'm not that talented. I don't have a good personality", that is setting the limits for your life. That is calling in mediocrity.
You may have been snared in the past, trapped by your words, but I believe this is a new day. I declare you're coming out of that trap. Every chain is being loosed. Every stronghold is coming down. No weapon formed against you is going to prosper. Now you've got to do your part. Start speaking victory over your life. Speak increase. Dare to declare God's favor. Be bold to call in those things you're dreaming about, those things you're believing for. Don't use your words to describe the situation, use your words to change the situation.
In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus was talking about worry. He said, "Take no thought, saying 'what shall we eat? What shall we drink?'" Notice that phrase "Take no thought saying". The negative thoughts will come. The key is to not say them. A thought will die stillborn if you don't speak it. Jesus was saying, "You may feel worried. It may seem like it's never going to happen. But take no thought saying. Don't verbalize it. Don't get trapped by your words".
When we acquired this place, the former Compaq Center, it was a dream come true. We were so excited. Our builders drew up plans to renovate it from a basketball arena to a church. They called us together and said it was going to cost a hundred million dollars to renovate. After they picked me up off the floor, my first thoughts were, "That's impossible. There's no way. I've only been the pastor four years. They cannot expect me to raise those kind of funds".
Even though those thoughts were racing through my mind again and again, I was smart enough to keep my mouth closed. I kept a big smile on my face, acted like it was no big deal. I knew if I wouldn't verbalize those negative thoughts, eventually they would die stillborn. It's one thing to think that it's impossible, but when you start telling people it's impossible, it takes on a whole new meaning. You may think, "I'll never break this illness. I'll never get well. I'll never meet the right person". Those thoughts come to all of us. You can't stop that.
My challenge is don't give them life by speaking them out. Don't go call your friends and tell them how it's not going to happen. I told our team, "I don't see a way, but I know God has a way. He didn't bring us this far to leave us". My report was "God is supplying all of our needs. The funds are coming in. It may look impossible on paper but with God all things are possible". I knew better than to curse my future. I didn't want to get trapped by my words. I knew if I kept prophesying the right things: increase, favor, more than enough, then we would start moving toward it.
In the tough times, you have to especially be on guard. It's very tempting to vent your frustration and tell people how the loan didn't go through, how bad the medical report was, how these people just didn't treat you right. But continually talking about the problem. That's not only going to make you more discouraged. But you're giving that problem more life. You're making it bigger. Turn it around, don't talk about the problem, talk about the promise. Instead of "Oh man, I got this big challenge". No, "I serve a big God. He spoke worlds into existence. Nothing's too difficult for him".
Instead of "Oh, I didn't get the promotion. Got passed over again. Another disappointment". No, "I know when one door closes, that means God has something better. He's directing my steps. I'm excited about my future". Instead of "Oh, I'll never meet the right person, Joel, I'm too old. It's been too long". No, "Something good is going to happen to me. Divine connections are coming my way". "Well, I heard you got a bad medical report"? "Yes, that's true. But I have another report. It says, God is restoring health back unto me". "Well, I heard those people did you wrong". "Yes, but I'm not worried. God is my vindicator. He's fighting my battles. He's promised to give me beauty for ashes".
See, in life, there are always two voices vying for your attention. The voice of faith and the voice of defeat. You'll hear a voice saying like I did, "The problem's too big. It's not going to work out. Just accept it". You'll be tempted to worry, to be negative, to complain. But if you listen carefully, you'll hear another voice. The voice of faith saying, "God has a way. Favor is coming. Healing is coming. Breakthroughs are coming". One voice will tell you you've reached your limits. You've gone as far as you can. You don't have what it takes. The other voice, "You are well able. You can do all things through Christ. Your best days are still in front of you".
Now, here's the beauty. You get to choose which voice comes to life. The way you do it is by what you speak. When you verbalize that thought, you're giving it the right to come to pass. If you go around saying, "Oh, the problem's too big. I'll never get well". You are agreeing with the wrong voice. You've got to get in agreement with God. The other voice may seem louder but you can override it. You can take away all of its power by choosing the voice of faith.
Maybe you're going to a job interview. One voice will tell you, "You're not going to get it. You're wasting your time. These people are not going to like you". Another voice will say, "You have the favor of God. You're blessed. You're confident. You have what it takes". But if you get up that morning and tell your spouse, "I don't think I'm going to get this job. They're not going to like me. I'm not qualified". There's no use even going. You're being trapped by your words. You have to dig your heels in and say, "I am not giving life to any more defeat. I am not speaking lack. I'm not speaking sickness. I'm not speaking mediocrity, not enough. I'm going to choose the voice of faith. It says I'm strong, I'm healthy, I'm blessed. I'm favored. I am a victor and not a victim".
This is what David did. When he faced Goliath, it looked impossible. All the odds were against him. If he would have verbalized his negative thoughts, that would have kept him from his destiny. Even though he was anointed to be king, those negative words would have kept him trapped in the shepherd's fields. He could have easily gone around saying, "Well, I know I'm supposed to face Goliath, but look at him. He's twice my size. He's got more experience, more equipment, more talent. I don't see how this is ever going to work out".
You can talk yourself out of your destiny. Negative words can keep you from becoming who you were created to be. Don't fall into that trap. Quit calling in defeat. Quit talking about how it's not going to happen. You can pray in faith, ask God to turn it around, to do the impossible. But then walk away and start talking about how you're not going to get well, how your child's never going to straighten up. Those negative words just canceled out that prayer.
"Joel, I'm having this financial crisis. I prayed and asked God to help me but I don't see how it's going to happen". No, zip that up. "Father, you said you're Jehovah Jireh, the Lord my provider. Lord, you've done it for me in the past. I know you'll do it for me again in the future". Don't let your words trip you. Negative talk brings negative results. But when you speak faith, favor, victory, that's what allows God to do the impossible.
David went out and stood before Goliath. He looked him in the eyes and 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. This day, I will defeat you and feed your head to the birds of the air". Notice he was prophesying victory. He may have felt fear but he spoke faith. And I can hear David, as he's going out to face Goliath, under his breath, "I am well able. I am anointed. I am equipped. If God be for me, who dare be against me"? He picked up that rock, put it in his slingshot, slung it. That rock brought Goliath tumbling down.
When you face giants in life, when you face challenges, you have to do like David, prophesy your future. Say to that cancer, "Cancer you are no match for me. I will defeat you". "This addiction may be in my family for years, but this is a new day. The buck stops with me. I'm the difference maker. I am free". "My child may have been off course for a long time. But I know it's only temporary. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Prophesy victory over your life.
There was a man in the scripture named Zerubbabel. He faced a huge mountain. A big obstacle. But like David, he didn't talk about how impossible it was, how it was never going to work out. He said, "Who are you, oh great mountain that would stand before me? You shall become a mere molehill". He was prophesying his future. The mountain looked big. But he declared it would be flattened out. It would become a molehill.
There's the principle: don't talk about the mountain, talk to the mountain. Look at that mountain of debt and tell it you can't defeat me. You're coming down. I will lend and not borrow. My cup will run over. Whatever mountains you face in life, no matter how big they look, don't shrink back in fear, don't be intimidated, rise up in faith and tell that mountain "You're coming down". Tell that sickness, "You're temporary".
Say to that loneliness, that addiction, that legal problem: "Who are you, oh great mountain to stand before me"? In other words, "don't you know who I am? A child of the Most High God. Haven't you read my birth certificate? My Father created the universe. He breathed life into me. Crowned me with his favor. He called me more than a conqueror".
That means you can't defeat me. You can't hold me back, mountain, you've got to come down. I will overcome this illness. I will break this addiction. I will pay my house off. I will see my family restored. I will accomplish my dreams. What am I saying? Prophesy victory. Prophesy breakthroughs. Prophesy what you're believing for.
In the old testament, Ezekiel saw a vision. He had this dream of this valley filled with bones. Everywhere he looked, like a huge graveyard, acres and acres of bones, people that have died. Bones represent things in our life that look dead, situations that seem impossible like they'll never change. And God told him to do something interesting. He said, "Ezekiel, prophesy to these dead bones. Say to them, 'oh, you dry bones, hear the word of the Lord".
And Ezekiel, in this vision, he started speaking to the bones, telling them to come back to life. He called forth skin, muscle, tissue. As he was talking, these bones started coming together, just like out of a movie, morphing back into a person. Finally, God told him to prophesy to breath and call it forth. The scripture says, "As he prophesied, breath came into those bodies and they stood up like a vast army".
You may have things in your life that seem dead. Your health, your business, a relationship. All you can see, so to speak, is that valley of dry bones. God is saying to you what he said to Ezekiel. It's not enough to just pray about it, you need to speak to it. Prophesy to those dead bones. Call in health. Call in abundance. Call in restoration. That child that's been off course, don't just pray about it. Prophesy to it. "Son, daughter, come back in. You will fulfill your destiny".
If you're struggling with an addiction, don't just pray about it. Prophesy. "I am free. Chains are broken off of me. This is a new day of victory". Get your checkbook out and prophesy to it. All it looks like are dead bones. Debt. Lack. Struggle. "I prophesy to these dead bones, I will lend and not borrow. I am the head and not the tail. I am coming in to overflow". Just like with Ezekiel, if you'll prophesy to the bones, God will resurrect what looked dead. He'll make things happen that you could never make happen.
Psalm 2 says, "I will declare a decree". A decree was something that was written down like an official document. The Psalmist was saying, "There's something that's been written that I'm going to start speaking". You and I can do the same thing, declare a decree. You should write down your goals. Write down what you want to see happen in life. Any areas that you're struggling in, where you need to improve, write it down like it's already done. And then every day, declare that decree. Read over it a couple of times out loud.
It's not enough to just think it, something happens when we speak. You have to prophesy your future. You can personalize yours. But let me give you some generic things that should be on your decree. I am strong. I am healthy. I am in shape. I weigh what I'm supposed to weigh. I am full of energy. I am passionate. I am talented. I am secure. I am valuable. I am confident. I have a good personality. People like me. I am fun to be around. I am happy. I enjoy my life. I am a person of excellence. I am full of integrity. I am successful. I am prosperous. My future is bright. My children are mighty in the land. My legacy will live on to inspire future generations. I run with purpose in every step. I am blessed. I am victorious. I am a child of the most high God.
If you keep speaking things like that over your life, those words will get down on the inside of you. They'll not only change your outlook but they will change who you are. Your words will become your reality. You are prophesying your future. And over time, those words will become a part of your everyday vocabulary. It'll be no big deal for you to go around saying, I'm blessed, I'm healthy, I have the favor of God. Instead of being trapped by your words, you'll be propelled by your words. James said here in the scripture, "Just as a tiny rudder controls a large ship, so the tongue sets the direction for our life".
Are you going in the right direction? Are you seeing increase, favor, new growth? If not, check up on what you're saying. When you get your words going in the right direction, your life will go in the right direction. Make this decision with me. No more words of lack, defeat, can't do it, mediocrity, doubt. Don't curse your future, bless your future. If you'll start prophesying victory, prophesying favor, I believe and declare you're going to rise higher, overcome every obstacle, and become everything God's created you to be in Jesus' name.