Joel Osteen - Your Destiny Outweighs Your History
I want to talk to you today about your Destiny Outweighs Your History. If you add up the negative things in your past and put them on a scale, at times it would be way out of balance, the negative is much heavier: you're dealing with an illness, you went through a loss, you had a setback in your finances. It's easy to look at what we've been through and get discouraged, lose our passion. The problem is, you're only weighing your history, you're only looking at the negative things that have happened. What you can't see is what God has in your future. He wouldn't have allowed the difficulty if it was going to leave you in a deficit. If you're going to get the proper assessment, you have to put not just your history on the scales, you have to put your destiny.
There are things in your future God has already ordained for you: promotion, healing, divine connections. They're not just going to tip the scale, but they're going to far outweigh the disappointment, the pain, the loss. This is where faith has to kick in, "I'm at a deficit right now, gone through this struggle, I had a setback, I'm not denying that, but I know this: God is still on the throne. What he has in my future is going to far surpass what I'm dealing with now".
The scripture says (Hebrews 12:2), "Jesus endured the pain of the cross, looking forward to the joy that was coming". When he was being mocked by the soldiers, beaten with whips, nailed on the cross, he was at a deficit. It looked like the enemy got the best to him. People thought, "If he is who he really said he is, he'd come down off that cross. He wouldn't be up there defeated". All the circumstances said he was done, but God has the final say. He won't let you get in a problem that he can't bring you out of. The odds may be against you, but the Most High God is for you.
On the cross Jesus said "My God, why have you forsaken me"? There will be times where it feels like God has forgotten about you. "Why did this bad break happen? Why did this person leave? Why did the pandemic hit, slow my business down"? If you judge your life by where you are right now, you'll get discouraged, give up on dreams. It's because you're only putting your history on the scale. You're way out of balance, what you're missing is what's coming. You have to endure some things, looking forward to the joy that's on the way. You have to know that God is still on the throne, that he's ordering your steps, that what he started he's going to finish. No bad break can stop him, no person, no pandemic, no loss, no sickness. He sees what's not fair, he sees what didn't work out, the lonely nights, the times you feel forgotten. The Psalmist said "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy is coming in the morning".
Jesus died on the cross, the forces of darkness celebrated, thought they had finally won, but on the third day God said "I don't think so. My son is not going to end in a deficit, he arose and is alive with all power". The point is: he had to go through some things to fulfill his purpose. "I'd rather God make it easy, just float through life with all good breaks", but that's not how it works. You can't become all you were created to be without opposition, things you don't understand, people that turn on you, times it looks like you're done. The way to endure is to keep reminding yourself that what God has in your future is not just going to make up for what you've been through, not just bring you back to even, but God is going to bring you out better, increased, promoted, healthier, to new levels of your destiny. He's designed your life to where the good things in your future will outweigh the negative things in your past.
The scripture puts it this way, "God has taken you from glory to glory. The path to the righteous gets brighter and brighter". He already has a solution to the problem that's holding you back. He's already arranged restoration for that loss, a new beginning for that setback, promotion for that injustice. It's already on the schedule. it's just a matter of time before you see the scales tip in your favor. And when those lies come saying, "God has forgotten about you, it's never going to work out. You've seen your best days", just say "No, thanks, I know a secret: this may be difficult, it's not fair, but this is not how my story ends. Favor is in my future, good breaks are headed my way, the right people are tracking me down".
There's a lady in the scripture named Naomi. She was married with two sons. They left her hometown of Bethlehem because of a famine, and moved to the city of Moab. They found food and a nice place to live. Life was good then Naomi's husband unexpectedly died, she became a widow. If that wasn't hard enough, a few years later both of her sons died. She was so heartbroken, she decided to move back home. She told her two daughters-in-law Oprah and Ruth that she was leaving, they should move on find someone else to marry. Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye went her way, but Ruth said "No, I'm going wherever you go. I'm going to stay with you and help take care of you".
We all face these unexpected challenges, things we didn't see coming, where our scales get way out of balance. If you don't understand this principle that God is going to make your destiny outweigh your history, that he's going to make up for the unfair things, that the loss, the bad break, the disappointment is not going to stop your purpose, then you'll get bitter, you'll give up on dreams, and live sour. This is what Naomi did. When she got back home people said "Naomi, we're so glad to see you". She said, "Don't call me Naomi, call me Mara". Naomi means "My joy", Mara means "Bitter". She was saying, "There's nothing joyful about my life, do you know what I've been through"? She said in Ruth 1:21, "I left Bethlehem full, but I came home empty".
There are times that life deals us such a blow that we feel empty. We have nothing left to give. We started out good, we were passionate, pursuing dreams, but we lost a loved one, the business didn't make it, an unexpected illness, now we feel empty. The beauty of our God is he's not going to leave you empty. He knows when life has been unfair, he knows when you don't feel like you can go on, he comes to the empty places. He has strength for the weary, fresh vision, fresh anointing. Even now God is breathing on your life. You're about to come out of that empty place, things are shifting in your favor. New doors are about to open, the right people are about to show up. You're going to see a sign of God's goodness letting you know that he's about to tip the scales. They may be out of balance now, but he's not finished, he has something coming that's going to far outweigh the loss, the heartache, the disappointment.
Naomi's daughter-in-law Ruth would go out into the fields each morning and pick up the leftover wheat, that's how they survived. One day the owner of that field, a man named Boaz told his workers to leave handfuls of wheat on the ground on purpose for Ruth. Now she came back in a fraction of the time with more wheat than ever. I can hear Naomi saying, "Ruth what happened? Where'd you get all this wheat? How did you come back home so fast"? Ruth said, "I don't know. It was just laying there, waiting on the ground". Naomi had been through great heartache, she was at an empty place, but notice how God began to work, favoring her, causing people that she had never met to be good to her.
Boaz ended up falling in love with Ruth, they got married. They had a baby that they named Obed. Naomi was so excited, when she saw that little boy she felt this new sense of purpose. The scripture (Ruth 4:14-15) says "The women of the town rejoiced and said to Naomi, 'God has given you another son. May this child restore your youth'". Naomi took care of him like he was her own son. Few years earlier she was empty, she was bitter, she thought she'd seen her best days, she never dreamed she'd be this happy, this fulfilled. God knows how to tip the scales, how to make what was meant for harm and turn it to your advantage. And you may be at an empty place, you don't see how you could ever be happy again. If Naomi were here she would tell you "That's not how your story ends. God has things in your future better than you've imagined". You may not understand it right now, it's not fair: trust him, it's all a part of his plan. He's going to bring you to a blessed place where you're more fulfilled, more rewarded than you've ever been.
What's significant is this wasn't just any baby - Obed was the grandfather of David. Out of David's family line came Jesus. Naomi's disappointments, having to move back home, that was all a part of God's plan. She was instrumental in our Savior being born. At the time she couldn't see it, she felt empty, she got bitter, but God was still in control, he was still ordering her steps, causing Boaz to see Ruth, having Naomi help raise that little boy. Naomi never dreamed thousands of years later we would be talking about her. When you go through disappointments, loss, if you could only see how God is going to make it up to you, if you only knew the doors he's going to open, the people he's going to bring, then in those times that you could stay bitter, instead you'd stay in faith. You could give up on your dreams, but you'll keep believing. You could live defeated, but you'll live passionate, expecting God's favor.
One reason Naomi got bitter is she kept telling herself the wrong thing. She said, "I'm empty. I have nothing to give. I've seen my best days". She was focused on what she lost, what didn't work out, how it wasn't fair. Her own thoughts were defeating her. What you're telling yourself in difficult times will make you or break you. You may feel empty, but don't go around announcing it, telling everyone you're broke, defeated, addicted, lonely that's not helping you. Those words are going out of your mouth, and right back into your own spirit. Every time you say it, it's becoming more of a reality. That's why the scripture says "Let the weak say 'I'm strong'. Let the poor say 'I'm well off'. Let the addicted say 'I'm free'. Let those who have gone through bad breaks say, 'good things are in my future'".
I'm not saying to deny the facts, just don't let the facts have the last word. Say what God says about you. "I feel empty, but I believe fullness is coming, favor is coming, healing is coming". When you have the right perspective you can stay in faith even when life is not fair. You can move forward even when you should be stuck. And often it's not the storms that defeat us, it's how we respond to the storms. There's collateral damage we can avoid if we don't add to the storm by getting bitter, giving up on our dreams. When difficulties come you have to be careful what you're telling yourself. It's easy to get in agreement with the lies, "It's all down here from here. You'll never be happy. Look at what you've been through". Naomi kept repeating her pain, "I went out full, but man, now I'm empty. Lost my sons, lost my husband". What she was saying was true, but this is where faith has to kick in, "Yes, I've been through loss, but I know God still has a purpose for me, that there are still good things in my future".
Pay attention to what you're telling yourself. One thing Naomi did right is she kept moving forward. When she lost her sons, she said "I'm gonna move back home". She was saying in effect, "I'm not staying in this sorrow. I'm letting go of the old and moving on to the new". Don't get stuck in what didn't work out. You may not understand it, but God wouldn't have allowed it if it was going to stop your purpose. Don't put a question Mark where God put a period. If you prayed, you believed, you did your best and your loved one didn't make it, the door closed, the friend walked away - accept it as God's meal and move forward.
The scripture (Ruth 1:22) says, "Naomi returned to Bethlehem at the start of the barley harvest". If she had stayed in Moab, in self-pity, thinking about what she had lost, she would have missed the harvest season. Wasn't a coincidence that she was moving back home in a time of abundance. Don't miss your harvest because you're stuck on who hurt you, what you didn't get, "My skills way out of balance, Joel, I don't understand it" - move forward, there's a harvest waiting for you. God has already ordained the good breaks. He's already spoken to the workers to leave you handfuls on purpose. Boaz is already watching for you, you just have to get there. May not be physically, but in your mind. You need to pack up and leave, no more dwelling on the heartache, living bitter, "Nothing good is in front of me", the problem is you're still in Moab. Moab is the defeat. Moab is the things that weren't fair, the things you don't understand. You have to get to Bethlehem - that's where the harvest is, that's where God is not just going to make it up to you, not just tip the scales, but you're going to see him show out in your life, do something that you've never seen.
This is what my father had to do. In the 1950s he'd been pastoring a church for many years, everything was going great, was growing, they just built a beautiful new sanctuary, he was on the state board for his denomination, his future looked very bright. My sister Lisa was born with something like cerebral palsy. The doctors told my parents that she would probably never be able to walk or feed herself. They were devastated.
My father went to a hotel downtown to get alone for a few days and pray. And he read the scripture like he was reading it for the first time. He saw how God is a healer and how he wants us to live an abundant, victorious life. He came back and told his congregation, thought they'd all be so excited, but they didn't like his new message of faith and victory, it didn't fit into their tradition. Long story short, he had to leave the church. Lifelong friends never spoke to him again. My father was at an empty place, he came in full, passionate things were growing, but now no job, little girl not well.
What do you do when you're empty? When life throws you a curve, when the scales are out of balance? Thoughts are telling you, "You've seen your best days". God says, "When you're empty come to me. I'm still in control. I'm still ordering your steps. I'm not going to leave you out of balance". The Psalmist said "In his presence is fullness of joy". You may be empty now, but fullness is coming.
My father didn't do what Naomi did, he didn't get bitter, he didn't give up on his dreams. He was hurting, but he knew it wasn't a surprise to God. He and my mother prayed for God to heal Lisa. Little by little she got better. At a year old she lifted her head for the first time, something the doctor said she wouldn't be able to do. Today she's perfectly healthy and whole, 89 years old, still going strong. My father didn't sit... (I'm not going to look at her). My father didn't sit around in self-pity, he and my mother found an old run-down feed store, this little building on mother's day 1959 they started Lakewood with 90 people. The scales were way out of balance: rejected by his former church, years of hard work nothing to show for it, but God knows how to make it up to you.
And some of the doors that close that we don't understand, people that do us wrong, challenges that come out of nowhere: we can't see it at the time, but it's all a part of God's plan. Had my father not left that church, he would have never seen Lakewood, he wouldn't have seen the favor and growth that he did. Those scales that were way out of balance on the negative, on his history, they went way out of balance on the good: favor, promotion, influence like he's never dreamed. Your destiny is going to outweigh your history. Keep moving forward, keep doing the right thing, keep honoring God, and you're going to come in to your Bethlehem. The harvest season is already in progress. You're going to walk into blessings, restorations, new opportunities, healing that God has already prepared. It's not at the place of sorrow, the place of lost, the place of heartache - leave that place and move on to the new things God has in store.
In the scripture the prophet Samuel chose a young man named Saul to be the next leader of Israel. Saul was tall, strong, good-looking, he looked like a king. I can imagine how proud Samuel was of Saul, that he took time to mentor him, teach him to lead with wisdom and excellence. And Saul started off good, he defeated armies, rescued the Israelites, but over time Saul got off course, he started compromising, not making good decisions. Finally God told Samuel that he was rejecting Saul as the king. Samuel was so disappointed, the scripture says "He wept and wept". Like Naomi he was at an empty place, he'd poured his heart and soul into Saul. He'd prayed for him, taken him under his wing, now it looked like it was all a waste of time.
Samuel was sitting around discouraged in self-pity. 1st Samuel 16:1, God said "Samuel, how long are you going to mourn over Saul"? God is asking us, "How long are you going to mourn over what you've lost? How long are you going to be discouraged over the relationship that didn't work out, the position you didn't get, the loved one that didn't make it"? The problem with continuing to mourn is it will keep you from going to Bethlehem, it will keep you from the harvest that's already in process, from the new things God has in store. And yes, there's a time for mourning, but you can't let a season of mourning turn into a lifetime of mourning.
God told Samuel (1st Samuel 16:1), "Fill your horn with oil and be on your way. I'm sending you to the house of Jesse, I've chosen one of his sons to be the next king". I can imagine Samuel thinking, "God, Saul is still on the throne. He's technically still in charge. You're telling me to anoint my future, while my past is still on the throne? You're telling me to start a feed store with 90 people? You're telling me to choose David? He's not tall, not experienced, how can he lead people? You're telling me to go back to Bethlehem, I just want to stay here in Moab, I've been through too much"? Are you waiting for God to change things, while God is waiting for you to anoint your future? That means you're not seeing anything happening, but you're believing, you're declaring, you're walking by faith and not by sight.
"The medical report doesn't look good, but I know God is restoring health back unto me. Went through a loss, a bad break, I know what was meant for harm God's turning to my advantage. Had a back in my finances, business went down, that's not the end, I know I will lend and not borrow, what I touch will prosper and succeed". You can't wait for everything to change then you'll believe, then you'll have a good attitude. No, even though your past is still on the throne, you need to start declaring favor, restoration, health, victory.
God told Samuel to fill your horn with oil. Oil signifies joy, praise, expectancy. Don't drag around, "Look what I've been through, man. This pandemic was so hard. My back's been hurting for three years. My boss won't give me any credit". Fill your horn with oil, not with complaints. Get your praise back, put a smile on your face, have a report of victory. If you'll fill your horn with oil and be on your way, you're going to see God tip the scales. Not a little bit, but he's going to open the windows of heaven, bring great opportunities, new people, turn mourning into dancing. He's not going to equal it up, the good and the bad, no your destiny is going to far outweigh your history. Samuel was disappointed when Saul didn't work out, but he filled his horn with oil and anointed David. David was the greatest king that ever lived.
Notice how God does things: he doesn't trade an "Okay king" for another "Okay king". God was saying "You lost something that was painful. You put time and energy into that relationship, that company, that dream, it didn't last - don't worry I'm about to send to David, I'm about to bring someone or something so awesome, so out of the ordinary, that it's going to far outweigh what didn't work out".
There was a lady in the scripture that was about to give birth. She was an Israelite, she had just heard that the Ark of the Covenant had been stolen, that's where God's presence was. She was so upset, so distraught. When she gave birth she named her son "Ichabod". Ichabod means "The glory has departed". She named her future based on her past. She could have just easily named him "The glory will return". She could have named him what Zechariah prophesied, double the glory. But she was so caught up in what she had been through, the disappointment, the heartache that it soured her future. I wonder how many of us are doing the same thing? We're focused on what didn't work out, who hurt us, what we lost, we don't think it's ever going to change. Don't name your future based on your past. Get that Ichabod spirit off of you. This is a new day. God is doing a new thing. The enemies you've seen in the past you will see no more.
Here's what you should name your future "Blessed, prosperous, victorious, healthy, strong, wise, talented". Things may be rough right, now but your attitude should be "This is only temporary. It's just a matter of time before things change in my favor. I'm gonna come out better off than I was before".
This is what David did. He went through all kinds of heartache, disappointments, people coming against him, but he didn't name his future based on his past. He said (Psalm 27:13), "I am confident I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living". That's my prayer for you that you will be confident that your best days are still in front of you, that you will know down deep that your destiny will outweigh your history, that the negative things of the past are not how your story ends. My question today is: are you weighing things too early? You've had disappointments, life has thrown you some curves, now you've accepted that you're limited, you had a disadvantage... Can I encourage you? The best part of your life is still in front of you! You wouldn't be breathing if there were not new victories and new opportunities! God saw everything that happened: the loss, the bad breaks. Those weighed a lot, but there is favor coming that's going to tip the scale to where the blessing far outweighs the negative.
Now do your part, anoint your future, even though the past is still on the throne. Dare to believe, start expecting favor. There is a harvest season God has already prepared, something already in the works that you're going to step into. I believe and declare, even now things are shifting, the weight of the negative is going to pale in comparison to the weight of the glory. Like with Samuel, the disappointment was painful, but David is about to show up, something better than you've imagined. Favor is coming, healing, restoration, promotion, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today?