Joel Osteen - Friends with Faith
I want to talk to you today about Friends With Faith. It's great to have faith for yourself, to believe for your dreams and speak victory over your life, pray for your healing. But God didn't give you faith just for you - there will be people you encounter that feel overwhelmed, they're dealing with the sickness, going through a loss, difficulty in a relationship. Maybe at one time they believed, they were strong, they knew they could beat it, but now they're too discouraged, they've lost their passion. The way they're going to see a breakthrough is not through their faith, but through the faith of a friend. You can be the one that steps up and believes for them. You can encourage them, you can pray for them, you can speak healing, favor, and victory over their life.
Now I'm all for believing for my dreams, pursuing my goals, and taking steps to reach my destiny, but I don't want to just be focused on me. I realize, I have much more to offer. I want to be a friend with faith. I want to push someone else into their destiny. I want to lift someone that's fallen, that doesn't have the strength to get back up. I want to encourage someone that's down, speak hope into their spirit, bring them dinner one night, pay their rent. There's nothing more rewarding than helping someone else move forward. You can't give away something that God won't give you more back in return. You give your faith, and God will give you more faith. You give your time to help others - God will give you more time. You give your encouragement, and God will keep you encouraged.
I saw a lady that was fighting cancer. She and her husband are very good people, for years she's been the one helping others, always had a smile and encouraging word. The last few months she'd been in the hospital, very sick from the treatment. Her hair was gone, she was very thin. She told how she had always quoted scripture, prayed and believed, but she got to where she was so weak she couldn't do it. She felt badly about it like she didn't have enough faith. She was very honest, she said "God, if I have to quote these scriptures, pray for my healing, then I'm not going to make it, I don't have the strength". She was looking out the window, there was this big white puffy cloud. She heard God speak to her. Not out loud, but in her spirit. He said, "You don't have to pray. That cloud you're looking at, it's full of all the prayers from your friends and family that have gone up for you". When she heard that she felt a release, like she could relax. She knew she had friends that were fighting for her.
Sometimes you need borrowed faith. When you're too discouraged, too tired, been through too much - that's okay, God will have friends with faith that are there for you. Someone to call you, to let you know that they're praying. Someone to stop by and speak an encouraging word. Someone to go to God on your behalf. Their prayers will touch heaven for you. I don't know if you need a friend today, you feel like you don't have faith for yourself. Or God has you hearing this to remind you to be a friend with faith, to not just have faith for yourself, but to let someone borrow your faith. Reach out to that co-worker that's discouraged, go visit that neighbor that went through a loss. Maybe it's a relative that's given up on their dreams, doors have closed, now they've lost their zeal. God is counting on you to be a friend with faith. Step in and believe for them while they can't believe. Speak victory into their life. Remind them that God is still on the throne, that what he started he's going to finish. You can be the one that pushes them past the discouragement, that lifts them back on their feet, that causes the Creator of the universe to shine down favor, healing and victory.
Will you let someone borrow your faith? Will you stand in the gap when they're off course, not making good decisions? It's easy to criticize, find fault, "Why are they doing that, they should know better"? If not for the grace of God they could be us. They don't need your judgment, they need your faith. Try a different approach, pray for them, ask God to show them mercy, to get them back on course, to help them fulfill their purpose. God has blessed you with faith not just for you, it's to share.
Be a friend with faith, not a friend with criticism, a friend with judgment, a friend with jealousy - there's enough of that in the world. Be a lifter, be an encourager. Let them borrow your faith while they don't have any faith. Tell them that you're praying for them, that you love them, that you believe in them. Your faith can be what lights the passion. Your faith can be what breaks the addiction. Your faith can be what God uses to propel them into their destiny. Now I've learned a secret: when you help others rise higher, God will help you rise higher. When you help that neighbor that's down, you visit that co-worker in the hospital, you mentor that young man that's lonely, when you let others borrow your faith, there's no limit to how high God will take you.
A good friend of mine has been very successful, very respected, influential. He's in the ministry, but he made some poor choices, he got in trouble and everything came crashing down. A true friend doesn't run away when someone fails, they run to the person. Your friends don't need you as much when everything is going great, they're seeing dreams come to pass, success, celebrate with them, that's exciting. But when they really need you is when things aren't so great, they've made mistakes, life stoned them a curve, the medical report wasn't good. When their faith is low, that's when you can make the biggest difference. They need some borrowed faith. They need you to believe for them while they can't believe. They need you to speak victory while they're too discouraged.
I had been checking on him every several weeks, and this one day some really negative news just came out, and it wasn't good at all. I knew I needed to call. In this very weak, faint voice he answered "Hello". Just barely above a whisper. I'll never forget what he said, "Joel, I don't have any more fight left in me". This was a man that had traveled the world, preached to thousands, spoken faith to people, prayed for healing, declared God's favor, but now there was no zeal, no passion. I did what I'm asking you to do, I said "Don't worry, you may not have the faith, but I've got you covered, I have faith for you. I'm gonna be praying for you, I'm gonna be speaking victory, I'm gonna remind God what he's promised you". Leon went silent, I could tell that he was weeping.
God has blessed you with faith, why don't you let someone borrow your faith? You're good at praying for your dreams, take the next step - pray for somebody else's dreams. You're good at fighting for your family, and that's important, but why don't you fight for somebody else's family? You've seen God open doors for you, encourage somebody else that God will open doors for them. Today my friend is back in the ministry, God has restored him, re-energized him, he's seeing favor and influence like never before. But the people God brings into your life are not there by accident, there will be times they need a friend with faith. God is counting on you to lift the fallen, to encourage the discouraged, to speak healing over the sick, freedom to the addicted, comfort to the brokenhearted. He's given you faith not just for yourself, but so that others can borrow your faith. Your faith can be what keeps them moving forward. Your faith can be the reason they reach their dreams.
When I come to the end of life I don't want to be known as the guy that had the big church, guy that wrote some books, the guy that smiled all the time. I want to be known as someone that took time to care, that prayed when others were too weak to pray, that encouraged when they felt like it was over, that spoke faith over people that felt disadvantaged. Let's all be friends with faith. There are more hurting people today than ever. With this pandemic, all the uncertainty and divisiveness in the world so many feel overwhelmed, anxious, lonely, like they don't have the strength to go on. They don't believe for their dreams like they used to. They just need someone to lend them some faith. Someone to believe for them while they're in the challenge. Someone to speak life while they're fighting the illness. Someone to declare freedom when the addiction is so strong. Someone to be a hope giver, a dream releaser, a voice of victory. You have something more valuable than money, more powerful than drugs, more satisfying than fame. Your faith can bring people healing, wholeness, fulfillment, freedom, victory.
See, sometimes people don't know how to pray. They were never taught that God is good, that he can heal, that he's a waymaker, he can turn situations around. When you ask God for their needs, your faith moves the hands that rule the world. When your prayers come up to heaven, John said in revelation, he saw a vision where the heavens go silent, the singing stops, the angels get quiet. Someone asks what's happening? God says "That's the prayers of my people coming up before me". When you pray God not only listens, but he goes to work. Angels are dispatched, chains are broken, favor is released. You can send up prayers for someone that doesn't know how to pray. You can stand in the gap for them while they're off course, not making good decisions. That lonely neighbor, been single a long time, you can go to God on their behalf and ask him to send a spouse or to send healing or turn a situation around.
For years my mother prayed for a man named Bill Nash. He's a country singer, an entertainer. She would see his name on the different marquees driving to church, "Bill Nash in concert tonight". She had never met him, didn't have any kind of contact, but she read where his parents were missionaries, and how he was raised in church, that's how he started out singing. She could have thought that's interesting, moved on, but she knew she read that for a reason, that God brought that to her attention. Every day she started praying for Bill that he would come back to church, that he would fulfill his destiny.
Over time he'd gotten involved in drugs and alcohol, doing things that he knew he shouldn't be doing. Life was spiraling downhill. One Sunday for some reason Bill decided to go to church, hadn't been in years, but suddenly he had the desire. Of all the churches in Houston he showed up at Lakewood, sat in the very back. And usher recognized him and told my mother. She went back and gave him a hug, and told him how she had been praying for him for years. He started weeping. That day was a turning point. He got back in church, did his first Christian concert here at Lakewood.
I wonder where Bill would be if my mother had not been a friend with faith? What if she had been critical, judgmental, "Why is he making those poor choices? He should know better". What if she had been passive, "Too bad, he's not my problem". Maybe he wouldn't be fulfilling his purpose.
Don't miss opportunities to be a friend with faith. Your faith can bring someone else back on course. Your faith can help break the strongholds of addiction, dysfunction. Your faith can bring healing and wholeness. Look around at who's in your life: is there someone that needs to borrow your faith? For you to believe for them while they're off course? To pray for them when they don't think they can get well? To speak life into their destiny when they're discouraged? God has created us to need each other. There are times when your faith alone will not be enough, you will need a friend with faith, someone to stand with you when your faith is weak, to believe for you when you're too discouraged, to lift you when you can't get up. If you will be a friend with faith then God will make sure there will always be someone there to help you, and to help your children.
In the scripture there was a man that was paralyzed, and he'd been this way for many years. No doubt he had accepted that was his lot in life, he didn't think he'd ever be able to walk. All the circumstances said that it was permanent. But even though this man didn't have any faith, he had four friends that thought otherwise. Jesus had come into the city, was teaching at Peter's house. These friends heard about the miracles Jesus had done, how he healed a man with leprosy, and caused a crippled man to walk. They said to the man, "We're going to take you to see Jesus". They were saying in effect, "You may not think it can happen, but we believe you're going to walk. We believe that being paralyzed is not your destiny". This man didn't have any faith, but he had four friends with faith. Their attitude was, "You can borrow our faith. We're going to believe for you, while you don't believe".
These four friends put him on a stretcher, and started carrying him to see Jesus. Wasn't next door - it's across town. I can imagine the men getting tired, shoulders hurting, hot and dusty, but they weren't about to quit, they had a made-up mind not for themselves, but for their friend. My prayer is "God give us friends like that. Friends that love us so much, they'll make sacrifices, they'll go the extra mile, they'll let us borrow their faith when our faith is low. They'll lift us when we're paralyzed".
There are a lot of ways to be paralyzed: paralyzed with an addiction, paralyzed with depression, anxiety, paralyzed by past mistakes, hurts, disappointments. Because you're a friend with faith, because you help others, God is going to put people in your life that won't let you stay paralyzed. Even when you think it's permanent, someone's going to be there to help you move forward.
These four friends finally made it to the house where Jesus was teaching, they were so relieved, now they could rest. The problem was the place was packed, no way to get in. They could have turned around, said to the man "Too bad. We did our best, sorry brother, we love you, it's just not meant to be". These men were not going to take "No" for an answer. They said "We can't get through the door, no problem, we're going through the roof". These friends had ripping off the roof. Now, I love the fact that it wasn't for themselves, nothing wrong if it was, but they weren't doing it for their dreams, for their healing, for their promotion - they were doing it for a friend in need, a friend that didn't have the faith, a friend that was convinced he'd reached his limits.
God in his great plan ordained this man would have friends with faith. God has put people in your life strategically. He's ordered your steps, so you can be a friend with faith. Don't miss the opportunities, don't be so busy with your needs, your dreams, your goals that you miss carrying someone to their healing, praying for that friend that's hurting, lifting that co-worker that's discouraged, let them borrow your faith while they don't have any faith. Any time you help others, that's a seed you're sowing that's going to come back to you. You make sacrifices to help that friend that's down, give them a ride, visit them in the hospital, take them food - that's going to come back to you. But here's the key: not in the same measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over. When you help, others the scripture says (Proverbs 19:17), "You are lending to the Lord and he will repay you". Sometimes we're looking for a miracle. If you'll become a miracle, you'll see God show out in your life.
These four friends carried the paralyzed man onto the roof. They tore a hole in it while Jesus was in the middle of speaking. Dust started falling from the ceiling, pieces of the ceiling, all this noise. They let the man down, set him right in front of Jesus. The scripture says (Mark 2:5), "When Jesus saw their faith". Not the faith of the paralyzed man, he was just lying there, when he saw the faith of his friends, Jesus touched the man and instantly he could walk. Your faith can cause someone else to get well. Your faith can help the co-worker that's lonely, the neighbor that's addicted, that relative that's off course. God has entrusted us with something incredibly powerful. Not just faith for your dreams, not just faith for your challenges, you have faith that can thrust other people into their destiny.
I'm asking you to be a friend with faith, a friend that lifts people up, a friend that prays for those that are struggling, a friend that speaks favor over the dreams of others.
See, I realize I didn't get here by myself, I've had plenty of friends with faith. When my father passed and I stepped up to pastor, I was so nervous and so insecure, I didn't have the training. Thoughts told me I couldn't do it, nobody was going to listen. About two months later I received a note in the mail from a very well well-known influential leader, speaks all over the world. I'd never met him, didn't know that he knew me, I'd always admired him from a distance. He wrote, "Joel, I've been watching you, I want you to know, you're such a great communicator, and you have such a gift", on and on encouraging me, speaking life into my destiny, speaking faith into my doubts, speaking courage into my fears, speaking strength into my weaknesses.
I didn't have much faith, but can I tell you, I borrowed his faith, I lived off of those words, I read that note again and again. When God saw the faith of my friend, God moved in my life, he showed me favor, blessing, influence. Now I have some faith, I've made up my mind, I'm going to live as a friend with faith, I'm going to be a lifter, I'm going to be an encourager, I'm going to speak life into places of doubt, hope where it doesn't look good, freedom when you're struggling, victory when you're facing defeat. There's nothing more fulfilling than helping someone else rise higher, helping that neighbor get well, being a blessing to that friend that's discouraged, speaking faith into their dreams.
There was a young African-American teenager being raised by a single mother. They lived in a rough neighborhood in Los Angeles, gangs all around, crying and shootings. He was constantly afraid, always looking over his shoulder, knowing that his life was in danger. He didn't really have a dream to do anything great, his dream was to simply survive. At 16 years old his worst fears came true, he was shot in a drive-by shooting, laying in the middle of the street, in the dark of night, thinking his life was over. A policeman came up and started helping him. While he was rendering first aid, this officer started speaking life into the young man. He told him sternly, "Don't you die. You have a destiny to fulfill. God's hand is on your life, this is not the end". Everything in the young man's mind said it was over, that he was done, but in his spirit something came alive. He didn't believe it in his thinking, but as he heard this officer keep speaking it, it went beyond his mind down into his heart, and hope started to rise up. He couldn't fight for himself, but this officer was fighting for him.
The interesting thing is: the officer didn't know if the young man was wrong, if it was his own fault, if he was causing the trouble, but he chose not to judge him in the moment, not to condemn him, but to have faith for him. The officer could have been passive, jaded, "Big deal, another shooting, happens every night. He's probably getting what he deserves", but he took time to care. He understood that when others don't have faith, he can have faith for them, he can let them borrow his faith, faith to bring healing, faith to give another chance, faith to help the hurting, faith to love the wounded.
By the grace of God this 16 year old boy survived, he beat the odds. Today my friend Touré Roberts is the pastor of a great church in Los Angeles, an entrepreneur, a great leader. 20 years later this police officer that helped saved his life became a member of Touré's church. But I wonder where he would be without the officer? When God saw the faith of this policeman, speaking to Touré's destiny, telling him what he could become, declaring favor, healing, purpose over his life? Like the four friends that carried the paralyzed man, maybe that's why Touré is doing great things. You too have incredible power. Your faith can not only take you places you've never dreamed, but you can help someone else become all they were created to be. There will be times in your life that you feel like you don't have the faith, you don't see how you can move forward - the good news is: God will have someone there for you, someone where you can borrow their faith, that will believe for you when you can't believe. My challenge is to be a friend with faith. Then you're sowing a seed for when you face obstacles that seem too big, when you feel overwhelmed, when the dream seems impossible, there will be a friend with faith there for you.
That's what happened in the scripture to a man named Naaman. He was a captain in the Syrian army. Very respected, influential, but Naaman had leprosy. Despite all his success, all the honor, he had this painful disease. Eventually he would have to stay away from his family. His future didn't look good. There was a young lady that worked for Naaman. They had taken her against her will from Israel, and now she was one of his maids. She said to Naaman's wife "There's a prophet in Israel named Elijah. If a Naaman will go see him, he'll be healed of his leprosy". This young lady could have been bitter, upset, instead she's trying to help the man that captured her. Nehemiah didn't have any kind of faith. He wasn't raised to know about Jehovah. This young lady was letting him borrow her faith.
Naaman headed out to see Elijah, it was 120 mile journey. Elijah told him to go wash in the Jordan river. When he came up the seventh time, his skin was as clear as a baby, he was perfectly healed. He was so excited, he took dirt from the banks of the Jordan, enough to load down two mules. When he went back to Syria, he put that dirt down so when he walked worship he could now worship the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He didn't just get healed, he became a believer. How did this happen? A young lady became a friend with faith.
When God sees your faith praying for that co-worker, encouraging that neighbor, investing in that young couple, your faith can cause them to overcome the obstacles, to beat that cancer, to reach their dreams. You are full of power, full of healing, full of freedom, full of victory. Look around this week: God has put people in your life on purpose. He knows he can count on you to let them borrow your faith. When you help the Naamans, when you speak life into the Tourés, when you carry those that are paralyzed, that's not only going to help them rise higher, but God is going to cause you to rise higher. What you're giving is going to come back to you in greater ways. Now, I believe and declare: because you're a friend with faith, not only are you going to help others become who they were created to be, but you're about to see new doors open, promotion, healing, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today? Amen.