Joel Osteen - Stay Thirsty
I want to talk to you today about Stay Thirsty. Our body is made up of 70 water - it's essential to ourselves, our organs, our skin. So, God put in us a natural instinct to drink water. There's a mechanism that sends a signal to our brain, that tells us when we're thirsty. If we drink water, we get hydrated, everything is fine. But sometimes we ignore the signal. We get busy, we're distracted. If it's suppressed long enough, the body will quit sending the signal, goes into a different mode thinking that water is scarce, and it adapts to the environment, and begins to conserve water. A leading expert said that most of the clients he sees are chronically dehydrated. When he asks why they don't drink water? The common response is, "I'm not thirsty".
I believe the natural parallels the spiritual. God created us to be thirsty. He put dreams in our hearts. He's given us goals to pursue. Even when we're in difficulties, there's something telling us that we're supposed to overcome. But when we've gone through disappointments, it's taken longer than we thought, we didn't get the promotion, the pandemic hit, through things off, it's easy to lose our thirst. We used to be passionate about getting in shape, starting our business, meeting the right person, but we've had setbacks, the door didn't open. Now we've settled where we are, thinking that it's not meant to be. But God didn't create you to live in mediocrity, just go through the motions of life, no passion. You have to get thirsty again. Just because the dream hasn't come to pass, doesn't mean it's not going to happen. Just because you haven't met the right person yet, doesn't mean they're not on the way. Just because the medical report hasn't improved, doesn't mean that healing is not in real.
But there is a condition: Psalm 107:9 says, "God satisfies the thirsty soul with good things". If you're going to see good things, healing, breakthroughs, favor, you have to stay thirsty. Keep believing for your dreams, keep expecting new doors to open, keep declaring favor over your children, keep speaking promises over your health. God didn't put a dream in your heart that he can't bring to pass. There's not a problem you're in that he can't bring you out of. The question is: are you thirsty?
Isaiah 30:18 said, "God is longing to be good to the people, who are looking for his goodness". Are you looking for God's goodness? Are you expecting favor, believing to rise higher, to accomplish what he's put in your heart? God meets you at the level of your expectations. If you expect nothing, you're going to receive nothing. But when you're thirsty, when you say "God, I don't see how, but I know you can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all I can ask or think. The medical report doesn't look good, but I know you're Jehovah Rapha, the Lord my healer. My business is slow, but I'm not going to give up on my dreams, I know you're my provider, you make rivers in the desert. My child is off course, nothing is improving, but I'm not moved by what I see, I know as for me and my house we will serve the Lord". You don't have to figure out how it's going to happen, all you have to do is believe. God satisfies not the doubting soul, the negative soul, the passive soul, he satisfies the thirsty soul with good things.
But I wonder how many of us are chronically dehydrated? We've suppressed the thirst so long, it's gone away, now our thinking has adapted to our environment. We've lowered our expectations, watered down our dreams, thinking this is not what I wanted, but I guess it's good enough, at least I'm making it. Good enough is not your destiny. God put greatness in you. He has an awesome future in store. But one of the enemy's favorite tricks is to try to numb your thirst, to try to deceive you into not wanting more, not believing to get well, not pursuing your dream, not expecting to meet the right person. If he can deceive you into going through life with no thirst, no passion, no zeal, thinking you've seen your best days, he will keep you from your purpose. Don't fall into that trap, get thirsty again, start dreaming again, start believing again, start hoping again. "Joel, I tried once and it didn't work out". Try again. "The medical report says I'm not going to get well", there's another report, it says "God is restoring health back into you".
This is what Marissa and Reuben did. I love their story. Their young son Christian was diagnosed with stage four cancer, spread throughout his whole body. They were devastated, Reuben said: when he heard the report it was like all the air was taken out of the room, felt like he could barely breathe. Medically speaking it didn't look good. They could have fallen apart, been depressed, there were plenty of opportunities to suppress what they believed. But they understood this principle: they stayed thirsty. When they could have been complaining, talking about how bad it was, they were singing songs of praise. "We're going to see a victory". The weapon may be formed, but we have good news, it's not going to prosper. They weren't talking about how big the problem was, they were talking about how big our God is. When you're thirsty angels go to work. When you're thirsty miracles are set in motion. When you're thirsty God will make things happen that you can't make happen.
Christian took the treatment. Ten weeks later you heard the story, doctors told them they don't understand it, they can't explain it, but there is no cancer in Christian's body. God has the final say. My question is: are you thirsty, or have you let circumstances suppress your faith? Who told you you can't get well? Who told you your business can't be successful? Who told you you've reached your limits, this is as good as it gets? Don't let other people numb your thirst. Don't let what you see talk you out of what God promised. Don't let time cause you to give up on the dream he put in your heart. Don't let mistakes you've made convince you to live condemned with no passion. Get your thirst back, get your fire back. God is still on the throne. He didn't change his mind about what he promised you. God doesn't abort dreams. May not have happened on your timetable, there may have been disappointments, setbacks, that didn't stop the promise. The enemy would love to convince you to live dehydrated, not expecting, not hoping - don't believe those lies. I may not be the most interesting man in the world, but I am telling you: stay thirsty my friends.
2 Kings 3, the people of Judah headed out into the desert to fight this enemy army. They didn't realize that all the streams had dried up. Day after day they had no water for themselves or their animals, they were so thirsty. On the seventh day they were camped in a valley where it never rained, it was the worst place to run out of water, looked like they'd be an easy target for the enemy that was approaching. The prophet Elijah showed up, and told them to dig ditches all through the valley to prepare for the water that was coming. You would think they would be excited, this is great news, Elijah said water is on the way. But I can imagine by this time they were all dehydrated, they had suppressed that thirst so long, they were beyond being thirsty, they were so tired and worn out, they thought "Elijah, we don't want to dig ditches, that doesn't make sense. It never rains out here".
But sometimes God will ask you to do things you don't understand, so you'll get your thirst back. When we've been dehydrated a long time, we haven't stretched our faith, believe for favor, healing, God will ask you to do something out of the ordinary. Don't talk yourself out of it, dare to trust him. If you'll do what he's asking, you'll see water, increase, abundance like you've never seen. The people finally decided to dig the ditches. Thoughts were telling them, "This is a waste of time. What good is it going to do"? But they just kept on digging. Jesus said, "He that hungers and thirst after righteousness will be filled". Notice the principle: you have to be thirsty before God will fill you. They had to dig ditches in faith before any water would come. They were saying by their actions, "God, we're thirsty. Yes, we're in a desert, but we believe you can bring water. We don't see a way, but we believe you can still make a way".
God could have brought them water without digging ditches. He could have done it despite them being dehydrated, doubting, negative, "How can this happen". But God says: if you're thirsty, I'll show you good things. If you're thirsty, I'll fill you with water, with health, with abundance. When you've been without water for days, like these people, you haven't seen good breaks in a long time, difficulties aren't turning around, dreams aren't coming to pass, it's easy to let that numb your thirst, where you become chronically dehydrated. We're in a valley, we need water, healing, restoration, but we're not digging any ditches, we're not believing for our dreams, declaring favor over our finances, speaking health over our bodies, taking steps to accomplish that goal. You have to get thirsty again.
And here's a key: how many ditches you dig is how much God is going to fill. The only thing that limits God is our capacity to receive. If you have a little vision, you're going to see little favor. If you believe to just make it through this year, you're going to struggle through it. Why don't you dig some more ditches? Why don't you get more thirsty? "God I'm believing not to just survive this year, I'm believing for overflow, to have a blessed, productive, favor-filled year. I'm not learning to live with this sickness, God, I'm believing for total health, for complete victory, that I'll run and not be weary". Yes, I've had setbacks, life has thrown me curves, but I'm not living dehydrated, I'm still thirsty. I'm believing what was meant for harm, God's turning to my advantage. That my latter days will be better than my former days. That God has taken me from glory to glory. Don't dig one little ditch, you need to get a bulldozer and dig some big ditches. Make room for God to do big things in your life. What he has in store for you is more than you can imagine.
Elijah told the people (2 Kings 3:17), if you'll dig the ditches, if you'll get thirsty again, "You will see neither wind nor rain, but this valley will be filled with water". God was saying, "What I'm about to do is not going to happen a normal way. It's going to be uncommon, unusual, out of the ordinary". That's why when you look at the situation, you may not see a way. All the circumstances say, "You'll never get well, you saw the medical report. You can't accomplish that dream, you don't have the funds. You'll never break that addiction, it's been in your family for years". In the natural that's true, but God is supernatural. He can bring water without rain. That means you may not see any sign of it, no clouds, no lightning, no thunder. These people were in the desert, blue skies, sunshine, but the next morning water started flowing into the valley, supernaturally filled up all the ditches.
The scripture says (2 Kings 3:20), "Soon there was water everywhere". God has some "Soon's" in your future. Look like it take a long time, but soon you get well, soon your business turns around, soon the right person shows up. One touch of God's favor, and soon your ditches will be filled. Now this doesn't happen for people that are passive, complacent, "Joel, why should I dig ditches? Why should I get my hopes up? Look what I've been through. Look at what didn't work out. Look at how big this obstacle is". That's the enemy trying to numb your thirst, convince you to settle for less than what God has for you. You have to stir up your faith, "God, I believe what you started in my life you will finish, that I haven't seen my best days, that the path of the righteous, my path, is getting brighter and brighter". But see, it's easy to coast in life, it's easy to think "God's been good to me, I'm grateful, I'm content", that's good, but God's not finished with you. You've seen his blessing, his favor on your life, but you haven't seen anything yet. God never performs his greatest victories in your past, they're always in your future.
And yes, it's important to live content. I'm content where God has me, I'm grateful for his blessings and favor, I thank him every day, but I'm not satisfied to stay where I am. You weren't created to reach one level and get stuck there in your attitude, your career, your relationships, in your walk with God. Stay thirsty. God has new mountains for you to climb, new friendships, new levels of influence, favor, leadership. It's good to be grateful for what God has done, but you can't put your faith on hold. You need to be stretching, growing, pursuing, knowing that there's more in store.
Frank Lloyd Wright was a world renowned architect. He designed some of the most beautiful buildings, and some of the most magnificent structures. Toward the end of his career a reporter asked him, out of all of his buildings which one was his favorite. Without missing a beat he said: my next one. He had all the success in the world, but he was still thirsty. He knew that his best designs were still in front of him. Don't let the success you've seen in the past keep you from stretching to the fullness of your destiny.
There was a little frog that lived in the bottom of a well. He was so happy, every day he would play in the water, splash and have fun, he thought he had all the water in the world, life was good. One day he looked up and saw a light at the top of the well. He decided to go check it out. Very cautiously he peered over the edge of the well. Much to his surprise, he saw a pond. He couldn't believe it, he had never seen that much water. He hopped a little further and saw a lake. He couldn't fathom that much water. He went a little more, and came to the ocean. He looked out as far as he could see, and saw miles and miles of water. Here he thought he had all the water in the world, but what he had was only a drop in the bucket compared to what God had for him. Like that little frog, it's easy to get satisfied in our well: we're happy, God's been good to us, we have no complaints. Can I tell you? There's so much more. God has oceans of favor, oceans of good grace, oceans of new opportunities. How are you going to step into it? Stay thirsty. Be grateful for where you are, and at the same time release your faith for the new things God has in your future.
Many times our thinking is limited to the environment we were raised in. How we were raised, what our parents had, the friends we hang around. We can get comfortable with a limited vision, lack, addictions, dysfunction, it's all we've seen. But how about getting out of that well? How about looking over the edge and seeing some of the new things God wants to do? What if you found out like that little frog that you were satisfied way too easily, that you lost your thirst because you quit stretching your faith, you quit believing to rise higher, to overcome what's holding you back? My prayer is, "God, make us thirsty again. Thirsty to know you in a greater way. Thirsty to rise out of addictions, mediocrity. Thirsty to set new levels, to go where no one in our family is gone. To become all that you were created us to be".
My father was pastoring a church back in the 1950s, and everything was going great: the church was growing, it just built a new sanctuary, he was on the state board for his denomination. On the surface life was good, he was satisfied, but deep down something told him that there was more. He was preaching what he had learned in seminary, giving good messages, but he had this longing on the inside that something was missing. In the scripture Gideon said to an angel, "If God is with us where are all the miracles"? My father felt this way, "If God is with us, where is the power? Where is the favor? Where is the victory"?
This stirring in his spirit a thirst for something greater than what he was seeing. He could have pushed it down, thought "Hey, I'm satisfied, I'm successful, God's been good to me", but when you feel something stirring in your spirit, an unrest, that's God talking to you, that's God saying "There's more in store. There's something greater to accomplish". Don't push it down, don't ignore it thinking, "I don't want to stretch. I'm comfortable". If you do that long enough, you'll numb that thirst, it'll go away. That's why some people are living below their potential.
My sister Lisa was born during this time. She had something like cerebral palsy. My father was taught that healing had passed away, that it only happened back in the Bible days. He went to a hotel downtown for several days to be alone. He told how he took off his denominational glasses, and he read the scripture like he was reading it for the first time. He saw how Jesus went about healing people, how he experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, how there was never a day of miracles, but there is a God of miracles. They prayed for Lisa, it didn't happen overnight, but she got better and better, now she's perfectly normal. Well, not everyone understood my father's new message of faith and victory. It didn't fit into their denominational mold. My father had to leave that church.
He was very discouraged. He had spent years there, pouring his life into the people, now he felt the sting of rejection. But sometimes God has to close a door, so he can open a bigger door. He has to get you out of a place that you would never leave on your own, so he'll shut the door. It looks like a setback, but really it's a set up for a new level of your destiny.
My mother and father started Lakewood 1959 with 90 people. It grew and grew to impact people all over the world. My father pastored here almost 40 years. He would have never reached his destiny if he had stayed in that limited environment. What God put in him was bigger than what was in the denomination. Had he thought, "I'm satisfied, life is good, I've got plenty of water at the bottom of this well", had he not stayed thirsty, he would have missed his purpose. When you take steps of faith, some people won't understand. They may find fault, try to talk you out of it, "I don't think that's right". God didn't put the thirst in them. Don't let that keep you from pursuing what God put in your heart. When you're thirsty, it may ruffle some feathers. When you're thirsty, doors may close before they open. When you're thirsty, you may have to dig ditches when there's no water, do things that don't make sense. But when you're thirsty, you'll see God show out in your life, he'll bring water without rain, he'll open doors you never dream would open. He'll take you further than you've imagined.
Are you thirsty today? Or have you gotten complacent, put your dreams on hold, living passive, "Maybe one day you'll get your fire back"? The problem is you're dehydrated. Not physically, but spiritually your thirst has been numbed. When you push those dreams down so long, you lose your natural inclination to drink. I believe today thirst is coming back, dreams are waking up. What God promised you is still alive on the inside. Now, do your part: start believing again. Get your fire back, get your passion back. If you'll stay thirsty God will satisfy you with good things. Even dreams you've let go of, you think it's too late, God can still bring them to pass.
I met a 106 year old man after the service a while back. He was so likable, he looked like he was 70 years old, he didn't have one wrinkle on his face. I commented on how good he looked, he's African-American, he touched his face and said, "Joel, black don't crack". He was so funny and so good-natured, I asked him how long he was planning on living? I'll never forget what he told me. He said, "I have seven children. One of them, one of my sons is not serving God. He's off track, not making good decisions. God promised that as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. And I'm not gonna die until I see him back on track". A hundred and six years old, and he's still thirsty, he's still expecting God to bring promises to pass. He could have thought, "Man, six out of seven children doing good, that's not bad, I'm satisfied, I've lived a long life, that's good enough". No, don't water down what God promised you. Stay passionate, keep believing for the fullness of your destiny.
This is what Caleb did in the scripture. He was 40 years old when he and Joshua spotted out the Promised Land. They were the only two out of 12 spies that had a positive report. They said "Moses we can take the land, let us go in at once". The other spies told Moses, "The people are too big. There are giants in the land". That word spread throughout the camp, before long all two million of the Israelites were discouraged. They never did make it into the Promised Land. Caleb could have lived bitter, wasn't his fault, he had faith, other people kept him from going in.
But 45 years later Caleb was 85 years old, the children of those Israelites were about to go into the Promised Land. You would think Caleb would be retired, old, frail, but Caleb said (Joshua 14:11), "Joshua, I'm still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out forty five years ago". He looked at the mountain, the same place they had spied out with the giants in the land, and he said "Joshua, I want that mountain". Joshua could have said, "Caleb, there are still giants on that land. You're too old. Let me give you this other place". Caleb said, "No, Joshua, I'm still thirsty. I'm still believing what God promised me will come to pass". He had delays, bad breaks, people that didn't believe in him, but that didn't stop him from becoming all he was created to be. At 85 he defeated three giants, and went into the Promised Land.
Like Caleb, many of you have stayed thirsty, you kept believing when the odds were against you, you kept thanking God when there was no sign of it, you kept digging ditches when there were no clouds, praising when you could have been complaining: that hasn't gone unnoticed. God saw your faith, he saw your dedication. What he promised you is still going to come to pass. It's not too late, you're not too old, the obstacle is not too big, you're about to see a soon moment, something unusual, uncommon, that you didn't see coming. Water without rain, rivers in the desert. Because you're thirsty, I believe and declare: God is going to fill your life with good things, promotion, healing, breakthroughs, the right people, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today? Amen!