Joel Osteen - Deaf To The Negative
I want to talk to you today about Deaf to The Negative. We all have discouraging thoughts telling us what we can't do, how we're not going to get well, never meet the right person. Sometimes people will speak negative words, say things that can limit our destiny. A friend of mine wanted to become a doctor, but he was told by the high school counselor that he wasn't smart enough, he didn't make good enough grades, and he should try something else. If we let these negative comments play in our mind, they will keep us from becoming who we were created to be. No one can make you think something, you get to choose what you're going to dwell on. When those lies come saying, "You're not attractive, you don't have a good personality, you're too old", you can dwell on it, let it poison you, or you can ignore it, and not give it the time of day.
In the scripture, David faced all kinds of opposition. People speaking defeat over him, thought saying he would never reach his destiny. How did he keep his mind filled with faith? He said in Psalm 38:12-13, "My enemies lay traps for me, they make plans to ruin me. But I am deaf to their threats. I choose to hear nothing at all". If you're going to reach your potential, you have to become deaf to the negative. When threats come that is discouraging thoughts, people speaking defeat, you have to do like David and choose to hear nothing at all. Don't give it the time of day. Let it go in one ear and out the other.
That's what my friend did in high school. 20 years later this counselor, the same one that told him he wasn't smart enough, brought his mother to the doctor. He walked in and saw my friend. Said, "Don't I know you from somewhere"? My friend said, "Yes, I'm the student you said that would never become a doctor". He treated his mother, and billed him twice the normal amount. People don't determine your destiny. Don't let them talk you out of what God put in your heart. You have to become deaf to the naysayers, deaf to relatives that tell you how you can't accomplish your dream, deaf to co-workers that make demeaning remarks, say things to belittle you. The enemy will use people to try to keep you from your purpose. They may be good people, they may love you, but they don't see what God put in you. They're judging from the outside, they don't realize what's on the inside: God put greatness in you.
When David was out in the shepherds fields as a teenager, he knew he was going to leave his Mark. The odds were against him, he didn't come from an influential family, wealth, connections, education, he was a shepherd, stuck out in the country by himself. I can imagine at night he would look up at the stars and he would hear God speaking to him, telling him that he was going to lead a nation, that he was going to do great things. But when the prophet Samuel came to anoint one of his father's sons as the next king of Israel, his father Jesse, he thought, "It's not David, he's too young, he's too small, he's not talented enough". David felt the sting of his own father not believing in him. It's one thing when a friend discounts you, a co-worker put you down, but when your own family, someone that should be for you, they should not speak defeat, telling you that you're not talented, that you can't accomplish that dream - those words can carry more weight. You have to dig down deep and say, "I'm not going to let what they're saying take root. They may be in my family, but I'm not going to let their doubt convince me to settle for less than what God put in my heart".
Paul said in Romans 3:3, "So what if they don't believe. Will their unbelief make your faith of no effect"? Sometimes we're wanting people to believe in us that are never going to be for us. We long for their affirmation, for a family to cheer us on, for a friend to encourage us, but it's just the opposite. You have to say like Paul, "So what if they don't believe? They're not going to talk me out of believing. I love them, but I'm going to be deaf to their unbelief". These are tests we have to pass. You won't have everyone cheering you on. There will be doubters, naysayers, people that are close to you that you don't think you can accomplish what God put in your heart. If they don't believe, you don't need them. They didn't put the dream in you.
Be respectful, but be deaf to their unbelief. The quicker you get rid of it the better you'll be. If you dwell on it for a day, and you start thinking about what they said, "Maybe they're right. Maybe I'll never get out of these shepherd's fields. Maybe I won't break this addiction. Maybe my business has seen its best days. Maybe I should just learn to live with this sickness". No, what you should do is become deaf to the negative. You can't play defeat in your mind, and have victory. You can't think sickness and have health. You can't dwell on thoughts of lack and have abundance.
Samuel told Jesse that the king wasn't one of the seven sons that was standing before him. These sons were tall, strong, impressive, but God doesn't look on the outside. Don't be intimidated if you feel like you're lacking in some area. If you were only taller, had a better personality, came from a different family, if you were as smart as that co-worker. No, you have everything you need to run your race. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made. When God created you he matched you with your world, he put in you everything you need for your assignment. You're not lacking anything, you're the right size, the right nationality, the right age, the right personality. When people try to tell you otherwise, or thoughts try to convince you that you're at a disadvantage, you were shortchanged, "Look at you David, you're too small, you don't look like your brothers", that's a good time to become deaf. Tune all that out, and tune in what God says about you: you're one of a kind. You're a masterpiece. You're made in the image of God. You're crowned with favor. You have royal blood flowing through your veins. You're gifted. You're talented. You have everything you need to fulfill your destiny.
As soon as Samuel saw David, he said "That's the one. He's the next king". God has already lined up people that can see your greatness, people that will speak destiny into you, people that will open doors you can't open, use their influence to take you higher. But here's the key: most of the time first you will encounter the critics, the naysayers, family members who try to discourage you. If you're going to see Samuel, you have to become deaf to all the others. It's a test: if you start letting the negative play, you'll get discouraged, give up on your dreams, live below your potential. Don't fall into that trap, start tuning out all the lies people have spoken over you, tune out those negative thoughts the enemy whispers in your mind, to try to diminish you, make you feel unattractive, not valuable, not worthy. The enemy works overtime in this area. He knows if he can keep you in a limited mindset, feeling less than, thinking you can't do something great, then he's won the battle.
If David had believed what his father spoke over him, that he was too small, not talented enough, that he was just a shepherd, he would have gotten stuck out in those fields. David did what we all have to do: he tuned out the negative, he kept his mind filled with faith. Every thought said he was stuck, family members were putting him down, I can hear him out in the fields "Father, thank you that you being for me is more than the world being against me. I am strong in the Lord. I'm well able to fulfill my destiny. What you promised me will come to pass". Your life will move in the direction of your most dominant thoughts. If you think, I'm successful you're moving towards success". "I have the favor of God" - you're moving toward good grace, divine connections. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" - you're moving towards strength, confidence, beauty, honor. "I'm healthy and whole" - you're moving toward health, vitality. Pay attention to what you're dwelling on, that's where you're going.
"Well, Joel, this pandemic is really tough on my business, it's slowed down. I don't know if we're going to make it" - you're moving toward failure, lack, struggle. Why don't you turn it around, "Father, thank you that whatever I touch prospers and succeeds. That what was meant for harm that you're turning to my advantage". "Well, I've been single a long time, I don't think I'll ever meet the right person" - you're moving towards loneliness, defeat. Try some new thoughts, what God said, "Father, you said no good thing will you withhold because I walk uprightly. You said it's not good for us to be alone, so thank you that you have someone awesome coming my way".
It's significant that Samuel anointed David in front of his father and brothers. The father who didn't believe in him, the father that left him out in the shepherds fields. In front of the brothers that made fun of him, tried to make him feel small. If you'll become deaf to the negative comments, God will bless you in front of the people that try to push you down. He'll honor you in front of those that said you didn't have what it takes. God knows how to prepare a table in the presence of your enemies. Not promote you in private, but he'll promote you with those that didn't believe in you we'll see you honored, see you in new levels of influence and favor.
When we were trying to acquire the Compaq Center, there was this man that was very influential in the city, he knew everyone. And I had never met him, but I thought if we could meet together, and get him on board it would be so helpful. So we made some contacts, and he agreed to me. I went to his office and told him what we wanted to do, and I thought he would be happy for us, give us some good advice. But it was just the opposite. He wasn't friendly at all. He was very matter-of-fact, he said "I don't think Lakewood being in the Compaq Center is a good idea at all". He went on and on telling us why it wasn't right, and how a church shouldn't be there, and especially not Lakewood. He came from a very strict, fundamentalist background. He didn't like the fact that I smiled so much. I thanked him for his time, smiled real big and left him. At first I was discouraged, his words played over and over, "It's not a good fit, city's not going to agree, the building wasn't made for a church". If you don't take control of your thought life, the negative will continue to play.
A few days later, I woke up one morning and something rose up on the inside. I thought like the apostle Paul, "So what if he doesn't believe? He's not God. He doesn't control my destiny. I'm not going to let his unbelief cancel out my faith". I started becoming deaf to what he said. Like David, I chose to not listen to his threats. When they came up and tried to play, I would switch over to faith, "Father, thank you that you are fighting our battles, that you are making our crooked places straight, that no person, no group, that all the forces of darkness cannot stop what you have planned". I tuned out the doubt, the negative comments, kept my mind filled with faith, filled with hope. Three years later against the odds the city council voted for us, here we are today. People don't have the final say, God does. Don't let their negative comments, their doubt talk you out of what God put in your heart.
July 2005, we had our grand opening weekend here. And after the service that Sunday, I met a man that owned a large law firm here in town. He was so happy for us, he gave me a big hug, congratulated us. He said, "Joel, I brought some of my lawyers with me to celebrate". I looked over, and there was this man that had told us we'd never get it. I just smiled real big, I wanted to say "Nanny nanny boo boo". If you'll stay deaf to the negative, God will promote you in front of those that said it wouldn't happen. And listen, they're not bad people, they just can't see what God put in your heart. Don't fault them, don't be disrespectful, but don't let their doubt cancel out your dream.
David's father asked him to take lunch to his brothers, who were in the army in another city. When he arrived, he heard Goliath, the champion of the Philistine army, mocking the Israelites. For 40 days Goliath would come out in the morning and shout these threats, make fun of them. The Israeli men were terrified, they would run and hide. But something rose up in David, he said "Who is this man that he would defy the armies of the living God"? God will put things in you that don't make sense to others. They all ran and hid, but David had a boldness, a courage, a dream that he would defeat Goliath. He told king Saul that he wanted to fight. Instead of being excited, king Saul said "David you're only a boy. You're too young, too inexperienced. Goliath had been fighting since before you were born". Most people would have been talked out of it, most would have given up, thought "Yeah, he's right, what was I thinking"? But David understood this principle. He's the one that wrote, "I become deaf to the negative. I don't pay attention to the threats, to the doubts. I choose to hear nothing".
King Saul, the expert, the leader, basically told David to go back home, he didn't have what it takes. If David would have taken that advice, he would have never reached his destiny. There will always be not only a giant before you go to a new level, but there will be people telling you that you can't conquer it. There will be king Sauls telling you, "You're too small, too inexperienced, the opposition's too big, sickness is too great, the addiction is too powerful". The king Saul may be an expert, a coach a boss, a relative, a friend. They may mean well, but those words are a test. Are you going to let them take root, and keep you from your Goliath? If you run from Goliath, you're running from your destiny. Just because they don't see how it can happen, doesn't mean that you can't do it. They're sizing you up in the natural. They're looking at what you can do by yourself, with your strength, your talent. You may be limited, but what they don't realize is you're not on your own - the Most High God is breathing in your direction, his favor is on your life.
See, David went out there with an ordinary slingshot - that's all he had. Didn't look like much, but a slingshot with God's favor is more powerful than an automatic weapon. Goliath had a huge spear, a full set of armor, a shield, a helmet, ray-ban sunglasses. When he saw David he laughed. He said, "Am I a dog, that you would come at me with a stick"? Everything in David's mind was saying, "Turn around, you're a fool, you're gonna get killed". But David was deaf to it. He chose not to hear it. When you're closest to the victory the threats will be the loudest. David slung that rock, hit Goliath in the forehead, knocked him out. He became an overnight hero. None of this would have happened if he hadn't learned how to take control of his thought life, not dwell on the negative things his father said about him, not let what king Saul said "You're just a boy" to play over and over.
If you're going to reach the fullness of your destiny, you have to do like David, and not let the negative take root. If you start dwelling on it, those lies will become strongholds. You'll believe "I'm just a boy, can't defeat this giant. Medical report said I'm not going to get well, I can't beat this sickness. The counselor said I'm not that smart, I can't become a doctor". You have to start being deaf to some things. When you hear that thought, "You're never going to break that addiction", excuse me? Is someone saying something? "You're not attractive, nobody wants to be around you" - like David, I choose to hear nothing. You have to be deaf to the doubt, deaf to discouraging thoughts, deaf to negative comments. Keep your mind filled with faith, filled with hope, with what God says about you.
Mark chapter 5, a man named Jairus came to Jesus, and told him that his little girl, his daughter was very sick. He asked Jesus to come to his house, and pray for her. Jesus agreed, and started following him. On the way Jesus was stopped by a woman that had been sick, he took time to pray for her. There was one delay after another, finally someone came from Jairus house and said, "Don't bother Jesus anymore, it's too late, your little girl has died". The scripture says (Mark 5:36), "Jesus overheard what they were talking about. He said to Jairus, 'don't listen to them, just trust me'". There are always going to be voices of doubt and discouragement that contradict what God told you. What people are telling you may be true, they have the facts, but Joelosteen/3355-Joel-osteen-the-god-who-overrules.html|Joel Osteen - The God Who Overrules]God can override the facts[/url], God can do what medicine can't do. He can make streams in a desert. He can prosper you in a pandemic. He can free you from an addiction that seems permanent. He can defy what the experts say - he's God, he controls the universe, he still parts Red Seas, he brings dead things back to life. He takes shepherds, and makes them into kings. He took a popcorn salesman, my father at 17, broke, no future, and made him a pastor that would impact the world.
Don't let the facts talk you out of what the Most High God has promised you. The reason he's called the Most High is because he's higher than anything that's trying to stop you. The facts may say you're addicted, it's permanent - God says, "I override the facts. Freedom is coming". The facts may say, "You've gone as far as you can". God says, "I'm about to open doors you never dream would open. I'm about to catapult you ahead". The facts may say, "You can't get well". God says, "I've made your body. The number of your days I will fulfill". The facts may say, "You can't get the Compaq Center, the opposition is too big". God says, "No one can stand against me. What I have spoken will come to pass".
How much further will you go, if you'll simply start being deaf to the negative, not dwelling on all the facts? You may be up against big obstacles today, you could easily be talked out of your dreams. Like Jairus, it seems like it's too late, you could never get well, never start your business, never see your family restored. God is saying to you what he said to Jairus, "Don't listen to those things, just trust me". You may hear it, but you can ignore it. Don't let it get down on the inside. Negative words, doubt, unbelief - those things poison your faith, they'll keep you from seeing the greatness of our God.
Jesus continued on to the little girl's house. He could have stopped that, "Oh, man, I messed up. I waited too late". But God won't give you a promise that he can't bring to pass. He doesn't change his mind. All the circumstances may say otherwise, doubt will try to play louder and louder. You have to be more determined than the doubt. Tune it out. When it comes, switch over to faith, "Father, thank you that you're working behind the scenes. Thank you that you're making crooked places straight, that you're making things happen that I can't make happen. Lord, I trust you". Jesus told the people that the little girl wasn't dead, she was only asleep. They began to laugh, and make fun. He ignored that too. He went in, prayed for her, and she came back to life. There may be things that look like they're dead in your life: dreams, relationships, promises. You used to believe, but it been too long, it feels too late. What you think is dead is only asleep. If you'll get your fire back, God is still going to bring it to pass, it's going to be uncommon, unusual, something that you didn't see coming.
Years ago we had some rabbits at home, and they lived in a fence in our backyard. I noticed one of the rabbit's nose one morning was very swollen, and I thought maybe had been bitten by something, it would go down. The next day it was more swollen, the next even more. I took it to the veterinarian, and they gave some antibiotics, said it should get better. A week later it was even more swollen, looked like a big growth. This time they put a scope up its nose. They discovered that a fly had laid an egg in the rabbit's nasal passage. That larva was growing and about to hatch. Once they removed the larva, the rabbit was fine. This is the way the enemy works. He tries to plant lies in our minds, negative comments, "You're too small, David, you're just a boy". "Joel, you'll never get the Compaq Center, the opposition's too big". "Jairus, it's too late, just accept that it's not going to work out". If we believe the lies, dwell on that doubt, it will infect our thinking.
This is what happened to Gideon in the scripture. He was hiding in the winepress afraid. An angel came to him and said, "Mighty hero, the Lord is with you. You are to lead the people of Israel against the Midianites". Gideon thought, "I'm not a mighty hero". He said to the angel, "I can't lead this army, I come from the poorest family. I'm the least one in my father's house". You can tell what he'd been listening to: "You can't do anything great, you come from the wrong family. There's nothing special about you". If you let that play long enough, it will infect your thinking. The angel spoke faith into Gideon, convinced him to change his mind and believe he was a mighty hero. He went on to do great things.
But how many of us have believed the lies, "You're not that talented, you're not attractive, you can't be successful"? You need to ask yourself: why do I feel this way? Who told you you can't do great things? Who told you you can't get well? Who told you you've gone as far as you can? That wasn't God. That's a lie that's infecting your thinking. The way you get rid of the infection is by dwelling on what God says about you: you are strong, you are talented, you are valuable, your future is bright, your dreams are on the way. The next time one of those lies come, just say "No, thanks that's not for me". You have to guard your mind. Don't let any infection get in. Start being deaf to the negative, deaf to the discouraging thoughts, deaf to the naysayers. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: like Gideon that affection is going to clear up, and you're going to become a mighty hero. Like David, despite what people have said about you, you're going to defeat giants, you're going to defy the odds, and go places you've never dreamed, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today?