Joyce Meyer - Why Is My Breakthrough Taking So Long?
Well, welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life". I really hope and pray, that the word that I'm gonna share today, helps you. You know, God's got a great life for you, and he wants you to live it to the fullest. Sometimes, we just don't really know how to do that. And so, I wanna talk to you today аbout: why is my breakthrough taking so long? You know, what you need for a breakthrough, might be different than what somebody else needs, but I think we all need a breakthrough of some kind. I'm gonna talk to you about when I was believing God and waiting for my ministry to grow. My situation may not be the same as yours was, but we're almost all waiting for something. And it's interesting because sometimes, it's something that we know God could easily do, and yet, we don't understand why he's not doing it.
So, I just wonder if any of you have had that question, "God, why is my breakthrough taking so long? Why is it taking so long for you to answer my prayers"? Well, I wanna teach you today, out of Deuteronomy chapter 8. And it's actually one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. And it's because God used it at a time in my life, when I really, really needed to have some understanding. You know, confusion is just very unpleasant. It's like, you've already got a bad situation, and then, the more you try to figure it out, the more confused you get. But if we can have some understanding from God, if we know why we're waiting, or why something's taking so long, it's a lot easier to deal with.
And so, I hope Deuteronomy chapter 8 helps you, as much as it helps me. In the beginning, verse one, it says, "Be careful to follow every command that I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors". Okay, the first thing that I wanna say is, anytime that God tells you to do something, and please hear this before we even go any further. He's saying, "Be careful to do everything that I tell you to do, so that you may live and go in and possess the things that I've promised you". Well, anything that God tells us to do, it's always for our benefit. I think obedience to God would be easier, if we would really believe and realize, that God's not telling us to do things just because he wants to watch us do something that's hard, or give up something that's hard for us to give up. But everything, every single thing that God says for us to do, or not to do, in his word, is something that is going to benefit us.
I want you to also notice that he wants you to have a good life. You know, we call our TV program, "Enjoying Everyday Life," because that is exactly what God wants you to do. He wants you to enjoy your life. And he wants your needs to be met. There are over seven thousand promises in the Word of God. And so, you might call all the promises in here, "Our Promised Land". He's talking to the Israelites here who had been brought out of Egypt. They'd been slaves in Egypt. And maybe, you've been a slave to sin, and you've recently been born again. And so, now, you've come out of something, and you're headed towards something, but it's taking you a long time to get there. Well, they had come out of bondage to slavery in Egypt, and Moses was leading them to the Promised Land. But they had to go through a place called, "The wilderness". You can call that the waiting period.
I always say, "The beginning of something is exciting. The end is always exciting. But boy, sometimes, the middle is a little bit hard". And he said, "I'm gonna take you to the Promised Land". But it took them 40 years to make an 11-day journey. I want you to get that, 40 years to make an 11-day journey. And you know, we might laugh at that. But how many years have you been dealing with the same issue over, and over, and over again? And you know, we keep thinking we're waiting on God, but maybe, just maybe God is waiting on you. Maybe, there's some things that God has told you to do or to stop doing, and you're not obeying him. And you're gonna see in here that, that's what was happening with the Israelites. He said, "I want you to live, and I want you to increase". God wants your needs to be met. He wants you to have all that you need, and enough to be a blessing to other people. "So that you may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised to give you. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know whether or not you would keep his commands".
Now that's very important too. You know, it's easy to do what God tells you to do, when everything is going your way. When everything is up, and we're feeling good, and we got plenty of money, and our prayers are being answered quickly, and nobody's criticizing us or judging us, our kids aren't giving us trouble. It's not so hard to obey God then, and to spend time with him and to love him. But when things get difficult, that's when we're tested. And he said, "I led you the way that I led you". And by the way, it's not in this chapter but in another chapter, it says that he led them the long hard way, although there was an easier route. So, there was a much shorter and easier route, from Egypt to the Promised Land, but God led them the long hard way. And it says that he did it because they were not ready for war. And I wanna explain that to you. You know, we think sometimes, that just taking the promises of God are just easy, we're just gonna sit back and do nothing and God's just gonna make these things happen in our life.
Well, the word, "Possess," he told them to go in and possess the land. We're talking about you possessing the promises of God. That word, "Possess," in the original language, is defined as: to first dispossess the current occupants. So, if you know the Bible or if you don't, I'll explain it to you well enough. Every one of the countries that they went into, to take over and occupy that God was giving them, there were already people living there. They were wicked people. They were worshipping idols. And they had to first do warfare with them, and get them off the land, before they could occupy it. And, you know, sometimes we're not ready for war either. We just want everything to be easy. And we don't wanna have any problems with any thing. And so we just think, "Boy, you know, God says, 'I'll prosper,' and God says, 'I'll succeed,' and so just because I believe, that it's gonna happen". But that's not true. There are things that God will show us to do, that must be done in order for us to have what God wants us to have.
Now, our salvation is by grace, and grace alone. There's nothing we can do to help God save us, it's all his work. But the promises of God are a little bit different. The rewards of God are a little bit different. They're still comin' from God. They're still only by the grace of God. We don't deserve them, but we are partners with God, and we have to cooperate with him. I wanna ask you a question. Is there anything, right now, in your life, that God has been dealing with you about, to do or not to do, and if you're truthful with me today, you would say, "I'm not obeying what God told me to do"? I'm sure most people would have to say, "Yes, I can think of one or more things". And he said, "I led you this way to humble you".
Now, a humble person always leans on God. A prideful person leans on themselves. A prideful person tries to make things happen themselves. But a humble person knows that only God can do what needs to be done in their life. So, it's important that we understand, if we're gonna get along well with God, and if we're gonna have a quicker breakthrough than what we're having, that we have to learn about humility. It's a wonderful thing to study. To humble you, to test you. Yes, God will test us. There's several places in the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, where it talks about how God tests us, to see if we will keep his commandments or not. "I led you these forty years, to humble you to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God".
Okay, this is important. God fed them supernaturally. He fed them with something nobody had ever seen before. He rained down something every morning out of the sky, that they called manna, which really meant: what is it? And it was a substance that ended up being like a bread for them. And they could only gather enough for one day. And if they gathered more than that, it would stink and become rotten. God wants us to trust him one day at a time. He is not gonna give you a blueprint for your whole life and show you everything that's gonna happen. He wants you to trust him one day at a time. Well, my story regarding these scriptures is, I was really believing God for my ministry to grow. And we had a very small ministry, we were on radio in a few places. And this was probably like, 40 years ago, and I just wanted to minister so bad.
You know, when God calls you to do something, you're just so full of it, you're passionate about it, and that was just what I wanted. And one day, I was on my way to our post office box, to get our mail. And I already knew, that if there wasn't much mail or any mail, which sometimes there was no mail, that I would crash and burn, and just be in a lousy, bad, disappointed, discouraged, depressing mood all day. If the mailbox had a lot of good stuff in it, then I'd be happy. Well see, my faith wasn't tied to God, it was tied to the mailbox. My joy wasn't tied to God, it was tied to the mailbox. Let me ask you, what is your job tied to? Maybe, you want a promotion at work and if you don't get it, can you still be happy and love God just as much? Maybe, you're a single person and you're wanting to get married, but it's just not happening, not happening, not happening. Well, can you love God just as much anyway, and be patient and wait on him?
He said, "I led you these forty years, in the wilderness to humble you and to test you to see if you would keep my commandments or not". And I love this part that he said, "I fed you with manna". And then it says, "I'm doing this to teach you that man does not live by bread alone". Well, I still remember where I was sitting in my car, when I was on my way to the mailbox that day. And I said, "God, why is this taking so long"? Have any of you ever said that to the Lord? Why is this taking so long? I said, "You could do what I'm asking you to do, without any effort at all. So, why are you making me wait so long"? And the Lord spoke in my heart, he said, "I'm teaching you that man does not live by bread alone".
Well, I didn't really know what he was talking about. I didn't understand that. And then, a few days later, God led me to these scriptures. And boy, did I get some revelation. God doesn't want us to be led by all these things that he does for us, he wants us to trust him as our living bread. In other words, our joy doesn't need to be tied to our stuff. And that mail was my stuff. It was what I needed to know people were listening, to know that people liked me. You know, we needed the finances to support us. I didn't wanna have to trust God, day by day for the money that we needed. I wanted to have a whole bunch in the bank, and not have to worry about it.
Let me tell you something, man does not live by stuff. It's not your stuff, it's not your possessions, that keep you happy. Actually, I will tell you the truth, and this may be hard to understand, but God wants you to get to the point, where you don't really want anything except him. Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting things. But anything that we have, if we don't have God along with it, then it has no ability to keep us happy, it's not gonna do us any good. He said, "Your clothes didn't wear out, and your feet didn't swell during these forty years".
Now, I understand that too, because during this time I had quit my job, I felt like God wanted me to quit my job, and study to get ready for this ministry, that I had in my heart, that I had no proof was ever really going to happen. Many of you have promises from God, they may not be one for ministry, but there's something in your heart, that you believe that God has promised you, but yet, maybe it's something that doesn't even make sense to you, it's so great that you don't see how it could ever happen. Well, I was your least likely person to be in ministry. I didn't have the education. Women didn't really minister the word back then. There were so many reasons why it wouldn't work. But God put it in my heart, and I could not get rid of it. And I wanted it so bad that, that was all I could think about.
Well, I quit my job. And in doing that, it left Dave and I in a position where every month we needed $40 to come miraculously for us to be able to pay our bills. And that was without having anything extra that we needed. So, if we had to get tires for the car, or if anything extra that happened, the refrigerator broke down, I mean, I would be all upset, and worried, and carrying on. And God always came through for us. I love this part about, "I fed you with manna, which you did not know. Your clothing didn't wear out and your feet didn't swell". You know, I can remember, maybe, having $5, and going to a garage sale looking for shoes for my kids, and finding a brand new pair of tennis shoes just the right size for one of my kids, and it was a miracle. It was so amazing.
And you know, I look back now, at the way God took care of us. And we didn't have a lot of new stuff. There was a lot of things that we didn't have that we wanted. But you know what? We really had everything we needed. And let me ask you today, are you unhappy just because there's a bunch of stuff you want, while God really is meeting your needs? And are you willing, for a period of time, to just have your needs met, and still be happy, even though you're not getting some of the things you want? He says, "Know in your heart that as a man discipline his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you". He was teaching them. He was training them. "Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walk in obedience to him and revere him. For the Lord your God", you don't wanna miss this part, "For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with brooks, streams, deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills: a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey: a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing".
Now, maybe fig trees and wheat and barley is not what you want. But the promise of God is that he will bring you out of bondage in Egypt, he will take you into the Promised Land, where your needs are met, and you're happy, you can be satisfied if you don't have everything you want. You know, it's not stuff that we need, it's joy, it's peace. It's really being able to get up every day and not be craving something. My goodness, contentment is so awesome. Just to be content and to ask God for what you want, and know that at the right time, he will give it to you, if it's the right thing for you. And, you know, really your smart if you pray, "God, I would like to have thus and so in your timing, and if it's right for me, but if it's not right for me, then please don't give it to me". Because you are not gonna be happy with anything that is outside of God's will. "I'll bring you into a place where you will lack nothing".
I wonder if there's anybody listening to me today, that believes that you can come to a point in your life, where you will lack nothing. There's another scripture that says, "You will want nothing". I'll tell you, it's wearisome to always be wanting all these things, that you're not getting, and seeing other people with 'em, and being jealous of them. And how wonderful it is to get to the point, where you love God and you trust him so much, that you say, "God, I know that you will do the best thing for me. And I may not always have everything I want, but you're meeting my needs, my feet aren't swelling, my clothes are not wearing out". You know, I didn't have a lot of new clothes, but I looked nice when I went out. God took care of the clothes that I had.
Now here's the important thing, verse ten, "When you have eaten and are satisfied". So, after you get all this good stuff, after you come out of Egypt, you make it through the wilderness, you learn so many lessons, in the wilderness, in those hard places. You may remember that before Jesus started his public ministry, the Bible says that, "The Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, 40 days and 40 nights". We all go through a testing ground. We all go through things that are difficult. Now, so they've made it all through that and he says, "Now when you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good that he has given you".
Now, watch this. "Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I'm giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then you will forget the Lord your God". Well, you know what? Now, my ministry is large. We minister by television all over the world. I mean, things are just great. They're just good. God's blessing us. I couldn't carry all the mail, they have to send trucks to get it now. All those things that I wanted, I can say that God has given them to me, now. But you know what? I got up this morning and the first thing I did was spend time with God, and seek him and study his word, just like I did when I was desperate.
You know, sometimes God has to keep people desperate because that's the only time they will seek him. Let me tell you something, if you have a big enough problem, you will find time to spend time with God. It's amazing the time that we have to spend with God, when we have a huge problem. And how often we don't think we have time to spend with God, when there's nothing that we need. Don't just go to God because there's something you need and want. Go to him because you can't live without him. He is what you need and want. When you have all these things, "Your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God".
You know, the Israelites did this over, and over, and over, and over. I mean, you read large portions of the Old Testament and they would obey God for a while, then when they'd be blessed, they would disobey God, they'd lose their blessings. And then eventually, they would go back, they would repent and then, they would obey God again, and he'd bless 'em again. And then, they would lose their blessings because they forgot about God. Don't forget about God when you get what you want. Come on, I wanna say that, do not forget about God when you get what you want. One more time, don't forget about God when you get what you want. Maybe, you're wanting some big promotion at work, and when you get it, you're gonna be busier than you are now.
Well, you best not get so busy, that you don't have time for God. Because if you do, you might end up losing that position. And then, he goes on to say, "He brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and the dreadful wilderness, that thristy and waterless land, with all of its enemies. And he brought you water out of a hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, to humble and test you".
You say, "Why is my breakthrough taking so long"? Well, maybe, God is humbling you and testing you. Maybe, there's some areas in your life, that need to be straightened out, that need to be changed, before you can handle the blessing that you want properly. And I know we don't like to see those things. We like to think, "Well, it's just the devil, he's blocking my blessing," or, you know, the truth will make you free. But it's not the truth about somebody else, that will make you free, it's the truth about you, that will make you free. And he said, "Do not say to yourself, 'my power and the strength of my hand have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant. If you forget the Lord your God and follow other Gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you this day that you will surely be destroyed".
This is such a great message. It's such a great truth in the Word of God. And it helped me so much when I read Deuteronomy, and I understood that my breakthrough was taking a long time because there were things that God was trying to work in me, and I wasn't doing a great job of cooperating. I mean, just many different things, a lot of just, attitude things. And so, I want you to be at peace, and know that if you do what God's asking you to do, your breakthrough will come at just the right time.