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Joyce Meyer - Choosing to Be Excellent


Choosing to Be Excellent
TOPICS: Excellence
Choosing to Be Excellent

Well, Pastor Robert invited me to come back twice a year and do all the weekend services. So, now you're going to have to put up with me twice a year every year. How's that? I like to find a good church in every big city that I can call a home church and just run around and be with all my friends, amen? Dave, you saw Dave walk me up here. Dave and I have been married 55 years. 55 years, and the most frequent word in our house now is, "Huh", because I've got a little hearing problem. He's got a big hearing problem.

And I have to tell you this because it's hysterical. When you start, your hearing starts kind of goin', you think that people said things that they didn't say, and to me, there's nothin' funnier than that, and so, a few weeks ago, we were in the car, and I was tellin' Dave about this minister in New York who had been caught having several affairs, and he looked at me really, he got this really odd look on his face, and I already started laughin' because I'm thinkin', he has no idea what I said, and so, when I finally stopped laughin' long enough, I said, "What do you think I said"? He said, "Why does he need so many bears in New York"? So, I'll tell ya, the older you get, the funnier it gets, amen?

Father, I pray, in Jesus' name, that you'll bring out of me exactly what you want brought out. I've put it in, and now you bring it out in the right order, in Jesus' name. Amen.


Well, I've been teaching the word for 45 years, and the first five years I taught a couple of home Bible studies, and that was like goin' to Bible school for me, learning and growing and learning how to deal with people and working for nothin'. I'd quit my job and we needed a lot of money, and we weren't receiving offerings or anything. I was just workin' for Jesus, and those times are good for us because they purify our hearts. They teach us whether we're doin' what we're doin' to get somethin' or whether we're doin' it really for God, and then I went to work at a church and I worked there five years, and I always say if you don't know how to come under authority, you have no business being in authority.

And so, I learned to come under authority, and there was a lot of great times there, but a lot of rough times too, and then, 35 years ago, God put it strongly on our heart with a lot of confirmation that we were to take the ministry and go North, South, East and West. The only problem was nobody knew me. I was on one radio station in St. Louis, and so, I didn't know anything to do, but just obey Jesus the best I could. So, I went to North St. Louis, South St. Louis, East St. Louis and West St. Louis. See, sometimes just simple little childlike obedience is all God's lookin' for, and that's literally what we did, and then we went on I think eight more radio stations, and then pretty soon, we got to the place where we would, we'd go as far as we could drive and do meetings in hotel ballrooms, and so, believe me, I've done it all.

I've done a meeting with nine people, and five of them, I took with me, and I've stood in front of a crowd in Papua New Guinea of almost three quarters of a million people. So, I've had the privilege of doin' a lot of different things in ministry, but when I started the ministry 35 years ago, God put somethin' very strongly in my heart, and I was actually going to teach somethin' else here, but I really felt like God wanted me to teach you what He told me when He spoke to me 35 years ago. He said, "I'm going to tell you three things to do, and if you do 'em, I'll bless your ministry. Always do everything you do with excellence. Always be a person of integrity. Keep your word and don't ever mess around with the money that goes through your hands in ministry". He told me things like, put things in my heart like, if you take a speaking engagement for a smaller church, you're going to go and do, we called them camp meetings back then and you commit to do that and another much bigger offer comes along, you keep your word to the first one, and then He said, and keep all the strife out of your life, out of your ministry and out of your marriage.

Do not get in the pulpit angry and preach because you see, only where there's unity is there blessing and anointing. Psalm 133 not only says there's blessing where there's unity, but that's where you're going to find the anointing, and so tonight, I'm going to talk about the first of those three things, which is excellence, and I'm just calling this, "Choosing To Be Excellent". And I say choosing because if we don't choose to be excellent, the flesh will always be mediocre, and mediocre means halfway between success and failure. And I'd say that we live in a pretty mediocre world today, and it's getting worse all the time, and it's up to us, it's not up to the unbelievers. It's up to us, the believers, to set a standard for other people to follow. We are not to follow them. We are to set a standard for them to follow us, and there's enough of us that if everybody will do it... You hear me? There's enough of us... I mean, we're all over the world. There's enough of us... if everybody will really start to, not just go to church, but to serve God with your whole heart, to make a full surrender and to be willing to do what you know is right, not what you feel like doing. Amen?

I was thinkin' today, what would happen if every person, let's just say every person in here would make a commitment for just 30 days to do what you know to be right instead of what you feel like doing? And I'm not even necessarily talkin' about sin. It could be sin, but I'm just talkin' about just doin' what you know is right. You know, it can be little things, like, you know, taking office supplies home. Come on. How many paper clips and rubber bands and pens and notepads do you have that you took from the office? Well, we'll go on from there, and see, there's always, anytime we're not excellent, there's always a little conviction, I mean, just a little, you know that little, like a little hangnail in your spirit, and when we learn to follow that, then we'll learn how to be really, really excellent people.

You know, if I told you, after the service, I'm going to be serving chocolate chip cookies out in the lobby that I baked, how many of you would stop and get one 'cause you like cookies? How many would do it just 'cause you want to see me? Forget me, we're talkin' about the cookies. And then, what if I said, "I have added one little tiny new ingredient to the batter. I just put, like, about a third of a teaspoon of dog poop in it". "But, it's stirred into this big batch of batter, and you won't taste it. It's just". How many of you would no longer care to get one of my cookies? Well see, that's what we've got to be careful of in the world. Come on, you're understandin' me. We don't want to be Christians with just a little bit of the world in us, where we go to church on Sunday and act like the devil the rest of the week, or we go to church on Sunday and then, on Monday, we're sittin' with everybody else at work, gossiping about the boss and crabbin' and complainin' and murmuring and grumbling.

We want to be excellent, and we have to choose to be excellent. And excellence is not perfection. It's just taking what you have and doing the best that you can do with it. You might have an old car, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep it clean. Wow, that went over good. See, some people think, "Well, I want a new car". Well, you know what? Until you keep the old one clean and keep the trash out of it, you may not get a new one. And it's so important not to just do the right thing when somebody's looking, but I think it's especially important to do the right thing when nobody's looking except God, and He's always looking. One of the things I've challenged myself to do, and I'm doing this just 'cause I felt like God put it on my heart, in my home, every time I get something out and use it, my goal is to put it back where I got it, and it's amazing what a difference a room looks like when you walk out of it. I mean, I was amazed, you know, 'cause like, a woman goes in the bathroom, and we've got makeup and three combs and hair dryers and flat irons and lotions and potions and you know, all kind of stuff, and sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I don't put all that stuff back where it goes right then, and so, sometimes it can look like a cyclone went off in the bathroom, and I've been takin' time to just put the lid back on the toothpaste and put it away, just do everything with excellence.

Now see, that may sound foolish to you, but I believe if we're not excellent in little things, that we'll never get around to being excellent in bigger things. So we have to choose it. You know, we have these little Instagram posts as well as bein' on Facebook, and my team, I don't do this, but my team will put captions on these Instagram posts, and it always has something to do with what I'm teaching, but it's not necessarily the title of the teaching, and I get such a kick out of looking at how many people are watching which titles. Recently, I had one, "Study the Word". We had 42,000 downloads. I had one that they called "Relax and Do Nothing," and it had 300,000 downloads. Now, what does that tell ya about where we're at? See, they saw the title, "Study the Word," one fourth of the people were only interested in that, but if we're going to sit and do nothin', everybody likes that.

My son was at my house the other night. He's our baby, but he's 42, going to be 43, and he's got a playful side to him, and he had this country song on, and I think they were doin' some kind of line dance or something. He said, "Come on, Mom, dance with me. Come on, dance with me". I don't know if he thought I couldn't do it or wouldn't do it or what, but I got up and started tryin' to dance with him and, you know, it was, put your right foot here and your left foot there and, you know, do this and that and put your hm hm hm, and so... He's filming the whole thing and he puts it on Facebook. Okay now, are you ready for this? We've had 1,000,300 views on that. It's actually funny, but it makes me mad that people are more interested in seein' me goof around than will study the Word.

So, maybe I've got the wrong career. Maybe I need to take up dancing. I don't know, it's... But, the reason why I share this with you is because it shows you where people are at, and it's concerning. It's actually frightening to me sometimes to see that 300,000 people would like to sit back and do nothin' and only 42,000 would like to study the Word. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that "We are ambassadors for Christ". An ambassador is a representative of another country or another kingdom or another person, and I love the Amplified translation of 2 Corinthians 5:20 because it says, "We are Christ's personal representatives".

Now, just get this. We are His personal representatives and He is making His appeal to the world through us. Now, that is strong. So, that means that I can't just go out and do what I feel like. I need to choose to do what I know I should do. The flesh is strong and it'll pull you in the wrong direction. The Bible says in Galatians that the spirit wars against the flesh and the flesh wars against the spirit, that they are continually antagonistic toward one another. So, the devil will always work through our flesh, which is your body and the part of your soul that's not been crucified and belongs to Christ, and our spirit is the deepest part of us where Christ lives, and if we follow the flesh, we're going to do the wrong thing most of the time. It may not even be a sinful thing, but it's going to be something that's, I mean, let's just say you've got a "Smile, Jesus loves you" bumper sticker on your car, but you're breakin' the speed limit. Well, you'd be better off to take the bumper sticker off your car. Amen?

Called to be excellent, 2 Peter 1:3. It's part of the call on our life. It's not just a nifty little idea. "For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him who called us", everybody say, "He's called me", "...by and to His own glory and excellence," or virtue. Now, virtue can be translated power or it can be a godly character trait, but Jesus said He felt virtue go out of Him and it was power, the anointing that went out of Him when He healed somebody, and so, excellence is connected to power. Excellent people get promoted. Mediocre people don't get promoted. I would rather have somebody that is excellent, does what they do with excellence and keeps their word and works real hard at what they do. Maybe they're not the brightest bulb in the bunch, but I'd rather have them than somebody that's extremely intelligent, but is hard to get along with and always got an opinion about everything and gossiping behind your back. Amen?

It's not always the smartest people that get promoted. True promotion comes from God, and God can take somebody that doesn't know hardly anything at all and give them the ability to do things that just leave people with their mouth hangin' open in awe. I'll tell you a secret. I am totally unqualified to do what I'm doing, completely 100% unqualified. I have a high school education. I almost failed English. Almost failed English, and now I'm speaking in 125 languages in two thirds of the world. I could always write pretty good and my teachers wanted me to apply for a journalism scholarship, but because my dad was sexually abusing me, all I wanted to do was get away from home, get a job and be able to take care of myself. So, I didn't get to go to journalism school, but God's anointing came on me and I've written 150 books. So, and I'm not tellin' you that to brag on me. I'm tryin' to tell you that it's not how smart you are or how many degrees you have.

I think, get as much education as you can get if it's good education. I'm certainly not against it, but I'm just, for the plain, ordinary folks like me, I'm just telling you that it's your heart that God sees and He sees things like, will you be excellent when nobody's looking? Will you do the right thing when nobody's looking? Will you sacrifice? Will you serve Him even if you're not paid for it? You know, I remember years and years ago, I mean, people volunteered for everything, and then over the years, it's gotten to the point where people don't want to make a move if they don't get paid for it, and we need to get back to serving God because we love Him, and not for any other reason. I need this message tonight. I hope you do, too. An excellent person exceeds the requirements. They always go the extra mile. They go above and beyond and they always do more than enough. They always do a superior job.

John Maxwell said that one of his goals every time he goes to speak is to always do a little bit more than what is expected of him. I love that. We're called to walk in excellence. Now, we know the most excellent thing is love. I Corinthians 12:31 says, "But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and the best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choice graces). And yet I will show you still a more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love]". So, everybody should have some books and teachings on love because, of all the things that we study, we need to study love. We need to look at I Corinthians 13:1-8, and take those words apart and ask yourself, am I patient, am I kind, am I humble, am I willing to give up my right to be right? Am I mad at anybody? How quick do I forgive somebody? Am I touchy? Am I easily offended? Do I always believe the best? We have to get serious about this.

Jesus said, "One new commandment I give unto you". One. "One new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another just as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples". And pretty much, in every message I preach now, I say a little something about the importance of forgiving people that have hurt you, and I think I'm just going to keep it up because there are more and more angry people in the world today than I have ever seen. And do you know, the Bible says in Matthew 24, which is a chapter about the signs of end times, that, "In the last days, because of the lawlessness and the wickedness in the land, the love of the great body of people," that's us, "will grow cold". And boy, the devil loves that because I'll tell you what, the highest form of spiritual warfare is red hot, on-fire love, walking in love. The worst selling book I ever had was one on love. It's pitiful.

How can you write a book on love and nobody wants to buy it? But, I bet I could write one on success and sell it, or how to get rich overnight or apparently, how to dance, I don't know. I mean, I've worked at this love thing 'cause I'll tell ya, I was not a very loving person, and I've been studying it for a long time, and I'll tell you what. I do not have the energy to be angry. You say, well, the person that hurt me doesn't deserve forgiveness. Well, even if they don't, you deserve peace. Amen? And this is such a problem worldwide. I don't want to accuse anybody of anything, but there's a good possibility and a good probability that there's more people in here tonight that have some kind of unforgiveness in your heart towards somebody than there is those that don't, and we got to stop it because we need the anointing. We need our churches to be anointed. We need our leaders to be anointed. We all need, today I think you need to be anointed to get in and out of the grocery store with sanity. You certainly need to be anointed to raise kids. Amen?

How many of you agree with me? Well, I'm not going to preach all night on that, but please, please, please, if you're mad at anybody, do what the Amplified Bible says, "Drop it, leave it, let it go". That's the way the Amplified Bible puts it. "Drop it, leave it, let it go". You don't have time for that. You're Christ's representative. He's making His appeal to the world through you. Do the most excellent thing and love them. Some of 'em you may have to love from a distance, but love them. I wrote a book that'll come out this fall called, "Loving People That Are Hard To Love". Hm, bet that'll sell. Let me just say this real quick. Love is not havin' a gooey feeling about somebody. Love is how you treat people. And so, the Bible says, you pray for your enemies. You bless them, and if they're hungry or thirsty, you give them food and drink, so you help them. And you can do all that and not have any kind of loving feelings toward them at all.

My parents both were abusive, and as they got older, God put it on my heart to do my duty. That's another part, that's a part of integrity, just doing your duty, yes, duty. Yep, that word's in the Bible. And He told me to take care of 'em until they died. I thought it was the devil. I said, "I rebuke you in Jesus' name". I did, I thought, God is not going to tell me to spend my money and my time takin' care of two people that abused me all my life. Oh no, oh yeah, God'll tell you to do that. He sure will, and I can't say that there was one time that I went to the nursing home that I wanted to go, but I did it, I did it for the Lord, and I did it because I knew it was the right thing to do. You don't have to feel like doing the right thing in order to do it.

And you say, "Well Joyce, did you love them"? I didn't have any gooey feelings toward them, but yes, I loved them because I took care of them. I prayed for them, I blessed them. I met their needs. That's what love is. You can't stay mad at somebody for too long if you pray for 'em every day. It's part of excellence. We have an excellent God, don't we? "He does exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond". Don't you love Ephesians 3:20? "He does exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond all that we could ever dare to hope, ask or think". More than enough. We all like that scripture. Well, how about if we apply it to ourself, and we start doing exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond? Go that extra mile. If anybody forces you to go one mile, go two.

Okay, let's just say you work an 8 to 5 job. You get an hour for lunch. I'm going to tell you what an excellent person will do. An excellent person will clock in at 7:55, not 8:00, and they'll clock out at 5:05, not 5:00, and they'll take maybe 55 minutes for lunch instead of an hour and 15 minutes for lunch. You say, well why should I clock in at 7:55 when I don't go to work till 8:00, because if you clock in at 7:55, you're not at your work station and you're not working at 8 o'clock. By the time you get your coffee and you talk to all your friends, it's probably 8:20 or 8:30, and you're not going to like it when I say this, but you know what? It's stealin'. I better behave. You won't let me come back again. I'm not sayin' anything to you that God hasn't said to me.

We had so very little money for so many years, I had to clip and cut every coupon I could find and buy day-old bread and dig around in the dented can to ask if, they don't have those anymore, but they used to have dented cans in one of the grocery carts and, or cans with no labels on 'em and, you know, I'd hope to get peaches and get cat food, and didn't have a cat, and here, I'm teachin' prosperity and God said, "Joyce, don't you think I can afford just a few more cents for some fresh bread"? But, I had a fear on me of never having enough because I wasn't taken care of as a child, and so, I had, not a frugal spirit, but a cheap spirit. I did everything the cheapest way it could possibly be done because I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough. So, we didn't have the money for steak. We never ate steak. It was always hamburger, chicken, hamburger and chicken, chicken and hamburger, hamburger and chicken, and so chickens would go on sale at the store three for a dollar, and there was the little fine print on the coupon that said, "Limit, three per customer, please," or "Three per family, please".

You know, we don't like the fine print, and one day I saw that, and I didn't want three chickens. I wanted 12. And so, I took two of my kids with me, and we all got three chickens and I put 'em in line behind me and I acted like I didn't know 'em. And my heart's pounding in fear and I'm thinkin', "Oh God, I hope I gave 'em enough tax money". And I was teachin' a Bible study. Had a big vision to do what I'm doin' today. Come on, some of you may have a big vision to do something great, but right now, you're in the school of the Holy Ghost. Come on. Well, you guys don't sound as happy as I want you to. So, I made it through the line. The kids made it through the line, and the Holy Spirit said to me just as plain. "Congratulations, Joyce, you just stole some chickens".

The first time I preached this, I was in Paris, Tennessee and the pastors and the leaders were all sittin' up on the platform, and when I told that story, the pastor jumped up. He ran up, he pointed at his wife and he said, "You've turned me into a thief". But, listen, he said that it wasn't chickens, it was toilet paper and it was for the church. Well, see it's humorous, but I couldn't go to Bible school when God called me into ministry. I already had four kids. I, you know... By the way, don't ever tell me you can't do anything for God because you've got kids. I had three teenagers and a baby on my hip when I started this ministry. And don't tell me you're too old. I was 50 when I went on television. Well, now you want to know how long I've been on, so you can figure out how old I am. I'm not going to tell ya. Alright, I've been on 29 years.

Well see, I don't feel like I'm that old because I don't think old. I say age is a number and old is a mindset. I didn't have the money to go to Bible college. I couldn't leave my family and go off to Bible college, and I was not ministry material. God had to teach me, and He just taught me through some of these silly things that I'm tellin' you how to be an excellent person, how to be an honest person, and it really comes a lot in these little things behind closed doors that we try to tell ourselves don't matter, but if God's convicting you about it, then it does matter, and we need to follow our heart.

There is a man in the Bible who was really excellent, and he's the greatest example, I guess. That was Daniel, and in Daniel 1:8, it says, "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way". He'd been taken into the king's court, was bein' trained to serve there, but he was a Jewish boy who'd made a vow to God to only eat certain things, and they wanted him to eat all this rich, fancy food, and he took a big chance when he went and asked permission to keep his vow to God instead of doin' what the king wanted him to do, but God gave him favor. You know what? If you'll do what God tells you to do, you'll be surprised; God'll give you favor. He'll open doors for you that nobody else can open, and Daniel just kept gettin' promoted and kept gettin' promoted.

I don't have time to tell ya the whole story, but it said that because an excellent spirit was on Daniel, God gave him the ability to solve riddles and interpret dreams and all kinds of supernatural things that we'd love to have, but it starts out by saying, "Because he had an excellent spirit". They passed a law that nobody could pray to any god or any person except the king for a period of 30 days, and Daniel went immediately to his room where he prayed three times a day, and it says, with the windows open, he got down on his knees and he prayed, and they put him in the lion's den, like they had threatened to, but the Bible says, "An angel came and shut the lions' mouth". And the king was so impressed that he makes the law that now, nobody can pray to anybody but Daniel's God.

See, if we want, I mean, just because he kept his word, just because he kept his vow. Now keeping your word is a little more a part of integrity, but it has a lot to do with excellence, too. Examples of doing the best you can with what you have, you may have an old car, but you can wash it and keep it clean, keep the trash out of it, treat it with respect, and have a thankful attitude for it. Don't waste money. No matter how much money you have, don't waste it. If you don't respect money, don't expect money. That's my quote. If you don't respect money, don't expect money. Amen? Is there anybody in the house tonight that could come up a little bit higher in excellence? Has anybody been even a tiny bit convicted yet? One of the goals that I have is every time I go and preach, I want to cause people to make decisions, not just sit there and clap and think it's good and tomorrow, not remember what I said, but I want everybody to make a decision about something that's going to cause them to represent Christ in a better way. Amen?

And I know that there are so many tests that God has given me that if I would not have done the right thing, I would not be where I'm standin' today, and they weren't even great big spiritual things. We were visiting a, well, we were preaching at a church in Jacksonville, Florida, and just like we do, you know, I call it the loose mouth disease. I said to this couple, "Oh, you guys ought to come to St. Louis sometime, and you could stay with us and we'll see the arch and we'll take you here and take you there, blah blah blah blah". Well, they called about two months later and said, "Well, we're ready to come". And I said, "Come where"? And they said, "Well, you know, you invited us to come to St. Louis".

And I thought, Oh my God. What am I going to do? I don't want them to come to St. Louis. I don't have time to mess with them. And the Lord said, "I'll tell you what you're going to do. You're going to bring 'em. You're going to put 'em in a good hotel and you're going to spend the whole week with 'em, and you're going to learn to not say things without thinkin' about whether you really want to do 'em or not". Sometimes we have to learn the hard way, don't we? And those lessons have been so important in my life. I could tell you story after story after story that I know were tests that I had to pass, or I wouldn't be standin' here today. I'm beseeching you tonight. Paul said, "I beg of you". Follow your heart and do what you know is right. Don't just do what you feel like. Don't just do what everybody else is doing.

See, that's our excuse a lot, "Well, everybody else does it". You're not everybody else. God told me one time, He said, "Look, you've asked me for a lot. Do you want it or not"? If you want God to give you everything that you've asked for, then start walkin' the narrow path. It's a little more lonely on the narrow path. You might not find anybody on it sometimes but Jesus, but you'll be hangin' out with good company. Amen? Alright, I just want to pray for you guys. I can't believe how fast time goes by, but I'll be here tomorrow. If God put something on your heart that you know you need to come up higher in and be more excellent, raise your hand. Well, that's everybody. We had the right message tonight. Okay, I'm going to pray for you.

Father, I pray for everybody here tonight, including myself, that we would be the most excellent of Your people and that we would spread excellence, and that without even preaching to people that they would see and admire our excellent spirit and want to be that way because You're that way. God, please let us represent You in the way that You deserve to be represented. Forgive us for the times that we've been sloppy and mediocre, and help us start fresh. Your mercy is new every day, and thank God, when we get up in the morning, we don't have to look back at the past. We can look forward, in Jesus' name, amen, amen.

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