Joyce Meyer - What Will You Do With the Rest of Your Life
Well, thank you for joining us today on "Enjoying Everyday Life," where I teach the Word of God. And I believe it will be something that will help you not only today, but every day of your life. And I also wanna mention something that we have available, that I would like you to sign up for, and take advantage of. We have what we call a 30/30 challenge. I really want people to study the word. And a couple of years ago, God gave me this idea: if I could get people to study the word for 30 minutes a day, for 30 days, that it would be life-changing for them. And they would get to the point where they enjoyed it so much, that they'd want to keep it up, and maybe even go longer than the 30 minutes. We've had thousands of people take this challenge, and I've had many of them tell me it changed their life. So, sign up today at joycemeyer.org/3030challenge. We have study guides, videos, downloads, tips from me, and more.
Now, for today's teaching, which I believe you're gonna enjoy. I wanna talk to you today about, "What will you do with the rest of your life"? You know, we all only get one life and it's important how we live it. And if you look back and you've made mistakes, you're no different than any of the rest of us, we've all made mistakes. But sometimes people kinda park at those mistakes, and they feel like that they can't go on. But I wanna tell you that God only has one gear, and it's forward. He doesn't want us living in the past, he wants us moving forward. Everything behind us is dead. Luke 9:59-62, "He said to another man, 'follow me'. But he replied, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father'. And Jesus said to him, 'let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God'".
Now, it really wasn't that Jesus was against him going to his father's funeral. But there's a much deeper point being made here, that we don't have to spend time on things that no longer have any life in them for us. Sometimes we may have done something for 10 years, and it brought a lot of fruit into our life. But now, we're just doing it because it's a habit. And it's really, we're not enjoying it, it's actually draining us. But because we're so used to doing it, we just keep doing it. And I heard someone say one time, "If the horse has been dead for ten years, dismount, it's time to get off and do something else". "Jesus said to him, 'let the dead bury the dead, but you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God'. Still, another man said, 'I will follow you, Lord: but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family'. And Jesus replied, 'no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God'".
When you look behind you, whether what you're looking at was good, or whether it was bad, it's still a dead thing. It's done and finished, and it has no life in it for you anymore. You know a lot of times we like to talk about the good old days. And I've done things, I had a weekly Bible study here in st. Louis at a church for about five years. And it was several hundred women at the time, and we just had such a wonderful time. And for a long time after I stopped doing that Bible study, people would talk to me all the time about the good old days. Well, you know, I hope you've all had good old days. But I'd much rather you look at the good future that God has planned for you. Good memories are great. But don't be so impressed with what you have done, that you don't press forward to what you can do. God has got a plan for your life, and he wants you to go and do everything that he has for you in the future.
If there were bad things, forget them. If there were good things, thank God that you got to participate in them, but realize that it's time to press on to the new things. Now, there's a scripture in the Bible that's only three words, it simply says, "Remember Lot's wife". So, I guess we need to take a look at Lot's wife and see what she did. Luke 17:29-32, "But the day that Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife". She looked back and was finished, because she turned into a pillar of salt.
Now, you know, I really can't imagine when Jesus comes again in the clouds, and the trumpet blows, talking about his arrival, that any of us would wanna run back in our house, and get our favorite piece of Jewelry or our favorite outfit. But God wants to say to us, "Let things go that are no longer valuable, and move on to the things that are ahead". And maybe, just maybe, what you need to do, and I think this is good for all of us. We all need to take an inventory once awhile, of everything we are doing, and see if it's still bearing good fruit for us. You know, just because something brought good fruit into your life ten years ago, it doesn't mean it's still doing it today. And a lot of times we just waste our time with stuff, and we need to just let them go. I wonder, are there any things right now, that you just need to let go, because they're preventing you from doing the things that God has for you now. Stop crying over your situations and let's go forward.
Exodus 14:15, "The Lord said to Moses, 'why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward'". "Well, I was abused". "Someone hurt me". "I was rejected". "I got fired from a job one time". "Life isn't fair". And you know what? That's really absolutely true, life is not fair. We all have things happen to us that are unjust. And bad things do happen to good people. The world is not fair, but God is fair. And one of my favorite things about God's character is, he is a God of justice. And that means that God always makes all things right. There may be something that has happened to you that is totally unfair, wasn't right at all. But if you do what God wants you to do, part of which is, forgive whoever hurt you, let go of it, and be ready to move on. God will bring justice into your life, I know that he will. Forget it, stop remembering what God has forgotten. For example, your sins.
The Bible says that he not only forgives us, but he forgets our sins, and he removes them as far as the east is from the west. And I remember one night, I was beside my bed, bowed down. And I was asking God to forgive me for something, and it was something from a long time ago. And he said, "Will you stop asking me to forgive you for that? I forgave you the first time you asked me". So, a lot of times when we're talking about past things to God, that we've already repented for, he doesn't want us doing that, because they're things that he has already forgotten. Forget even the good things that you've done. You know, I've got to do a lot of really good things in my life. A lot of things that have just been amazingly wonderful and quite a privilege. But the Bible says when you're doing good, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
And I wondered about that for a long time. But I believe what that means is, don't sit and just think about, "Oh, how good that was," and "How good you were". And you know, we need to just, "Thank you, God, that you let me participate," and go on to the next thing. You know, I have done 67 mission trips out of the country, but it's something that I can't do anymore. My body doesn't adjust well to the jet lag anymore. And I've come to the point in my life, where I've had to choose the things that I know that I'm good at, that's not gonna make me too tired, and the things that only I can do in the ministry. I do the teaching. I do the writing. I pray. I deal with certain situations. I do interviews. But I can't make these long trips to India, or to Africa, or some other place halfway around the world.
Well, I miss 'em. And sometimes I really wish that I could do them. And I can sit back and think about the large crusades that we did in these other countries, and the different outreaches, the digging of the wells, and the feeding programs, and all those different things. But you know what? God's done with that, where I'm concerned. And he's raised up other people in our ministry now, that go and do it. Our ministry is very committed and very involved in outreach. And we always will be, but it may not always be the same person that can do it. Don't be afraid of change. Change is not a bad thing, it always brings something good, if you will let it. Forget what you have done, and forget what you have not done. Forget what people have done to you, and forget what people have not done for you. Boy, that can cause problems in relationships. "Well, you didn't do this," and "You didn't do that". "You did do this," "You did do that".
Part of forgiving is just leave it, let it go, drop it, and don't sit around and think about it all the time. Well, I'm sure you've had a lot, you've done a lot of good things in your life, and I'm sure you've done some bad things. But what I wanna ask you today, and I want you to think about this is, "What are you going to do with the rest of your life"? You know, I take time occasionally, and just think about that, "Joyce, what are you gonna do with the rest of your life"? I know I'm gonna keep writing. I know I'm gonna keep teaching and preaching God's word. I wanna be obedient to anything that he asks me to do. I wanna keep giving and reaching out to the poor. I don't know what God may ask me to do in the future, but whatever it is, I'm saying, "Yes," already. Because I want to do whatever God wants me to do. What will you do with the rest of your life? Perhaps you don't realize how powerful you are.
You might say, "Well Joyce, I don't feel very powerful". Well, you know what? I like to talk about the power of one. It is amazing, I mean, totally jaw-dropping amazing, what one person can accomplish, if they're totally committed and submitted to God. In Romans 5:17-19 it says, "For if, by the trespass of the one man", which meant Adam, "Death reigned through that one man". When Adam sinned, death came to him. Not a physical death, he didn't fall over dead and stop breathing right then. But death came to his spirit. He didn't have the spiritual life in him that he once had. And that passed on to all men. We inherited a sin nature from Adam. "How much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in the life through the one man, Jesus Christ"! So, Adam gave us death, but Jesus gave us life.
You know, "One trespass resulted in condemnation for all men, and one act of righteousness resulted in justification and life for all people". You are one, you're only one, but you are one. And stop thinking, "Well, nobody's ever done that before," or "I don't know if I could do that," you know. "I'm gonna need a lot of help". And "I don't have a lot of help". Well, you know, take the first steps, and whatever you need God will bring it to you. I have seen God provide for us for 45 years: the people we need, the finances we need, he opens right doors, he closes wrong doors. If you think about all the people in the Bible who were just one, but who did such amazing things.
Let's think about Adam, Moses, Joseph, Ruth, Esther, Abraham, Elijah, Elisha, Matthew, Peter, Mark, Luke, Paul, John, and Mary Magdalene, and of course, Jesus. Jesus accomplished more than we can possibly even imagine with that one act of obedience, to go to the cross. And it wasn't something he wanted to do. You know, we don't have to want to do everything we do. But we do need to be obedient to God, whether we want to or not. When he was in the Garden of Gethsemane in the book of Matthew, it says that three times he asked God, "If possible, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, your will be done, and not mine". Is there anything right now, that God is asking you to do, that you're not doing it because it's going to be hard, or because you don't want to, or you think you don't know how?
Obedience is a wonderful thing. And when we begin to really get obedient to God, he does some amazing things in our life. Well, each of these people that we talked about, they made mistakes, they did things that were wrong. Moses and David were both murderers. Jeremiah was afraid. Ruth was at one time an idol worshiper. Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Elijah was suicidal and depressed. And Peter denied even knowing Christ three different times. Paul was a persecutor of Christians. And we don't just have to talk about people out of the Bible. We could talk about say somebody like Billy Graham.
How many thousands and thousands of souls are gonna be in heaven, because of that one man's obedience to do what God asked him to do? The power of one. None of these were more than one. And none of them were more than you. They were just committed and submitted. And you know, you may not do the same things that they did. I don't know, maybe your job is to raise two great children that are gonna be life-changers. Everything we do is important, if it's what God wants us to do. And you know, this is all about choice. And I think today is an opportunity to make choices. Will you continue to mourn over what you've lost, or will you use what is left? Let me say that again. Are you gonna continue to mourn over what you've lost, or are you gonna use what you still have? Will you keep doing nothing and be angry with yourself because you do nothing?
My brother did that. He's no longer with us on this earth, but he seemed like he was always doing the wrong thing. Or he just did almost nothing with his life. And then he was always angry at himself because he wasn't doing anything. But that's fruitless. What he needed to do was shake off the past, and begin to follow God, and do what God wanted him to do. It's a trap that the devil wants to bring us into. What good does guilt do? You know what guilt is? It's our way of trying to pay for our sins. And you cannot pay a debt that's already been paid. Jesus paid for our sins. And he doesn't need us to get involved, and pay again for something that he has already completely and fully paid for. He wants you to receive the gift of forgiveness, shake off the past, and go on and do great things. The mistakes that you've made can become experience for you, that will keep you out of trouble in the future, and that can also be shared with other people, and keep them out of trouble.
I asked a man three days ago, "What did you do before you took this job"? And he said, "I murmured, complained, pouted, had a bad attitude, and felt sorry for myself". He said, "I was full of pity and anger". Well, I'm glad that the man was honest, and I'm glad he had finally made a decision to now do something with himself. You know, 1 Kings 19:9 and 13 are very interesting. But if you wanna get the full story, you really have to go to chapter 18, which I don't have time to read, but I'm gonna tell you pretty quickly. Elijah had challenged 400 Baal prophets. And the challenge was that they would put a bull as a sacrifice on a fire and on an altar, and they would pour water all over it, and then pray for God to send fire, and see if it burned up the sacrifice or not.
But then, Elijah, took all these 400 Baal prophets, I can't even imagine this, and he slew all of them and cut them into pieces. I can't even imagine what kind of a job that must've been. So, he was bold that day. Man, he was...Whoo! There was no fear in him. But then, when Jezebel found out what he had done, she said, "You send a message to him that I'm gonna kill him before this day is over". Well, then he became frightened, and he went and ran out into the wilderness and hid. Now, how can you not be afraid of 400 prophets, and yet be afraid of one woman? Well, we all have emotions, don't we? And he was afraid that Jezebel was gonna kill him. And he ran out in the middle of the desert, and he said, "God, take my life: I'm no better than, I'm not even worth living".
Now, here's this man who was on fire for God, and now he's wanting to die. Do you ever get like that? Are you on fire for God, and then when you have a little problem, you're like, "Well, God, you might as well just take me"? "My life is so bad you might as well just take me". Well, that's not the way God wants us to behave. So, he sat out in the wilderness and he became depressed, and was saying all these negative things. And so, God sent an angel. Put him to sleep. Gave him a cake and some water. I kinda like that he gave him cake. And then, he did it again and he refreshed him. And then, Elijah went and hid in a cave. And God came to him and said, "Elijah, what are you doing here"?
Well, I understand that, because after working at the church that I worked at for five years, one night I was at Tuesday night service, and the Lord said to me very clearly, "What are you doing here"? And I thought, "Well, what am I doing here? It's Tuesday night, I'm going to church, that's what I always do". And the Lord said something to me that was almost insulting, he said, "I don't need you here anymore". "Well, what do you mean you don't need me here? I mean, I've helped build this place from the ground floor up". And God said, "I'm finished with you here, I have other things for you to do". And that was the time when God told me to take the ministry that I had, and take it north, south, east, and west.
Now, I won't get into that whole story, that's been 40 years ago. And if I would not have obeyed God at that moment in time, I would not be here today teaching this message to people all over the world through tv. It's so important that we let go of things that God is finished with, and take hold of the new things that he has for us. The Bible says, "I set before you life and death, choose life that you and your descendants may live".
Don't live in regret, and don't live in dread. Don't be passive, be active. Do God's will, not your own will. Be a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser. Everything in our life is a choice. And I'm asking you today, to make the choice to let go of all the things that lie behind, and ask God to use you to do something awesome in the rest of your life. You've got a lot before you, and your past does not have to hold you back in any way. All you need do is let go of it, and say, "God, here I am I'm yours, do whatever you want to with me. I love you with my whole life".