Joyce Meyer - Strife - Part 1
Good morning! Thank you so much! Good morning. You all look so good. Do I look as good as you do? You can be seated. Thank you so much for being here, today. I appreciate you coming. I've preached to some half empty buildings and third empty buildings, and I like it when the building's full. Amen? I'm gonna pray for you.
Father, I pray that, today, that people will just soak up the word like a sponge, that every person will get something that they need, that will make their life better, that they can take home and apply right away. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Well, you saw handsome Dave walk me up here, David has sat in so many meetings like this. It's amazing that he can just listen to me over, and over, and over, and over. But he seems to like it. He still laughs at the same stories over and over. And Dave and I have been married 55 years, and so, I've just decided to keep him. I'm not gonna, somebody asked me if anything happened to Dave if I'd ever get married again, and I said, "No". No. We have four grown children. And our two sons run the day-to-day business of the ministry. One of 'em is the CEO of all of our missions' outreaches around the world. And one of 'em runs all the rest of it, all the media and the operations and all that. And our two son-in-law's work for us.
I have one daughter that's in ministry herself. And then my other daughter works for me, personally. I pay her and she takes care of her mama. She pays our bills, and orders all my stuff, and cooks for me once a week, and helps me with whatever I need. So, we are very blessed, and I feel extremely blessed to be able to do what I do. I've been teaching God's word for 45 years, and... I have loved every minute of it, every minute of it. And so, as I've said in the other services, 'cause we started yesterday, God put something specific on my heart to share with you. I was gonna go in another direction.
But when we started our ministry, Joyce Meyer Ministries, 35 years ago, God put something in my heart. And he said, "There's three things I want you to do, and if you do them, I'll bless your ministry". And I would have to say that our ministry has been very blessed. We've never paid any kind of interest. We've been able to pay cash for everything that we have. And we're spreading the gospel all over the world, and God has kept his word. And the three things that he told me to do is: do everything you do with excellence, be a person of integrity, and keep the strife out of your life, out of your marriage, and out of your ministry. And I'll tell you, to keep strife out of your life, you've gotta work at it. You have to confront it.
If you don't confront strife, it's like a cancer. It'll keep just spreading from person to person and just eating away at things. And strife kills your blessing, and it kills the anointing. And we don't hear a lot about the anointing anymore, but more than anything, we need God's anointing. It's his power and his presence in our life. And the stronger that is, the easier everything becomes for you. And I, personally, feel like I really, really, really need the anointing. As I've said before, I don't do anything real fancy. I don't sing or play a musical instrument, I talk. And if you expect people to listen to you just talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, then you better have something to say that is anointed or it won't work. And so, I've already taught on excellence and integrity. And this late morning, early afternoon, I wanna teach on strife, the importance of unity and harmony.
1 Corinthians 3:3, Paul says, "For you are still unspiritual", and remember he's talking to born-again, spirit-filled Christians, who are operating in the gifts of the spirit, and yet he tells them that they're unspiritual. Rather interesting. We can't assume that everybody who sits in a church pew is spiritual, can we? You know why? Because a person can be saved and on their way to heaven, and yet, remain a baby Christian the whole time. And we've all kinda got a focus. And my focus is helping people grow up and mature, become more like Jesus, so you can be who he wants you to be and have what he wants you to have. In John 10:10, it says, "The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy". But Jesus said, "I came that they might have and enjoy their life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows". And the Bible also says that God has "Prearranged a good life for us to live, that we might walk in it".
So, God has made it ready, but we have to do the walking. God does not do everything for us. He partners with us. He leads us. He guides us. He gives us ability. He gives us gifts. But we have a part in this, and anybody who won't do their part will not enjoy the life that Jesus wants them to live. And there's a good reason to be very concerned today because the world is in a mess, and we have to turn the lights up. And what I mean by that is: Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. Don't put your light under a bushel, put it somewhere where people can see it". And so, it's not the unbelievers that are gonna change the world. It's us. And as I said earlier, there's a lot of us. We're all over the world.
Can you imagine what would happen if every person who calls himself a Christian actually acted like one? You know, being a Christian is not just about going to church once a week. I hate it when I ask somebody, "Are you a Christian"? And they say, "I go to church". I know right away there's a problem. Because I can go sit in my garage all day and I'll never become a car. Just because you sit here doesn't tell me anything. And even, really, how people act in church doesn't tell you anything. It's how they act when they go out of church. And especially, how they act at home, behind closed doors. You see, we have to be committed to doing the right thing when nobody's looking, not just when somebody's looking that we wanna impress.
So, Paul said, "You're unspiritual. You having the nature of the flesh". And the Amplified Bible says, "You're [under the control of ordinary impulses]". In other words, they followed their own thoughts, they followed their feelings and their own will. They wanted God to do what they wanted. They were not at the point where they were ready to do what God wanted them to do. I noticed, for some reason, a couple of weeks ago, when I was reading, that Jesus didn't just pray one time not to have to drink the cup if it was possible. He prayed three times, the same thing, in the Garden of Gethsemane. "Father, if possible, take this cup from me. Nevertheless, your will be done and not mine". "Father, if it's possible, take this cup from me. Nevertheless, your will be done and not mine". Went away, came back again, "Father, if possible, take this cup from me. Nevertheless, your will be done and not mine".
So, what I get out of that is Jesus really didn't wanna go to the cross because he knew how, and it wasn't just the physical pain. He became sin. He didn't just take our sin, he became sin. And I cannot even imagine how absolutely horrible that must have been for him. But the thing is, is even though he had something he wanted, he wanted what God wanted more than he wanted what he wanted. I don't want you to miss that. Because that's the place God wants us to be at. That's a mature Christian. Although you have something, you want, or you have something in your life you don't want, that you will still do things God's way, no matter how you feel about it, because you want what God wants more than you want what you want. Amen? I love that. And then he goes on to tell them why he knows that they're unspiritual. He said, "As long as [there is] envy and jealousy and strife and factions", which is divisions, "Among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men"?
So, envy, jealousy, strife, all of these things that bring division among people. We have no power if we're not unified. And you will not accidentally get along. You only get along if you do it on purpose. Because there is nobody that you're around that you're gonna like 100 percent of everything they do. It is impossible to get along with people if you are not gonna be extremely generous in forgiveness. Amen? And there are people in here, today, smiling at me, that you're mad at somebody. You may have even come to church with the person you're mad at. And it might even be a secret. Maybe it's something that only you know. You know, you act like everything's ok.
But see, strife is a very interesting thing. And I, you know, I'm so glad that God taught me this early on in my life because we have really worked at keeping the strife out of our life. And I will tell you something, I never have, and I never will stand behind this pulpit and preach when I'm angry at anybody. I will swallow every ounce of pride that I've got and apologize whether I think I was wrong or not. I will not get up and preach God's word with anger in my heart. And we all need to be very committed, I mean, it is a very, very huge problem. There are so many people that are mad at somebody that I've just pretty much made a decision that I'm never gonna preach a message where I don't say something about forgiving people. Because the Bible says plainly, that if we will not forgive other people, then God will not forgive us. We seem to kind of ignore that.
But we need, "Well, Joyce, you don't know what they did to me". Well, maybe they don't deserve your forgiveness. We don't deserve God's forgiveness, see. He never asks us to do anything for somebody else that he hasn't first done for us. And again, and again, and again, and again, God forgives us for the same thing. He never gives up on us. He always believes the best for us. But he says plainly, "If you don't forgive other people, then I won't forgive you". And I don't want anything between me and God. I need him in my life. And I need him full force in my life. I need to hear from God. I need to be led and guided by God. I, honestly, don't know why anybody who's not saved even bothers to get out of bed every day. I just don't know how I could make it through one day if I didn't have Jesus in my life. And even though, whoever you might be mad at, it's probably nobody in here, but maybe you know somebody that's mad at somebody, I don't know. Maybe, when you get mad at somebody, they don't deserve your forgiveness, but you deserve peace.
Let me say that again. Maybe they don't deserve your forgiveness, but you deserve peace. And why should you be mad at somebody that's out having a good time and couldn't care less that you're mad. You don't hurt them being mad at 'em, you hurt yourself. And as long as you stay mad at them or you're trying to get revenge, you block God from taking care of the situation. But if you pray for them, like the Bible says, and you bless them, you don't talk badly about them. You pray for them. And if they have a need, you will even meet that need: wow, how powerful that is. "Well, Joyce, it's just too hard". No, it's not. God never tells us to do something that's too hard for us to do. We have to quit using that excuse, "It's too hard".
God will never tell you to do something that you cannot do. I'm gonna say it one more time. God will never tell you to do something that you cannot do. I have never seen so many people in the world mad, like today. It's everywhere. And hopefully not as much of it in the church as everywhere else. But I've never preached a message on strife or unforgiveness or anything like this. If I do ask for a show of hands, which I won't bother today, but if I do, I never have less than 75 to 80 percent of the people, in the church, of the people that I'm preaching to, never had less than 75 to 80 percent of people raise their hand and tell me that they're angry at somebody.
So, it's no wonder that we're not impressing the world very much. Every single person in here, myself, my husband, the people we brought with us, each one of you, we all individually have a responsibility to get the strife out of our lives and work with God to keep it out. No matter how much pride you have to swallow, and you can't have strife without pride. Where there's strife, there's pride. "Well, they don't deserve my forgiveness". Well, you don't deserve God's forgiveness, and neither do i. Strife is defined as: "Bickering, arguing, heated disagreement, and an angry undercurrent". And the part of it that's really scary is the angry undercurrent. Everybody kinda knows something's wrong, but nobody knows what it is. Doesn't seem to be an anointing.
You know, two people can preach the exact same message, word for word, and one of them will penetrate your heart and change your life, and the other means absolutely nothing to you. Well, what's the difference? The anointing. It's the anointing that breaks the yoke of bondage off of people's lives. Let's just say that you have a worship team, and whoever was the worship leader left for some reason. And so, now, there's a position open for the worship leader. And of course, most of the people in the worship team wanna be the leader and there can only be one. And so, let's just say that some of the people in the worship team are a little fleshly, they're a little unspiritual, like Paul said. And so, when somebody else gets chosen for the worship leader, they don't like it, so, they start a little... Behind the scenes. "Well, she couldn't sing her way out of a paper bag. My dog can sing better than her".
And those things are killers. They kill the anointing. And so, all of a sudden, if somebody doesn't put a stop to it, and I wanna ask you, today, to take on a new job. I want you to become a strife stopper. Instead of just standing passively and listening to people, be bold enough to say, you know, "I really don't wanna hear that" or, "Let's talk about something positive," or, "You know what? We're not perfect either". I mean, there's something you can say to let that person know that you're not gonna get in on that. Don't just stand and be a garbage dump for somebody to fill full of garbage and let them poison your spirit. Every time that somebody says something bad about somebody to you, even if you don't wanna believe it, it affects you in some way. It affects the attitude that you have towards somebody. And then you have to fight to keep good thoughts about them.
And good grief, today, with the Facebook, merciful day. I mean, somebody can tell you something about somebody, and you tell one other person, and they get onto Facebook, "Have you heard"? And it doesn't even begin to be true. Doesn't even begin to be true. I mean, I had to get up a couple of years ago, somebody said I was dead. And people were calling the office. They were crying and carrying on. "Joyce is dead". I had to, actually, get on Facebook and say, "I'm still here. Guess what? I'm alive". But the crazy thing is, is people believe. They just believe whatever they read. And one of the things the Bible says in Matthew 18 that we definitely need to get around to obeying. It says, "If you have aught against your brother, you go to your brother privately". It doesn't say to go to somebody else. It says you go to your brother privately and you deal with it with him.
When somebody comes to you and tells you a tale on somebody else, the first thing you should say is "Have you talked to them about it"? People don't wanna go talk to the person that they're angry at. They want to gossip, and judge, and criticize. And we have to be strife stoppers and get to the point where we refuse to even be part of it. "Well, I don't wanna make 'em mad". Well, I think that we actually have a responsibility toward one another to confront each other if we're going down the wrong path. All love is not goo and goosebumps. I mean, really, if you love somebody, sometimes you have to be willing to tell them something that they don't wanna hear. Amen? So, strife, you gotta keep the strife out of your life. We can learn how to disagree agreeably. We can do it respectfully. Everybody has a right to their own opinion. But even like, this thing we've been through with the pandemic, and I mean, families have split over who's gonna get vaccinated, who's not gonna get vaccinated, who's gonna wear a mask, who's not, I mean, that, really? I mean, each person has a right to do what they feel they want to do. And nobody needs to have anything to say about it.