Joyce Meyer - Seven Fears to Avoid
Does anybody here ever experience any fear? You know the main purpose of fear is to hold you back, to keep you from going forward. And I want you to listen to what I'm gonna say. We receive from God through faith, and we receive from the devil through fear. I'm gonna say that again. We receive from God through faith. And we receive from the devil through fear. If we fear the fears that he tries to put on us, then we're giving him an open door into our lives. And there's only one reason the Bible ever gives not to fear. And it's in the Bible all over the place. God says, "Fear not for I am with you". He doesn't tell us what he's gonna do or when he's gonna do it, but we don't really need to know. We just need to trust God that he will do the right thing, at the right time, if we continue believing in him. "Fear not for I am with you".
Now, he didn't say not to feel fear. He said not to fear. And the word fear means to take flight or to run away from. So, the whole big thing about fear is nobody can stop you from feeling fear. Nobody can stop the enemy from attacking you with fear. But just because you feel fearful, or you shake, or you tremble, or you know, it's something you've never done before, that doesn't mean that you can't confront it. Come on. Fear is not gonna just disappear unless you confront it. You have to learn to say, "No, I'm going to do what God is asking me to do. I will not fear". You know, David said so often in the Psalms, "I will not fear". And I think he was making a statement that he needed to hear himself. And we need to hear ourselves say that "I will not fear. I'm not gonna let fear rule my life".
And so, I heard a story many years ago, and the little story was called "Do it afraid". And it was about a woman that had been fearful all of her life. She was talking to another Christian lady. She was afraid to go out at night, afraid to drive, afraid, afraid, afraid, afraid, afraid. And she was into a little self-pity party and telling this friend of hers how, you know, fear had stolen her life. And the lady just looked at her and said, "Well, why don't you just do it afraid"? And, man, did that ever open my eyes? Because whatever made us think that because we feel fear that we can't go do what, you know, God wants us to do. Now, I'm not saying, you know, like, somebody said to me the other day, "Do you wanna", oh, what do they call that stuff where you jump out of airplanes? Skydiving. I said, "No, I don't wanna do that". "Are you afraid of it"? "Yeah". But it's not, God's not asking me to jump out of an airplane.
You know, I mean, I'll do what he tells me to do whether I'mma feel afraid of it or not. But I'm not gonna go, I don't wanna ride a roller coaster. I'm not gonna ride one. I don't like that feeling of whoo, whoo, whoo. I just don't like it. I don't wanna hang-glide. I don't wanna skydive. I want my feet on the ground. Thank you. And so, when I say, "I do it, afraid," I'm not talking about just, you know, doing dumb stuff to prove you can do it. I'm talking about doing what God tells you to do. Amen? So, I'm gonna talk to you about seven fears to avoid. Yeah, skydive, yeah. And I wonder how many I'll get through, we got through three last night, but we'll see how well we do. The first fear I wanna talk to you about is the fear of evil. David said, "I will fear no evil, for you are with me".
Well, evil is just bad stuff. Afraid something bad's gonna happen. Now, usually that develops because you've already had kind of a lousy life. I was sexually abused by my father for as many years as I can remember being home. He was inducted into the service the day I was born, and so he only saw me one time until I was three. I don't know if that made any difference or not. Probably not. I think he had incest in his family growing up. But my mother was afraid of my dad. He was kind of a violent man, beat on her pretty often. And went out every weekend and got drunk, and he was just plain mean. Anybody grow up with any parent that was just mean? And when you get hurt when you're little, it kinda gets embedded in you and it just does take a while to get it all fixed.
So, don't be discouraged and don't give up. Just keep one step at a time going forward until it's over. I married the first guy that came along because I thought nobody would ever want me. And he was a con man, went to prison, ran around with other women, on and on and on. I was abused by a couple of uncles. Grandfather tried. So, I just, I didn't have a very good life. And until I met Dave when I was 23, he was 26. But by then, I didn't know how to receive love. I didn't even really know what love was because anybody who had ever told me they loved me had hurt me. My dad said he loved me: you know? All these people who hurt me said they loved me. And so, without even realizing that I had gotten there, I got to the point where I thought I was protecting myself. I was afraid to expect anything good because I didn't wanna be disappointed. So, I kinda just waited for the next bad thing to happen.
And once I entered into what I call a serious relationship with God, because I went to church a long time before I got serious about it. Anybody know what I mean? And I mean, I've loved the Lord since I was little. Not because anybody in my family took me church. But I had a praying grandpa, and I guess he prayed for me because it seems like I've always known that God was real, and I always had a love for him. And I remember when I was a little kid, my mom and dad sent me to a Lutheran Sunday school with some people down the street, probably just to get me out of the house. And I can remember after the pastor would preach on Sunday and, you know, of course, I had these big high lecterns where they stood. And I would go home and lay in bed and re-preach the sermons in my head, and think, "Now, if I was doing that, I'd say this. And if I was doing that, I'd say this".
And so, God does have a plan for us from the very beginning. Sometimes it just takes us a while to get hold of what it is. And so, God had to work with me and get me over all these fears. And one morning, I was standing in the bathroom getting ready to go for the day and I felt what I usually felt was this thing in my atmosphere. And I didn't even really know what it was. But it was just like, I always felt like this pressure, this negative pressure around me. And I finally, just stopped and I said, "God, what is this"? And I heard two words: "Evil forebodings," which I had no idea what that was. But as God would have it, he had me, not turn right then, but sometime, in the next few days, I came across Proverbs 15:15. And it says, "All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings]".
So, it's not our circumstances that make us miserable. It's the way we think. How many of you believe that? I mean, you know, you can have an awful problem and if you think about it right, it doesn't bother you nearly as much. I mean, some people can have a little problem and they think about it in such a way that it becomes a big problem. So, let me just say a good word for learn how to think like God thinks, and your life will be so much better. "But he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of their circumstances]". So, God started teaching me to get rid of this fear that something bad was gonna happen all the time.
And I just wanna encourage you, if you got any of that going on, then just get bold enough to say, "Nope, I'm gonna start believing something good is gonna happen to me". And you say, "Well, what if I believe that and nothing good happens"? Well, then, believe it again the next day. I mean, you have nothing better to do than to believe the Word of God. Amen? Anybody ever experience these evil forebodings like I'm talking about? You just, you don't know what it is, but you just wonder what the next bad thing is. I love Psalm 27:13 and 14, in the Amplified Bible. "[what, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living". Wow, what a scripture. David's saying, "What kind of an awful life would I have had, had I not believed that while I was still alive on this earth, I was gonna see good things"? Everybody say, "Something good's gonna happen to me".
I'd like you to form a habit of saying that three, four times a day, out loud, make the devil mad. Talk out loud, he can't read your mind and say, "Something good is going to happen to me". Then it says, "Wait and hope for and expect the Lord". See, wait doesn't mean to just sit around. Maybe you're not doing anything physically but spiritually, in your heart, you're believing for something good to happen. That's what hope is. It's an expectation that something good is about to just happen at any moment in your life. Just imagine what would happen if we would live, I mean, live every day with that kind of an exciting expectation at any moment something good is gonna happen to me?
Now, it takes a little effort to do that. It don't take any effort to think negative stuff because the devil will just drop that in your head. But we can form new habits. Isn't that good? That we can form new habits, and just, so, I'm encouraging you to start. Start today and start believing "Something good is gonna happen to me today". And I like to add to it, "And something good is gonna happen through me today". Don't just want good things for yourself. Want God to use you to do good things for other people. "Something good is gonna happen to me and through me today". I pray, every morning, that God will put somebody in my path that I can bless that day. Get your mind off yourself. You're not as interesting as you think you are.
So, just get your mind off yourself and look for somebody that you can be a blessing to. Even if it's just, give 'em a compliment, or say something nice, or give 'em some help, or, I mean, there's so many people hurtin' in this world, and you and I have the ability, a God given ability, to turn their life around. Some of you are looking for a ministry. Well, I'll give you one. Go encourage somebody, make somebody smile today. Amen? We always go to church to get a blessing. "I'm gonna go get my blessing". Well, you blessed, sweet little thing, you. Why don't you start going to church to be a blessing to somebody? Without faith, we're gonna live in fear. Without faith we can't receive from God. And without fear, we can not receive from Satan. God is waiting to be good to you.
Do you know that? But what are you waiting for? You know, I think a lot of people just, they don't really have any plan for the future. They just get up every day and wait to see what's gonna happen. But Isaiah, 30:18, once again, the Amplified Bible. I can't help it. I just love the Amplified Bible. I know it's an older translation and lot of people don't like it because it gets kinda lengthy in some places, but I just love it. So, since I'm the teacher, I'll teach out of it, if I want to. I taught out of the Amplified Bible so long I've got so much of it memorized, not because I tried to memorize it, but when you teach as much as I do, it just gets down in you, and so. I've tried being good and teaching out of all these other shorter, more modern translations, but I just like this one, so.
Isaiah 30:18 says, "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you", which means good to you. He longs to be good to you. "Therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice". And what that means is he makes every wrong thing right. Whoo, I love that. I mean, God'll take the bad stuff the devil did to you and just cram it right down his throat, if you give him an opportunity to. I mean, look what happened to me in my childhood and what God's letting me do now. Whoo! Gotcha back devil! Amen. Now, you can spend your life feeling sorry for yourself, but that's not gonna help you. Or you can just say, "Well, God, I want you to turn this mess into a miracle. Make it a message. Make it something that's gonna help somebody else". Amen? "For the Lord is the God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him".
I don't think I got the Amplified translation, up here, it's something else, but basically, in the Amplified, it ends up saying that God is looking for somebody to be good to, but he can only be good to somebody who's looking for him to be good to them. So, what are you expecting? "I dunno. Lunch. I wonder what they got to eat out there". Who cares? I'm trying to save your life, right now! Trust me. You won't starve. Amen. Something good is gonna happen to you. Get just a little bit excited. And believe with me. I'm believing for you that something good is gonna happen to you. And I don't want you to forget it. If next week, nothing good's happened yet, then just keep believing. And by the way, I don't know what we think is good, but every one of you are so blessed you can hardly stand it. All you have to do is go somewhere like India or Africa, and you'll figure that out real quick. Amen?
Matter of fact, I think we're so blessed that we're so spoiled that we just keep wanting more and more and more and more. We don't wanna be inconvenienced in any way. We don't wanna hear the word suffer. We don't wanna hear the word discipline. We don't wanna hear the word diligence. We just wanna go sit somewhere and have everybody pray it on us. Psalm 23:4: "Yea, though I walk to the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me: your rod and your staff, they comfort me". Now, David was in a situation where he could have really been afraid of some bad stuff happening. But he said, "Yea, though I walk through", there it is again. He's going through. He didn't get stuck in the middle he went through. God's presence, in our lives, is the reason why we don't have to live in fear. Psalm 1:33: "But whoso hearkens to me [wisdom]", this is wisdom talking, "Shall dwell securely and in confident trust, shall be quiet, without fear or dread of evil".
So, we find this all over the Bible that we're not to be afraid of bad things happening. Now, bad things do happen, but we have a good God who can take care of those things. Do you realize that you do not have a problem that God can't fix? You say, "Well, why hasn't he fixed it"? Well, you know, a lot of times, to be honest, we think we're waiting on God and he's waiting on us. Let me just throw this out for something for you to think about. Is there anything that God has told you to do or to stop doing and you haven't obeyed him yet? Yeah, but you know what, honey? That ouch can turn into a hallelujah. We need to get a few more ouches in church. And yes, I'll call this a church. We're in an arena, but we're the church. Amen?
So, you get to go to church, if you go tomorrow, you'll get to go four times this weekend. Amen? I love these. I love doing this. I just love being in these meetings. I love the worship. I love the atmosphere. I love to be with decent people. Wow. I mean... You'd get blessed today if you did nothing but just come and sit in the middle of all these people. Amen? I like you guys. You're cool. Amen? Yeah, thank you. This is a pretty town. It's just peaceful and sweet here. Ok, the next fear we wanna talk about is the fear of rejection. See, I'm already on number two. The fear of rejection. Well, because I'd been rejected, as a child, I mean, you know, because of what my dad was doing to me, I had a little bit of a off personality. And I couldn't have any friends. My dad didn't want me to have any friends. And so, I was always having to make up excuses at school for why I couldn't do this and why I couldn't do that, and why I couldn't do something else. And then, the first guy I marry, he ran around with all these other women, and a couple of different times he would just leave me.
One time, when I was 18, we went to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He took a job where he'd drive cars to other places, and they'd pay you for that. And then, he would work at a used car lot there. One night, he just didn't come home, and he just left me in Albuquerque, 18 years old. I didn't know what, in the world, was going on. He did it again in Oakland, California. And so, I mean, here, I'm young, I'm 18, 19 years old and, you know, I didn't wanna call my parents and ask for help cuz I knew what asking for help from my dad, would amount to. And so, I didn't wanna do that. Toward the end of that marriage, well, I had one miscarriage, but then, I got pregnant, had a baby that I named of all things David. Don't ever try to tell me God don't have a plan, amen?
And so, sure enough, I met Dave when David was not quite a year old, and maybe you've heard this story, but it's still worth saying anyway. Dave pulled up in front of my mom and dad's house where I was washing my mother's car in short shorts. And he said, "Hey! When you're finished washing that car, you wanna wash mine"? I said, "Buddy, if you want your car washed, wash it yourself". And he said, the thing that went off in him is, "That's the girl for me". So, I can just tell you, he was either hearing from God or he was nuts, one of the two. So, he'd been praying for a wife. He was 26, born-again, spirit-filled, great guy. He'd been praying for a wife. And he said, "Make it somebody that needs help". Well, let me assure you, he got his prayer answered... Because we'd been married three weeks and he looked at me and he said, "What is wrong with you"? Well, I didn't think anything was wrong with me. I thought everybody else had a problem.