Joyce Meyer - Claiming What Is Rightfully Yours - Part 2
If you want or I want to be what God wants me to be, I'm gonna have to put out a little effort. Just praying is not enough to get the job done. I need to study the word. I need to cooperate with God. I need to pay attention to my spiritual life. If I sin, I need to repent. If I hurt somebody else, I need to go back and apologize. Are you all with me? Okay. So, after you're born again, and one of the first things you need to do is really understand that God loves you and he's made you right with him. He's made you holy. He has sanctified you. But the Holy Spirit is the agent in sanctification. So, it's interesting because if you read this big long definition in "The Vine's Dictionary" it says that "We are sanctified but being sanctified at the same time".
So, there's a whole lot of perfect stuff in us, but it's being perfected in our lives as we grow. So, we have a body, we have a soul, and we have a spirit. Now, all this good stuff has been done as a gift to us in our spirit. Man, if we could just turn everybody inside out, everybody would be great. But God has to work with us to first clean up our soul. And that's all that inner stuff that people don't see but they see the result of. It's like, you can be mad at me but still, "Well, Joyce, we love you with the love of the Lord". Whatever in the world that is, I don't know. But I want people to love me truly. Not just some kind of phony way. Amen?
So, God uses truth to change us. He's not mean to us. Correction is a blessing. It took me a lot of years to learn that, but I'll tell you now, I actually get excited when God corrects me. You say, "Well, why in the world would you do that"? Because that's one of the ways he shows his love. You know, if a parent won't correct a child, you don't love 'em. If you've got a 40-year-old child living in your house that won't work, come on, that's not, "Well, I just love him so much". No. No, I'm sorry, but that's not love. Love says, "You're gonna grow up. And since you're not doin' it here, you're gonna have to go find somewhere else to do it". Amen?
Now, when God corrects us: he's not mean, he doesn't punish us, he doesn't beat on us. In Psalm 23, the Bible talks about "Your rod and your staff, they comfort me". Well, you know, people back in the day, they took that "Spare the rod and spoil the child" way, way, way out of context. And so, when I was a kid or a teenager, you didn't get your cell phone taken away from you, you got slapped across the face or you got a belt on your behind. Now, I don't think that's the right way to do it. I don't think that's the way God does it. But he has his ways of correcting us. Let's just say that you're working at a job that requires you to compromise your morals in order to work there. And so, you like the money you make and so you do compromise. You won't just get out of there, which is what you should do.
Well, God is very capable of causing you to lose that job. Or let's just say that you're hanging out with people that are poisoning your life and dragging you down spiritually. And, you know, you should get away from 'em, but you don't. Well, maybe they'll end up hurting you really, really, really bad. Disappointing you and hurting you and you just think it's the most terrible thing. But actually, God has done you a big, big favor. Amen? But that rod and staff, the staff looked like a cane only it was made out of a stick. And it had a crook on the end of it. And if a sheep would fall in a pit or in a hole, the shepherd would gently put that crook around his neck and lift it up out of the pit. And the rod was a slender stick. They didn't beat the sheep with it. They would gently, if they got off the path, they would gently nudge them back on to the right path.
Now, see, that's the way God wants to do us. He's our guide and he wants to, any time we're getting off that narrow path, he wants to gently nudge us back on to the right path. Well, what happens in the world today, if you fall in a pit? Well, people don't treat you like God does. I got a little story, it's called "The man in the pit". Years ago, I came across a piece about someone who fell into a pit and couldn't get out. How other people treated that person. Do you ever fall into a pit? I do sometimes, you know, and sometimes I not only need God's help, I need like some personal help. I need a hug, or I need somebody to, you know, God works through people. He doesn't just work by himself. He works through people. And we all need encouragement. We need our friends to be there when we're hurt. But we don't need judgment. We don't need criticism. We don't need to be made to feel guilty. Everybody's already got enough of that. There's times we need to be comforted.
So, this guy's in a pit. "A subjective person came along and said, 'I feel for you down there in that pit'. An objective person came along and said, 'Well, it's logical, somebody's going to fall in the pit. Why not you'? A pharisee said, 'You know, only bad people fall into pits'. A mathematician calculated how the individual fell into the pit. A news reporter wanted the exclusive story on the person in the pit. A fundamentalist, said, 'You deserve your pit'. A Calvinist said, 'If you'd been really saved, you would have never fallen in that pit'. An Armenian said, 'You were saved and still fell into the pit'. And charismatic said, 'Oh just confess you're not in the pit'. A realist came along and said, 'Now, brother, that's a pit'. An IRS worker asked if he was paying taxes on his pit. The county inspector asked if he had a permit to dig the pit. A self-pitying person said, 'you have not seen anything till you've seen my pit!' An optimist said, 'Things could be worse'. A pessimist said, 'Things will get worse'. But Jesus, seeing the man simply reached down and took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit".
Come on, God gets the praise. So, God doesn't treat us the way that people do, thankfully! Now, one of the things that God does, oh, I got so much message and not enough time. John 15:1-3, "I'm the vine, my father's the vinedresser. Any branch in me", that's us, you know, "That does not bear fruit", uh oh, here we go, "That stops bearing fruit he cuts away (trims off, takes away): and he cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit". So, I got this figured out a long time, you're pruned if you do, and pruned if you don't, so you might as well go ahead and just try to do things right. And he'll prune us, even if I'm bearing good fruit, God will still deal with me and he'll prune me. He'll keep me trimmed back. In other words, he won't let you get too big for your britches. He'll keep you pruned back so you'll bear richer and more excellent fruit.
Now, we used to have a tree in our front yard, and it had, and they would grow back, every year we'd have to cut them off, what you call sucker branches and they're branches that are unsightly. They're in places where they shouldn't be. Like these would come out of the bottom of the tree or some of them would actually be part of the way up the tree. Well, they're not doing any good. The only thing they're doing, now get this, is sucking the life out of the tree so the good branches can't bear fruit. Now, do you have any life suckers in your life? Come on. Well, because God loves us, he prunes things off of us that are stealing from us. And I have this whole set of pruning tools that sometimes I bring when I do any type of message like this, but because of time constraints, I didn't bring 'em today. But, you know, you have everything from little things that look like a pair of scissors to these great big long chopper dudes to saws and everything else.
So, I want God to get after me when he's just got the little things. You know, I don't want to hang on to my sucker branches until he's got to get after me with the chainsaw. Come on. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Well, one time, when I was at work, Dave had somebody come out and prune that tree and he pruned it way back, I mean, until I thought, "What have you done to that tree"? I mean, it was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. But you should have seen that tree the next year. Oh, my gosh, it was so beautiful. And see, that's what happens, even if you're talkin' about real trees. We're tryin' to get this over into where it's people. But if you prune trees at the right time: and the best time to prune them is in the dormant season, and mature trees will handle pruning much better than younger trees. That's why sometimes you'll see a younger believer getting by with things that you know God wouldn't put up with out of you and you don't understand it.
Well, that's because a younger believer might, if God starts pruning them too early, they might just give up and quit. Where a more mature person already has a dependent relationship on God, and they'll put up with that stuff. I had a woman in my office one time that I was counseling and she had just gotten saved. Just gotten saved. She came to me: she wanted some advice. And in the course of this conversation, she just told me, without feeling funny about it at all, that her and her boyfriend had been living together for a long time. Well, I thought, "Well, I'm gonna tell her, you know, that that's got to go". And I mean that still small voice said "No, you don't tell her nothing. She's not ready for that yet. When the time is right, I'll tell her that it's wrong".
And you see, sometimes we wanna fix everybody. And they don't even comprehend there's anything wrong. How many of you know who Chris Caine is? Okay, well, I was shopping with her one day. And we went in this store, and the girl asked us what we were doing in town. And, well, first of all, she asked us, you know, "Are you from here"? "No, we're from" "Well, what are you doin' in town"? "Well, we're doing a Christian convention"? She said, "Oh, I'm spiritual, too". Well, right away I knew that that was a problem. How many of you know when you tell somebody you're a Christian and they tell you they're spiritual, that mmm... What kinda spiritual that is, you gotta wait and see. And so pretty soon she starts, we're talking and she's just using all these four-letter words and just cussing up a storm. And she said, "Oh," she said, "I guess I shouldn't do that". But she said, "But you know what? I believe God cusses".
Well, now I'm gonna protect God's reputation. So, I leaned across that counter and I said, "God does not cuss". Chris Caine snuck in around me and said, "But he really loves people that do". Now, you see, I was trying to clean this fish and we'd barely caught him. And that's we do. We don't always know how when the right time is. You got to be really careful when you start tryin' to tell other people what's wrong in their life because it actually could run them off. So, a good gardener knows the right time to prune. And I just want to tell you that I also think that it's time for some deep cleaning. How many of you got some stuff in your house that needs to be deep cleaned?
Well, you know, in Luke chapter 5, there's a story, but I don't have time to go there and read it, but the fisherman had been fishin' all night and they hadn't caught anything. And they were cleaning up their nets and getting ready to put 'em up. And Jesus came along, and he said, "Have you caught anything"? Which he already knew they hadn't. And they said, "No". And he said, "Well, cast out into the deep and get ready for a haul". I mean, that whole story, if you read it, is amazing. So, they didn't want to. But Peter, basically said, "Because you said to do it, we'll do it". And they went out into the deeper water and caught so many fish that their boat was sinking and so they had to call partners in other boats. And see, when we learn how to listen to a deep message, or how to read a book that's not all fluff, or how to go deeper in our walk with God and care more about what God thinks than what people think.
When we live like that, then God can bring so much good things into our life that we've got an overflow and we can begin to really help and bless other people, which is his will. God's not gonna give a bunch of stuff to a bunch of babies. You're not gonna let a ten-year-old drive your brand-new car. Amen? And so, we need to live a little bit deeper. A friend of mine cleaned her closet out. She got her daughter to come over and help her. And it was somethin' that desperately needed to be done. And when she got finished, she had 150 empty hangers. She said that thing was full of clothes that she used to wear before she gained a bunch of weight and she was saving 'em for when she lost weight. You know what? When you lose weight, celebrate and go out and buy new ones.
Well, you know, a woman cleaning out her closet is a painful thing. I gotta have help 'cause I might have ten black blouses. And you know what we do? I'll pull something out that I haven't worn in two or three years, and I'll think, "Well, I'm gonna give that away". But then I think, "Well, that's nice". You know, that, "No," so, I'll put that back. Then I'll go, "Well, but that", and then I go to the shoes, and I try them and it's like, "Well, they hurt my feet, but they're really pretty". Come on. But you know what we do? You can have eight black blouses you like, but two that you love. And every time you go to get dressed, you're always going to pick the one you like the best.
Now, other than my closet, I'm really good at throwing stuff away. But my husband has a little problem. I told Dave, he made the message today. Dave has an orange that's 60-years-old. It's petrified. It's as hard as a brick. But do you think that we could get rid of that orange? No, no. I may have to bury that orange with Dave, I don't know. And he loves bags. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many bags this man has. He has bags with handles. He has plastic bags. He has paper bags. He has, I mean, he's got, he keeps these little grocery bags, you know, that you come home with the plastic things, and he's got a place where he stuffs 'em. What are we going to do with those?
Now, my husband rarely ever gets really mad at me. Well, when we travel, we have plastic bags like you would get at the cleaners that go over our clothes. Well, I'm not the most patient thing in the world, so I rip them off. He takes them off neatly, folds them up and has a place for the plastic bags. Well, one day he saw what I was doing, and he hollered at me. He was like, "You stop that. You fold those bags up and you keep 'em. That's being wasteful". I said, "Dave, that bag probably cost a quarter of a penny".
Now, I've got a few things that I'm like that with. I've got probably 30 or 40 Bibles, but I don't, he just has an issue with socks, underwear, bags, and his orange. Amen? Sometimes I'll find a shoppin' bag full of brand-new socks and underwear and I'm like, "Why do you have all these still in the bag"? He said, "Well, I buy extra 'cause I really like these, and when I want some more in two or three years, they may not have 'em. So, I get 'em just in case". But in all seriousness, because I am out of time. It's time to invite God, "Bring correction in my life that's needed". And don't run away from it. Don't feel guilty and condemned. The Bible says in revelation that those whom the Lord loves, he tells their faults and it says, "So be enthusiastic and burning with zeal" when God corrects you. Amen? Let's pray:
Father, I pray that people will take this message to heart. That they'll really pay heed to what was said here today, and that issues that they've been putting off, areas that need to be deep cleaned in their life, in their minds, in their attitudes, that they will invite you to come and work in those areas of their life and not run away from them. Help us God to grow up and mature and not be baby Christians all of our life. We want to forget about ourselves, lose sight of ourselves, and offer ourselves to you as a vessel fit for your use. In Jesus' name.
Every head bowed, every eye closed. You know, your journey with God starts with salvation. And if you're here today and you just say, "Joyce, I need to have my sins forgiven. I want to become a Christian. I don't want to live the way I've been livin' anymore. I wanna know God. And I wanna know that he knows me. And I'd like you to pray for me today. I'm ready to surrender my life to God". Or you've been saved at some time and you've backslidden and you're far away from God now, if that's you, will you just slip your hand up so I can pray for you? Let's see. Let's see all those hands. Lots and lots and lots of hands goin' up. Lots of hands.
Okay, would you just do me a favor? Look at me. I'm gonna ask you to stand up. I'm not gonna bring you down here. But I'm going to ask you to stand up. And here's the reason, I'm not trying to embarrass you, but if you won't stand up in here, you'll never stand up out there. And we have to take a stand. So, if you meant what you said when you lifted your hand, I want you to stand up right now, real quick, and I'm going to pray for you. Come on. Stand up all over the place. Awesome. Hallelujah. Okay, I'm gonna pray. I want you to pray this prayer with me:
Father God, I love you. Jesus I believe in you. I know I'm a sinner. I'm sorry for the way I've lived. I turn away from sin. And I turn toward you. Please forgive me. Come and live inside of me. Take my life. I surrender. And make me what you want me to be. Now I believe... That I am saved. And you're gonna teach me. And I know I've got a lot to learn, but I want to learn. And I want to be what you want me to be. In Jesus' name. Amen.