Joyce Meyer - Don't Let Conflict Steal Your Peace - Part 1
If there's anything that the devil works at really hard, it's trying to keep us upset. Make you mad. Get you mad at somebody. Get you frustrated. Get you to worry. Jesus said in John 14:27, "My peace I leave with you: I give it to you". "I bequeath it to you," one translation says. "Not as the world gives do I give to you, but my own special peace". See, the world can be at peace when all of its circumstances suit it. But we can be at peace when nothing is going right in our life because we have a helper. We have somebody that we can ask to take those problems and work 'em out for us. And I'm gonna tell you a secret. You may not know this, but you have permission to enjoy your life while you have a problem.
And a lot of people don't know that. They think they're obligated to worry about their problems. But what you're supposed to do is cast your care on God and trust that he's taking care of your problem and go ahead and live the life that Jesus paid such a terrible price for us to have. "My peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives do I give unto you. But my own special peace I now give unto you". But then in the Amplified Bible, the classic version, it says this: "So, stop allowing yourselves to be upset and disturbed. Stop allowing yourselves to be fearful and intimidated". So, Jesus has done his part. Now, we need to do our part. You say, "Well, I can't help it".
Well, that's one excuse you need to throw away tonight. "I can't help it. It's just too hard. But, but, but, but". Excuse me, but you need to get rid of your but. Amen? All the time we're like, "Well, I know I should do this, but... I know I shouldn't do this, but... I know I shouldn't say this, but..." and we need to just stop all that because nothing that God tells us to do is too hard for us to do. We just have to really, really want to. How many of you really are serious about your relationship with God? I mean, I hope so, because if you're not, you might as well go ahead and leave now. Because I don't go out and do this just because I'm looking for something to do. I really want to see people have what Jesus died for us to have. I want you to know who you are in Christ. Have confidence. Be bold. Be strong. Enjoy your life and have the things that Jesus died for you to have.
One of the things that Paul said that I really like is he said, "I am going to take hold of those things for which Christ Jesus died to take hold of me". And I love that statement. "I am going to press on to take hold of those things for which Christ Jesus died to take hold of me". Are you enjoying the things that Jesus died for you to have? He didn't just die for us so we could have a miserable life and then someday go to heaven. There's so much more to being born again than just someday getting to go to heaven. That's wonderful. And I guess it would be worth it if there was nothing other than that. But John 10:10 is very clear, "The thief comes only to kill, to steal and destroy". But Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows". And Romans 14:17 says, "The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink: but it is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost".
Righteousness means that you know by the blood of Christ, you have been made right with God. That your sins have been forgiven. You don't have to live guilty and condemned. When you know that you can have peace. And when you have peace, you can have joy. So, we're gonna work on these things tonight together and help everybody make a whole lot of progress. When Dave and I began our ministry, five years I taught home Bible studies. That was my beginning years. I didn't know hardly anything, and I would just learn things and teach them to the people that were coming to the Bible study. There's about 25 people every Tuesday night in my home. And I was faithful to that. And I probably studied even harder for that than I need to now 'cause I know more now than I did then.
But then, I felt like I was supposed to stop those Bible studies and I went to work at a church, a new church in my city, and they asked me to start a women's Bible study, which I did, and it grew very rapidly and got very large. It got to be between 400 and 500 ladies a week coming to this meeting. And so, then God really began to deal with me that he was finished with me there. Thank you, Lord, and that I was to take the ministry and go north, south, east, and west. And I had many confirmations because I was petrified to step out. I had no money. I had no real qualifications. I had nobody to help me. I had God. And nobody knew me, north or south, east, or west. So, I kinda felt like Abraham when God said, "Pack up your tent and go". But he didn't tell him where to go.
Well, that's the way I felt the day I walked out of my job. They didn't take a big offering for me and give me a bunch of money to start my ministry. I left with a calculator and a dented desk to go north, south, east, and west. So, I just did the only thing that I knew to do. We lived in st. Louis, which we still live there, and so we started meeting once a month in north st. Louis, east st. Louis, west st. Louis, and south st. Louis. We went north, south, east, and west. And I did thousands of meetings of 50 people and 70 people and 60 people. And boy, if I ever got 100 people, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Don't despise the day of small beginnings. If you're faithful, if you wanna be used by God and you're faithful in those early, little, beginning years, eventually things will grow. It always takes longer than we'd like it to.
But to be very honest with you, that is good. Shooting stars usually fall down about as fast as they went up. You gotta have time to learn, to grow and to go through some things. Come on, I said to go through some things because that's how we gain experience. Hebrews 5 says that Jesus "Gained experience through the things that he suffered, and they equipped him to become the author and the source of our salvation". I love that. I'm gonna quote that again because that says a mouthful. Jesus learned through the things that he suffered, and he gained experience. How many of you have some experiences? Well, if you can not be bitter about 'em, then maybe God could just use them to help somebody else. You might not have a ministry like this, but we've all got a pulpit. It may be your backyard fence. It may be your desk at work. But we all have a pulpit.
And if everybody who calls themselves a Christian would just get out in the world and act like one. Not just in church, but out in the world where people are looking for Jesus. You may be the only Jesus they'll ever see, and you can preach without ever opening your mouth. And so, the experience that Jesus had equipped him. And some of you don't realize it right now 'cause you're going through some tough times, but you're getting equipment. You're getting what you need. Come on. How many of you have ever asked God to use you? Well, honey, it's on. See, we say all these, "Oh, God. I surrender all". Really? Okay, well, give that a try and see how serious you are. Well, give an extra $10 in the offering, "Well, I don't know about that".
You know, we want to surrender the things we want to surrender, but God wants to do such a deep work in people, and it is so needful at this hour in history. The world, by and large, does not respect us. And the reason why they don't is because so many people just put on a little Christian Jewelry and go to church and carry their Bible around, but they don't really live the life out in the world where people need to see them. And so, when we started our ministry, north, south, east, and west, God spoke something to my heart. And we've been very diligent to try to obey that. Now, here, some 40 years later, or 37 years, I think. So, I've actually been in ministry about 47 years. And he said, "I'm gonna give you three things to do and if you do them, I'll bless your ministry. Whatever you do, do it with excellence".
We serve an excellent God, and we should not be sloppy in any way, shape, or form. If you're gonna do a job, do it the best that you can do it. Amen? "Always be a person of integrity". That means do what you say you're gonna do and then do it. So many people today don't keep their word. "Oh, I'll call you next week and we'll go to lunch". And you no more intend to call them than fly. You're just trying to get rid of them. You know this story, I mean, the workmen that don't show up when they're supposed to and all that. I mean, the world has just gotten so sloppy. And he said, "Keep the strife out of your life, out of your marriage, out of your home and out of your ministry".
You say, "Well, why would that be important"? Well, because God works where there's peace. And you'll see as we go through tonight that where there's unity, there's anointing. And if you don't know what the anointing is, my son is in his early forties and he said, "A lot of people my age don't even know what the anointing is". Well, it's the presence and the power of God on your life. It's what makes things work. I can stand here and say all the right things, but if I had no anointing on my life, you would all be so bored it would be pathetic. Why would people come as far as some of you did and pay $15 to get into the parking lot and just to hear some lady stand and talk? Because it's God's anointing that breaks the bondages off of our lives. But if I wanna have that anointing on my life, if you wanna have that anointing on your life and you want what you do to be blessed, then you have to learn how to live in peace and in agreement.
And let me say quickly, you don't have to agree with everybody to live in agreement. You can learn how to disagree, agreeably. You have a right to your opinion, but you don't always have to give it. Come on, I wanna say that again. You have a right to your opinion, and I should respect your right to have your own opinion. We're not all alike. We have different personalities. We come from different backgrounds. We think differently, sometimes even about the same thing. But God expects us to get along. We gotta find a way to get along. And that's only gonna happen through, get ready for the word: humility. Well. One person is a tiny bit happy. Humility, of all the Christian virtues, I think, is the hardest to come by and the hardest to maintain. Because there is nothing in our flesh that wants to humble itself.
We want to be first. We wanna be in charge. We wanna be right. We wanna have the last word. We don't want anybody telling us what to do. And that's especially a problem today. I mean, people don't want, "Don't tell me what to do". I mean, we've even had people come to a Christian gathering like this and we'll have a section blocked off where we don't want people to sit and they're like, "I'll sit where I want to". Well, just get outta here, you ain't gonna learn nothing, 'cause you don't even have a heart open to learning anything, if that's your attitude. Proverbs 14:30, "A calm and an undisturbed mind and heart", now, just get this, "A calm and an undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body".
Health! You know how many people are sick just because they're mad? Or how many people are sick just because they worry all the time? Eighty-five percent of all illnesses, the illness is real, but the root cause of it, is stress. And you can take all the pills you wanna take, but it'll be just like playing that game of whack-a-mole, if you ever saw that. You can knock it down one place and it will pop up somewhere else. So, I mean, it is important to me that you understand tonight that this is not just a nice little message that I threw together to come to Austin and preach. But I want, by the grace of God and the help of the Holy Spirit, to somehow get you convinced that you've gotta have enough humility to wait on God for things and not try to make everything happen yourself.
Did we ever see Jesus lose his peace? No. I mean, he got accused of stuff all the time. He didn't even answer people. "Whatever you think". Why do we think that we have to try to prove that we're right all the time. You know, being right is highly overrated. Let's trust God enough to stay under his mighty hand and let him exalt us in due time. And all it takes sometimes is just to shut your mouth. Oh, but that is so hard! When somebody accuses you of something or they say something to you, you don't like. We have to defend ourselves. We have to convince you that we're not like that. "You've got it wrong". We argue about so many things that just don't make any sense.
When I think now about the things that Dave and I used to argue about, you talk about stupid. I mean, it was stupid on steroids. I mean, I can remember us arguing about who an actor was on TV. I always say Dave thought everybody was Henry Fonda. I don't know if you know who he is. He's long gone now. So, some of you may have never heard of him. But it would make me so mad, "That is not Henry Fonda". "Yes, it is". "No, it's not". "Yes, it is". "No, it's not. You always think everybody's Henry Fonda"! And then he'd say, "Don't say that word always. You always say, 'i always'. And I don't always"! And he still tells me that.
But how many of you agree that we argue over stupid stuff? It just doesn't even make any sense. Or we're going somewhere, and I think he should go a different way to get there. And so, that becomes a big thing. "Well, why are you going that way"? Well, why couldn't I just be quiet and let him go the way he wants to? You know, we just need to let the man drive. Just let him drive and keep your peace. Amen? A man does not want to be told anything when he's behind the wheel of the car. He does not want to be told anything. Aren't you guys, you like me now, don't you guys? See, I'm helping you. Well, we'll get around to some things for you later. But I just wanna lay this groundwork, so you see how silly it is. How useless it is when there's such serious things going on in the world.
And when God so desperately needs us to represent him in a way that people are gonna respect and cannot deny. People can argue with you about thousands of things, but if you can get out in the world and just walk in love. Wow. Didn't Jesus say, "One new commandment I give unto you that you love one another, just as I have loved you"? Well, humility is required in order for us to live in peace. Jesus loves a gentle, quiet spirit. 1 Peter 3:3 and 4, "Let not yours be [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of Jewelry, or the changes of clothes".
And that doesn't mean you shouldn't wear Jewelry or wear clothes or fix your hair. What he's saying is you spend so much time on the outside trying to impress each other. Now, ladies, just, I say this in a spirit of love, so just take it that way. If we spent as much time getting ready spiritually as we spend trying to look cute when we go out, need I finish? I mean, I don't look like this when I get up. I had to work on this a long time. You gotta wash the hair, you gotta put on the makeup, you gotta curl the hair, you gotta comb the hair, you gotta try on your clothes, if you don't like 'em, you gotta put on another set of clothes and then you put on another set of clothes and we look at it every which way that we can look at it.
And then there's the other side of it. There's the people that you look at them and say, "Did you not look in the mirror this morning"? But it's all part of how we're gonna represent God and how we're gonna to live before him. So, let your's not just be getting the outside all ready, "But," verse four, "Let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and a peaceful spirit, which is not anxious or wrought up... But is very precious in the sight of God".