Joyce Meyer - Don't Let Conflict Steal Your Peace - Part 2
Humility is required in order to live in peace, probably the most difficult of the Christlike virtues to gain and maintain. Pride was what caused Satan to fall. And trust me, he tries to trip us up with the same thing. Humility means to be low-lying, but not in a negative sense like we would think. It means to stay under the mighty hand of God, to wait on him instead of trying to get things done yourself. Let me ask you a question. Who's in your life that you're trying to change right now? Yeah, little, low grumbles. Your husband? Your wife? Which one of your kids? Your mom, your dad, your neighbor? You can't change people. You can pray for 'em. But only God can do an inside job.
And Dave always likes to remind people, when you start praying for somebody, I mean, really sincerely praying for them, first of all, don't ever ask God to change somebody else without first asking him to change you. 'cause you don't want to start your prayer in a spirit of pride. "God, change them. Change them. Change them. Change them". I well remember when I was praying for Dave to change. And I mean, I was after it. I was loud. "God, you gotta change, Dave! I can't put up with this much longer! God, you gotta change, Dave"! And God said, "Dave's not the problem". I thought, "Well, who is? There's only me and him". And I'll tell you what, God opened my eyes and showed me what it was like to live with me and I cried for three days.
So, some of you that are blaming everything on everybody else, you might want to take an hour or two and look at yourself. Maybe, just maybe, maybe not. You know, it's easy to blame everybody else for our problems. "Everything's your fault, your fault, your fault. Well, I wouldn't even act like this if you didn't, if you didn't, if you didn't". You know, each one of us is responsible for our own behavior, no matter how somebody else acts. Amen? And let me just throw this in too, stop giving somebody else the responsibility for your joy. Come on. "Well, you didn't make me happy". It's lowliness of mind, and I love this. Not to think less of yourself, but to think of yourself less. I'll say it again. Humility is lowliness of mind. In other words, you don't think more highly of yourself than you ought to. You don't think you're better than other people. Matter of fact, you really just don't have yourself on your mind all that much. Because you're busy thinking about what you might do for somebody else.
If you want to get so happy, you can't hardly stand yourself, you just ask God to work in you to get over being selfish. And it isn't gonna be easy. And it'll be a lifelong project. But none of us can be selfish and happy at the same time. See, I thought, "Oh, you're the problem. You're the problem. You're the problem. You're the problem". I even thought sometimes God was the problem and the devil was certainly the problem. We like to blame everything on him. But I was the problem. That didn't mean that everybody else was doing everything right. But the devil loves it when he can get us looking at everybody else and what's wrong with them because then we don't pay attention to what God's trying to do in us or tell us. And so, nothing ever changes.
So, it's not thinking less of yourself, but it's thinking of yourself less. My gosh, don't you ever just get sick of me, me, me. If I'm all I have in my life, what a pitiful life it is. Jesus humbled himself. Do you know that when he washed his disciples' feet, there was no job that was any lowlier? The lowest of servants in the house had the job of foot washing. And so, in John 13, when we see that beautiful story of how he took off his garment and put on a servant's towel and got a basin of water and a towel and knelt down and washed his disciples' feet, and you get all the way to verse 17 and it says, "Now, knowing these things, blessed are you if you do them".
And that doesn't necessarily mean that we have to get a pan of water and go wash everybody's feet. He's talking about having a servant's attitude. An attitude of "What can I do for you? How can I help you"? What would have happened, how many of you are married? Okay. What would have happened if when you got married, your goal was to just see how happy you could make the other person. Go ahead, snicker all you want to. But see, we expect other people to make us happy. Isn't that right? We expect, you know, "You didn't make me happy". And so, then this would be the first thought that I would have, "Well, if I don't take care of me, who's going to".
Well, God. At least that's what he says. But in order to experience that, you have to wait a little while. And nothing will change for a while and the devil will tell you, "It's not working. And you better get in there and take care of this yourself, and you better tell them that they're not going to treat you like that". "If you think that you're gonna walk all over me, you have got another thing comin'. Because I am far too important for you to treat me like that". Come on, I've got some relatives out there. Hey, I can only preach this 'cause I've lived it and still live it. I've gone through all this stuff. Man, when you grew up like I did, you had a bad case of "If I don't take care of myself, nobody's going to". And I didn't trust anybody, especially not a man.
And then you get married and then if you do get serious about the Bible and you come across those scriptures... That say a wife should adapt to her husband. Oh, I can still feel the pain that I felt the first time I read that. I didn't even know how to spell adapt, let alone do it. I wanted everybody to adapt to me. Come on. It is so painful to give it up and trust God to take care of you. I guess that's really what I'm asking you to do tonight. Stop arguing and fighting and being mad at people and arguing with people and trust God to take care of you. When you feel like somebody mistreats you, believe what the Bible says, "That I am your vindicator".
The Bible even says that God will pay us back for the wrongs that people do to us. But he doesn't just give you back what was taken. He gives you back double. Double. I call it double for your trouble. You know, job went through a really hard time. I mean, you read The Book of Job and you think, "How did that man stand it"? And he was a righteous man. Good people don't always have good circumstances. Paul said, "When I try to do what's right. Evil is always present". Well, we all know what that feels like, right? "Oh God, I'm just tryin' to do the right thing and nothin's workin' out". Well, that's the only way the devil knows how to get you off of tryin' to do what's right. Make you think it's not workin'.
You know, when we grow, now, this is good if you get it. When you're doing what's right, while nothing right is happening to you, come on. And you're tryin' to believe that God will take care of you. You're waiting, you're waiting, you're waiting, and nothing's happening. Just wait it out. Because if you can wait on God, oh, honey, let me tell you, when God decides to move. Whoooo! I mean, you are gonna see favor and blessing and open doors. I mean, God's gonna do things for you that will just leave you with your mouth hanging open in awe. God has opened doors for me in this world that just don't even make any sense. So, how do we humble ourselves? By casting our care on God and believing that no matter what anybody does to us that is mistreating us or is not right, that God cares for us, and he will take care of it.
Now, I'm not talking about letting somebody abuse you or beat you or that kind of stuff. That's not what I'm saying. So, don't take what I'm saying out of context. Obviously, God doesn't want you to be letting somebody beat on you. But I'm just talking about all the ordinary stuff that happens in everybody's life. And I don't know about you, but I just finally got tired of trying to take care of myself. And so, I decided to retire from self-care and throw a big party. Now, obviously, I teach that we should take care of ourselves, but I don't mean like by worrying about how everybody's going to treat us and what they think of us and all that nonsense. How many of you realize you can have a lot more peace in your life if you would stop trying to impress everybody and care so much what they think of you? What about Jesus' humility?
Philippians 2:8, "Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross". Now, can I just tell you plainly that it is impossible to obey God without some pain? Because when God puts on our heart to do something that we don't want to do, every little ounce of flesh that we have screams. So, when the Bible talks about suffering, it's not talking about suffering disasters, and horrible things that, you know, shouldn't happen to you. It's talking about, I mean, we suffer just when we want to say something so bad, we can't hardly stand it, but we know the Holy Spirit is telling us, "Shh"! And your flesh is goin', "Mmm"! Are you all understanding me?
You know, it's really not all the big things that get us in so much trouble. It's the little things that go on at home behind closed doors. There's a great scripture, and I'm still on page one of my notes, so, no, I haven't even gotten to page one yet. These are the pre-notes, the ones I added. I'm gonna go all the way over here to the last scripture I was gonna use. Just for a minute here, 'cause this is so good. Okay, in James 3, it talks about how strife opens the door for rebellion.
Verse 14, James 3, oh, we'll just start in 13. James 3:13, Amplified, "Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention," which is strife, "(rivalry, and selfish ambition) in your hearts, don't pride yourself on it and be in defiance to the truth. This kind of wisdom does not come down from above, but it's earthly, even devilish".
Verse 16, some of you wonder why you have rebellious kids, I'm about to tell you. "For wherever there is jealousy (envy) contention", strife: mom and dad arguing all the time, saying disrespectful things about each other either to the kids or on the phone to somebody else. "(rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices". Kids aren't created to live in a house listening to their parents, "Yak-ak-ak-ak" at each other all the time. They want to know that you love each other. It gives them confidence when they know that you love each other, and it causes them to respect you instead of rebelling against everything that you say.
Now, I know I'm throwing out a big dinner here tonight. Eat however much of it you can, and I can promise you there will be more tomorrow. But I wanna get down to verse 18, and we're just gonna have to take a little bit of time and go through this. They'll put it on the screen. "And the harvest of righteousness, which is (conforming to God's will in thought and deed)". So, God gives us his righteousness when we receive Christ, it's our gift. But there needs to be a harvest. God wants a harvest from that seed that he sows in us. He wants good fruit to come from that which comes as we obey God in thought and deed. Not just when we go and sit on a church pew once a week and underline in our Bibles, but when we do what the Bible tells us to do.
"The harvest of righteousness (conforming to God's will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed...]", now, listen to this, "Sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and others]". Now, you probably, right now, don't have any idea what that means. So, I'm gonna explain it to you. If you come to church or you come to this conference, when we first got into this and I didn't know what I'm telling you tonight, I can remember when Dave and i, the devil would stir some kind of trouble up every Sunday morning. The kids would act up. We'd lose the car keys. Kid couldn't find their shoes, whatever. The devil would try to make certain that we were all upset when we left. Hmm? And that's because he does, even if you go to church, he doesn't want you to get there and have any peace. Because if you don't have any peace, you're not gonna get anything out of what you hear.
So, he says that the seed of the word must be sown in a heart of peace by someone who works for and makes peace. So, I have to get here in peace, and you have to get here in peace. And no matter how much we smile at each other and say, "Praise the Lord", it's the heart condition that matters. I can remember standing in the front row singing the songs on the overhead. You know, it's easy. The words are right there, they're big, you can say 'em. And standing there next to Dave thinking while I'm singing "I surrender all" thinking, "If he thinks I'm gonna cook him anything to eat today, he has got another thing comin'. Because all he does is play golf and leaves me to do all the work. I work, work, work. And he plays and the kids play". "What about me"?
I can remember when Dave and I would argue all the way to church. First person we saw that, "Oh, praise God". "Oh, how are you"? "Oh, fine. Thank you, Jesus. We're just fine". "If he thinks I'm cookin' him anything to eat today, he's got another thing comin'". Get in the car and argue all the way home and then wonder why we weren't being blessed. After all, we were tithing. I mean, "After all, I'm going to church. I'm reading my Bible every day and I'm tithing, why am I not blessed"? Because you have strife. You're mad at ten people. Some of you even came here tonight with somebody you're mad at. And I won't ask for a show of hands. I will give you my word that I will never get in this pulpit angry. Never.
I don't care how much pride I have to swallow, how many people I have to apologize to, I will not do it. And if you will make that same commitment that you will never go to hear the word without having your heart full of peace and having forgiven everyone that you have anything against. Satan gains more ground in the lives of unbelievers through their unforgiveness than any other way. Back to the beginning. First of all, you have to recognize strife and then you have to realize how dangerous it is. Well, how can we have more peace and more unity? Well, don't get angry every time you don't get your way. It's good for me and it's good for you not to get our way sometimes.
And it's good for your kids not to get their way all the time. Don't always need to have the last word in a disagreement. Get very wise about when to shut up. You know, when the voice octaves get to a certain level, that's a clue, "I'm about to get myself in trouble. I need to leave the room now". Be willing to admit that you could be wrong, even if you don't think you are. It's hard even thinking about that, isn't it? Apologize quickly. When you have a problem, it doesn't really matter whose fault it is. Peace is worth much more than being right.