Joyce Meyer - Exposing and Eliminating Strife - Part 1
I'm teaching this weekend about the dangers of strife and the importance of peace. If you know how important peace is, you'll do anything you have to do in order to have it. But if you don't realize how important it is, then you'll never have it, because the devil is constantly setting you up to get you upset. Amen? It's challenging to go through one whole day and not get upset about anything, but let's just say, how many could go a whole week? Well, Jesus has given us peace. John 14:27, "My peace I leave with you: not as the world gives do I given unto you. My own special peace I now give to you". But here's the important part. So, "Stop allowing yourselves to be upset and disturbed. Stop allowing yourselves to be fearful and intimidated".
And I love to say this, and I don't know how many of us really get this, but we're partners with God. God is not gonna do everything for us while we sit back and do nothing. That's not what prayer is. Prayer is not just asking God to fix your problems. It's also cooperating and asking him if there's something he wants you to do to change things. And so, Jesus has given us peace, but it's our job to hang on to it. And I'm an expert in this because I was not peaceful. Trust me. And if I can learn to live in peace, anybody can learn to live in peace. But I had to be willing to make a lot of changes.
And I said last night, and I'll say it again, you are never gonna to walk in peace, you're never gonna live in peace without humility. And humility is, I think, probably the most challenging Christian virtue to develop and to maintain in your life. 'cause we've all got a big ego. We don't want to be told what to do. We always wanna be right. We wanna be first. We wanna be on top. We really like to judge and criticize and gossip. I don't know why we like to gossip so much. But it's just, boy, if you know something, it is very hard not to tell it, isn't it? And, but a lot of times it's those things that cause strife. We start telling things and telling things. And I mean, I made the mistake last weekend of deciding, "I'm gonna look myself up on the internet".
Whoo, buddy, I found out some things about me I didn't even know. People just say stuff. You know, they just make stuff up. Or they hear something, and they just pass it on to somebody else and it just. You need to be careful about how much time you spend on that social media, because if you start believing everything that you read in print, you're gonna end up hating everybody. Amen? And don't get on there and leave some nasty opinion about somebody and then not even have the guts to sign your name to it. That's really bad.
If you're gonna get on there, say somethin' nice, say somethin' pleasant, say somethin' happy. But strife, and I said this last night but I'm gonna say it again quickly today, by the way, I'm starting this morning on page one of my notes where I was supposed to start last night. I did preach the message, but I somehow or another didn't get it in the direction it was supposed to go in. But I think it turned out alright anyway. So that's normally the way it is with me. I spend weeks stuffing all this stuff in me and then it comes out however God wants it to come out.
And I said last night, when God first gave us the call to start, Joyce Meyer Ministries, he really spoke strongly to my heart and said, "There's three things I want you to do, and if you do them, I'll bless your ministry". How many of you want to be blessed in your life? Okay. Well, the blessings from God don't fall in your life just because you go to church, tithe every week, and read your Bible. "Well, I don't understand why I've got all these problems, I tithe". Well, what else do you do? See, we gotta, you can do the right thing here, but then kill it by doing the wrong thing over here. And Psalm 133 says that where there's unity, that it's like oil being poured down on the head of Aaron and running all down his face and on his beard and all down his body, you know, that's the way they anointed people who were called into ministry, serve as kings and prophets back in the Old Testament. They didn't just dab them, they poured oil on them and that represented the anointing.
I am so grateful for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. And in 1 John 2, it says that we all have an anointing from God. And if you don't know what that word means, boy, you need to study the anointing. I'm reading a book right now on the sacred anointing. It's getting me all stirred up again. I mean, we have to have God's anointing. And what that is, is his presence and his power on our life, enabling us to do things. And you can have a little bit, or you can have a whole lot. And I want all I can get. And yes, God's gifts are free, but we can't buy the anointing, but we can make it stronger or weaker depending on how we live. Amen?
So, if you want God's anointing on your life and you don't need an anointing just for ministry. Let me tell you something, you need an anointing to get in and out of the grocery store in peace. If you've got teenagers, you need a strong anointing. Amen? If you're married, you need an anointing. Amen? If you've got a dog, you need an anointing. So, it says that where there's unity, where people are in agreement, gettin' along, maintaining peace, there's anointing and blessing. And I want to live a blessed life, don't you? Being blessed doesn't mean just havin' a lot of money, that can be part of it, but it's joy, and peace, and favor. Favor is so amazing to watch God open doors for you that, you know, God did that. You can't even explain it, but you know that it was God.
I love havin' this little, awesome, intimate, secret relationship with God where he does things for me that wouldn't make any sense to anybody else, but I know it's God just giving me a little wink. And sayin', "I gotcha girl. You're doing okay". Amen? And my heart, I love to see people born again, but I so hate to see people receive Christ and then never grow up spiritually. And so, we have to have the full counsel of the Word of God. We need to hear all the encouraging things, but we also need to hear the word in a way that it will correct us and help us want to get from where we are to where we need to be. And I've kind of been assigned that part. And God does give you an assignment. And my job has always been to help the believer mature and so he can have the things that Jesus died to give him. And this thing about peace is it's a key part of this whole thing.
In Ephesians 6, it talks about spiritual warfare, beginning at about verse 10 going through 18, and it says that God has given us armor. And it's not armor you can see, but it's spiritual armor. "We war not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers and wickedness in high places". There are evil spirits, demons in the world, just like there's angels. And you need to think about that once in a while that you've got angels that have been assigned to you that travel with you all the time. You ought to just say, "Hey," to 'em once in a while. "Hey, I'm glad you're watching out for me. Thank you, Jesus, for my angels". But there are also demons. And I know people don't like to talk about this kind of stuff, but we can't stick our head in the sand and pretend like everything is just que sera sera.
Listen, the devil hates you. And he hates anybody that's trying to work for God and spread the gospel. And God has told us that we can protect ourselves by wearing the armor that he gives us. But it's spiritual armor. It's the breastplate of righteousness. It's knowing who you are in Christ and not living under condemnation. Don't waste another day of your life feeling guilty. If you have done something wrong, then repent, ask God to forgive you, receive it, shake it off and go on. You say, "Well, what if I keep doing the same thing over and over"? Well, then keep repenting over and over, and trust that God is working in you and keep trusting him to set you free. Peter said, "How many times must I forgive my brother"? And the answer he gave really was "However many times you need to".
So, if God tells a person to do that, surely, he does it himself. Wear that breastplate of righteousness. Get over being insecure and comparing yourself with somebody else all the time. Hey, you got what you need. You got what it takes. If you're born again, God lives in you. You're the house of God and you can do whatever you need to do through Christ, if you lean on him and trust him. Tighten the belt of truth. The truth is the Word of God. Put on your shoes of peace. Walk in peace. The helmet of salvation. Think like a Christian. You know, the Bible says that if you look at a woman and have lustful thoughts about her, it's the same as actually committing the act of adultery. So, we gotta do something about this thinking thing. That's why I teach about it so much.
"Well, I can't help what I think". Yes, you can. We won't get into that, I'll never get off page one. I'll be gone this afternoon, and still will not have gotten off page one. There's scripture in 1 Peter 3:10 and 11 that I absolutely love, love, love, love, love. 1 Peter 3:10 and 11 in the Amplified Bible says, "For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days, [good, whether apparent or not]". And I like that, so that's basically meaning that your circumstances might not be good, but it can still be a good day. I like that. In other words, the devil can throw his best shot and you can still have a good day. "Let him keep his tongue free from evil". Well, there's the mouth again. I'll just throw this out for free. When you have a problem, don't start complaining.
Do you know that complaining opens a door for the devil? The Israelites murmured and complained. And God got so tired of it, he finally let serpents into the camp and 23,000 of 'em died in one day. And it was all because of complaining. And I'm not telling you, you're gonna drop dead if you complain. But I am saying that it opens the door for the devil to steal your joy, and your peace, and your blessings, and your favor, and all the other things that you say you want from God. Now, we all make mistakes with our mouth, but here again, we can repent. "Oh, God, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I take that back. I'm gonna pull it back, Lord". Quick, say something good. God is so good to us. I said this just last night as we were closing, but I heard this a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was so good. What if you woke up today and all you had was what you were thankful for yesterday? Amen?
"Let him keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile. Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do what is right". You know, this is really a pretty simple deal. Jesus has provided everything and all he says is, "If you love me, you'll obey me". He did not say if you obey me, I will love you. That's already settled. He's gonna love you. God will never love you any more than he does at this moment, right now. God loves you completely and totally, unconditionally. He loves you. I'm sorry, I don't care how big of a stinker you are, he loves you. He loves you. God loves you. Amen? And if we really learn to appreciate that and soak in it, we have to respond with obedience. I'm gonna say something that, ah, I don't know, maybe I shouldn't say, but I say a lot of things I shouldn't say, I guess, 'cause I think it needs to be said.
You know, you can pray what we call the sinner's prayer with somebody in a meeting. But I'm gonna tell you the truth, if you are truly born again and you really made a serious commitment, I don't think it's possible for anybody to be truly born again and never change. I just don't think it's possible. Because when you receive Christ, he comes to live in you, and boy, the war is on. Your spirit wars against the flesh and the flesh wars against the spirit. Things you could do before and them not bother you at all, you do them now it's gonna bother you. And I pray God will just keep bothering you and keep bothering you and keep bothering you until you can't stand it anymore, and you do what he wants you to.
How do you like that for a loving prayer? And you know, you need to, instead of just praying, "Oh, God bless them. Lord, bless uncle Charlie and aunt June and", no, "God bother them. Send the Holy Spirit after them and don't leave them alone until they submit to you". Amen? And that is a blessing. You are praying for them to be blessed when you pray like that. That's why the Bible says to "Pray for your enemies, bless and do not curse them".
When you pray for your enemies to be blessed, you're not praying for them to get a new car and a big house. Really the biggest blessing they can have is for them to see truth and face that truth and let God deal with them. And there is nobody, listen to me, there is nobody that God cannot change. I don't care how bad they are or how long they've been that way. There is nobody that God can't change. "Turn away from wickedness and shun it". Verse 11, "Let him do right. Let him", now, this is the part I don't want you to miss, "Let him search for peace".
See, you gotta want it. You gotta figure out how the devil is stealing your peace and get the upper hand over him. He knows how to push your buttons. "(harmony: undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, moral conflicts) and seek", seek is a very strong word. It means to go after with all your might. "And seek it eagerly. Do not merely desire peaceful relationships with God, with your fellowman, and with yourself, but pursue and go after them!]" I pray that a whole bunch of people here today make the decision that I made years ago, "I am not gonna live without peace. I refuse to live without peace any longer. God, I don't care what you have to change in me, change it. No matter how much pride I have to swallow, give me the grace to swallow it".
Because I can tell you what fighting with somebody just to prove you're right is not worth the price you're paying to get it. First, you have peace with God. And that comes through either doing the right thing to start with or when you do make a mistake and sin, repenting right away, seriously repenting right away. And we're all gonna do plenty of that in our life because there's none of us that do it all right all the time. And this peace with yourself is so important. And I'll tell you why it's important, you cannot have peace with people if you don't have peace with yourself.
What kind of a relationship do you have with yourself? I like myself. I didn't for a lot of years. I hated myself and I thought about only what was wrong with me. I didn't like my voice. I didn't like this. I didn't like that. I didn't like my thighs. I didn't, you know, it was just. Come on, if you don't like your feet, too bad it's the feet you got. Just doctor 'em up, put some rhinestones on those toes. It is miserable if you don't like yourself because you never get away from yourself. You know what it's like to spend one afternoon with a relative you don't like. Well, think about spending your whole life with somebody you don't like. You can't even go to the bathroom without you. You can't give away what you don't have. And if you don't have love in you, you can't give it to somebody else. And that's the high command on our life.