Joyce Meyer - Get Serious - Part 1
- How to know Jesus
We're gonna get right into the word this morning. And I just want to say before I start that I never go anywhere and just pull out a message. I always try to say what I believe what God wants you to hear, because I do believe that God has a word in due season for each person that he brought here, today. See, I believe our steps are ordered. I don't think that we just accidentally show up places. So, if I'm here, today and you're here, today, then there's a purpose in it. And so, I want to talk you, this morning, about getting serious. It's time to get serious with God. And of course, I'm not saying you're not serious with God, but no matter how serious you are with God, I'm sure you could come up just a little bit higher, just like I could. And so, I need this message, even if you don't. And I was in church for a long, long time before I got serious with God.
So, you see, just the fact that you go to church doesn't mean that Christ is the center of your life. And that's what he wants. He wants to be the center of everything, and he wants to be invited into and involved in everything that you do. And so many people think, "Well, I go to church". And, you know, Jesus didn't die so we could all have a religion. He died so we could have a personal, intimate, powerful relationship with God through him. It's about our personal relationship. If you're looking to find out who's spiritual, don't look in the church because we all get spiritual when we get here. You know that. We all bring our church face. We've all got one.
I remember years and years ago when Dave and I would have, then, our three little kids, and by then we were baptizing in the Holy Spirit and going to, you know, it was happening, and it was the word and faith movement. And I mean, an hour of church service that was like, you didn't hear of anything like that. They were 3 hours long, at least. And we'd fight all the way to church. Let me tell you something, if the devil's gonna stir anything up, it's gonna be before you get to church. And you know why that is? The Bible says in James that the word must be "Sown", this is the Amplified, "In a heart of peace by those who work for and make peace". That means I've got to get here in peace, and you've got to get here in peace. Otherwise, we're wasting our time.
And so, Dave and I would, you know, spit and spat, and argue. And of course, the kids would be having fits and he'd be swinging in the back seat, trying to get them to shut up. But let me tell you what, when we got to that parking lot, we got spiritual, just like that. "Praise the Lord! Glory to God"! "Well, Dave and Joyce, how y'all"? "Well, we are just wonderful, praise God"! And I can remember my seat was right where this lady's at, right here. See, we had our own seat 'cause we were in leadership, and that was very important to me, back then. It's amazing how many things are important to you that you look back and you think, "Why did I think that was so important"?
And so, we were sitting right where this lady is, that was my seat. And I and Dave would sit right on the outside like that. And I can remember, with my hands lifted up, singing, "I surrender all", and thinking, because, you know, you can sing and think at the same time. You can sing what's up there and think something totally different. It's amazing. And I would be thinking, "If he thinks I'm cookin' him anything to eat today, he has got another thing coming. He can starve, as far as, I'm concerned". So, I was spiritual. I went to church every week. We always tithed on Dave's income. Believed in that very strongly. And I was on the church board, went out each week with the evangelism team. And I did love God, but he was not the center of my life. And I was a Christian, but I was not a serious Christian. And I wasn't happy. And I just kept crying out to God, "You gotta do somethin'. You gotta do somethin'".
And, you know, when you get desperate enough, you don't care what he does. You don't care if you get a Baptist miracle, or a Pentecostal miracle, or a Methodist miracle. You just want God to do something. And so, in 1976, God touched my life. There was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit around the earth, and I was filled with the Holy Spirit. And I can honestly say that I have never been the same from that day until this. Now, I didn't just change overnight, but something changed in my heart, and I really, really fell in love with Jesus. Really.
And that night, it was a Friday, and I bowled on Fridays. On Friday night, we were in a bowling league. And I wasn't doing very good that night, nor was I accustomed to hearing from God. Because the church I went to, at the time, they never talked about anything like that. And I heard this whisper in my heart, "Well, why don't you ask me to help you bowl"? And I thought, "Well, God don't care about that. That's dumb". And that was my first lesson in learning that God cared about every single thing that I did.
And I want you to remember that. God not only loves you, he is in love with you. And I'll give you a little analogy that will help you, here. Dave and I dated, not very long, but we dated. We actually had five dates and got married, which I don't recommend very highly but, I always say that Dave married me before he figured out what he was getting, because I was really a mess. I'd been abused by my dad, sexually abused by him, for many years. And I won't get into that story, but let's just say that I looked okay on the outside, but I was really messed up inside. And I thought when I got away from my mom and dad's house, that I got away from the problem.
Now, I want you to listen to this 'cause somebody needs to hear this. Well, I got away from the problem, but I took the problem with me in my soul. That's why we have to let God do a work on the inside of us. And it's not easy. I'm gonna tell you, right now, that it's not easy. Pastor Franklin was talking about all the places he used to stay and, people just don't have any idea, when you say you've been in ministry 45 years, what you are now is not the way you started out. I mean, my goodness, we've been through all those days, too. And I feel just like you do. If you're jealous of anything I got, then take it up with God 'cause, I had many, many, many, many days that I did without, and served God for nothing, and was happy to do it.
And we got too many people today that wanna be paid for every move they make. And we need to be willing to serve God and do it out of the goodness of our heart because we really love him, not just to get paid, but, so, Dave and I, actually, only had five dates and got married. And he pulled up in front of my mom and dad's house, I was outside washing my mother's car and I had on shorts, short shorts, and of course, I was only 23 and I had the hair piled on top of my head like we did back then. And he was a born-again, spirit-filled man ready to get married. And he had been praying and asking God to give him a wife. And he was dating three women at the same time. And I said, "Dave, definitely, believed that faith without works was dead". He was goin' for it.
And so, he saw me, and he said, "Hey, when you're finished washing that car, you wanna wash mine"? And, I was a smart Aleck, I didn't like men, didn't trust men. I mean, you know, I wanted a boyfriend. I liked men in my life, but I didn't trust 'em. I had a distrust for men. And I just looked at him and I said, "Buddy, if you want your car washed, wash it yourself". And he said, "The thing that went off in him was, 'that's the girl for me'". And I'll tell you what, really, God does make you to go together because Dave liked the fact that I was a challenge. He liked that. Now, who would like that? But he liked that. He loves my kind of sassy personality. And so, while I was dating Dave, I didn't get his name.
Now, come on, we're going somewhere with this. And Dave had a car: I didn't have a car. Dave had a little money: I didn't have much money. And but, you know, this wonderful thing happened the minute we got married, I got his name. And all of a sudden, I had a car. And all of a sudden, I had money. And so, I just wanna ask you, today, are you dating Jesus or are you married? See, we like to use the name of Jesus, but you better ask yourself first if you have a right to. See, he's been given the name above every name. That "At the name of Jesus, every knee must bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth". And Jesus said, "Whatever you ask in my name, I'll do it".
I mean, there are some almost unbelievable promises and such power in that name, but I don't believe that people who are just dating Jesus have a right to use that name. I mean, you can use it, but I don't think there's gonna be real power released in it. And I believe that it's time for everybody to make a decision, and it is a decision so this is the decision Sunday, about getting serious in your relationship with God. And if you're gonna be serious, it's gonna require more than just coming and sitting and listening to somebody else preach who's done all the work all week, and then, sadly sometimes, leaving and judging everything they did and said. Amen? We have gotten to the point, in the church, and of course, this is not every person.
I'm not throwing stones at anybody but, when I was not a serious Christian: I gossiped, judged people, I didn't think anything about my thoughts, or my words, or hurting people's feelings, or jealousy, or unforgiveness, but I went to church. And somehow, or another, we get the idea that going to church makes up for everything else. That's why if I was looking for somebody spiritual, I wouldn't look in the church. I'd look at home, behind closed doors. Because it's what you do and what I do when nobody's looking that really makes a difference. And I remember when God first started training me, in ministry, I wasn't able to go to Bible school. I already had three kids when God told me that he wanted me to teach his word. And I was the least qualified, least likely person, in the whole world, to be doing what I'm doing.
So, please, believe me when I tell you, if God can use me, he can use you. Amen? And I didn't think anything about doing those things. And God started, I always say, "I didn't get to go to Bible school, but I went to the school of the Holy Ghost". And that's the best school to go to. And I'm gonna share some more of those things in the second service, which I know you can't all stay. But I think that we have gotten to the point where there's certain sins that are just acceptable sins. Do you know that there are more people who call themselves Christians that are angry at somebody?
Matter of fact, I just wonder how many people, if I ask and said, "How many people are in here today that you can honestly say that you are not mad at anybody, you have no unforgiveness in your heart toward anybody"? And we all need to be able to say, "Yes," right away, and not even have to think about it. And Satan gains more ground in the lives of believers through unforgiveness than through anything else. And I believe it is one of the biggest problems that we have today. People are mad. And half of 'em don't even know what they're mad about. And the Bible tells us, in Matthew 24, talking about the end times, there's a little sign of the end time there that you rarely hear preached on.
We hear about the wars and the rumors of wars and the famines and the earthquakes and all those things. But in Matthew 24, starting in verse 10, it says that "Many will be offended". And people get offended so easy, today. It's just, it's ridiculous. The stuff that people get offended over. And it says, now, I want you to listen to this, "The love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the wickedness and lawlessness in the land". Well, we've got the wickedness and the lawlessness, it's going on. We all know, without even having to think about it, that our world today is in worse shape morally than it has ever been in. And this is our time. This is our time to shine. Do you hear me?
You didn't just happen to be born in this time frame, you were picked and chosen by God to be alive at this time in the earth. And what an honor that is. What a privilege that is. And see, I have this belief that if we would just get out in the world and behave like Christians and really walk in love, I mean, real love, that it wouldn't take long, and we'd be settin' little fires everywhere. And you know, every person that accepts Christ, they affect numerous other people. I mean, I have people tell me all the time, "I started watching your program. Got saved, and now, my mom's saved, my dad's saved, my uncle's saved, my cousins are saved, and", you are gonna win more people one-on-one than we ever will from these pulpits, because most people who need Jesus aren't gonna come here to find him.
Now, there's some here, today, that need to surrender your life to Christ, but most lost people aren't watching Christian TV. Now, I'm on so many stations, it's hard to get away from me in the morning. And you switch the channels all you want to, and you're gonna keep running in to me. I've had some funny stories about that. One man told me that he was high on drugs one night and he said he flipped his button, and my program came on and he thought, "I don't wanna watch this stupid junk".
So, he flipped it again and nothing would happen. He couldn't get it to go anywhere. He said, "The only button on my remote that worked was the one that turned the sound up". He said "I couldn't turn it down, I couldn't turn it off". So, he said, "I went and got batteries, changed the batteries in the remote, still didn't work". And he said, "The minute your program was over, my remote started working perfect". But most of the people that need Christ are working next to you. They're in the grocery store with you. They drive in traffic next to you and they see your bumper sticker. And they see that Bible you carry to work. And they see your Christian Jewelry and all of our paraphernalia, that says, "Look at me, I'm a Christian".
But then, if we don't behave like Christians, then that's why they say, "You're all a bunch of hypocrites". And Jesus didn't have some very nice things to say about hypocrites. Now, you know, I write books all the time. I write, write, write, write, write. And I guess I've written now, I don't know, 160 books, something like that. And my worst selling books have been the three that I've written on love. Now, that makes me mad, 'cause you know why? People won't buy what they need. They buy what they think is gonna get them something. And we need to get more serious about really turning our lives over to God and saying, "Here I am, Lord, do whatever you wanna do with me. I surrender. I give myself to you completely, and I want you involved in everything I do: from how I dress, to how I bowl, to who I choose for friends".
You know, there's people sitting in here, today, if you would just get a new batch of friends your life would change, 'cause you just, you're hanging out with people that are sucking the life out of you instead of adding life to you. So, I was a Christian a long, long time before I became a serious Christian. And I want all of us to look at our lives today and just ask ourselves, "Am I really serious about this? Is Jesus a part of my life all day long, or do I just go to him when I have a problem"?