Joyce Meyer - Get Serious - Part 2
- How to know Jesus
So, I was a Christian a long, long time before I became a serious Christian. 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? If that's the case, then you're just dating him, you're not married. When I began to hunger for the word, after I was filled with the Holy Spirit, and I really started being in churches where the word was really taught, not just doctrine. We need that. We need good, solid doctrine, that's the foundation we stand on.
But then we need to be taught how to live. And we need to say things that people can remember when they leave. And things that they can use in their everyday life, not just a bunch of stuff that sounds spiritual and floaty, and you know, it was all wonderful, but nobody knows what was said when they go home. And so, when I was hearing really anointed messages, and I was reading the word, not just to read my chapter a day to get my checkmark, the word becomes like a mirror. And, you know, you can have dirt all over you, but if you don't ever look in the mirror, you won't see it. Well, just think about it, you know. I could have a blob of mud here and some dirt, dirt, dirt, I just, you know, all over the place.
But if I never looked in the mirror, I wouldn't see it. And I mean some people, to be honest, I mean, even once in a while somebody that works for me, come to work and I think, "Did you not look in a mirror at all today"? I mean it's like, have on some shirt that they left in the dryer all night. You say, "Well, that's not stuff we need to talk about in church". Yeah, it is. 'cause we represent a God of excellence, excellence. And when Dave and I started our ministry, interestingly enough, God spoke to my heart and he said, "I'mma tell you three things to do, and if you do it, you'll be a success. Do everything you do with excellence". And excellence just simply means whatever you have, no matter how little it is, you take care of it, with excellence. You don't need to be driving a dirty car that's full of trash. And yes, some people we need to tell 'em, wash your car.
Now, that has nothing to do with whether you will go to heaven or not. That's not the point. The point is, if you're born again, your name's written in the lamb's book of life, but I'm talking about do you wanna represent Jesus? Do you wanna shine? And so, I love to preach on excellence. I love to teach on that, because to be honest, and please don't take this wrong, but our world has become so casual, and everybody wants to be comfortable. And you can be casual and comfortable, and still be excellent. Amen? I think it makes a difference. I just think it, I think it makes the difference.
And so, as I began to look in, really look in the word, I realized that I had a lot of dirts. I mean, just, I've got a list here of just some of the things that I did. And I went to church, tithed, was on the board, evangelism team, blah, blah, bumper sticker on my car, all that stuff. Big Jesus, rhinestone Jesus pin right here. I had unforgiveness in my heart. I had anger issues. I got mad if I didn't get my way. I was very selfish. I gossiped. I was judgment and critical. Filled with pride. Had a rebellious attitude. I was controlling, manipulative. My thought life definitely needed to be renewed, but I didn't think anything at all about what I thought. I didn't realize that I could cast down a bad thought and choose a good one.
And my words, my goodness. I mean, I had my mouth going all the time, but, I didn't know that words are full of life and death, and that we need to carefully choose what we say. And when you talk about things like the mind and the mouth, I mean, we need to hear those messages over, and over, and over, and over again. Because there are things that we quickly forget. God taught me, as far as excellence goes, he said, "I want you to be excellent". I'll tell you the other two things. God started teaching me a lot of things of all places in the grocery store. 'cause I had little kids, and I'd go to the grocery store two, three, four times a week. And one of the first lessons that God taught me about being excellent, was to put my grocery cart back in the place marked off for grocery carts.
Now, it took me... Do you know that we work harder trying to balance that cart? We don't wanna hit somebody's car, so we'll kick the wheels, and try to, so they won't roll off. And it's rolling and you got back, and you get it. Anything other than just, do what it says to do. Now, here's the sad thing, it took me two years, two years to get fully obedient. And I don't care if I had to walk a mile in the rain, I would not leave my grocery cart out in the middle of the lot now. Now see, that's a little thing. And so, we start, God don't care about that. But can I tell you today, and please remember this, if we will not obey God in little things, we will never obey God in big things. That's why I tell you, God was with me in that parking lot, and he was watching me in that parking lot. And who knows? I mean, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, if I would've never put my grocery cart back, maybe I wouldn't be here today. And I mean that. Because we get our training where we're at.
If you get to go to Bible college, that's great. But I wanna tell you today, you don't have to go to Bible college to be trained for ministry. You just have to start listening to what God tells you, and doing it. Amen? Oh, I had excuses about that grocery cart. "Well, I'm busy, I'm in a hurry. Everybody else leaves theirs out here, why do I have to put mine back"? But you know what? We're not everybody else. We're in the world, but not of it. We're supposed to stand out. We're supposed to shine, and be different, not act like we think we're better than other people. Because we're not better than anybody, but we need to be excellent. The second thing God said is, "I want you to be a person of integrity". "Don't ever mess around with the money that I give to you for ministry".
And so, we don't waste money at our ministry. 86% of everything that comes in, goes back out for ministry. We need to be people of integrity, people who treat people the way we would wanna be treated if it was us. Amen? When you have integrity, you don't treat people that you think are important, better than the people that you think are unimportant, 'cause you know what? God think, to God, we're all the same. And we, you know, that's the first rule of humility is, I'm no better than anybody else, amen? It took several years for me to even start giving my husband the respect that he deserved. God had to deal with me about that a long time. Because I just, from being abused naturally, I had a bad attitude about any man trying to tell me anything, because my dad was controlling.
And I always said, "When I get out of here, no man will ever tell me anything". Well, I had made commitments to myself that needed to be broken. And I used the abuse in my life as an excuse for bad behavior. One day I was kinda pray-arguing with the Lord, and I said, "Well, I wouldn't have all these problems if I wouldn't have been abused". And he said, "Yeah, that's right, but don't use 'em for an excuse to stay that way". See, I've had problems. You've had problems. But we can't use our problems as an excuse for bad behavior. Nor can we let people with bad behavior pull us down to their level. That's when we have an opportunity to show God.
I just wrote a book called "Loving People That Are Hard To Love". The world is full of people that are hard to love, but that's exactly what God wants us to do is, love them anyway. Because that is one thing that everybody understands, everybody wants, and few people have, real love. And I'll just quickly say about love, love is not a feeling. And that's where we get all mixed up, we think it's a feeling. There's four words, four Greek words that are translated love, but actually they mean different things. One is a Romantic love. One is a type of friendship. One is a family love. And one is the agape of God, the divine kind of love that is in us, because the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Ghost, when we're saved. We can love people: we just have to be willing to do it. Amen?
And love is not how I feel about somebody, it's how I treat them. And we need to be doing more for people. We need to have more random acts of kindness. Just because you love to give, just because you're like God. You don't have to know somebody. You don't have to like somebody. But I need and you need to be extremely generous, and that's more than just putting an offering in the plate in church. It's everything from giving compliments, to forgiving. You know, a lot of times we pray for God to do things that we could easily do, and just don't want to. Yeah, one time I was praying for somebody, I don't know, I forgot what it was now. Let's just say they were behind on their rent. "Oh, God, help Mary Jane pay her rent. Oh, God, help her, give her the money to pay her rent. Send somebody to help her, God".
You know what the Lord said me? "Stop asking me to do things that you could easily do, and just don't want to". I hope you just remember even two of these things you're clappin' about. I'll be happy if the middle of next week you could tell somebody just two things. And I am not kidding you. I wrote a book called "Reduce me to love," a long time ago that didn't sell. I tried "Love revolution," maybe ten years ago. And that was the worst selling book I have ever had. And now, "Loving People That Are Hard To Love", is doing okay, but not great. And it really just spiritually makes me mad. And I think it's a righteous kind of anger, because I don't like it that people won't get what they need.
See, we want everything comfortable. And I'll be honest with you, and I can say what I want, I guess, because I probably won't be back for a good while. We need to hear a little more preaching on suffering. See, you're not clapping as loud as you were for some of the other stuff. We need to hear a lot more preaching on sacrificing. Motives. Oh, does it get quiet in a church when you preach on motives. Because your motive, only God knows that. Did I do it to be seen? Did I do it to be well thought of? Did I do it to think well of myself? Or did I just do it because I love God? Did I really just do it? I mean, I can't tell you how much I want people to serve God with their whole heart, with their whole life.
Okay, one scripture, I think I got time for this. In John, chapter five, the first eight verses. Wonderful story. "Later on there was a Jewish festival (a feast) for which Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And in Jerusalem there was a pool near the sheep gate and this pool in the Hebrew is called Bethesda, and it had five porches (or alcoves or doorways). And in these lay a great number of sick folk, some blind, some crippled, some paralyzed (shriveled up), waiting for the bubbling up of the water".
So, here we have this pool of water, five entrances into it, and sick people lay all around it. Once a year only, the angel would come and touch the waters and it would bubble up. And whoever, one person, I guess, got into it first, got healed. And there was a man there who had been laying there for 38 years waitin' for a miracle. I'll let you think about that just a minute. And Jesus came to him, verse six, "Noticed him lying there helpless," and you would think Jesus, kindness himself, seeing the man laying there for 38 years would have a little pity. "Oh, you poor, poor man, my goodness, been laying here 38 years". "Jesus said to him, 'do you want to become well'"? Amplified says, "'are you really in earnest about getting well?'" one translation says, "'are you really serious about getting well'"?
See, I think that some people just lay around and wait for somebody else to do it for 'em. Now, I'll tell you, I got a little fire in me, and in 38 years I could've squiggled over to the edge of that pool. I mean, 38 years is a long time, you don't have to wiggle much to get over there in 38 years. And I would've had the attitude, "I'm tired of living like this, I'm falling in even if I drown, I'm gonna be in there first". I get a lot out of this, because I want you to see what happened. "The invalid said," and this tells us why he was in that condition. "'sir, I have nobody when the water is moving, to put me in the pool:'" "I have nobody to do it for me".
Never thought of maybe wiggling, maybe some of you, all you need to do is wiggle a little more. "'I have nobody to put me into the pool: and somebody always steps down ahead of me'". I love this story. Absolutely love it. You can tell it in every language. I've told it in India. I've told it in Africa. Everybody gets it. He had an excuse for being there 38 years. Nobody was doing for him what he could've been doing for himself. And somebody else always got ahead of him.
Can I tell you something, today? You can be pitiful, or you can be powerful, but you're not gonna be both. And I spent a lot of years, wasted a lot of years, feeling sorry for myself. And I was using what happened to me as an excuse to stay as a non-serious Christian, that really I would've gone to heaven. I did love Jesus and I was born again. I know I was saved, and I would've gone to heaven. But I will tell you this, nobody else would have been there because of me. And something I've been thinking a lot about lately, I really believe, and I beseech you, stop coming to church just to get something. Well, I'm gonna go get my blessing. No, how about coming to be a blessing?