Joyce Meyer - Less of Me, More of God - Part 1
- How to know Jesus
I wanna talk to you this morning, afternoon, whatever it is, less of me, more of Jesus. Amen? And, read you, here, what John the Baptist said. John, chapter 3, verse 22, "After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the land and (the countryside) of Judea, where he remained with them, and baptized. But John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim, for there was an abundance of water there, and the people kept coming and being baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison. Therefore there was a controversy between some of John's disciples and a Jew in regard to purification. And they came to John and reported", and I want you to listen to this, "'Rabbi, the man who was with you at the other side of the Jordan [at the Jordan crossing], and to whom you yourself have testimony, he's baptizing and everybody's flocking to him'". They weren't any different than we are. "Well, John, we got a problem. Jesus is getting a bigger crowd than you had. Everybody's flocking to him".
How in the world could we have competition between churches over which was the biggest? We went into the poorest area of St. Louis and started a church. And we had some of the churches around there get mad because this big ministry had come into their area and was starting a church 'cause they were afraid, they would lose their members. And all we wanted to do was go in there and bless 'em. And I just thought this was so funny that he said, "Well, he's baptizing too, now, and everybody's going to him. Everybody's flocking to him". Oh, but John had the perfect answer. "John answered, 'a man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing, he can take unto himself nothing] except it is been granted to him from heaven'". Now, listen to this. "'[a man must be content to receive the gift which he is given from heaven: for there is no other source]'".
So, every single one of you has a gift and whatever that is, if it's cleaning toilets, you should be satisfied with it. Because everybody is needed somewhere. I was talking to your, I forget exactly what he calls himself, executive pastor or what's your proper title? Executive pastor, I got it right. And I said, "What do you do"? And he said, "Oh, sometimes I clean toilets and sometimes", and I thought, "Mmmmhh"! I love people that don't think they're too good to do anything. Amen? It's not so much now, but when I was first baptized in the Holy Spirit back in the '70s, everybody was concerned about what their gift was. "Well, what's your gift"? "Well, what's your gift"? "Well, what's your gift"? "Well, what's your gift"?
Well, can I tell you a secret? We should be much more concerned about the fruit than we are about the gift. The Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness: those are the things we should be concerned about. And the gifts will manifest and show themselves. "John answered", I wanna read this again, "'a man can receive nothing'". I can't do this just because I wanna do it. It's a gift from heaven. And we should never be jealous of somebody else's gift. I'll tell you why. Like, obviously, your pastor can sing. Well, you know, I would like to sing, I don't, they turn my microphone off during worship. Because nobody knows what key I sing in. And my voice is a little different, a little unique, especially for a woman. But interestingly enough, God blasts it all over the world.
So, even things that we think are a problem, like, I always hated my voice. Because I could pick up the phone in a hotel, any time I want to, and they'll say, "Yes, sir". But the funniest thing that ever happened to me was I called a spa to make an appointment to get a facial. And they asked me if I had any facial hair. And I didn't get it at first, and I thought, "Well, yeah, we've all got a little, you know, little peach, fuzz". And she said, "No, I mean, do you have a beard or a mustache"? I said, "I don't have either one. I'm a lady". "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry". But, you know, it's benefited me too, because we went to one church in Chicago and while we were parking our car and a motorcycle guy drove up next to us and he had hair in a ponytail, tattooed all over, had no sleeves in his leather jacket and big, gruff voice. And he said, "You know what"? He said, "You've changed my life, but I listened to you for six months before I knew you were a woman".
So, even if your gift is a little unique, God has made every one of us with his own hand in our mother's womb. We're not a mistake: we're not the wrong color, we're not the wrong sex. Everybody is exactly what God wants them to be. And you know, the thing that I finally learned, God said, "Don't ever be jealous of anybody else's gift", now, listen to this, "Because I put that in them for you to enjoy, not to be jealous of". So, you might enjoy me preaching, but all this gift does is cause me work. So, don't ever be jealous of anybody else. Because even if you had what they had, if you're not equipped to handle it. "Oh, I wish I was the pastor of a church like this". Well, no, you don't. Because let me tell you, this one hour we spend here is one little, teeny, teeny, tiny, tiny bit of what's required.
So, be happy with who you are. There's nothing worse than not liking yourself. Do you know, if you don't love yourself, you can't love anybody else? Because you can't give away what you don't have. You gotta have love in you, in order to give it to somebody else. Last time I'll read it, "John answered, 'a man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing, he can take unto himself nothing]'". Somebody say, "Nothing". "'except as it has been granted to him from heaven. [a man must be content with what is given him from heaven: there is no other source]". You know, it's a great thing to know what you can do. But, you know, it's maybe even a little greater to know what you can't do. Because so many people try to do what they can't do and then they end up never doing what they could do if they would do that.
I tried to learn how to play guitar and my fingers are too short. I couldn't wrap, you know, they won't go around, and I failed music, anyway, so, you know. And then he said, verse 30, "'he must increase, but I must decrease'". It's so good to know where you are, even in different seasons. You know, Jesus said, "There's not a man on earth greater than John the Baptist". And yet, John knew when to back off. And to let Christ come forward while he moved more into the background. And pastor and I were talking before service about letting go of things, you know, that you're not supposed to be doing anymore. You know, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should be doing it. And so many people are still trying to do things that God's been finished with for ten years. Just because God had you doing something over here, for five years, doesn't mean he wants you doing it now.
And if you hang onto things God's done with, makes you very unhappy. Very unhappy. "'He must increase, but I must decrease'". I'm calling this, "Less of me, more of Jesus". "I" or ego is just pride. And there is not a human being on this earth that doesn't have at least some problem with pride. And most of us have a big one. The problem with pride is when you have pride, you're too proud to admit you have it. You think I could sell a teaching series that was about, just, if I just put "Pride" on the front of it? You gotta hide the really good stuff under other titles. You do. You gotta find some title to put on it that sounds like it's gonna do something for you and then hide the good stuff in it. Satan was thrown out of heaven for the sin of pride. I think pride has become an acceptable sin. Like a lot of other sins, like jealousy that's kind of become an acceptable sin.
And the Bible says that, jealousy will "Rot your bones". Wonder how many people are sick because they have a huge problem with jealousy. Let me just throw this out because I believe somebody needs it. If you have a sibling that you're jealous of because they have more money than you do, or maybe you think your parents favored them. Somebody here today needs to repent for that and let go of it. Now, I'm talking to you about the Holy Ghost, right now. You need to let go of that. Jealousy makes you miserable. Satan was thrown out of heaven for the sin of pride. Isaiah 14:12-15: "How have you fallen from heaven, o light-bringer and daystar son of the morning. How you have been cut down to the ground, you who weakened and laid low the nations [o blasphemous, Satanic king of Babylon]".
Now, if you watch verses 13 and 14, when I read this. In these two verses, five times, you will hear him say, "I will". Those are dangerous words. I noticed Paul, in the epistles, so often, even when he was trying to go to another city, he would say, "If the Lord wills, I'll come to see you, here or there. I really wanna come and visit you, and if the Lord wills, I'll come". "And you said in your heart, 'i will ascend to heaven: I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit upon the mount of assembly in the uttermost north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will make myself like the Most High'". And the Lord said, "'yet you shall be brought down to (hades), to the innermost recesses of the pit, (the region of the dead)'".
When we lift ourselves up, God is obligated to bring us down. But if we will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, he will exalt us. Anything good that you or I are able to do, we're only able to do it because of the goodness of God working through us. It's yet to be seen what God could do through any man or woman who would give God all the credit. Sometimes the more a person does, the more proud they become and then God has to stop using 'em because they quit giving him the glory. You know, the Bible says, "Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing". And I think that means that when you do something good for somebody, don't you dare even sit around and wallow in thinking about how good you were.
See, if God is gracious to me and I preach two good sermons, here, when I leave here, I don't need to think about it anymore, just thank God for helping me. I told Dave, coming over here, today, I said, "Sittin' here, right now, I don't feel like I could preach my way out of a paper bag". I've been up since 2:30 this morning. We had a rehearsal. We had a wedding. Got in bed last night, had to get up early and pack to fly over here. And usually, when I have to get up early and do something, then I don't sleep real good. And so, I didn't sleep real good and I was tired, and I was sitting on that plane, and I thought, "Ugh, Lord, if anything happens over there, it's gonna have to be you". And my husband had a great example, he said, "You remind me of one of those Marionette dolls. It's like... And then when you, it's time to stand behind the pulpit, God starts pulling the strings".
Isn't that the way it is? Man, we need to give God more glory than ever before. For everything! And be so thankful for everything we have! You know, complaining is a sin. Do you know that? It's a sin. Complaining is a sin. That was one of the big sins the Israelites committed in the wilderness, complaining. No matter what God did for 'em, they complained. They even complained about the miracle manna. And eventually serpents got into the camp and 23,000 of 'em died in one day. And it was only because they complained. Wonder how many devils we let in. Come on. What do any one of us have to complain about?
I mean, I've been in villages in Africa where they walk miles and miles every day to get filthy water out of the river that's full of disease to bring it home and have to drink it and use it. And I can walk into my kitchen and all my bathrooms and just turn on hot or cold water as much as I want. Oh, we've got so much to be thankful for. So much to be thankful for. But you know, because we're human beings, unless you really stay on top of it, it seems like the more we have, the more we complain about what we don't have. But we don't have to be like that. And I'm gonna tell you what I think is one of our greatest protections is to, on purpose... Somebody say, "On purpose". Say it again, "On purpose". One more time, "On purpose". Be a radical, generous, outrageous giver.
I knew, somehow, and I thank God, because I know it was just him, from the time we started this ministry that if I even hoped to have any kind of success, that we had to make sure we took care of the poor. I don't think a church can rightfully call themselves a church, if they're not helping the poor. And boy, Jesus said, in Matthew 25, "If you've done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. And if you have not done it unto them you have not done it unto me". He takes it personally. Think about that. "If you've done it to the least of these, my brethren: visited them in prison", we had a huge prison ministry. We have put one of my books in every prison in the United States. Every state prison. Every state prison. And a lot of other countries, over 3 million or something like that, I forget.
Always help people that have less than you, that are less fortunate than you, always. Compliment people, build 'em up. Edify people, don't tear 'em down. Don't find the one thing that's wrong with 'em and talk about that all the time. Love people the way they are, not the way you want 'em to be. Amen? What did Paul say about pride and ego, just "I" what did he say? He said, "I have been crucified with Christ. It's no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me. And the life that I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God". But they say that the real translation is, "I live by the faith of God". But do you realize what he's saying? We read these things and it's like, "Nice little scripture". But he said, "I no longer live. It's Christ that liveth in me".
In other words, he's saying, "I've gotten rid of me, and now, I'm full of God". Paul prayed in Ephesians that we would just be, "Bodies wholly filled with God". Dear Lord, just a body wholly filled with God. What would happen if the church was really the church? What would happen if we all really loved God like we should and let God use us like he wants to? We sure wouldn't be having the problems we've got in the world today. A lot of what's going on in the world today is the church's fault. Now, I do wanna give you some good news: Paul said that 20 years after his conversion. I don't, that made me happy. I thought, "Thank God. I've got a little time to work on this". Amen?
Now, I'm 45 years in and I'm still working on it, so, you can feel pretty good about yourself if you've still got a little ways to go. Do you know the greatest thing that God can deliver you from, is yourself? You know that? There is nothin' more wonderful than to not have to sit around and think about yourself all day. I mean, you talk about some freedom. Now, that is some freedom. Phew! Man, I used to just be so full of myself and I still got plenty of me in there, but there's a lot less than there used to be. I'm gonna work on it till Jesus comes back to get me. Amen? I don't wanna be selfish and self-centered. I wanna give everything I can give and put smiles on other people's faces. I wanna get up every day and say, "God, what can I do for somebody else today? Who can I help today"?
I'll tell you a story that I think's interesting. My daughter went to the grocery store, and she had left her purse in her car. And so, when she got in the checkout, she didn't have her credit card. And so, she told the girl, she said, "If you'll just hold these, just a second, I'll run out and get my credit card and come back". She said, "Oh, no, never mind". She whipped out her own credit card, paid for my daughter's groceries. Now, you know what I like about the story? She was prepared. She took that credit card to work with her, and she intended to bless somebody that day. And she was ready! She didn't have to go get ready, she was ready!