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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - How Can I Change?

Joyce Meyer - How Can I Change?

Joyce Meyer - How Can I Change?
Joyce Meyer - How Can I Change?

Do any of you ever get frustrated because you're trying, trying, trying so hard to change and be what you believe God wants you to be and it just doesn't seem to be working? Well, I'm calling this "How can we change," but I really wanted to call it, "I'm trying so hard to change and it's just not working". And I wanna talk to you today about how you really can change, and it not be a frustrating mess. And I wanna start in Romans 7:15 where Paul kind of rehearsed the same things that we go through. He said, "I don't understand my own actions [I'm baffled and bewildered]. I don't practice or accomplish what I want to do, and the very thing that I hate [what my moral instinct condemns], that's what I do".

Ever feel like that? "I don't want to do what I want to do, and I do what I don't want to do". "Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the law is good (morally excellent) and I take sides with it". So, it's kind of saying if I can't control myself, then I obviously need the law to control me. "However, it's no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me". Now, you know, he goes on and on like this for quite a few verses, and to be honest, as a new Christian, by the time you read this, you think either Paul was crazy or you are, because it's like, "Well, Paul, you did do it but if you're saying you didn't do it, then who did do it"? And he's basically talking about his old man versus the new creation reality.

So, he's saying, "I didn't really do this". And he really meant like his new creation, his new spirit, because he didn't wanna do it. So, he said, "It must be the sin principle that's still operating in my flesh". And the Bible says that, "If any man is in Christ he's a new creature: old things pass away: and all things become new". But we all know that, and we believe that scripture and I'll explain it, but we all know that the minute you're born again, everything doesn't change. You know, if you were impatient, you don't just suddenly become patient. If you had a bad temper, you don't just suddenly get over that.

Now there are things that people get set free from the moment they're saved. I've heard of people that have been addicted to drugs and were set free immediately. My father had a very, very filthy mouth. He used really bad language the whole time I was growing up. He was born again when he was 83 and I never heard him use a curse word after that. And so, there are things that change. But we do go through a process, and it is a process, which means it takes time. And seems like it lasts your whole life, which, to be honest, it really does. Because until Jesus comes back to get us, as long as we live in these fleshly bodies, we're all gonna be having things show up from time to time. However, we do keep getting better, and that's the good news.

The longer you walk with God, the more you do begin to behave like Jesus. But if that scripture says, "If any man is in Christ, he's a new creature: old things pass away: and all things become new," but in practicality, all old things don't pass away, then what are they talking about? I believe that when we're born again, we become brand-new spiritual clay. I brought some clay, but it's really play-doh. And you see, before you're born again, you're hard hearted, immovable, can't be molded or worked with. You've got your own idea. But when you're born again, God gives you a new spirit and a new heart. And so, inwardly you become more soft, and pliable, and moldable, and God can work with you and do things in your life.

Now, I apologize ahead of time, this is a terrible representation, but we're gonna pretend like this is Jesus. We know he's not a Gingerbread Jesus, but so far this is the best I've been able to come up with. And I like this example, I've been using it for quite a few years. So, we are to be molded into the image of Jesus, which means there's a whole lot of us that doesn't fit. So, what's gonna happen to all this? This has to all be dealt with and gotten rid of. And we don't always like that, do we? It's like, "I don't wanna give that up. No, Jesus, you can't have that. I wanna keep that". But he's pretty determined to have his way. So, eventually you live long enough, you work with God long enough, you finally make it, and you become like him.

Romans 8:29 says, "For those whom he foreknew [of whom he was aware and loved beforehand], he also destined", or predestined, "From the beginning to be molded into the image of his son". Now, we get a little mixed up about the word predestination. When God predestines us to something, it doesn't mean that it is positively going to happen while we do nothing but wait for God to do it. Predestination means that God has predetermined what his will for us is. And he has provided, now listen, everything that's needed for it to happen. But God works with us, not in place of us.

And so, there's always a part that we have. Our part, however, in being changed in the image of Christ is not to get into the works of the flesh, trying to make it happen, trying to make it happen, trying to change yourself. It's to learn how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. And we do make an effort, but the effort that we make is a spirit-led, spirit-controlled, spirit-energized effort. Now, I'm gonna say that again, because if you don't understand, there's one thing we have to understand, if we're ever gonna grow up and not be so frustrated we wanna kill ourselves, and that is you have to understand the difference in "Works of the flesh" and grace. And works of the flesh is our energy trying to do God's job.

Grace is undeserved favor. But that's not all it is, and I wish that every time somebody gives you a definition for grace, they wouldn't just say that it's undeserved favor, because if you really study it out, it's also the power that we need for things to happen in our life. So, grace is not an excuse to live a sloppy, immoral, compromising life and have it be covered by the grace of God. Come on. It is the power not to have to live like that. Amen? People get some of the craziest ideas about grace.

We had a woman, sweet girl, hadn't been saved too long, but she called the office and she said, "Some friends of mine are doing some illegal things, but their lives are still really being blessed. And so, they said that God's covering them with his grace". And she said, "I wanna know, is that true"? I said, "Absolutely, 100% not true". You say, "Well, then why are people that are living immoral lives blessed"? Can I tell you a secret? The devil can bless you. And you know how I know that? Because he told Jesus, in Luke 4, when he took him up on the mountain, "If you will bow down to me just once. I'll give you all of these kingdoms, all of their glory, all of their preeminence". So, you can't judge whether a person is walking with God or not by how blessed they are.

Now, if you do walk with God and obey him, he will bless you. But people who are blessed and it's not blessings that God gave them: they may have things, but they have no joy, they have no peace, they cannot be satisfied no matter what they have, and the more they have the more they want. And they're selfish, and use it all on themselves. If you're truly blessed by God: you're very, very thankful. You're humble about the whole thing. You tell God, "I don't deserve this. You are so good. Thank you. Thank you". And because God's spirit is in you, you have a deep desire to bless as many people as you possibly can bless. Amen. So, if you see somebody that's got a bunch of stuff and they're living an immoral life, don't think that God's grace is covering up their nonsense. You just know that they may have stuff, but they don't have... A person would be better to have no things and peace and joy, than to have a bunch of things and no peace and no joy. Amen?

Now, I wanna go back to Romans 7 for just a minute because Paul goes on and on with this, you know, "The thing I don't wanna do, I do. And the thing I wanna do, I can't do. And what's wrong with me? And it's not really me doing it. If it's not me doing it", you know, by the time you get to the answer, you're like, "Phew"! Then he says in verse 24, "O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death"? Now, it's like he gets a Revelation. "O thank God!" Exclamation mark. "He will!" Exclamation mark. "Through Jesus Christ (the anointed one) our Lord".

How much good news is that? Who's gonna change me? I'm not gonna change me by trying and struggling and being frustrated and coming up with all my own little neat plans on how to do it. He's gonna change me. God's gonna change us through Jesus Christ. Chapter 8 verse 1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus". In the second and third service I'm gonna preach on saying goodbye to guilt. "Goodbye, guilt". Any of you ever feel guilty? Nobody, I got the wrong church, this morning? I mean, I know it's early, but if I can do this, surely you can lift your hand. Amen? How many of you just waste a lot of time feeling guilty?

Okay. Well, let me tell you my story real quick. I had such a horrible problem with guilt, and probably I've only been completely free from it for, say, the last 15 to 20 years. So, that means even my first 25 years seriously trying to serve God, I still wrestled with this feeling of guilt all the time. It got started in my childhood when my dad was sexually abusing me, and I somehow thought it was my fault. I had this record playing in my head all the time, "What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me"? It's an interesting thing about children, if their parents are doing things they shouldn't be doing, even if mom and daddy are fighting somehow a kid will think it's their fault. "If I was just better, they wouldn't do that".

When parents get divorced, many times children think it's their fault. So, if that's something that you had to do for right reasons, you need to really explain to your children that it had nothing to do with them. But I was totally convinced that nobody else's father was doing to them what mine was doing to me. So, therefore, there must be something wrong with me. And although my dad would tell me there was nothing wrong with it and that he just did it because he loved me and all the other stupid lies that abusers tell, he also told me I had to keep it a secret. So, I knew down deep inside something was wrong with it. I just was a kid and didn't know what. So, I started feeling guilty and having to keep this terrible secret from my mother and everybody else. And I carried that guilt all through my life.

Now, after I was born again and started serving God and hearing some good teaching, it got a little bit quieter, but it was always there. This low-level guilt that something was wrong with me. And many times, I didn't even know why I felt guilty. I just did. I say now, "I didn't feel right, if I didn't feel wrong". Let me say that again, "I didn't feel right, if I didn't feel wrong". Then when I started getting a little freedom from the guilt and not feeling guilty, then I felt guilty because I didn't feel guilty. Now, I don't know if anybody here ever had a case as bad as I did, but I'm telling you, I was addicted to these guilty feelings, and it was horrible. It's absolutely horrible to constantly feel like something's wrong with you or you've done something wrong.

Does anybody here understand what I'm talking about? Because really, when you feel like that, you cannot enjoy anything in your life. You can't enjoy a thing. And so, I am so glad and happy to be able to stand here and tell you now, that I basically, almost never feel guilty about anything now. You say, "Well, Joyce, what about when you sin don't you feel guilty, then"? No. God, did not ask us to feel guilty. He asked us to repent. And the Bible says that when we do, he not only forgives us, but he forgets what we did, and he removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. And nobody can figure out how far that is so, it's so far, we can never find the sin again.

So, if God can forget it, why do we have to keep remembering it? Now, here's what guilt is. It's works of the flesh, and it's just our humanistic way of trying to pay for what we did wrong. Amen? Let's just say that you did something this morning on the way to church, you lost your temper. And so, you're gonna feel guilty on and off for maybe about three days, and then you'll get over it and you'll receive the same free gift of forgiveness that's available to you right this moment. So, the three days are just wasted. And the Bible tells us plainly, matter of fact, we're gonna read it.

In Hebrews chapter 10 verses, something here, 12-14. "Whereas this one [Christ], after he had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time, sat down at the right hand of God". Now, you don't sit down until your work is done. So, this is another whole message. It's a wonderful message about why he sat down and what that indicated. Those little words are so meaningful, but I don't have time to go back and explain it to you. He "Sat down at the right hand of God, there to wait until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet". So, when Jesus sat down, it was actually an announcement, "My part's done".

You don't have to try to talk God into doing anything, he's already done everything that needs to be done for us to live an amazing life. It's all done. All we need to do is receive it. And you cannot receive it as long as you think you have to earn it. God is not for sale. You can't buy him with good behavior. I don't care how good you behave in the future, God is never gonna love you any more than he does at this moment, right now. So, we don't try to behave better to get God to love us, we wanna behave better because we love him. Amen? And he said, I think it's John 14, "If you love me, you will obey me".

So really, the degree to which we obey God correlates to how much we love him. He did not say, "If you obey me, I will love you". He said, "If you love me, you will obey me". There is a big difference in what I'm saying and I'm gonna be saying a lot in the 40 minutes that I have here. So, you're gonna have to be really sharp this morning to get this, because I want you to be happy and enjoy your life that Jesus died to give you. And you can't be if you're frustrated all the time about how far you have to go. You need to celebrate how far you've come. Celebrate how far you've come and trust that just like God has already changed some things in you, he will change the other things as long as...

There's really only a couple of things you need to do: stay in the word and have a loving relationship with God where you spend time with him. And the more time you spend with him, the more you become like him. God created man because he wanted somebody to love, and he wanted somebody to love him back. And the most important commandment in the Bible is, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength".

The more you fall in love with Jesus, the better you will behave. Now, knowing that God wants us to change, we try, and we try, and we try, and we try, and we try. And that may sound noble, but that's not what God is asking us to do. He's asking us to believe, to lean on him, to rely on him, and to know that apart from him we can do nothing. If you could change yourself, you would take the credit. And God's not gonna share his glory with anybody.

Now, I'll give you an example of what we do. I'm a fairly new when... not a new Christian. I was born again at nine, but I never had any teaching really until I was in my late thirties and so, you know, no matter how born again you are, if you don't know anything, you can't change. And so, when I started hearing really good preaching, I'd been in church for a long time and I was hearing messages, but there was no real anointing, it was a lot of religion. And when I started hearing really good, anointed Bible teaching, I started learning that I had a lot of problems. Up until then, I thought Dave had a lot of problems. I mean, I was sure if he would change then I could be happy. If he would buy me more gifts, I'd be happy. If he would stop playing golf, I'd be happy. If he wouldn't watch football every Sunday, I'd be happy.

And I remember the day that Dave said to me, "I have done everything I know to do to make you happy and you are determined to be unhappy. So, I just wanna let you know that I'm done trying". And then he said, "However, I am going to be happy and enjoy my life. You can do what you want to". Now, that was one of the best things that he could have ever done for me, because really what he was saying, although we didn't know all these words then, he was saying, "I am not gonna be codependent on your problems". See, if you're in a relationship with somebody who is unhappy and you're happiness depends on whether they're happy or not, now you're not living your own life. You're codependent on them.
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