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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Developing the Character of God - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Developing the Character of God - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Developing the Character of God - Part 1
Joyce Meyer - Developing the Character of God - Part 1

I am going to teach this weekend on developing the character of God. How many of you wanna grow and become more like Christ? Spiritual maturity. Recently I felt like God gave me this simple little definition of what spiritual maturity is, and I'm sure it's much more than just this sentence, but I like this. I want you to think about this. Spiritual maturity is asking God what you can do for him, not only asking God what he can do for you. I wonder how many of you every day when you say your prayers ask God, "What can I do for you today? Who can I bless? Who can I help? Show me something I can do for you. I wanna serve you".

I started doing that on a daily basis... Well, maybe three, four years ago. And it's amazing if you listen to people. I mean, if you just form a habit of listening to people, they'll tell you what they need, where they're hurting, what they might like to have. You know, somebody doesn't have to be in desperate need for you to give them something. A lot of people just need to be blessed, and they might even have more money than you, but they still just need a blessing. Giving is one of the greatest things that you can become an expert at. I mean, it really, truly is. If you want joy in your life, then become a giver. Don't just give when the offering time comes but be a giver in your life. Make giving a lifestyle. I want to say this again. Don't just ask God to do things for you.

Matter of fact, you could probably give that up completely for a while and it wouldn't hurt anything. God knows what you need before you ask him. You can mention it if you want to, but you don't have to camp on top of it and do nothing but just tell God over and over what you want him to do for you. Instead of that, try asking God every day what you can do for him and see how it changes your life. I really believe that when we come full circle, that's what spiritual maturity really is. It's getting yourself off your mind and learning what Paul meant when he said, "It's no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me and the life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God". Or when he said, "In you I live and move and have my being". Or when he said, "I die daily". He didn't mean that he died physically every day. He meant that he died to self every day.

You know, selfishness is inbred in every one of us. And if you don't believe we're selfish, all you have to do is watch a baby, and it's not very long until they tell you when they don't like that you're not giving them what they want. Amen? We have a grandson that's gonna be four in July, and he's quite a little character. Got a little temper on him. And a month or six weeks ago, he was having kind of a cranky, rough, "I'm gonna have a fit every time I don't get my way" day. And he was out with his mother. She was doing some shopping, and he wasn't acting very nice, and his name's Brody. She said, "Brody, we're gonna pray about the way you're behaving".

So, she wrapped her arms around him. She's really a great mom. She wrapped her arms around him and said, "Lord, we just ask you to help Brody be a good boy today, and help him feel better and not feel so cranky, and help him smile and listen to what I tell him". And, you know, she got all finished with her prayer and said, "Amen". And he said, "Not amen". He didn't agree with that prayer. And I think sometimes when God tells us something, that's kind of our attitude too, "Not amen". 'cause amen means "Yes, let it be so". And he wasn't about to get into agreement with that. Spiritual babies. It's sad when somebody has been a Christian for 30 years and they're still a spiritual baby.

After we're born again, the next thing that's supposed to happen is we're supposed to start growing in Christ. And it's a process, it's a process that goes on all of our life. We never stop growing. God never stops showing us ways that we can improve. And I'm grateful that God doesn't just leave me alone and let me stay the way I am, but that he keeps nudging me and showing me ways that I can be more like him. Amen? So, Paul was dealing with the Corinthian church and they were born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit. They were operating in the gifts of the spirit. But you gotta remember gifts are given. You don't have to do anything to get a gift. Just because you have a spiritual gift doesn't mean that you're spiritually mature. Amen?

And yet he said to them in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, "However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to non-spiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet]"! Now, I'm teaching from the classic Amplified Bible. I love it, I've always used it. And I like it because I don't read or understand Greek and the Amplified Bible amplifies some of the Greek and gives you a little bit more than what some of the other translations might. And he says here, "Unable to talk yet".

Now, what does that mean? Certainly, they could talk. He meant they didn't know how to talk the way they should talk. And do you know, if you listen to a person, well first of all, if you listen to anybody, it doesn't take long, and you can tell whether they're a Christian or not. And if you listen to Christians, it doesn't take very long, and you can pretty much determine where they're at spiritually when it comes to spiritual maturity. If all they talk about's themselves, then they're selfish. If they can't receive correction, then they're proud. Doesn't take long. He said, "I couldn't talk to you like mature adults". He said, "I fed you with milk..." Verse 2, "Not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]: and even yet you're not strong enough [to be ready for it]".

Well, what's the difference in milk and solid food? We give milk to babies, don't we? And then you slowly begin to integrate solid food. Well, the milk of the word are messages that baby Christians can handle. They're all аbout: "What God can do for me, how much he loves me, how wonderful I am," all these good things. And that's good. That's a good place to start. It draws people in. Somebody who's just been saved doesn't really need to have anything too strong right off the bat. They need to get established in their relationship with God and know that he loves them and that he wants to do things for them and that he answers prayer. But if that's all they ever have: they never grow up. I call 'em "Dessert messages". It's like everybody likes dessert, but we all know if you just live on dessert, you're either not gonna live very long or you're gonna be very unhealthy.

The meat of the word are stronger messages. They're messages that confront behavior. They're messages that if you receive it, they're gonna make you change. They're messages that make you squirm a little bit in your seat and make you want to run out of the room and wish you had never come. But without those messages you'll never be strong. So, we need both. If that's all you ever heard, then you might start to feel beat up a little bit. So, I try to bring a good balance of meat and dessert. But this weekend we're having meat. So, I hope you've... Maybe you can get some dessert somewhere else this week, but I figure if you're bold enough to take a Friday night to come out here and I flew all the way here from St. Louis that we might as well serve up some meat and see if you can handle it.

Verse 3, "You're still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [because you're under the control of ordinary impulses]". Now, does anybody here ever have an impulse? See, spiritual babies will act on their impulses but mature Christians can control themselves. They don't just do what they feel like doing, they do what they believe Jesus would have done in the same situation. Amen? And the more you grow, the more you do that. Finally, you come to the point where you're pretty much acting like Jesus all the time. "As long as [there is] envy and jealousy and wranglings", which is strife and arguing and bickering, "And factions", which is division, "Among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a mere human standard like mere (unchanged) men"?

So, Paul said, "I can tell that you're not mature because you're still jealous of one another". Oh, we don't have any of that in the church, do we? You're envious of one another. You're divided. You're angry. You're unforgiving. All of these things need to go. You don't have to feel like forgiving somebody to do it. Well, about half of you like that and the other half... Unforgiveness is such a huge problem in the church. Satan gains more ground in the lives of unbelievers through unforgiveness than anything else. If you've got unforgiveness in your heart, the Bible tells us if we're not gonna forgive others then God can't forgive us. It drives a wedge between you and God. And I say something about unforgiveness in just about every sermon that I preach because I know what it did to me when I was full of unforgiveness and I know how wonderful it is to get really good at forgiving people really fast. Amen?

When somebody hurts you, the quicker you forgive them, the easier it is to do. The longer you wait, the deeper the roots get. And they don't have to deserve your forgiveness. They don't even have to want it. To be honest, you're not even doing it for them, you're doing it for yourself, 'cause you could be holding unforgiveness against somebody that's out having a good time and couldn't care less if you're upset. It's just your feelings that are hurt. And if we're gonna be mature men and women of God, then we can't live by how we feel. We're always gonna feel, but we can't let those feelings rule us and control us. We have to recognize them for what they are and say, "I don't care how I feel, I can still do the right thing".

This is gonna be here all weekend and I hope it gets embedded in your brain so every decision you make, you know that there's a right way and a wrong way. And it's up to you which one you choose. Amen? How many of you know it's not right to gossip about other people? Okay, keep that hand up. How many of you still do it? You don't have to do that. Nobody's making you do it. You choose to do it. And we need to start choosing the right thing. I'll preach to myself for a minute. How many of you know it's wrong to judge other people? How many of you still do it? I had a little bit of a "Judgey" week. You know, and sometimes we just get started and then we just keep it up and it's like we need a little spankin' from God to get us back where we need to be.

Do you know, really, the bottom line is, is we just need to mind our own business. Now, we're not stupid. We can judge sin. We can see when somebody is sinning, but we do not know anybody's heart. We don't know what they've been through. We don't know what they're going through. We don't know where they came from. Now, in order to change, we've gotta have correction. God will give us his word and he'd love it if we would just... How many of you have ever said to your kids, "If you would just listen to me, then you wouldn't have to be in this situation? If you woulda just listened to me, then I wouldn't have to take away your computer. If you would have just listened to me, then you wouldn't be grounded".

Well, God wants us to listen to him too. But if we don't, then he'll touch our circumstances. And it's for our own good. Hebrews 5:13-6, "Everyone who continues to feed on milk", we're back to the baby bottles, "Is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness". So, why do people continue to need milk and they can't take the meat of the word. Because the meat of the word corrects your behavior, and you can't handle that if you don't know who you are in Christ. Hmm. One person over here. Kinda, sorta got it. "What do you mean 'who you are in Christ'"?

Christ took our sin and he gave us his righteousness. That's more wonderful than anything we can even imagine. We are made right with God. Even while we're still trying to grow and get over change, God still sees us as right with him. Your brain just can't hardly take that in. And you know, from being abused in my childhood by my dad, I already felt really bad about myself. And I had a huge problem with guilt because I always felt like somehow, I must be doing something wrong or he wouldn't want to do that to me. And so, it took me years, and years, and years, and years, and years, of being in the word and meditating on righteousness before I ever finally really got it. And when I say got it, I mean it got from here down to here. Or for me to believe that God loved me unconditionally, that he loved me just as much when I wasn't being good as he did when I was.

Do you know that God will never love you any more than he does at this moment right now? No matter how much better you behave, he's not gonna love you anymore because you behave better. He loves you because Jesus died for you. Amen? And we can hear that and it sounds good but to like really believe it, you have to hear it, and hear it, and hear it, and hear it, and hear it, and read it, and read it, and meditate on it, and meditate on it, and think about it. This is why the Bible says in so many places to meditate on the word, which means to roll it over and over and over in your mind and to think about it. He says, "If you continue to feed on milk, it's very obvious that you're unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness".

Being made right with God is one of the main doctrines in the Bible. And it's true for every single person. If you are born again, if you have received Christ as your Savior, then right now, you are right with God. He has decided to view you as being right with him. Well, see, when we really get to the point where we can believe that, man, how happy can we get? Wow. Because you see, anybody who's really serious about their relationship with God, you don't wanna sin. You don't go around sinning on purpose. But we do sin, and as soon as we're made aware of it, we repent, and Jesus has already paid for that sin.

You don't have to talk him into forgiving you. He's actually already done it. All you have to do is receive that forgiveness that's already there for you. Receive the mercy of God. It's available. You have to receive it. Receive the love of God. You can't earn it. God is not for sale. You can't buy his love. You can't buy his mercy. You can't buy his forgiveness. All you can do is with a humble attitude, know you don't deserve it, but take it by faith. Amen? This is what the world needs. They don't need more drugs. They don't need another identity. They need to know who they are in Christ. They need to know that they are loved.
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