Joyce Meyer - Blessed in the Mess - Part 1
Well, thank you for joining me today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". And I'm excited to share the subject that I'm gonna be sharing today. It's called "Blessed in the mess". Do any of you have a mess going on in your life? Is there anybody here that would say: "My finances are a mess"? "My health is a mess". "My marriage is a mess". "My house is a mess". "My closet's a mess". "My basement's a mess," you know. Life is interesting. Life is great. But life is full of challenges. And if you don't learn how to not let those things upset you and make you unhappy, you will probably spend the biggest part of your life unhappy because we do just have things going on pretty much on a semi-regular basis. And there's nobody that doesn't have trouble.
Jesus said, "In the world there will be tribulation". It's a promise. But then he said, "Cheer up". And he didn't mean cheer up when the mess is over. He meant to cheer up in the middle of it. And the way, of course, that we can do that is by really believing and having faith that it will turn out okay, that nothing lasts forever, and especially that God will work something good out of it. Now, I have come to the point in my life after 45 years of experience with God that I can say I really, really, really believe that. I've had so many times when I've had very difficult things going on and just thought, "What in the world? What's the purpose in this"? You know?
And then later on look back and saw that there was good that was worked out of it. And I like to say that we live life forward, but we understand it backward. How many of you can look back at things that happened in your life that were very difficult, but you can actually say, "Hey, I grew spiritually through that". Or "I learned some things that made a huge difference in my life". And a lot of times, you know, I mean, one experience I remember going through was in a situation where I was being mistreated at a job by my boss. But it really taught me how to treat people right that work for me.
And so sometimes we have to learn things, you know, we learn things, we think, "What in the world? This is unfair. Why is God letting this go on"? But we learn not to do that ourselves by seeing how bad it hurts. So, trouble is part of life but, everybody say, "But". If, say "If". Now, those are two big things here because we have a choice. If we handle the trouble God's way, he will give us a double recompense, which means a reward. After job prayed for his friends, who treated him very unjustly and accused him of all kinds of things. After he prayed for them... Wonder if you got any friends you need to pray for. After he prayed for them, God gave him twice as much as he had lost.
You know sometimes we read that and we just kind of zip past that, but that's so important. "After", that's what the Bible says, "After job prayed for his friends, God gave him twice as much as he had before". And probably some of the biggest hurts we have in our life are from people that we love. People that we trust who do things that we just can't believe that they did that or they're not there for us when maybe we've been there for them all the time. I think of Paul who ministered with all these different people and ministered to all these different people and yet the Bible says that at his first trial, "No one stood with him". Not one person stood by his side, but God was with him. And he prayed, "God, I pray that you will not lay this to their charge".
Wow. I think this is one of the biggest things that we need to learn. I always, probably in every teaching I do, somewhere in it, I try to put something in it about the power of forgiving people who hurt you because that is really a huge key to receiving blessings from God. Trouble, tribulation, trials, and tests of our faith are a part of life. James 1:1-4, everybody loves the first few verses of James. "James, the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, when you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations".
Now, the key word there is "Consider," and that is a process of the mind. So, this is talking about when you're having all these trials and troubles, how are you gonna think about them? You need to consider them joyful, believing that when they're over, you're gonna be a better person than you were before it happened. Amen? So, "Be assured and understand that the trial and the proving of your faith". See, we don't really know if we even have any faith until it's tested. It's easy to sit and listen to messages about faith and clap and cheer and say, "Yea, yea" or read a book on faith, but we don't know what kind of faith we have until we actually have to use it.
And if you find out, which most of us do, "Well I don't have quite as much faith as I thought I did," then don't be disturbed by that, but see, you can never go to where you need to be if you don't face where you're at. And a lot of us are self-deceived. We're deceived about where we are, and we think more highly of ourselves than we should. But it's only the truth that will make us free. So, I'm real big on, "Okay, God, show me if I'm causing this, if I'm in pride, if I'm thinking, or I'm believing a lie from the devil, I wanna see it, I don't wanna live in deception". So, it says that, "Be assured and understand that the trial and the proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience".
Well, I've always said they brought a lot of things out of me before we ever got around to patience. And I mean, it's really true, you know, it's like, you know, the other day, well, yesterday morning, I was having my coffee. I love my morning coffee and my time with Jesus. The first cup of coffee. Does anybody like... Morning, that first cup of coffee is like, "Whoo"! And I had a cover on me because it was a little cold, and I threw the cover off to get up and it caught on the cup and when I pulled it, I threw the coffee under the chair, under the table, all over the place.
And I can remember times in my life when that would have just, I would have gotten so mad. "What in the world!? Every time you try to enjoy yourself, something stupid has to happen! Why did I do that!? I rebuke you devil in the name of Jesus"! Just get so upset. And I've come to the point now where I just looked at it and said, "Oh well, I guess I'll clean it up". What is the point... Think with me now, what is the point in getting mad and upset about something you can't do anything about? I was gonna have to clean it up, anyway. So, what's the point in getting myself all stressed out? 'cause stress is what causes so many of our sicknesses and illnesses and problems.
Well, we say if we handle things. If, say "If". We handle things God's way and that's the big key in this whole message and in the book that I've written is we're all gonna have trouble and we all choose how we're gonna handle it. And how we handle it really, clearly, defines how spiritually mature we are or are not. And spiritual maturity is a process. It's like everybody starts out as babies, so if you're in the baby stage, don't be disturbed, just keep growing. You know? When God comes back, when Jesus comes back, he is not gonna be upset if we haven't arrived. But we have to keep growing. We should always look back after a year and see even a little bit of progress, you know.
And when I think about just that simple thing like that cup of coffee, and I remember 30 years ago how I would have acted if that would have happened, it was like, "Man, I have come a long, long way". So, what is God's way to handle trouble? If I say, "Do it God's way," what do I mean by that? Well, first thing, is don't blame him. There's so many people who have trouble and they get mad at God. And that is like the most foolish thing that you can do because he's your friend, he's your comforter and God is not the source of your trouble. And people watching by TV, I really want you to hear this and understand this.
If you've had a tragic thing happen in your life and you're mad at God, get over it today because it is not, was not God's fault. And I know that question always comes up, "Well, maybe God didn't do it, but he could have prevented it and he didn't. Why"? The big "Why" thing. And we're gonna talk about that today a little bit later because we've got way too many whys in our life when we should just say, "I don't know but God does, and I know him and I know he's good so I know he's gonna take care of what needs to be taken care of".
Number two, don't feel sorry for yourself. Hmm. I'll wait just a minute to let that soak in because self-pity is just a total waste of time. Trust me, I know I spent years feeling sorry for myself and everybody has troubles. Everybody. I mean, even in 1 Peter, it says that, "Your brotherhood throughout the world goes through the same things that you do". And however bad you're hurting, maybe in this room, there's somebody else in the room that's hurting worse than you. And it's really cool when we can be going through something, and nobody can even tell because we remain the same. Stay patient, in faith. Stay positive. Don't say negative things. Don't prophesy your own defeat. Oh, the mouth, the mouth, the mouth.
"Well, this is just a mess. I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid". Say things like, "God loves me. This will pass. This is gonna end well. God will work it out for good". And don't withdraw. Don't withdraw from your friends and stop going to church and just sit home and feel depressed and down. When you're hurting, one of the best things you can do is do what you would do if you weren't hurting. You know, if you've got a commitment to whatever, work in the nursery at church, go. Do it. Actually, we feel better if we get out and do something than if we sit home and just sulk around.
I've had times... and ladies will get this. Excuse me guys for just a minute. But I've had times when I have felt really bad physically and I've gone out shopping and start finding things I like and magically... Just think later, "I don't feel bad at all". So, really, so much of it's in our thinking. You know, I caught myself this week, I had a day where I didn't feel good, and you know, you have a tendency to just think about it. "I don't feel good, I don't feel good. I don't feel good, what's wrong with me? Why don't I feel good? I don't feel good". And what we focus on becomes the largest thing in our life. And so, we really are better off, I mean unless you're sick enough that you need to be in bed or you need to be resting, you are better off to just do something and get your mind off of it.
So, you're better off to go ahead and keep your commitments, go to church, do whatever you would do. And especially, and this is very important, when you have trouble, don't use it as an excuse to be irritable with everybody else. "Well, I had a bad day at work". Well? So? You know, that doesn't give you a right to take it out on me. And so, there's so many angry people in the world today, and I think a lot of people are just angry because conditions in the world are so stupid, and nobody understands it. Nobody knows what to do about it. And my daughter accidentally cut a guy off the other day on making a turn, and he followed her into the parking lot, parked his car, and got out and started ranting and raving, and she said, "Oh, listen, I'm really sorry. I didn't see you". And he said, "You're a liar. You saw me and you did it on purpose"! And that's the way that the world is today.
Well, you know, he really wasn't mad at her. He was just mad. And he took it out on her. And so, remember, when you're having trouble, don't take it out on somebody else. One of the best things you can do when you're having trouble is purposely... Everybody say, "Purposely", 'cause you're not gonna feel like it. But purposely do something good for somebody else. If you're sick, pray for other people that are sick. If you're having financial problems, find something to give away. Don't let the devil defeat you. Our trouble is not from God, it's from Satan. But God uses it for good if... Say "If". We do things God's way. And this sounds simple but it's so important because when you have trouble, which I can promise you, you will.
If you handle it God's way, he will work good out of it. But you can't be mad at people and hold unforgiveness and be acting bad and saying all kinds of negative things and expect it to turn out good. God uses things for our good. He uses it to strengthen our faith. He teaches us things that help us in the future. And we learn compassion. When you're hurting, you know, you never really know what it's like to go through that or to go through that unless you've been through that or something else yourself. But then when you've been through it, you can have a lot more compassion for other people. And the Bible says that God comforts us and then we can comfort others with the same comfort with which he comforted us.
So, we learn compassion to be able to minister to other people. Well, Jesus had plenty of trouble himself, wouldn't you say so? And I love Hebrews 5:8 and 9. There's such a huge lesson in it. It says, "Although he was a son, he learned [active, special] obedience through what he suffered". Isn't that interesting? He learned. Now, he never disobeyed God, but the decision to obey God, many times, means that you're gonna hurt. You're gonna hurt, if you don't, worse. But Jesus went through all kinds of things and it was because he chose to obey God. I mean, he told Peter when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Don't you know that if I wanted to, I could call twelve legions of angels? I don't have to do this". But he said, "Then God's will would not be performed".
And so really, and we need to get this: we're not here just for God to see how happy he can make each one of us. Becoming a Christian means that you surrender your life to God, and you wanna serve him. You want him to use you to help other people. Do we understand that? I think a lot of times we think, you know, God is just our little magic "Fix-it-all" and that his whole job is just to keep us happy and make sure we got plenty of money and, you know, everything that we want. But really, we need to look at it the other way around. It's like, "God, what can I do for you"? Every day when you pray, you should ask God, "Show me if there's something I can do for you today". And doing something for God usually means doing something for somebody else. And it may mean doing something for somebody that doesn't deserve it.
But then do we deserve all the goodness that God gives us? You know? It may mean giving to somebody who's been mean to you. Ooh, that one hurts. So, we need to learn what it really means to minister. "And, [his completed experience] making him perfectly [equipped]", to me, this is so interesting. He got equipment and he got experience. And see, you're trying to help people, or especially like for me trying to preach. I mean, I didn't get my sermons out of a dollar sermon book that I bought at a Christian bookstore. You know, this is my life, this is my experience. And so, there's passion in it and there's anointing in it because I've gone through, I don't have the luxury of running away from everything that I go through. And so, "[his completed experience] is what made him perfectly [equipped], to become the author and the source of eternal salvation".
I'm glad he didn't give up, aren't you? And so sometimes when you're going through something, it's just for the purpose of gaining experience. You're gaining experience, you know. I would much rather hire somebody, who has ten years' experience than somebody who has a college degree and hasn't worked a day in their life. Because head knowledge is not the same thing as applying things and walking through them. Well, just a few troubles I've had lately. First of all, I had a minor back surgery, minor. Supposed to be a two-week recovery, a one-inch incision. I had some spinal stenosis, which means your spine narrows in certain places from arthritis or whatever. And somehow in the process of that, I ended up getting a blood clot at the surgery site. Had to go back and have a second surgery. The blood clot damaged the nerves in my right leg.
And so, I had no strength in that leg at all. I mean, I couldn't, only pick it up about that far off the bed. So, sent me to a physical therapy hospital. I was there for 14 days doing physical therapy three times a day. My leg got strong enough they could send me home on a walker. Then I started physical therapy. The first day I went for physical therapy, I came home, and that night I fell in my closet and broke my other leg. You'd think I could have at least broke the same leg, so I could, you know, I thought, "You gotta be pretty talented to do this". And so, for two and a half months, I couldn't walk at all. And I don't have time left today to tell you the process you go through just to get on the toilet, but it's like, I mean, to get out of bed and go to the bathroom is like a nightmare.
And I made my mind up in the beginning, "I'm not gonna to complain. I'm gonna be a good witness. I'm gonna have a positive attitude. And God is going to work good out of this". And you know what? It made it a much more pleasant experience for me. See, when you're going through difficulties, what's the point in making yourself miserable by having a bad attitude? Eh, little things, a water bottle leaked in one of my travel bags and had water all over everything and had to deal with that mess. Somebody was 30 minutes late for an appointment they had with me, which ended up making my whole day crazy. You know, there's always things going on. I lost one of my favorite rings. I learned that someone I thought was a friend had been talking about me in a critical and a judgmental way, so I got to practice forgiveness. I hurt my back. This was before I broke my legs. My knee had been hurting.
You know, the detail... Oh yeah, and then last week, and I've never had this in my whole life, I broke out in hives. I'm like, "Really? I just got to where I can walk". And I was taking part in a wedding. And thank God didn't have too many, I had seven, but they were in different places. One on my ear, one on my cheekbone, one here and one there. And there's a thousand reasons why you can have hives so why even try to figure it out. But thank God they're gone now and I'm believing they won't come back. So, you just never know on any day when you get up what's gonna happen, but that's not meant to scare people because as you'll find out in the next teaching, we are more than conquerors... And we already have the victory. If you read the end of the book, we win. Amen?