Joyce Meyer - Freedom from Worry
Well, I wanna talk to you about freedom from worry. And I know probably none of us need that, right? Does anybody here need that? You know, there certainly is plenty to worry about in the world today. To be honest, sometimes, I feel like that the world has gone so crazy, I don't even know how to think about it. You know, it's like I'll hear some things it's like I can't even get it to go in my head. And I know it's easy to say, "Don't worry". But the thing is, is it just really doesn't do any good. And it does not solve the problem. And I try to think about this stuff practically. Like it's easy for me to stand here and say, "Don't Worry".
I don't have anything in particular right now to worry about. But that doesn't mean that when I do have something that I'm not certainly tempted to worry, nor does it mean that I don't start to worry. But I have found a few things over the years that help me and one of them is the longer you walk with God, the more experience you have with God, the more you trust him. And the more you trust him, the easier it is not to worry. And the other thing is, and this is a very important part of this teaching, is what you believe about prayer. How much do you really believe that God hears your prayers and that he answers them? And I think that, here again, when you've had enough experience with God, and in the last, I'd say three years in particular, I've just really paid more attention to the prayers that God answers for me.
I think sometimes we pray things and then God answers, and we forget that we even ask. And you know, sometimes it's a while before God does answer. And sometimes it's right away and we can't always figure that out. He's always got his reasons for what he does. But worry just absolutely makes us miserable. And you know, you only have one life to live. And the Bible says that God has actually predestined us to live a good life. So, a lot of people think when they see the word predestination that that means it absolutely has to happen because God said it, but that's not true. That means that's his will. God wants us to have a good life. I want every single one of you to believe that God wants you to have a good life. And believe it or not, it's not all up to God. A lot of it's up to us.
You see, God tells us in his word how to have a good life. But unless we apply those principles, then no matter how born again you are or even no matter how much you love God, you can still have a miserable life. There are a lot of miserable Christians. And I always say, "It's one thing to be a miserable sinner, but we sure shouldn't be a miserable saint". So, first thing, God's will is peace. And peace is so wonderful. I've kinda come to the point in my life having lived both ways, having been worried and anxious and upset and frustrated all the time and then coming full circle to having peace the biggest majority of the time. I don't feel like life is really worth living if you don't have peace. It's just miserable.
And so, John 14:27, and all these scriptures are from the Amplified classic Bible, Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you: my [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you". He talks about giving us his own special peace. He says, "Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let them be afraid". And then the Amplified Bible adds this to make it real practical, "[stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed: and do not permit yourself to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" Now, the first thing a lot of people say to a scripture like that is, "I can't help it". Or "It's just too hard".
And so, we have to really understand and believe that anything that God tells us to do, we can do it. May have to learn how to do it, might take a while to get there, but if you start out believing it's impossible, then you'll never get there because we do get what we believe. And if there's a promise from God in his word and we don't believe it, we won't get it because he says, "Be it unto you even as you believe". And so, I believe that there must be a way that I cannot worry, not have fear, not be frustrated, not be agitated. And so, one of the things that I do when worry knocks on my door is, I have a talk with myself.
Now, most of us talk to ourselves anyway, but a lot of the things that we say are not very uplifting. And I honestly will do this. I'll say, "Okay, Joyce, you've been around this mountain a hundred times. This is not going to do any good. It's not gonna change anything. As a matter of fact, Joyce, if you worry, it may just make it longer because God is not gonna move until you trust him". Now, that works for a little while, and then the worry comes back and so sometimes I'll have to do it two, or three, four times. I've also found as soon as worry starts, as soon as you start to worry about something that's the best time to take action to get rid of it. The longer we wait you might say the more deeply the roots get planted and it honestly really if you can just keep this in mind, worry is not gonna solve your problem. It's just not gonna solve your problem.
Colossians 3:15 says that we should "Let peace be the (umpire)" in our life. And I love that because the umpire in a game decides what's in and what's out. So, so many people and I don't mean this, you know, in a rude way but so many people just do dumb things. You know, like when I got away from my mom and dad's house after being sexually abused by my dad, I really thought, and I really believed that nobody would ever want me because I'd been abused. And so, the first guy that asked me to marry him, I said, "Yes," even though this little, you know, sometimes the lack of peace is not a loud, "No, don't do that"! Don't you wish it was? It's more like just a little uncomfortable, "Mmm," little scratchy thing in your spirit.
And I, of course, wasn't really walking with God then, but I had been born again when I was nine years old and so God was with me even though I wasn't with him that much. And I believe that God was showing me that it was just gonna be more trouble, which it ended up being another five years of a nightmare. But my oldest son, David, did come from that relationship and God says that he will "Give you the treasures of darkness". And when I was pregnant with him it was one of the darkest times in my life and now he's a great treasure and a friend and he's started all of our missions and so God definitely takes things that Satan means for harm and works them out for good. And I know you may hear that scripture a lot, but I believe that. I mean, I really, really believe that.
Now, he only does it if we do things his way. And I think this is where we get mixed up. We think, "Well, you know, God will do that". But we still have to do things his way. You can't stay mad at people. You can't have unforgiveness in your heart. You can't go around talking negatively all the time. You know, there are certain things that we have to do because we are partners with God, and that means he has a part, and we have a part. And I think a lot of times when we pray, I believe that God will show us something to do and our problem won't get solved until we do it. I'll give you a recent example from my own life. I've had stomach problems for years. A lot of nausea, diarrhea, the word we probably shouldn't say, but we'll say it anyway. And just stomach pain, being nauseated, would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Go to stomach doctors, got an upper GI, never anything wrong. They finally just said, "You've got IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome".
So, I was just having a real hard time with my stomach and praying about what to do. And so, they were gonna send me for another test, I just had two, and they were gonna send me for another one. One morning, I just looked up, on the internet, I hate to even say I had this idea 'cause I think God put it in my heart to do it. I looked up on the internet what irritates IBS. And one of the first things that it said, there was a certain artificial sweetener that was named. There was actually four of them. And I had these mints that I ate about two packages of a day. And the first ingredient in it was that particular artificial sweetener. I stopped using those mints and have not had one stomach problem since then. Not one. There's a girl who works here who had debilitating migraine headaches for years, absolutely years and years. And I mean bad headaches. She was even taking some medicine for 'em that started making her arms numb. She had to quit taking that.
And I forget now exactly how it came about, but it turned out that it was another artificial sweetener. I'm not gonna give you names 'cause I don't wanna get in trouble here on television... Giving out names of stuff. But you know, something might not bother you but it might bother somebody else. And so, thank God for doctors, thank God for medicine, but Jesus is our healer. And I would always go to him first and ask him to show you what's wrong, but I want to repeat again sometimes what he shows you is something you have to do something about. Okay, so let's just say you're nervous and you're anxious, and I don't know, maybe you're running to the doctor, "I'm anxious. I'm nervous".
And, you know, maybe God is just trying to tell you, you need to slow down in life you're doing too much. Well, until we obey God, we're gonna keep having the problem that we have. And worry in particular does cause a lot of health problems. Excessive worry can cause ulcers. It certainly can cause anxiety, nervousness. It can make you very hard to get along with. If you worry all the time it tends to make you grouchy. It can keep you from sleeping. And so, there is no good thing that worry does. Actually, the definition of worry is... It's amazing that we worry when you, when you hear the definition. Worry is said to mean "To torment oneself with disturbing thoughts".
Now, surely, we're smart enough not to torment ourselves. I mean, the devil does a good enough job without us, but isn't that really what worry does? It just torments you. And it's you doing the thinking, so you're tormenting yourself. "To feel uneasy, anxious, or troubled. To torment with annoyances, cares, and anxieties". And this actually is in one of the dictionaries I read, and it sounds odd, but it's true. It says, "To seize by the throat with the teeth and shake or mangle". So, it's like, yeah, when the enemy comes after you, it's like him getting a hold of your throat and you know, just stealing every little bit of peace that you have. But we need to learn to really see if we have peace or not.
Now, if you wanna do something really bad, you can have a false peace. I will tell you that. And so, the other thing that will help when you really wanna know if what you're about to do is, God's will or not, is to wait. Our favorite thing to do. And I have a little thing that I say, "Let emotions subside and then decide". And I wanna suggest to you that you never make, especially an important decision, when emotions are real high, or when they're real low. You say, "Well, why would I not wanna make a decision if emotions were high"? Because if you're all excited, man, you think you can conquer the world, "I can do anything". But those emotions will come down, and then you may not feel so much like you wanna do what you said you would do.
This is why we get ourselves in trouble saying that we'll do things, and then not following through and doing it. And so, then we're operating in a lack of integrity, which is not good and can open a door for the enemy in our lives. And so, I'm a very quick decision maker. Maybe some of you take too long, but I probably don't take long enough. I make what I call, "I live by my gut". You know, now, my type of personality, and I'm not, I mean I can show you this in books, we normally are right. That sounds haughty and prideful, but normally, I just know, right away, what I should do or not do. But there's also been times, many of them, when I've said, "Yes," because I wanted to do it.
And so, if it's something that you really wanna do, you have to be especially careful that you take the time. You don't ever wanna make a decision when you're really down. Because if you're really up, you wanna do everything. And if you're really down, you don't wanna do anything. So, you have to wait until those emotions settle. Let's just take buying something. You go to the mall to pick up a pair of glasses that you ordered, and you don't intend to buy anything else, but you walk by 75% off sale. Whoop. Have you ladies ever realized how you can feel really bad and go shopping and you get over it? I mean, a couple of weeks ago, I felt really bad. And I went shopping and after shopping about 30 minutes, I thought, "Wow, I feel really good". And so, a lot of it is getting your mind off of it. Amen?
So, you wanna walk in, you wanna be led by peace. It says "Let peace be the umpire in your life" and then Philippians 4:6 and 7 and, actually Philippians 4:6 and 7 is like a four-point message. It says, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything". Point number one. "But in everything, by prayer and petition, (definite requests)", point number two, "With thanksgiving", point number three, "Let your request be made known unto God", which is going back to point number three. And then number four, "The peace of God [will be yours]". That's the answer. So, I don't even know how to tell you how strongly I believe this, that the minute that you start to worry about something, the first thing you do is pray. Because God can solve, in five seconds, what you could not solve in a year's worth of worry.
And God does hear your prayers. And if you pray a sincere prayer that's in the will of God. God will help you. Jesus constantly intercedes for us at the right hand of the father. The Holy Spirit also intercedes for us, especially when we don't know how to pray as we ought to. So even if all you can do is groan, God will hear that. "Help me," is an awesome prayer. I pray that like lots of times, "Help me, oh God help me, help me, help me". So, I love this scripture. It's my go-to scripture. When I start to worry, I get, I like to look at 'em, even though I have memorized this, and I could quote it, I like to look at them. "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every", see there's nothing outside of this.
Now, do any of you, do you know what a false sense of responsibility is? Okay, how many people here have that? Okay, well. And what that is, is you make yourself responsible to solve problems that aren't yours to solve. And so, that's one of the things that you can get into worrying about that will certainly not do you any good because, yes, you can pray for other people, but when other people's will is involved, it makes a difference in how this prayer is gonna be answered. Do you understand that? Because God is not gonna use my prayer to go against your choice. He's not gonna use my prayer to make you do the right thing. We all have free choice. But when we do pray for someone, it does open the door for God to work.
So, you always gotta remember that. So, I love prayer and I wouldn't wait long to pray. In the Bible, the New Testament, there was a greeting that they used. Paul opened his letters with this greeting, and I don't know for sure that all the people greeted each other this way, but I can tell you, they didn't just say, "Hey. Ho! What's up, bro"? That's not the way that they talked to one another. They said something that was worth saying. And what Paul said a lot was, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you".
Now, if we saw somebody and said that to them, they would think we'd lost our minds. "Oh, grace and peace be multiplied to you, brother". Well, we could at least say, "Have a blessed day". We could say something, at least, that's gonna release some kind of blessing in people's lives. I have formed a habit, even people I don't know, out in the shopping mall when they wait on me, as a customer, a lot of times when I part with them, I'll say, "Be blessed". And so, you're never gonna have peace if you don't understand grace. So, I'm just gonna tell you what grace is without going into a long teaching on grace. Grace is the power of God coming to you free of charge to enable you to do with ease what you could never do with any amount of struggle and effort.
Now, I know you'd like to have me say that again, but I don't have time. However, when you know how to receive the grace of God, and by the way the moment you feel frustrated that's when you know you're into works of the flesh, which works of the flesh is our work trying to accomplish what only God can do. And works of the flesh don't work. We are to work, but we're to work the works of God. In other words, "No, I don't want to just sit around like a blob and do nothing, but I need to do what God is showing me to do or something the word tells me to do, not just what I want to do to solve my problem".
The last thing I will say about this today and then we're gonna pick it up again later is, worry is pride. You know why? Because really, it's me saying if I think about this long enough, I can solve my own problem. "I'm gonna find the answer to this". And God does not want us to be independent, he wants us to be dependent. So, the first thing that he needs to hear when we have a problem is, "God, I have a problem and I know that I am not smart enough to solve it without your help". "So please help me and if there's something you want me to do, show me what it is. And if you want me just to wait on you to do something, then help me be patient and wait".
And I think that might help us if we understand really what we're doing when we worry. Because we're rolling something over and over and over in our mind, trying to find the answer that only God has. It's so easy to worry about your kids, to worry about your finances, there's so many things that we can worry about. But God is faithful. And I just wanna tell you that I believe with all my heart that God will come through for you. Now, he may not do exactly what you ask him to do because what you ask him to do may not be the best thing. And you know, the worst thing that you can have is something that's not in God's will.
That's like "An Ishmael," if you know the story of Abraham. He wanted a child so bad that he worked out a plan of his own and it was a 13-year nightmare. And so, let's put our trust in God. And I know, I'm not gonna tell you that worry will not keep trying to come to you because it will. It's one of Satan's favorite tools to aggravate and frustrate us with. But try my plan of talking to yourself. I always say, "I gotta talk myself off the ledge. I'm about to jump. And I'm gonna talk myself off the ledge".