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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Dressed for Battle - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Dressed for Battle - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Dressed for Battle - Part 1
TOPICS: Spiritual warfare
Joyce Meyer - Dressed for Battle - Part 1

We're doing a little series this weekend on the devil. I know you're all happy about hearing about the devil. Some people don't believe the devil's real, but I'm sorry to tell you that he is. And if you don't believe that all you gotta do is look around at the world and see the condition it's in and it certainly isn't God that's the Creator of all the evil that's in the world. And that's the best way I know how to put it that the world today is full of evil and evil people. And we blame the government and we blame everything, but behind it all is the devil. That doesn't mean that people aren't responsible for what they do, but the devil will work through and use anybody that he can, including Christians.

I don't believe he can possess a Christian because they're full of the Holy Spirit, but he certainly can oppress them. How many of you believe the devil's ever used your mouth to...? I have to definitely say that there have been times when he's used mine to hurt people and to say things that were just really downright stupid. And so, he'll use your attitude, your mouth, certainly try to put all kinds of wrong thoughts in your life, because I always like to say, "Where the thoughts go the man goes". It's just like, you think about a hot fudge sundae long enough you'll probably go get one no matter what time it is, no matter how far you have to go. It's amazing how our thoughts affect our feelings and our emotions. And so, it's very important that we realize the devil is a real entity.

E.M. Bounds said in his book, "The Devil is a Person", not a person like we are with a human body, but a person with a personality, a personality that's very evil. And the devil really is to be respected. Don't ever make fun of the devil or think that he's just a big joke because he has a lot of power. But one thing he does not have any longer, because Jesus took it away from him, is authority. We have authority and power. Luke 10:19 says "Behold I have given you", not I will give you, but "I have given you power and authority to tread on serpents", that's the way he appeared to eve in the garden as a serpent. "To tread on serpents and scorpions". And "I've given you power over all the power of the devil and nothing shall by any means hurt you".

So, you have power, and you have authority, but it's up to you to use it. And that's what we're gonna talk about this morning. We're gonna talk about being a little more aggressive, not being so dull-headed and just "Eeh", wait, let the devil walk all over us and do nothing about it. But 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Resist the devil at his onset". You don't wait until you've been a broken-down mess for three months and then finally takes a truckload of Christians to come pick you up. You resist the devil at his onset. And don't feel sorry for yourself when you have trouble. That's one of the best ways to invite the enemy in. In 1 Peter 5:8-10, it says that "The same afflictions are accomplished throughout the body of Christ all around the world". So, whatever kind of problem you're having, there's somebody that's got a worse problem than you. Amen?

And so, the first scripture you're gonna read is Revelation 16:15 out of the Amplified classic Bible. And it basically says, "Stay awake and keep your clothes on". Which is an interesting scripture. If you don't understand it spiritually, you're gonna go, "Huh"? He says, "Behold, I am going to come like a thief. Blessed (happy, to be envied) is he who stays awake, (alert) and who guards his clothes, so that he may not be naked and [have the shame of being] Seen exposed". Now isn't that an interesting scripture? You know, that doesn't mean to go sit in your closet with a shotgun, and guard your clothes all night. He's not talking about these kind of clothes, he's talking about spiritual clothing. And maybe that's a new thought for you. Maybe you haven't really comprehended that you have spiritual clothing. But all throughout the Bible it tells us to put on some things and put off other things. And both of those terms, "Put on" and "Put off," are action words. They require you to do something.

I've never yet gone in my closet and had my clothes jump on my body. I've had to pick them out and put them on. And many times, I don't like what I put on. I won't look good in it, so, I'll take it off and I'll put on something else. And trust me when I say that there are many Christians going out in the world today dressed spiritually in things that don't look good on 'em. Bad attitudes, self-pity, anger, bitterness, resentment, jealousy. Oh, but we go to church. Praise God, as long as you go to church, and you got a cross hangin' around your neck and a big Bible then everything's okay. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but that's not what God's looking for. God sees the heart and he sees what we do. And the Bible tells us over and over that Jesus is coming soon. And I don't know how soon is but every day that goes by it gets sooner. Paul thought he was coming back in his day, and we believe he's coming back in our day, and I think every generation believes he's coming back in their day.

But one of these days it's gonna happen. And there are signs of the end times and more and more of them are being fulfilled all the time. All you gotta do is read Matthew 24 and you'll find a lot of the things that the Bible says is going to happen in the last days. But God is watching, and he is a rewarder of those who are diligent. And diligence means that you don't just do the right thing one time but you do it over, and over, and over, and over, and over. You do it when you feel like it. You, especially, do it when you don't feel like it. I'm gonna make a statement and I want you to hear this. When you do the right thing, when you feel like doing the wrong thing, that's one of the most powerful things you can do. I'm gonna say it again, when you choose to do the right thing, when you feel like doing the wrong thing, it's one of the most powerful things that you can do.

God may want you to be the aggressor and go and make peace with somebody who has hurt you. And really, everything in you says they should be the one coming to you, but you know, in your heart, that God wants you to be the aggressor and go make peace. The Bible says, "When you bring your gift to the altar, if your brother has ought against you, you go to him and make peace then come back and bring your gift to the altar". Well, that's not an easy thing to do. But if we will just do what God tells us to do, it's amazing how good things will work out in our life. I don't know why we are so stinking stubborn, but it sure takes us a long time to realize that God was right after all, right? Oh, and by the way, he won't change his mind and do it your way. No matter how long you wait to do it his way, he's not gonna change his mind and do it your way.

So, the Bible says, for example, "Put on Jesus Christ. Put on love. Clothe yourselves with mercy, kind feelings, and a lowly opinion of yourself. Put on humility. Put off the old man, put on the new man. And put on the full armor of God". And I'll tell you in a minute what that is, but. You say, "Well how do I do that"? Well, the way it works for me is I think about it. I spend time with God every morning before I do anything else and I highly recommend it. Now, you might say, "Well, I'm just not a morning person".

Well, if you can only give it two minutes, some way, somehow start your day with God if all you can say is, "Good morning, Lord. I love you". Some people do better at night. At night, I'm done. I can't do anything but lay down somewhere. So, mornings, I'm sharper in the morning so it's better for me. Dave and I both do that. I'm glad that I have a husband that spends time seeking God every day. It's a wonderful thing. And you might say, "Well, I wish I had that". Well, you know, don't be jealous. Just do what you should do and let God take care the rest. But no matter how many times a week you go to church, if you don't ever spend any personal time with God, that's the place where everything that you hear kind of comes together and starts to make sense for you. And if you told me, "I have time to either watch your TV program in the morning or spend 30 minutes with God," I'd tell you to spend time with God.

As much as I want you to watch the program, it's just very important to put God first in your life, and one of the ways you do that is by putting him first in your time. And so, when I spend that time with God, I think about things like this. I think about walking in love that day, and who I'm gonna be around, and how I might show them love. This is the way you put these things on. You make a plan. You plan ahead of time. If somebody hurts my feelings, I'm gonna forgive 'em. If somebody does somethin' that they shouldn't do, I'm gonna be merciful. You see, we don't just have to wait and see what happens. We can plan. Does anybody understand me? You just take 10 or 15 minutes, in the morning, and you think about these things. I put on Christ, which means you put on his nature, you put on his behavior. "Jesus, I wanna be like you, I wanna represent you". We are his representatives in the earth, and for many people, you are the only Jesus they're gonna see.

And so, that cross you wear around your neck, all that does is tell them to watch your behavior. Go ahead, stick a bumper sticker on your car and then speed, and make dirty signs at them when you... They do something you don't like and then expect 'em to believe that your Christianity has any value. You see, that's the problem today, you know, we yell, "I'm a Christian, I'm a Christian," and then we don't act like it and so the world doesn't respect us. And you can't blame 'em. And really, by and large, the church today doesn't have the respect that it should have. And it's because we don't act the way that we should. You gotta think about, "God, I don't want to be haughty and proud today".

You know, the first thing that happens when you think too highly of yourself is you start thinking too lowly of other people. If you think too much of yourself, you'll think too little of others. There's nothing that aggravates me worse than to see a spiritual leader mistreat people underneath him. We always make sure, when we're out in these venues, that we're good to the people in the back that work in these arenas, we're friendly with 'em, good to 'em. Many times, we give 'em books or the guys will take 'em something to eat. And over, and over, and over, and over again we hear, "There's nobody that comes here that treats people any better than you do". Well, that's the kind of report we should be having about our behavior. Your friends should say things like, "Nobody makes me feel any better than you do".

You know, when you're with somebody they may not remember everything you said, but I'll tell you what they will remember, how you made them feel. And if you make people feel valuable, that's what they need. Because the devil is really busy trying to make people feel worthless. We said last night, we know the devil's real, at least I know he's real. And we already know he's gonna lose, he's fighting a battle that Jesus has already won, we're just walking it out. And the Bible says that you gotta believe that God is and that "He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him". And so, you see I, personally, believe that you taking the time to be here, many of you, last night, and you'll be here all day, today, some way, somehow, in your life, there'll be a reward for that. God will make this time up to you, and there will be something that you'll handle better in this next week than you would've if you wouldn't have been here, and it'll save you some trouble that you would've had. Amen? And, you know, last night I talked about some things that were hard to talk about, but I know that I obeyed God.

So, therefore, no matter what kinda hoopla I might get from it, I know I obeyed God. And so, therefore, somewhere along the way, there'll be a reward for that. God always rewards obedience. And many times, the harder that obedience is, the greater the reward. Now, some of the rewards that we're gonna receive will come when we get to heaven. Some of them will come here. But i, personally, am really looking forward to heaven. I mean, the Bible tells us some things about it. It doesn't tell us a lot. I wish it told us more, but it sure is, apparently, a pretty place. And Jesus said something about mansions, and I like that. I hope I get a big one that I can help decorate. I like that idea of, you know, Jewels everywhere. I like sparkly stuff and pretty stuff. And I hope I get to do a seminar with Moses and Paul and Peter. You know, get to preach to somebody with, a few famous people. But we should spend now preparing for there. Amen?

Listen, even if you live to be a hundred, that's like a grain of sand on all the beaches in the world compared to eternity. You've gotta think about this. If you're here today and you've not surrendered your life to Christ yet, or if you're watching by television and you haven't surrendered your life to Christ, you're still trying to live your own life your own way, why don't you let today be the wisest day of your life? Do the smartest thing you can ever do. Repent from your sins, turn away from a life of sin and tell God, "I'm yours, you do with me what you want to". Let me tell you, people who think there's no God are gonna be very surprised in the end. And I always say if I spend my whole life believing all this and I turned out to be wrong, I still haven't lost anything. I've been happy while I've been here. But if you, on the other hand, spend your life not believing and you're wrong, you're in a lot of trouble, amen? Because then there's no time to fix it. So just remember that, you know, maybe in order to obey God you gotta lose a few friends.

You know, if you're gonna be a God-pleaser then you can't be a man-pleaser. And sometimes, when you don't please people, then they don't want anything to do with you. So, let's just say you lost a few friends. Well, you know, that's much better than losing your soul. Amen? And so, I'm really encouraging you. We're living in dangerous times, and I feel a real urgency in my spirit to encourage people to make a deeper commitment than ever, and start really being obedient to God. You know, don't compromise, and think that, "Well, it's just a little bit, and everybody else does it," you know. One time I was murmuring to God because I felt like there were other preachers that I knew that seemed to do things that God wouldn't let me do, and I was like, "Well, why is it that you tell me I can't do this, I can't do that, I can't see this movie and they go, and I can't do this, and I can't do that"?

And he just simply said, "Look, you've asked me for a lot, do you want it or not"? And I decided I did. So, I've had to make a few sacrifices along the way. In Ephesians 6 it talks about "Putting on the full armor of God". It's armor that God supplies, but it's up to us to put it on. And Ephesians 6:10-18 are certainly worth your study. It says to "Put on righteousness". Now, what does that mean? It means to know who you are in Christ. In Christ. Know who you are in Christ, and understand that your who is different than your do. I don't do everything right, but I am still right with God because I believe in Jesus. The Bible says that in 2 Corinthians 5:21. "He that knew no sin became sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him".

Now, that ought to make you feel good to be right with God because the devil is always trying to tell you what's wrong with you. How many of you know you wake up in the morning and if you're listening to him the first thing he wants to remind you of is everything you did wrong the day before? Amen. And he loves those times when you're not fully awake. So, he can try to get a jump on your brain before you get a chance. And you gotta learn how to fight back and say, "No". Like I said last night, I got up one morning, last week, and I could tell I had a little case of the grouchies. I was about to, I was just on the border of feeling sorry for myself. But you know what? I've been there and done that. And it doesn't do any good. And I just said, "No".

If I remember, I said it out loud, "Nope, not going there". And I started thanking God for everything that I could think of that I was blessed with. You gotta fight, you gotta fight the good fight of faith. Amen? Gotta stir yourself up. Get a little more aggressive. That's why you need to go to things like this where you get stirred up, you know? You're gonna have a better week, next week, than you would've if you wouldn't have been here, but then you'll need to go get fed another time, somewhere else. Righteousness, you gotta wear it. It's a breastplate.

Protects your heart, knowing who you are in Christ. Then it says, "Tighten the belt of truth". I like that. The truth is the Word of God, so when you're in battle, when you're being attacked, it says, "Tighten that belt of truth". In other words, hang on to it more than ever before. When the word doesn't seem to be working for you, that's when the enemy's gonna try to tell you it's not true. But that's where you need to be smarter than him, and say, "It is true, it is true, it is true. I believe it, I believe it".
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