Joyce Meyer - Be Aggressive
Well, welcome to "Enjoying everyday life". I'm so glad that you've joined us here today, and I wanna do a teaching today about how important it is to be aggressive. And, you know, when I say, "Be aggressive", I'm not necessarily talking about only an action. I'm talking mainly about starting with having an aggressive, inward attitude that you know that life is important, that this is the day the Lord has made, and you're not gonna waste it just being vague and thoughtless and foolish and, you know, double-minded and not making decisions. But you're gonna take an aggressive approach to life and say, "I wanna really make use of this day, and I wanna live it to its fullest".
In Matthew chapter 11, verse 12, which actually happens to be a really favorite scripture of mine, in the amplified translation it says, "And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault". Now, that's an interesting statement. It's like how can the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven endure violent assault? Well, the Kingdom of God really ends up representing a lifestyle that God has for us, a way that he wants us to live, a certain life that Jesus died in order for us to have, and Satan does not want us to have that life. He doesn't want us to be Christians, but if we are then he doesn't want us to live that life.
The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life, have it in abundance to the full until it overflows". So, we have to keep in mind that every day of our lives Satan is aggressively trying to take away from us everything that Jesus wants us to have, and he will not stop until our time here on earth is up. He does sometimes go away temporarily to wait for a better and a more opportune time, but just about the time we get comfortable and think, "Oh, got that one, don't need to be alert in that area anymore", then that's when we're in danger of being deceived.
"So the Kingdom of God suffers violent attack, and violent men seize it by force". Now we have in that scripture the word "Violent", and "Violence" you would think would be from the same Greek word and mean the same thing, but they don't. They're actually two different words. So when it says, "The Kingdom of God has endured violent assault", it means attack, but when it says, "The violent take it by force", it means the aggressive and the energetic, the aggressive and the energetic. And so it says, "A share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion".
So I think that successful Christianity is work. It's not works of the flesh because that's us trying to do without God what only God can enable us to do, but it is work, and there is an effort, not a fleshly effort. But we can't be sleepy Christians. Very often in the word the Bible talks about, "Awake, oh, sleeper, and rise from the dead". And so if we go by how we feel, then a lot of times we're just not gonna feel like doin' anything, and sadly a lot of people do just follow those feelings.
And so in Ephesians 2:10, which is a scripture that I really enjoy, it says, "For we are God's own handiwork (his workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus". And anytime we see re-anything, redeemed, recreated, renewed, revived, that always means that we've got a chance to go back to the way things should have been at the beginning and start over, and I love that, that God is re-everything. He always gives us another opportunity to go back and be the best we can be. So, "We are recreated in Christ Jesus", given a new opportunity, "Born anew that we may do", can you guys say in here with me, "That I may do those good works which God predestined (and planned beforehand)".
So God has already predetermined and predestined that good works are there, but we must do them. It's a cooperation between us and God. I've been sayin' a lot in the last year, and it's become an important statement to me. God gave us free will, but his desire is that we use our free will to choose his will. He doesn't want robots that have no choice but to serve him, so he has done his part. He's laid out the good works. He's laid out the good life. Now he says that "You may do them". Or you're gonna see here, "That you may walk in them. That you may do those good works which God predestined (and planned ahead of time) for us taking paths which he prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life that he prearranged and made ready".
And I think that there's a fallacy here in our thinking sometimes because we think, "Well, if God's done all these things, then why aren't I experiencing it? Well, if God's done all this, then why don't I have victory? Well, I'm just waiting on God". Well, I think a lot of times God's waiting on us. It's not so much that we're waiting on him. It's that he's waiting on us. And so before we're done today I'm gonna give you four areas, and there's many more than four but four areas where we should be aggressive, but I wanna talk to you a little bit more about what that means. Joshua chapter 1, verses 2 and 3.
Now, I just wonder if we got some people watchin' this morning by TV, and maybe you're just havin' kind of a lazy feeling day, and you really would rather that I not talk to you about bein' aggressive 'cause, frankly, you don't feel like bein' aggressive. Well, don't you dare turn your TV set off 'cause you're just the one that needs to hear what I have to say today 'cause this is gonna really help you to learn that if you live by your feelings you might as well just write across your life right now, "destroyed". And I believe that. If we're gonna live by feelings and emotions, then you might as well just get a big, rubber stamp and just go, "destroyed", because the plan that God has for you, the life that he wants you to have won't happen.
Now Joshua 1:2-3, "Moses my servant is dead. So now arise", and I like that. That means get up. And I love verse 3, "Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you, as I promised Moses". And so I love to do this when I've got a big platform and think about how God's already provided all of this. It's like this is the good plan. This is the good path. These are the good works that he's, you know, really, the truth is, is Jesus has done everything that he needs to do. I mean, he really has, and pretty much at this point it's up to us. When I say, "Up to us", it's not like we're gonna make anything happen apart from God, but it is up to us to get aggressive in obeying God and studying the Word of God and being the kind of people that God wants us to be.
So he said, "Now this is all out there before you. Now every place on which the sole of your foot treads, that have I already given unto you". So it's like you go take it now. It's no different than a mom cookin' a great dinner and then sayin' to the family, "Everything's ready. Come and get it". Well, most people are gonna go do that, but if a person won't come and get it and they stay hungry, then guess what? It's not mama's fault because she did her part. And so there is a demon spirit of laziness and a spirit of passivity and apathy, and today I think even in our society, in the culture that we live in, that there's this whole feeling of, you know, well, I deserve, and you should do for me, and, you know, this is too hard. And it's really a dangerous attitude to have.
Passivity is an open door for the enemy to work in our lives, and the best way to describe a passive person is this. A passive person wants something good to happen, and they're gonna sit there and wait to see if it does. And they do a lot of complaining, a lot of murmuring, a lot of jealousy, a lot of wishing, and, like I say, a lot of times we don't need a wishbone. We need a backbone. We need to get up and do what God wants us to do. You know, not one of us really knows for sure how many days we have left, and that's not, like, you know, a negative comment. I mean, that's just the truth. You know, we don't know exactly what tomorrow's gonna bring, so why waste today?
Now Matthew chapter 25 is such a great chapter in the Bible, and it's a chapter that really deserves studying over and over and over again. And there's two stories in here that I want to make mention of today, and one of them is about the ten virgins starting in Matthew chapter 25, verse 1. "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom". That's people waiting for Jesus. Now there's different kinds of people waiting for Jesus. "Five of these virgins were foolish", and that means, "(thoughtless, without forethought) and five were (sensible, intelligent, and prudent)". They were wise. So we always have foolish people, and we always have wise people.
Now you gotta listen to this, "When the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any extra oil with them". So you have two groups of people with a lamp full of oil like the older-style lamps that were full of oil, and so five of these people thought, "Well, in case this takes a little longer than I thought I'm gonna take some extra oil so my lamp doesn't go out". But the five foolish people didn't take anything extra. Can I just tell you that foolish people never wanna do anything extra? They only wanna do what they barely have to do to get by, and that's really why even in our society today we just see such a lack of integrity and quality workmanship. I mean, it's just different than it was 40, 50 years ago. I mean, people used to take pride in doin' a great job. Even if nobody saw it but them they took pride in doing a great job, and today it's just so, so different. And we do always need to be the kind of people that will go the extra mile.
You know, the people who end up getting promoted on their jobs are not the ones who clock in 2 minutes after they're already supposed to be working and maybe take, you know, an hour and 15 minutes for lunch instead of an hour because nobody's lookin' and play on the internet half the day when nobody's looking, and then are standing at the timeclock ready to put their card in the minute it's quitting time. Those are not the people that really ever get promoted, but the people who do are the ones who get to work early. If they've got a project they'll maybe work through part of their lunch. They won't make a big deal out of it. They won't ask for anything extra because they're doing it simply because they want to do a good job.
And, see, we don't always have to be rewarded by somebody for doing a good job. Doing a good job is a reward in itself because then you have pride in what you're doing. You know, I don't stand up and tell everybody all the time, how many hours I studied to get ready to go teach, but I obviously don't do this without putting in time ahead of time and extra time to do my part. I rarely ever get up to teach that I don't have a lot more to say than what I can say, and I might get up with 20 pages of notes and only get by the first 2.
And sometimes I'll think, "What a waste of time. Maybe I shouldn't spend so much time studyin'". But the truth is I'd rather have something extra and not need it than to need it and not have enough. So, sure enough, you know, I don't really have time to tell you the whole story, but, sure enough, the bridegroom took a little bit longer in coming than what they thought, and so everybody fell asleep. And when the shout came, "The bridegroom's here"! The five foolish woke up, and their lamps were out. The wise had extra oil, and then, just like it always happens, the foolish went to the wise, now come on, I want you to get this. The foolish went to the wise and said, "Give us some of your oil. We don't have time to go get any for ourselves".
And that's exactly what happens when people are foolish. Foolish people always want to do nothing or to do very little and then have somebody else take care of them, and that's not God's way. That's not his plan, and it's not his way. You know, we have an outreach to the poor in our city because we feel that that's very important for Christians to help the poor. It was part of everything that Jesus taught, and we need to be doing it. But we're not interested in just enabling the poor in our city and just taking care of them and just feeding them and helpin' pay their bills or whatever it is they need. We're interested in equipping them, not just enabling them but equipping them.
Now if there is somebody who is just totally not capable of helping themselves, an elderly person or somebody that's, you know, physically can't do it, then that's fine to get locked in with them and help them for as long as you need to. But even with our children we need to make sure that we're not enabling our children but that we are equipping our children. You know, the more you do for somebody, especially if they're young, the more they're gonna expect you to do when they get older. And I've found out even from the viewpoint of bein' an employer that if you start giving a new employee too much too soon, to be honest, pretty soon it becomes an expectation and not a blessing, and you get to the point where there's nowhere to go. And, to be honest, we need to work for something and prove ourselves for a while before we get something. Nothing is due us.
You know, that doesn't need to be an expectation. We need to take pride in wanting to make the effort that we need to make to earn the things that God wants us to have as rewards. And then also in Matthew 25 there's another great example of a master who was going away on a long trip, and he gave talents out to three different servants. In here there's amounts of money, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, or we can say talents, gifts, singing gifts, preaching gifts, organizational gifts, helps gifts, whatever. All of us can do something. We all have something to work with, and we don't need to be concerned with what we don't have. We just need to make sure that we're using what we do have. And so he said he would come back, and he told them to take the talents and invest them.
And, sure enough, the one with the most, and it says that he gave them talents based on their ability, on their own ability, and so a lot of times if we don't seem to have as much as somebody else, instead of being jealous of them we need to prove to God that we can do something with what we have, and then he's very capable of giving us more if he's sees that we're gonna handle well what we already have. So when he came back and asked for an account, the one with the most, with the 5,000, he had doubled his. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord", and he was given five more. The one with two, same thing. But the one who had one said he hid it in the ground. He didn't do anything. He hid it in the ground.
He said, "Here, you can have back what you gave me". But that's not what God wants. He does not wanna get us back in the same condition. Come on. He doesn't want to get us back in the same condition at the end of our life that we were in the beginning. He's given us things to work with, and he wants us to use them. And the excuse that the guy gave was, "I was afraid", and how often do we use fear as an excuse for not stepping out and doing the things that God wants us to do? All kinds of excuses, just excuses, excuses, excuses. But I want you to see what the master said to the man in Matthew 25:26. "But his master answered him, 'you wicked and lazy and idle servant'". And I've always liked the fact that he puts lazy and wicked in the same sentence.
And, you know, some people just think, "Well, you know, I'm just not a high-energy person". Well, you know what I've been prayin' for this year on a regular basis? "Lord, grant me energy, zeal, passion, and enthusiasm". You know why? I've been teachin' the word 40 years. I have no idea how many meetings I've done or how many times I've sat and studied to preach, but, to be honest, you think you get tired of doing your job sometimes? You think that I don't? And I love what I'm doing, so I don't mean that in the wrong way. But, you know, another hotel, another road trip, pack again, study some more, get up in front of people again. And sometimes you can start to feel that you're losing your enthusiasm. Well, don't just sit around and lose it or wish you had more. Get aggressive. Pray for it, "God, grant me energy and passion and zeal and enthusiasm".
You know, I walk every morning, and I'm grateful that God has enabled me to do that at this time in my life. It's just really good for me to get outside and to walk, and, you know, to be honest, getting that kind of exercise in the morning just kinda gets everything flowin'. Well, yesterday morning I got up, and I was just all full of zip and zeal, and well, I just felt like walkin'. Well, you know what? This morning I didn't feel like walkin', but you know what? I walked anyway, and then here's what happened after I was out a little bit. Then I started feeling like walking. And I guess one of the things that I wanna say to you is you don't have to follow your feelings. You can have an aggressive attitude, and then your feelings will follow you. I wanna say that again. You don't have to follow your feelings, but if you will have an aggressive attitude, then your feelings will follow you.
Now, you know, we're gonna have days where we feel bad or days where we need more rest and that kinda stuff. That's not even what I'm talkin' about. I'm talking about not being vague and thoughtless and foolishness and wasting your life. Every day we should have a plan. Your plan may not go the way you wanted it to. You might not get all of your plan accomplished, but every day of my life I have a plan. I know what I'm gonna do when I leave here. I know what I'm gonna eat for dinner. I know what I'm gonna do tomorrow. I always have a plan, and that annoys some people. It's like they don't, "Well, I don't want my life to be all planned up like that".
Well, see, I'm open to change, and I'm not gonna be upset if all my plan doesn't get done, but at least I've got a direction. At least I've got some idea what I'm gonna do with myself. See, if you have no plan or no goals, then you have nothin' to put yourself into. It's like, "Well, I don't know what I'm gonna do tonight. I guess I'll just go home and sit on the couch and see what happens. You know, maybe I'll just flip through channels and see what's goin' on". Well, how many nights can we waste doing that? And so I told ya I'd give you four areas to be aggressive, and I'm runnin' out of time here, but I'm just gonna mention 'em to you.
The first area to be aggressive in is aggressive in goodness. Don't let a day go by in your life where you're not good to somebody. Be aggressive in goodness. Don't wait to feel like giving. Just give. Don't wait to feel like encouraging somebody. Just encourage somebody. Do things on purpose. Do you know the more you do for others the happier you're gonna be and the more energy you're gonna have? Be aggressive in prayer. Prayer is such an amazing, amazing privilege, and when a thought comes to you, "I need to pray about that. I'll pray about that later when I pray", no, pray. You don't need to wait till later. The devil's hoping you'll wait till later because if you wait till later, chances are you'll forget it and won't pray at all. Prayer is so amazing, and the Bible tells us to watch and pray, to stay awake and to be aware of things that we need to pray about. And when you see a need with somebody else, pray. And when somebody comes to your mind, pray.
Matthew 24:12 tells us to "Watch therefore give strict attention and be cautious and active, for you do not know the day when the Lord is going to return". Can I just simply say to you that Jesus is coming back? And we don't know exactly when. It could be today. It could be 100 years from now, but we need to live like he was coming back at any moment. And I don't want him to come back and find me asleep, amen? Be aggressive in Bible study. There's nothing more wonderful than studying the Word of God. And I know that a lot of people think, "Well, you know, I try to read the Bible, and I just don't understand it". Well, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. There are too many translations of the Bible today that make it easy for you, and there's too many study guides and too many books to help you study. There's no reason for anybody not to be able to study the Bible.
And, you know, we did our little 30/30 challenge, and we do it, like, every year, challenging people to take 30 minutes a day for 30 days and study the word. And we've had so many testimonies of people saying how that's just transformed their life, and now they wanna study more and more. We just need to form the habit of making sure that we study because let me tell you this. No matter what problem you have, and I'm very serious, no matter what problem you have the answer to that problem is in the Word of God. And then the last thing I'll say is be aggressive against the devil and aggressive against temptation. Don't just think, "Well, I wish I wasn't tempted in that area".
I bought a little sign the other day just 'cause I thought it was cute, and I gave it to somebody else that thought it was cute. "Lord, don't bother not tryin' to lead me into temptation. I already get in it by myself". I don't know if that's exactly the way it said it, but it made sense. It was just so cute. It was like, you know, we need to realize that temptation is gonna come. The Bible never tells us to ever pray that temptation won't come. Matter of fact, it promises us temptation will come, and we are to pray not for the temptation to go away but to pray that we don't come into the temptation.
And I love that. Jesus didn't tell the disciples right before his death that "You know, I'm prayin' for you that you won't be tempted. I don't want you to be tempted". Basically he was saying, "You will be tempted. Now pray that you come not into the temptation", which is what he did, and then he was able to endure the cross and go through the difficulty marvelously that God was assigning him to go through. And the disciples all went to sleep, so we need to make sure that we're not asleep at the wheel, so to speak, and that we're aggressively following God and praying and being good to people and studying the word.
Today we're offering, this is actually five teachings, and this is for your gift to the ministry, of any amount, that we'll use to reach out and help hurting people all over the world. This is called, "Bold, Confident and Courageous" and three of the teachings are from me, and then we had a couple of guest speakers at a conference. And so, you'll get something from each one of them. And I just think that you're really going to enjoy it. So, why don't you get a hold of us today and order your copy right away. Live free from the grip of fear and learn how to be bold and courageous. God bless you.