Joyce Meyer - Colossians Bible Study
In Colossians in chapter 1, there are 12 different lessons just in chapter 1. Now, obviously I don't have the time to get in depth into each one of these, but I believe by the time you leave here today that every person is gonna get something, and maybe three, or four, or five somethings, that are gonna convict you and help you to really live the life that Jesus died for us to live. Now, I'm all about people being saved, love evangelism, love to see people receive Christ. That has to be part of everybody's ministry, but to be honest, the real call on my life is and always has been to help people, once they're saved, grow and mature so they can have the life that Jesus died to give them. He didn't die just so we could get saved and someday go to heaven, and spend 50 years here miserable.
"The thief comes only to steal, to kill, to destroy. But Jesus said, 'i came that you might have and enjoy your life, and have it in abundance, to the full until it overflows'". Amen? And I'm not talking about enjoying life when it's time for a vacation or when you get to go shopping. I'm talking about I believe that God offers us an ability to enjoy everyday, ordinary, plain old life. You know, if the only time we can enjoy ourself is when something exciting is going on, then we're gonna miss a lot of joy in life.
So, how many of you are ready to just dig a little bit deeper and really learn more? All right. I'm only gonna read the first maybe five or six verses of Colossians chapter 1 just to kind of give you a little bit of what I'm talking about here, and then we're going to begin to get into the study of it and look at some of the other verses. Colossians 1, verse 1, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus the Messiah, by the will of God". So, boy, we should underline "By the will of God" because if we're not doing what we're doing because we really believe it's God's will for us to do it, how can we ever do it well or how can we enjoy it?
You say, "Well, how can I know if I'm in the will of God"? Well, to be honest, it's not all that hard. I mean, God is not gonna give you something to do that's gonna make you miserable all the time. I believe that if we're in the will of God, whatever we're doing, number one, we're going to be pretty good at it. I don't think that we should have to spend our life feeling like we're trying to put a round peg in a square hole all the time. You know, I'm very comfortable doing what I'm doing. I've had to learn things about, you know, not getting up here and trying to impress people, and so on and so forth. Although I work hard, what I'm doing is not hard for me to do because I'm in the will of God doing it.
Now, if you're really designed to be a stay-at-home mom and that's where God wants you, and you're off trying to do something else because you think that that's what you need to do to be a modern woman, you're gonna be miserable. We all have to get around to saying, "I wanna do what God wants me to do. I'm not gonna compare myself with anybody else. I'm not gonna compete with anybody else. I just want to be in my place, doing what God wants me to do".
One of the biggest questions that people have is, how can I know the will of God? Well, it's very simple. You step out and start trying stuff until you find what's comfortable for you. And by comfortable, I don't necessarily mean easy. Like I said, I work hard, but this is my spot. This is what I'm supposed to be doing. And when I first felt the call of God on my life, I wanted to serve God, I wanted to be used by God, and I'm pretty aggressive and bold, so I just tried a bunch of stuff. And it didn't take me long to figure out what I wasn't good at and what wasn't gonna work. But boy, when I started teaching, I found my spot. I tried for a little while to work in the nursery.
Well, it only took a week or two for me and the kids to know that that wasn't the spot for me. I tried street evangelism, and I hated it. I mean, now I am bold and I can stand, I honestly could stand up here in front of 25 million people and it wouldn't bother me one iota. But I don't want to chase somebody down on the street that I don't know, back them in a corner, and try to tell them about Jesus. That's just not me. Now, there are people that are very good at that. You see, we have to be careful that we don't look at what somebody else is doing and think that's what we should do, or there's something wrong with us if we're not doing that.
So, number one lesson, Colossians 1, verse 1, be sure that whatever you're doing to the best of your ability, you believe that it's God's will for you at that time in your life. And sometimes things do change, like we just started a new conference schedule. Well, we believe that this schedule is God's will for this ministry for this time in our life. There were other times when we did five sessions every weekend. And then long time we did four sessions every weekend. Well, now we believe this is right, and it's proven out just by even the way people are responding. But you always have to take a chance.
When you take a step of faith, you always have to be willing to be wrong to find out if you're right. Come on, let's say that again. When you take a step of faith, you always have to take a chance on being wrong to find out if you're right. And, you know, to be honest, we just get too bothered by the thoughts of being wrong. You know, it's not a big deal, just say, "Well, I thought that was what God wanted. I stepped out, I tried it, it's not right. I can check that off my list and go on to the next thing". Come on, everybody say, "I want to be in the will of God". Verse 2, "To the saints (the consecrated people of God)".
Now, in just a few minutes, we're going to talk about what it means to be consecrated. See, these are words we read past them, what does that mean? We don't know. We go on, so we never get the lesson out of it that we should get out of it. Verse 3, "We continually give thanks". How many started this morning before anything else just telling God several things you were thankful for, okay? Well, see, you know, we don't need to get up and start telling God everything we've got to have to be happy that day. We need to get up and find, and I mean purposely find several things.
I thanked God this morning that I could walk, talk, see, and hear. 'Cause you know what? There's a lot of people that couldn't do that. I thanked God this morning that I had something fruitful to come over here and do. I was a little tired when I got up, but I said, "We'll kick it in gear, and we'll get over there and make some people happy, and serve you, and be in your will. And thank you for giving me the opportunity". I thank God for family. I thank God a lot of mornings for water. There's a lot of people in the world that don't have it. So, we need to be thankful people.
And then, in verse 4, and I love this, he says, "For we have heard of your faith", they were famous for their faith. "In Christ Jesus, the leaning of your entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in his power, his wisdom, and his goodness. And we've heard of your love, the love that you show for all the saints". I thought, "Oh my, my, my, I wish the church was famous today for its faith and its love". Paul had never met these people. He'd never seen them. He was writing them a letter. He cared about them, but he'd never met them. But he had heard about their faith and he'd heard about their love, and then the next thing he talks about is the hope that they had.
I wrote a whole book about a year and a half ago on hope. (Get Your Hopes Up). You know what? A lot of people are trying to have faith, they don't have any hope. In verse 5, he said, "Because of the hope of experiencing what is laid up for you". That's why he said they had this faith and love, because they had hope. You know what hope is? It's just an expectation that something good is about to happen to you at any minute. And there are people even here in the room and probably watching by TV, you think, "Well, I've got my faith out. I'm believing God for something". But if you got a negative attitude and you don't really believe that anything good's going to happen, then you can't have faith because hope is the foundation that faith stands on.
And I'll tell you something, the other day we were meeting with our publisher, and I had him get out all the books that I had written, which there's about 116 of them now. And I just got, it touched my heart. I saw this one little book, it's called a mini-book, those were real popular back when I first started writing. And the title of it was "The answer to every problem". And, of course, I just looked so much different back, it was just a little, tiny book. And actually, the artwork on it was clipart, it was the stuff where you used, before you had all the fancy computer stuff where you would just cut stuff out and, you know, paste it and do this stuff with it. And it was so childish looking, but "The answer to every problem", and I wrote it back like those 25 years ago, is hope.
You know what? If you don't let the devil kill your hope, then he don't know what to do with you. Because if no matter what happens to you, you keep saying, "Something good is going to happen", maybe it didn't happen yesterday, and maybe it didn't happen today, but it may happen in 5 minutes. If it doesn't happen tonight, it's going to happen tomorrow. And these are things, every one of these things that I have said so far, being in the will of God, knowing what it means to be consecrated to God, focusing on faith, living from faith to faith, and always believing in and trusting in God no matter what. And hope, don't let the devil steal your hope. I mean, just if you would take those things that I have mentioned today, and you would go home and meditate on them and focus on them over and over and over, you would get something that could be life-changing for you. And then he goes on and there, I mean, there's just, I'll tell you the 12 things that are in chapter 1.
Consecration, thanksgiving, faith, love, being in the will of God. Paul's apostolic prayer, which is phenomenal. What is ours in Christ, everybody say, "In Christ". If there's anything that we need to focus on and learn, it's who we are in Christ. In Christ, in Christ, in Christ. And there's teaching in chapter 1 and in chapter 2 about that. And this afternoon in particular, I'm going to focus a lot on knowing who we are in Christ. People don't know who they are. You're more than what you look at in the mirror. You're more than how you feel. You're more than what people say. You are what God says that you are. But if you don't believe it, it's never going to manifest in your life.
"I don't feel like anybody loves me". Well, we've got to stop living by how we feel. We'll talk about that a little bit today too if you'd like to. Matter of fact, I can talk about anything you want, just throw a few subjects out. In chapter 1, it talks about keeping Jesus first. That Jesus restores everything the devil has taken from us, everything. That we are to rejoice in our sufferings. See, you didn't get excited about that. You like that he's going to give you back everything the devil took. Christ in you, the hope of glory, oh my gosh. The mystery of the ages. Colossians 1:27, "Christ in you, the hope of glory". Spiritual maturity and being willing to help others.
A little background about the church at Colossae. The theme of this letter to the Colossians is the headship of Christ. He's the head, we're the body. As long as the body is taking direction from the head, we're going to be in good shape. But when the body starts trying to run everything, that's when we get in trouble. The headship of Christ and the believer's responsibility, responsibility to manifest the resurrection life that Jesus is offering us. A resurrection life. Paul talked about it in Philippians, "That I might know him and the power of his resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead, even while I'm in the body". That means you can be right here in the body, going to work, going home, doing the dishes, cutting the grass, fighting with the kids, all the stuff that everybody else goes through.
Christianity does not offer us a perfect life where there's no problems, but it offers us a resurrection life. It offers us a place in Christ, where we can rise above the storms of life, let them do what they're going to. We're still going to have our joy in God, and we're not going to give up our hope. Eagles do that, you know? The Bible says, "You can mount up with wings as eagles". It talks about, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength". You know what the word "Wait" means? It doesn't mean to go sit in a chair somewhere and do nothing till God moves. The word "Wait" has the same definition as the word "Hope". It means to wait expectantly, looking and longing for God to move in your life.
If you're not waiting with expectation, then you're not waiting according to what the Bible means when it talks about waiting. Waiting on God. We can get up every day excited, waiting to see what God is gonna do that day. You never know what God may do any given day in your life, but I'll bet you one thing, I bet that most of you need to expect more than what you're expecting. I mean, I'm expecting something great to happen today. Lord have mercy, I don't know what it's gonna be, but I'm expecting.
You say, "Well, what if nothing happens"? Well, then I'm gonna expect something good to happen on the way home, or when I get home, or in the middle of the night. See, you can just ramp your joy up to a whole new level, and you can do it all by yourself. You don't have to have any music, you don't have to have anybody preaching to you. All you got to do is get full of hope. Everybody say it with me, "Something good is gonna happen to me". See, you feel better already. Christianity would've been in danger in the days that Paul wrote this letter of being completely overwhelmed by false religions were it not for the grace of God protecting it.
In those days, just like today, there existed a strange mixture of all kinds of different so-called religions. In those days, there was a mixture of Jewish legalism, Grecian philosophy, and oriental mysticism. And it was interwoven in a most cunning and deceptive way. And in 1 Thessalonians, it's actually spoken of as the mystery of lawlessness. And it existed under the general name gnosticism. The gnostic says that we cannot know God.
And I talked a little bit about this last night, but nothing is sadder than for somebody to be committed to a religion, and they're diligent in going to a church somewhere week after week, but never taught that Jesus didn't die for them to have a religion, but so they could have a personal, intimate relationship with God. I mean, there were days when people didn't believe they could even understand the Bible. They didn't even bother to read it. They thought the priests were the only one who could understand it. Days when people thought they didn't think they could hear from God. They thought they had to go to somebody else all the time to hear from God for them.
Can I tell you something today? Now, there's a song that says this, but I've been meditating on this, I'm almost tempted to write a book on it. God is your friend. He is your friend. He is not mad at you, he's not waiting to bang you over the head because you've made a mistake. He's not loading us down with religious rules and regulations, which we're gonna talk about this afternoon. Thank God we can be led by the Holy Spirit, not a list of rules. Talk about adding creativity to your life, man, just start being led by the Holy Spirit. Even prayer, you know? I mean, of course I love the word "Prayer", it's all over the Bible. But I've been trying to say to people, you know, just have a talk with God. Have a conversation with God.
Somehow or another, if we relegate it into "My prayer time", we can almost get the idea that's been passed down to us that it's this religious exercise that has to be performed in a certain way, in a certain place, with a certain voice tone, and we almost become like other people when we try to talk to God. So much deception existed in those days, and Paul was very concerned that they were gonna to be deceived and be led back into legalism. Or he expressed a concern, he said, "I'm fearful lest you be moved away from the simplicity that is found in Christ". And I love that. A relationship with God is supposed to be simple. Being a Christian is supposed to simplify our life, not load us down with a bunch of rules and regulations we think we have to follow in order to get something right every single day.
And I can tell you today, so many people gear toward how much they do something. How long do I pray? How many chapters do I read every day? On and on and on. Just stop counting stuff. Just stop setting your clock and thinking, "Well, you know, I'm going to pray an hour". Well, you know, I used to do that. I mean, I would hear people come in and talk about how long they prayed every day when they were preaching, and so I thought I needed to try to do that. And I remember one time, dumb, dumb me back then, I got my clock, locked myself in a room, and I decided that I was gonna pray four hours every day like the intercessor that came to our church and spoke on intercession. And after five minutes, I'd said everything I knew how to say. Didn't know anything else. Finally fell asleep. And I was so bored in that room for four hours.
Now, that's silly. We don't need to behave like that. And hopefully, maybe you haven't gone through stuff like that, but how many of you have? A lot of us have, you know? And it's really out of a good heart. We just wanna do what's right. We wanna please God. But I can tell you God would rather have two minutes of meaningful conversation with you. I believe that he would rather that you take one chapter like Colossians 1 and stick with that. I don't care if you stick with it for three months.
Now, you're not probably going to brag about that. "Guess what? The last three months, I've read one chapter". Let's go deeper. We're going to talk this afternoon about going deeper. The Bible says we're to be rooted deep in his love, and we are to be rooted deep in Christ, and we're to leave the shallows and come out into the deep things of God. It's time for us to go deeper and not just keep trying to impress people with how much of everything we do. People tell me, oh, I hear this so much: "I've got all your books". Well, first of all, I highly doubt that. And secondly, it doesn't take me very long to figure out if you've just got 'em or if you've read 'em. And see, we like to have a big library so everybody's impressed when they come in our house. But God's not impressed with all that stuff, what he wants us to do is learn and apply.
Consecration, wow. Saints, we're called saints, and that word means that we're consecrated to God. And that means, and we gotta get this, as far as God's concerned, when he saves us, we belong to him. More than looking at it like he belongs to us which he does, let's look at it like, well, we belong to him now. We've been saved out of something into something, out of a low life into a high life, out of a selfish self-centered life where we just lived to please ourselves, into a life of being God's vessel for him to do through us what he wants to do. He's the head, we're the body. God works through people, amen?
When we pray for God to do something, almost always he works through some person or some human instrument to make that thing happen in our lives. That's what makes life interesting as a Christian, is letting God use you. And to be consecrated means to be set apart for a special use. And instead of sitting out there, admiring the people on the platform in your churches or in your concerts or in your seminars, it's good to have respect, and admiration is good, but instead of thinking that they're the only ones, you need to realize that you were consecrated, you were bought with a price, you are set apart for God's use, and there is something that only you can do the way you can do it.
Now, obviously, God's gonna get his job done so if you don't do your part, God will find somebody else. But I will say this and I believe I'm right. Any believer who doesn't eventually get in the will of God and let God do through them what he wants to do, will not and cannot ever be happy. Amen? Consecrated. You know, I just think it might do some of you some good today just to say, "Okay, God, before I leave here, I need to get something straight. I don't belong to myself". See, you're not an owner of anything: you're a steward of everything, amen? It's not my house, my car, my money, my life. No, you were bought. 1 Corinthians 6:19: "Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit"?
Can we get this today? God lives in us. Just wake up every morning, thinking about that. God lives in me and I live in him. I'm in him and he's in me. What can possibly go wrong today that can't be solved? "Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world". C'mon, you've got what it takes. Verse 30: "You were bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus Christ". When he poured his blood out on that cross and suffered so bad, he did it to buy you back from the devil. And you don't belong to any of that nonsense anymore. You don't belong to the world, you don't belong to the enemy. You're a separate, special, set-apart vessel. God knows it but I'm here today to help make sure that you know it, amen?
Romans 12:1: "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and I beg of you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies", it's a decision, "Presenting all your members, all your faculties as a living sacrifice". You know, under the old covenant, they had dead animal sacrifices. He said, "I don't want no more dead stuff. I want a living sacrifice. I want somebody that's alive and breathing and moving and enthusiastic and excited about life". Dedicate your eyes. Be careful what you look at. Dedicate your mouth. Be careful what you talk about. Dedicate your feet. Be careful where you go.
C'mon, am I making sense today? We need to live with that awareness, I don't belong to God. I don't belong to him. I'm not gonna sit at the lunch table and laugh at filthy, dirty, sexual jokes, just so I can be part of the lunch team. Even if they do reject me, I belong to God. I don't belong to that. I belong to God, c'mon. "Well, you know, I don't wanna make 'em feel bad". Well, whatever. You know, everybody's gonna come up higher today. But it's gonna take a decision. How many of you don't wanna go home and just keep doing what you've been doing the same way you've been doing it? All right. Real quick, the importance of being thankful. My goodness, it can change your life just to be thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:18: "Thank God in everything", in everything, "No matter what the circumstances might be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for those of you who are in Christ Jesus". Philippians 4:6: "Don't fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known unto God". I'll just give it to you the way I felt like God gave it to me. "Joyce, if you're already complaining about what you got, why should I give you more to complain about"?
And Colossians, where we're at, over in chapter 3, which will not be done in this conference. It says, "And whatever you do no matter what it is in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving praise to God the Father through him". I do want us to look at Deuteronomy 28:47-48 because I believe that thanksgiving protects you from the devil, from the enemy, from his plan. Huh. Deuteronomy 28:47: "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of mind and heart in gratitude for the abundance of all which he has blessed you with, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord shall send against you". Wow, just being thankful just runs the devil off, amen? Take a praise pause right now and give God a little faith.
Okay, let's talk about faith for just a minute. You know, we're the faith people but what does that mean? Well, first, just one scripture here. 2 Corinthians 5:7: "We walk by faith, and not by sight". What does that mean? Well, it means that we live according to the word, not according to what we see or what we feel or what we think or what other people tell us. Let me tell you this in the most loving but firmest way that I know how to say it. Life is never gonna get better for any person until they make a decision, and it is a decision, "I don't care how I feel, I don't care what I think, I don't care what it looks like, I don't care what the world says, I believe what God says in his word".
And here's kind of what I've decided. You know, people may think you're stupid for just continuing to believe. You know, in Romans it says, "Even though at times we look like sheep being led to the slaughter, right in the midst of all of these things, we are more than conquerors. More than conquerors". Well, I think I know what a conqueror is, but what is more than a conqueror? I think "More than a conqueror" means you know you've got the victory before the trouble ever starts. So you know what that does for you? That means you don't have to be afraid of trouble.
You know, nobody likes trouble but whatever happens today, whatever comes my way, I'm gonna get through it with God. It may be hard, I may cry, it may hurt, but I'm gonna come out on the other side. I'm gonna come out in victory. Right now, it may look to you like I'm stupid for believing the Word of God. It may look to you like what I'm believing is gonna happen is impossible. But I have made a decision for my life: "I believe God". And here's what I can say to anybody who might be watching by TV, thinking, "Well, lady, you are just nuts. How can you believe that"? And "How can you believe"? And "How can you believe"?
Well, you know what? If I spend my whole life believing what I believe and at the end I find out I'm wrong, I haven't lost a thing. I've been happy in my delusion. However, if you're wrong. C'mon, if you're wrong and you don't believe and you get to the end and find out you were wrong, now you've got an eternity full of big trouble. So I've made my decision, amen? I believe God. "We walk by faith, and not by sight". Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith". See, we missed that word. Faith is now, it's not tomorrow.
Now, I believe God that he'll take care of tomorrow now I believe God that he can take care of the past. But faith has always got to be now. And in Romans 1:17, it says there's a righteousness revealed in the Word of God that leads us from faith to faith to faith to faith. When you know who you are in Christ, you know how much God loves you, then somehow, by a miracle of the Holy Spirit, you're able to believe things that just don't make any sense. I mean, I know that I believe things that, to most natural people, would be totally crazy. Who could have ever started where I started and actually believed that I might be doing what I'm doing today? But I believed it. And guess what? It wasn't easy, didn't happen overnight, but there's nobody that can't recover. No matter what has happened to you in your life, there's nobody that's beyond God's reach. He is a redeemer and a restorer.
The apostle Peter said that when we're born again, we're born again into an ever-living hope. Don't ever let the devil steal your hope. C'mon, every promise in the Bible is for you. It's not for somebody else. You got to take this personally. "Now faith is the title deed", I love this, "The title deed of the things we hope for, being the proof of things that we don't see". So let's just say that I came to you and handed you the title to my car. I said, "Here, I want to give you my car".
Well, I don't have the car with me. You can't see the car. But if I give you the title and if you trust my reputation as an honest woman, then you're gonna get excited right now because you've got a new car. C'mon, you haven't seen the car, you haven't driven the car. Right now, you don't even care what color the car is, you don't care how many people it seats. You are just, like, "Man, I was given a new car". Well, faith is that way. See, faith is the title deed and God gives us his promise. I think there's, I don't know, thousands and thousands of 'em. I heard the number the other day but I don't wanna misquote it so I'll just wait on that but everything that you could ever need in life, believe God.
Stop living in your head. Stop living by how you feel. Stop living by what other people tell you or what the world, "Well, they say. Well, they say". Who are they? Who are they? And what makes them qualified to say anything that we ought to believe 'em? I mean, I'm done with it. They run our lives and we don't even know who they are. And I love this one. It took me a while to catch on but I've got this one now too. "Well, you know, the experts say". What makes you an expert? These people call themselves experts.
Well, you know what? I'm an expert. I am an expert in the Word of God and taking a life of trash and seeing it turned into something magnificent. So now you can feel better about me because I'm calling myself an expert. It's amazing how much we listen to that. They have these scientific shows on TV and I've got an inquisitive mind so I like to watch stuff like that sometimes. But I can only take so much of it because, I mean, to be honest, when they get into the evolution and oh, gosh. Some of these programs, I'm, like, "How dumb can you be and still breathe"? Where did the world come from? No wonder Paul said, "I'm so concerned you're gonna be taken away from the simplicity that's found in Christ". I'll tell you where it came from: "In the beginning, God". Can we not just leave it alone?
And part of what he deals with in Colossians 1 and 2 is all the "Philosophy". You know, when you hear that somebody's a philosopher, it's very impressive. But I looked up what that is. You know what it is? A thinker. Well, I've been a philosopher all my life. I mean, I am into thinking. So now, I have found out I am an expert and I am a philosopher. That's all it is, all it is. You look it up. A philosopher is somebody who just sits around and thinks. And comes up with stuff. They think deeply about the meaning of life and come up with these philosophical things that we are to live by because they are expert philosophers.
Ooh, I'm a little bit stirred up today. Walk by faith. Walk in love. I did love last night. I'm gonna have to just slide by that one but, man. Loving people just makes you so happy. It really does. If you wanna get happy, just get your mind off yourself. Just try that for a week. "No, not gonna think about myself. Not gonna worry about me and what's gonna happen to me. God, show me what I can do for somebody else". And you know love. Let me just make sure you understand this. Love is not the way we feel about somebody. Love is not a gooey feeling we get, heart beating fast, weak knees.
You know, when Dave and I got married, I had all that. I mean, Dave had not been out of the army too long and he played basketball and he worked out and his muscles, you could hardly get a shirt over his muscles. I mean, whoa! One good-looking hunk of man coming in the front door. And oh, when he would take me in his arms and kiss me... Now look at me, I'm gonna tell you something. I didn't know what love was. I did not even know what it was because I had never had anything but abuse from men. I had no idea what love was. Love is not a feeling that you get. Now, 50 years later, I don't get weak in the knees when Dave comes in the door. I still think he's very good-looking.
Now, I really know what it means to love. I love Dave deeply, but my heart doesn't pound, my knees don't get weak. We just... C'mon, he found something yesterday, he was reading his founders Bible that he was telling you about and he found some scripture about where, back in the Old Testament, when a man got married, he was excused from having to go to war for a year. For that year, the Bible says, "He was to stay home and make his wife happy". I said, "Whoa, we missed that year. Can we go back and do that"? And then it said: "And after that year he was free", and I thought, "Well, you've been doing the free part. Where's the year? I want my year of you living just to make me happy". When I talked last night about how to love people that are not easy to love and that part of it is forgiveness, you know, love is not about how you feel about somebody. It's a decision, don't forget this, it's a decision that you make about how you're going to treat them.
I stopped this morning somewhere around Colossians 1:13 and 14, and I wanna go right back there and talk just a little bit more about the things that we already have that are already ours, and helping us move past continuing to pray for things, or even sometimes beg for things that we already have. Let's take, for example, the forgiveness of sins. Jesus has already died for all of our sins. It's already a done thing. He died for everything we ever did wrong and everything we ever will do wrong. Sin actually is taken care of. It's not a problem.
All we need to do is, number one, believe we're dead to sin, which is something the Bible tells us that we have in him. The more you believe you're dead to sin, the more you're gonna realize that there's a part of you that really doesn't want anything to do with sin. And I think a lot of times we spend a lot of time fighting with something, trying not to do it, and we just really learn to say, "I'm dead to that. The real me, the born-again me doesn't even wanna do that. So, flesh, just shut up because you're not gonna get your way". Instead of saying, "I'm so tempted. I'm so tempted. It's just so hard. I'm just so tempted".
You're never gonna manifest anything, and neither am I if I don't believe that I have it. I wanna spend this afternoon talking to you more about what's already yours, hopefully getting you to believe that you have it, even though you may not see it yet. Faith is what? The title deed to the things that are ours in Christ. Even though we don't see them yet, we have the title deed of the promises of God. And by faith, we believe that what God says about us is true. And not only do we believe it, we learn to say it. We learn to confess it.
So, my sins are forgiven. When I do something wrong, I need to confess my sins. I need to repent. I need to talk about my sin to God, not because he doesn't already know it, or not even really because it's not already taken care of, but because I need to get it out of me. I need to own up to it. I need to take responsibility for it. But then, guess what? I don't have to beg God to forgive me. All I need to do is say, "God, I admit that I did this. I don't wanna do this. I turn away from sin, I'm sorry".
And now, I don't suggest that you pray, "So please forgive me for my sin", because he's already done that. I'll tell ya a more refreshing way to pray: "So, father, I receive your forgiveness right now". 'Cause, you see, I think a lot of times, we spend a lot of time begging for God to give us stuff that's already ours. And what we need to do is say, "I receive that from you as a gift that you have already provided. I take it in, it's mine". Does anybody understand this?
Now, I'm not sayin' that if you ask God to give you somethin' you've already got that he's gonna say, "Oh, no, I can't answer that prayer 'cause you prayed the wrong way". But I'm tryin' to give you a little fresher way to look at things 'cause I think we spend a lot of times tryin' to get something that really we need to do more receiving. "To get" means "To obtain by struggle and effort". "To receive" means "To take in what's being offered, to become like a receptacle and take in what's being offered". We say to people: "Did you get saved"? "Did you get the Holy Ghost"? "Did you get your healing"? "Did you get your breakthrough"? "Did you get your sins forgiven"? And all that is just not biblical. The Bible says, "To as many as received him gave he power to become the sons of God".
Haver you received the Holy Ghost? So, take a little time in your time with God, and everything that you ask him for, take a moment and just receive it. "I receive forgiveness. I receive the power of the Holy Spirit. I receive the deliverance that's already mine. I receive your righteousness that you've given me through Jesus Christ. I receive, it's mine". Everybody say, "It's mine". So, just a few things. I love this one. Luke 10:19: "'behold I have given you authority and power'". Not, "I will give it to you", "I have given it to you". So, how 'bout if you say this? "I have authority". No, you gotta say it like you mean it. "And I have power".
Now, you know, the enemy has power, but he doesn't have authority. Jesus stripped him of that. So, the only authority that he has is what we give him, and most of the time, we give it to him through unbelief. We have authority and power over the enemy. "I have given you". Not, "I will give you". "I have given you". Say it again. Say: "I'm strong. I have authority. I have power. I am forgiven". Whoo, you're gonna start to feel better. Now, try walkin' around talkin' like that all day. "I can do whatever I need to do through Christ". We need to get rid of all the weak thinking and start thinking strong. Because if we think strong, we're gonna be strong.
"I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions and I've given you physical and mental strength and ability over all the power that the enemy possesses: and nothing shall in any way harm you". So, that doesn't say that nothing can come against you, but it says that nothing has any ability to permanently harm you. Romans 6:2 says: "How can we who died to sin live in it any longer"? I'm not gonna continue in sin. You're not gonna continue in sin. Because we're dead to sin. That's not really what I wanna do. I don't wanna be jealous. I don't wanna be greedy. That's not what I want. The real me, the born-again me is dead to that.
And through the power of the Holy Spirit, my flesh is gonna come under control. "We were buried with him by baptism and we were raised with him to live in newness of life". Resurrection life belongs to you. "We're new creatures in Christ. Old things have passed away". "Old things have passed away". "Old things have passed away". Come on, "Yesterday's gone". You got a new life in front of you. "God's mercy is new every day". And I love this one, John 14:27. You don't have to beg for peace. "Oh, God, give me peace. Please give me peace. God, give me peace". No, you say, "Thank God I have peace. Now, give me the grace to stop allowing myself to get upset and disturbed".
"'Peace I leave with you: my own peace I now give and bequeath unto you. Not as the world gives do I give unto you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed: and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled'". Everybody say, "I have peace". And my gosh, the list just goes on and on and on. "For his sake, he that knew no sin became sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ".
Several people, when they were talkin' to some of our teams that were doin' testimonies, they happened to mention to me during the break that several people mentioned that they've been havin' trouble, thinking that God was mad at them and that some of the problems that they were having in their life was punishment from God. And see, that's just not true. God doesn't go around punishing us. He punished Jesus for our misdeeds. He took the punishment that we deserved, and all we need to do now when we do somethin' wrong is repent and receive that forgiveness that's already ours.
Well, the devil doesn't want you to know that you can live this kind of a free life. He wants us to live in fear and be miserable all the time. You're not wrong with God. You're made right with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Now, that doesn't mean you do everything right all the time. I don't do everything right all the time. I told you, I heard a message about what to do, went right outside and didn't do what I heard. But that doesn't mean that now God is mad at me because I didn't do the right thing. It basically means that I am in the process of change. I'm between glories. I'm goin' from glory to glory to glory.
Well, I guess when I went outside, I was stuck between two. I read something that was gonna make me a little more glorious, but I hadn't quite put it on fully yet, so I got to thinkin' about it a little bit more. You know what? Please get to the point where you stop getting mad at yourself every time you don't behave perfectly, and realize that if you love God, you've received Jesus, you may not be where you need to be, but thank God you're not where you used to be. All the Fruit of the Spirit is yours. Now, believe what the Bible says about you, and don't only believe it, confess it out loud out of your mouth. Confessing who I am in Christ and the word "Confess" means "To open your mouth and say somethin'". Confessing who I am in Christ and confessing what is already mine in Christ is a major part of my everyday walk with God, and I have been at this for probably 39 years.
It took me a couple of years to learn this, but the power of confessing the Word of God, and it's biblical, Romans 4:17. We serve a God who calls those things that be not as though they are, and speaks of things that are nonexistent as if they already existed. Look at it, Romans 4:17: "As it is written, 'i have made you the father of many nations'". He was talkin' to Abraham who did not have a child yet. "'I have made you the father of many nations'. In the sight of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and speaks of nonexistent things as if they already existed". Abraham's name was "Abram", which meant "High father". God changed his name to "Abraham", which meant "The father of many nations". Long before Abraham had a child, God was calling him, "The father of many nations", every time he spoke his name.
My first name is not Joyce, it's Pauline. And Pauline means "Little preacher". Paul was a little preacher, and he did the Pauline epistles. My middle name means "With a joyful spirit". So, my father, who abused me, every time he called me, he was calling me, "A little preacher with a joyful spirit". Now, don't get all carried away with this. I don't know. You might, you know, maybe you're name's Ichabod, I don't know. But if you got a name that doesn't have a good meaning, that doesn't mean that your life is over, you know? I'm just tryin' to make a point that what we say... Do you know that, ultimately, you believe more of what you say than what anybody else says? Did you hear me? You believe more of what you say. "I'm so stupid. I'm so dumb". Well, you just keep it up. You just keep it up, and you're gonna get dumber and dumber and more stupid. "I am so fat".
Well, then don't plan to lose any weight. Begin to get your mouth in line with God's word. And what you believe and what you say, you will see, as long as what you're believing and what you're saying is solidly found in the Word of God. Now, you can't just, "I'm the president of the company". That's not the kinda stuff I'm talkin' about. But I'm talkin' about, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ". You know what? The more you believe it, the more right behavior you're gonna manifest in your life. How can you ever manifest right behavior if all you believe is there's somethin' wrong with you?
For years and years and years, I had one record playin' in my head: "What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me"? And yes, every time I made any little teeny tiny mistake, I thought God was mad at me. I am so glad that mess is over in my life and that, finally, I know who I am in Christ. There's a difference in your who and your do. Who we are in Christ and what we do as flawed human beings are often two different things. And when we first come to Christ, they are radically far apart. But from glory to glory to glory to glory, what we believe about what God says that we are gets closer and closer, and we manifest more and more and more and more of that good behavior, amen? Don't go around sayin' all the time, "I'm so impatient. I'm so this. I'm so that".
You say, "Well, Joyce, isn't that lying to say that I have things that I don't have"? Now, don't make me go all the way back to the beginning and start over. You do have them in Christ. In him, they belong to you. And I've got a good example I'm gonna show you here in just a few minutes to get this point across. Couple more things I wanna remind you of. Colossians teaches us, keep God first all the time: first in your time, first in your finances, first in your thoughts, first in your conversation, first in your decisions. If you keep him first, you'll never have to chase after things. The blessings of God will chase you and overtake you.
Psalm 37: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart". You don't have to chase 'em. He will give them to you. 1 John 5:21: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols, from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart that's due to God, keep yourself from any sort of substitute for him that would take first place in your life. Amen (so let it be)". Do you know that anything can become an idol in our lives? I have to admit that there was a period of time in my life, way back when, when the ministry that God had given me that I was trying to build became more important to me than God did. I didn't mean for it to happen. We don't always mean for these things to happen, but it can happen.
And I was so proud of myself because I was in ministry, and I was workin' for God, and I was on staff at a church in st. Louis that was really popular, and I just thought I was doin' so good. And one day, the Lord just clearly spoke to my heart and he said, "You're so proud of yourself because you're workin' for me. The problem is, you don't spend any time with me".
So, those of you that are in full-time ministry, be careful. Your ministry doesn't replace God in your life. Your ministry's what you do. I spend time every morning, before I ever even think about gettin' a message to give to somebody else, I spend time on my stuff between me and God. Because it's useless for me to say somethin' to you if I'm ignoring God in my own life with the things that he's trying to say to me, amen? Then the Bible talks about, in Colossians 1:19 and 20, let's look at verse 20: "And God purposed that through (and by the service, the intervention of) him the son all things", that includes your thing, "All things should be completely reconciled back to himself, whether on earth, in heaven, as through him, the father made peace by means of the blood of the cross".
From the moment that Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, actually, before they ever sinned because God already knew what they were gonna do, God already had a plan to reconcile everything back to him. God had a plan for man, and the devil is not ever going to be successful in permanently Messing it up. The devil stole my childhood. I never got to be a kid because, as long as I can remember, I was bein' abused. I missed something. And sometimes, when we've missed something, we feel cheated. We feel that, "Well, that wasn't right". And if you're not careful, you can really get a chip on your shoulder and you can become bitter.
But you know what? God has given me back my childhood as a full-grown adult, and I have more fun now than I ever could have had as a child. And God wants to give you back everything that you missed, but you can't get it back through bitterness. Come on, now. "Well, I wasn't born on the right side of the tracks", and, "I didn't get to go to college", and, "I didn't this", and, "I didn't that".
You know, there's a lot of things I didn't have. I didn't get to have any friends growin' up. To be honest, and this sounds bad, but if I had any kind of a girlfriend and brought her home, my dad was more than likely gonna try to put his hands on her too before all was said and done, so I quickly learned, "You just get through this, try to survive so you can get out of the house. But you're better off just to not have any friends". And so, I grew up lonely, but I don't think I'd have any problem findin' somebody to go to lunch with me now. Come on, God'll give you back. God's in the payin'-back business.
And I love what it says in Isaiah, that he gives us double. Double for your trouble. "He will give you a twofold recompense". Everything that the devil took from job, the Bible says that "God gave him back twofold everything". But, gotta keep that attitude right. See, it's not gonna happen if you have a bad, sour, unbelieving attitude. Keep your hope up. Stay in faith. Believe you are who God says you are, that you have what God says you have, and get your mouth open and let the devil know that you believe that you have it. He can't read your mind, but he can hear what you say. "I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am redeemed. I am sanctified. I am justified. I am consecrated unto God. I do have wisdom. I do have peace. I am anointed. God is on my side. The greater one does live in me", come on.
Who are we in Christ? Okay, first of all, let's look at 1 John 3:9, and we're gonna get over into the second chapter of Colossians here. In this chapter, Paul says, "Keep learning, have a deeper walk with God, know who you are in Christ, know what's yours in Christ. Don't be deceived by philosophy or intellectuals". We talked about them philosophers and experts. "But be led by the Holy Spirit". Now, 1 John 3:9, if you can get this, mm, mm, mm. "No one born of God", or no one born again, "Deliberately, knowingly, and habitually practices sin".
Now, it does not say he never sins. We all sin and make mistakes, but it says anybody that's truly born again does not deliberately, knowingly and habitually sin, why? "Because God's nature abides in him. If any man be in Christ, he's a new creature. Old things pass away, all things become new". Now, without Christ, you're just you but with him, you kind of almost become like two people. You ever feel like that sometimes you're kind of like a Jekyll and Hyde, kind of like a Nutcase? It's like you want one thing, you do something else and then, you know, maybe you lay in bed and you plan your holiness that day, how good you're gonna be and that works till you put your feet on the floor.
I'm so happy and so peaceful till people come in the house. I tell ya, everything in theory sounds good till you have to put it to practice. I agreed that I should give everybody a yes until I saw somebody. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Well, see, what the enemy wants us to do is in those times to get discouraged and think, "Well, nothing happened to me. I'm no different. How can I be like this and even be saved"? That's when you gotta keep saying, "Jesus is living in me and I'm getting better and better every day".
And you don't have to fight with your bad behavior, what you need to do is just keep taking in more word, keep taking in more word. Keep spending more time with Jesus, keep fellowshipping with him. It's time with God that's going to actually change behavior, not just trying to be good. And I know you're not real sure like, "Hmm? Well, are you saying I shouldn't try"? Well, I can tell ya, you can try but you can try till you die 'cause I did. I mean, I tried till I almost died and it's still not gonna work if you don't go to God and say, "None of this is gonna work without you. It's in me but you gotta help get it out of me". Okay, "No one born of God purposely lives in sin because God's nature is in him".
Colossians 1:27 says the most amazing thing. It says, "The mystery of the ages is Christ in us, the hope of glory". Wonder how many people read that? I was one for many years, I didn't have a clue what that meant. It was a mystery to me. Christ in us, the hope of glory. What does that mean? Because Jesus lives in us. Think about this today, you're the home of God. You're not left to do anything by yourself. God has come to live in you through the Holy Spirit. When you receive Christ as your Savior, he came to live in you. You're never very far away from hope. You're never far away from help.
God is never more than one thought away. The moment you put your mind on him, he's brought into your awareness and into your consciousness. Christ in you, the only hope of glory. Glory is the manifestation of all the excellencies of God. The only hope we ever have of being like Christ. Come on now, how many of you want to be like Jesus? You get it, you know, miraculous things happen when we're born again. Our desires change. We want to be good. We want to please God and yet we've still got this stupid, stinkin' flesh.
Now, here's the thing, Paul said in Romans that when he died, we died with him, we died to sin but it doesn't say sin is dead. Sin is still there aggravating people but there's a part of you that wants to do the right thing. And all that's left for you to do, and it doesn't happen overnight, is to feed the part of you that wants to do the right thing more than you feed the part of you that wants to do the wrong thing. Come on. You know what you're doing here today? You're feeding yourself and we're not having dessert, by the way. We're having the meat of God's word and not everybody's ready for that. Some people only want dessert. They don't have to have their behavior confronted.
I serve meat and if you spit it out, I'll find another way to give it back to you. And what I want you to do now is take this word that I've given you and go home and chew on it, and chew on it, and chew on it, and chew on it. And I'm just gonna be flat honest with you, you can sit here and just look as cute and as holy as you want to and you can underline I've said in your Bible, but you can walk right out of here and none of it do you hardly any good at all if you don't go home and at least pick two or three things and stick with them, and meditate on them, and study yourself over and over and over until you see victory in your life. That's one of the biggest problems we have.
We think because we heard it, we got it. But that doesn't mean anything. No matter what somebody else tells you, no matter how many seminars you go to, no matter how many CDs you listen to, there's one missing piece for a lot of people, you gotta take that to God and you gotta say, "Okay Lord, I heard it, I believe it, I agree but there's no hope of me doing it without you. I got to have your help". That's why the Bible says we gotta go deeper in God. We've gotta get rooted and grounded in him and not just hang around on the surface. "Nobody born of God continues to live in sin. He cannot". Now, I'm gonna read the whole thing over. "No one born of God deliberately, knowingly, and habitually practices sin, because God's nature abides in him his principle of life", and I love the amplified, "The divine sperm of Almighty God", wow, "Remains permanently within him: and he cannot practice sinning because he's born of God".
Now, I'm gonna get just as clear with you as I know how to get. If a man and a woman who love each other, if the husband's seed is planted, if his sperm is planted in the womb of his wife, she becomes pregnant with his child. Now, when Christ comes to live in us, guess what, every one of you, men included, you are pregnant with everything that God is. Now, maybe you haven't given birth yet. You may still be in labor pains and all you may hear is the Holy Spirit, your coach saying, "Push, push". But you have a seed of goodness in you.
My gosh, if you knew how much hope there is for you. If you just knew what's in your future if you just don't give up, if you just don't quit, if you just keep on keeping on, and one more day you get in the word, and one more day you spend time with God, and one more day you confess the Word of God. Settle one thing today with your enemy. Let him know you are never going to give up. I wish I could explain to you how hard it was to get from where I was to where I am and how many years of my life I spent doing it wrong to learn these things that I am now able to share with you.
And I'm just telling you, you don't have to be against yourself. You don't have to live under condemnation. You don't have to wonder what's wrong with you because you can't do everything right. You don't have to compare yourself with anybody else. You just believe the word, hang out with Jesus, keep it up, keep it up, keep it up, keep it up, keep it up, keep it up, keep it up, keep it up. And every day you don't quit, you get a little more deeply rooted in him. You know what the Bible says in Psalm 1? "The man who meditates on the word", remember, we're chewing the word, "Day and night, he becomes like a tree planted by the waters whose roots go down deep in the ground". And get this, "In a whole year of drought, he does not cease bearing fruit".
That means you can have a whole year full of trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, and you can keep acting like Jesus because you've got your roots firmly and deeply planted in him. So, here's kind of the way it goes, when you're born again, this is you, by the way. Jesus comes to live in you. He's in you. Now, with Jesus comes a seed of everything that he is, a seed. You don't get it as a full-grown plant, you get it as a seed and that's why the Bible calls the word, the water of the word. Come on, you gotta get something here.
So, what does a seed need? It needs two things, water and sunshine. So, what do you need? The word and Jesus, the word and Jesus, the word and Jesus. You need the water of the word and the son, Jesus, the water of the word and the son, Jesus. And then pretty soon that seed starts to have little rootlets going down this way. If you can see what happens to a seed, you bury it in the ground then after a while, the pressure and the heat from the ground causes the outer hole to break open and then little roots go down in the ground. It looks like nothing's happening.
Are you out there? How many years have you spent in Jesus thinking nothing is happening? "I'm not changing, nothing's happening". But that's not true. The little roots are going down. You don't see anything on the top yet but they're going down, and you know what? If you don't get impatient and go dig that seed up to see what's going on, pretty soon... Boop! "If you abide in me and my word abides in you, you will bear much fruit". It's a promise from God.
So, here's what we have. I mean, I was not a very happy person when I started hanging out with Jesus. But when Jesus came in me, whoop, seeds of joy. Well, you know what? I just don't have very many bad days now. I'm a pretty happy lady and I don't just have to have a whole lot to make me happy. And you know one of the reasons why? Cause I'm happy with me. Now wait a minute, I'm not happy with me because I do everything right, because I got it all together. I'm happy with me because I believe God's happy with me. "Well, don't you think you're being a little full of yourself there"? No, I think I'm being full of the word. I think I'm saying what the word says. Even while we were still yet sinners, he loved us enough to die for us.
See, when you believe that God loves you, then you can love you and look out because when you start to love you, now you can start to love other people and, boy, is the devil gonna get mad about that. But everything starts in here. It's all gotta start in here. You have to start with knowing who you are in Christ. Let's just say that you go home tonight after being at this wonderful seminar, and I hope and pray you don't do this, but it is a possibility. You might walk in the door and maybe nobody in your house did anything you asked them to do while you were gone. Now, you may have to breathe deep and look for that peace that's in you.
Okay, let's just say, this is a pretend story, let's just say that, and you won't do this but let's, I don't know, I might. Let's blame it on me. So, I've preached all weekend. I've told everybody how to run their lives. Honey, if you think you get tested, you ought to be on the end this end of this. So, this won't happen to me because everybody that lives in my house is with me. But let's just say that I went home and nobody did what I asked them to do and I walk in, "What is the matter with you people? Can't you do anything I ask you to do? Am I the only one here that knows how to do what's right"?
Okay now, next thing that happens is the devil says, "You did not get a thing, and you are not changing, and you are not like God. You do not have his nature". Now listen to me, you don't want to miss this. At that moment that's when you got to open your sweet, little mouth and you go lock yourself in a bathroom or whatever you have to do and you get in there and you say, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ. God loves me and I am getting better and better every day. And I am gonna let go of what lies behind, and I am gonna press on to the good things that are ahead". Amen?
Can you see where we miss it? You gotta believe more of what the word says, even than you do of how you behave. You know why? Because God sees your heart. It's not that he doesn't care if we have bad behavior, but he sees your heart. You don't want to. That's not what you wanna do. So, you water the seed some more. You get a little more sunshine. You go at it again. You may fail twenty-five times but all of a sudden one day, you're gonna come up against something that's not the way you thought it should be and you're gonna almost open your mouth but all of a sudden, mmm-mmm, those seeds of self-control.
You've watered them enough and they've had enough sunshine. You're about to open your mouth and rail on somebody and blow your witness for Christ. And you're like, "That's all right. We all make mistakes. We'll get it taken care of, honey. Don't worry about it", amen. Wow, it can happen. It's true, it can happen. Man, we've got peace. We've got hope. We've got love. We've got self-control. We got joy and that's just the beginning. That is just the bare beginning of what we have in Christ.