Joyce Meyer - No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Prosper
No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper. I thought I'd get a good response on that one. Isaiah chapter 54, verse 17, "But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition is the heritage of the servants of the Lord those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced".
So now, we're gonna take this scripture apart this weekend, and I want to start by just saying a few things about this scripture. No weapon that's formed against you shall prosper, but every tongue that rises up against you in judgment, which none of us enjoy that, do we? Nobody likes being judged or criticized. It says, "You shall show to be in the wrong". But on the practical side for a Christian's life, how do we show those who judge and criticize us that they're wrong? Do we defend ourselves? Do we get mad at them and say equally bad things about them? No, none of that works, does it?
You know, the Bible says that when Jesus was insulted, he didn't offer insult in return. When he was abused, he didn't abuse in return but he trusted himself and everything to Him who judges fairly. So, the bottom line is, is the way that we show those who judge and criticize us that they're wrong about us is to behave in a godly way instead of letting what the devil did through them cause us to act like him. I'm gonna say that again. You see, what we're so tempted to do is, "Well, you're not gonna talk to me like that. If you think you're gonna do that, then I'm gonna do this to you, or I'm gonna cut you out of my life, or I'm gonna tell everybody what you did to me". Well, all we're doing when we do that is, first of all, we don't war with human beings, the Bible tells us that, that our war is not with flesh and blood but with principalities, and powers, and wickedness in high places.
Now, that doesn't relieve people, any of us, of our responsibility to not let the enemy work through us, but the bottom line is, is all evil everywhere in the world, all bad things that happen, the source of those is an entity that the Bible calls the devil, satan, the evil one, the deceiver, the wicked one, on and on and on. We don't like to talk about the devil. Who likes to talk about the devil? But the sad thing is in some churches, because talking about the devil's a little unpleasant, they don't talk about the devil. And I was in a church for a lot of years and went on a regular basis, and I never even realized that the devil was real. I thought he was some kind of Halloween character. You know, you put on a red suit, carried a pitchfork, and had a long tail, and that was the devil. I mean, I knew that there was a devil, but I didn't know that he could be or was a real problem in my life.
And so, the first thing you want to do when somebody judges and criticizes you is pray for them because they need an understanding and a revelation of how dangerous it is to judge and criticize other people, which it is a very dangerous thing to do. I know none of you do it so I don't need to stop and have a sermon about that right here, but I'm just kind of throwing it out there that it's a very dangerous thing to do because the Bible says that the way you judge others, you'll be judged in the same way. The way you criticize others, you'll be criticized in the same way. So, always remember that if you want the benefits of this scripture to work for you...
See, a lot of times we read a scripture and we want to take the benefits, but we don't want to do the part that we need to do to have those benefits. You know, we have a bad habit of just picking parts out of verses. "Well, no weapon formed against me shall prosper, the Bible says that. The devil's under my feet. He's defeated". No weapon formed against you shall prosper. Every tongue that rises against you in judgment, you shall show to be in the wrong but the way you do it is by behaving in a godly way so they can't find fault with you, rather than letting what the enemy's doing through them cause you to turn around and act just like the enemy to them. Amen?
"This peace", four things here and these really are four messages, "This peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition is the heritage," or the inheritance. And, you know, an inheritance is a wonderful thing because you get what somebody else earned or worked for. That's a good thing. So, we get a lot of stuff that Jesus earned and worked for and suffered for, and they come by faith but true faith also produces a certain type of lifestyle. We don't change overnight, but anybody who has a real... Everybody say, "Real". Anybody who has a real relationship with God will change little by little from glory to glory. You cannot be born again and never change and just stay the same way because you have Christ living in you and you just can't be comfortable with that kind of a lifestyle.
And I particularly like the amplification that the amplified Bible brings out. At the very end of this verse it says, "That is the heritage of the servants of the Lord," and the servants of the Lord that he's talking about is not just somebody who goes to church occasionally and sits on a pew, or has a bumper sticker on their car with a fish on it, or wears a cross around their neck to work. The servants of the Lord that he's talking about who have this heritage and who can really believe that no weapon formed against them shall prosper is "Those in whom the ideal Servant," capital S, talking about Jesus, "Is reproduced..." Hmm?
Now, before everybody gets scared, here's what that means. It just means that we need to be serious in our commitment to our walk with God. And I can tell you, now, you know, you probably are serious. You get this because you took a Thursday evening to come out and hear the word being preached but I'm not just talking to you tonight. There are millions of people in many different parts of the world that'll be watching this same teaching that's being recorded here in San Antonio, Texas. Amen. See, I know that there are millions of empty, lonely, confused people who go sit in a church somewhere every week and yes, they may even be born again, but they're not serious. They're not really committed. They're not going after it wholeheartedly.
And the Bible says that the first and the most important commandment is, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind," with everything. We gotta love him with everything. So, I want to encourage you to be wholehearted full on, go for it, and let God do the work in you that he wants to do. And let me just say this, if there's any area in your life that you have not been willing to open up to God, why don't you make the decision tonight to say, "God, I want you to get in any area of my life that you want to get into. No rooms are closed off to you. No subjects are closed off to you". Because surely, we can believe that God's plan for us is better than our own plan for us. Amen?
Now, satan wants us angry, filled with unforgiveness and bitterness, lashing out at all the people who've hurt us, and there's not a person in here that hasn't been hurt by somebody. And satan wants us to be divided. Man, he loves division. He loves to tear up families. He loves to tear up marriages. He loves to tear up friendships. He wants people at work to be against each other. He wants people at church to be against each other. And we've gotta wise up and see what the enemy is doing and say, "No, I am not going to be part of that".
The word says in Psalm 133, where there's unity, there's blessing and anointing. Where there's unity, not where people are full of hatred, and bitterness, and they're fighting all the time. And I will tell ya if you're gonna keep the strife out of your life, you're gonna have to want to. Amen? Peace equals power. Where there's no peace, there's no power. So, satan wants us angry at everybody but we don't have to live like that. God wants us to remain steady in every storm of life and that then allows him to work on our behalf. A fourfold promise: peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition. This promise is to those who are serious.
Believers, brothers and sisters, friends, we are in a war. We need to be reminded of this every once in a while. If you don't believe we're in a war, let me read you 2 Corinthians 10:3 and 4. "For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons". Now, I'm not gonna get into a teaching on that but we have spiritual weapons, one of the major ones is this right here, the Word of God. Amen? The name of Jesus is a weapon. The blood of Jesus is a weapon. The cross of Christ is a weapon. Worship is a weapon. "For the weapons of our warfare are not physical weapons of flesh and blood, but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and the destruction of strongholds".
Everybody just say, "We're in a war". We don't like that but we are in a war. Now, here's the interesting thing, if you read the Bible and you go all the way through to the end, the war has already been won. However, there are many battles in winning a war and even though someone wins a war, they don't necessarily win every battle because sometimes they don't fight 'em right. And I want to learn how to win all of my battles because I don't want the enemy to have one bit of joy in defeating me in any area, nor do I want him to have that over anybody that I teach. Amen? We all know what's gonna happen in the end. He's already a defeated foe. We're gonna live in victory while we're here. Jesus said he came that we might have and enjoy our lives. Enjoy your life, not just make it through, not just barely get by, not just struggle through every day but enjoy your life.
Now, 2 Corinthians 2:10 and 11 is a great scripture, two scriptures. It says, "If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive that one: and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sakes and in the presence and with the approval of Christ (the Messiah)". Now watch verse 11, "To keep satan from getting the advantage over us: for we are not ignorant of his wiles and his intentions". You know what? The devil wants to keep us ignorant, that just means uneducated. He doesn't want us to ever be aware of him, or think about him, or realize what he's doing, or study anything about him.
He certainly doesn't want you to know who you are in Christ. He doesn't want you to know the power that's available to you, the authority that you have. He doesn't want you to know that he's behind every bit of evil and wickedness in the world today. He wants to keep us all in the dark. It's actually good to do a really good Bible study on the devil. I thought you'd be excited about that. Anyway, to keep satan from getting the advantage over us. There are people in this room tonight, and certainly people watching by TV, that the enemy has taken advantage of you. It's no tellings how many lies that you may be believing right now.
How long did I believe that because I had been abused in my childhood that I would always have a second-rate life? I believed that. That's what the enemy told me, "You're messed up. You're used merchandise". Now, even as far as getting married, one of the reasons why I married at 18, I knew down deep in my heart that it wasn't gonna work when I did it, but the enemy had always told me nobody was gonna want me and so the first guy that showed any interest in me, I grabbed him because of the lies that the enemy had told me all those years.
I wonder how many other young women get married because it's a last-ditch effort and they know it's not gonna work when they do it, but they do it out of desperation and out of fear. Satan is a liar. He is the father of lies, the truth is not in him. He is a deceiver and the only way that we can win this war that the mind is the battleground for, the only way that we can win it is to know the Word of God and to be willing to speak the Word of God out loud and it helps combat the lies of the enemy when they fall into your head.
We need to use the authority that we have as believers in Christ. Satan has power but you've got something he doesn't have. You have power and authority. Now, we can give him authority. Actually, Adam had authority in the garden and he gave his to the enemy by listening to his lies. We don't have to give our authority to the enemy, but sometimes we do because of lack of knowledge. Luke 10:19, this is a wonderful scripture. "Behold, I have given you", so, if he has given it to us, then that means we have it, "I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and physical and mental strength and ability over all the power that the enemy possesses: and nothing shall in any way harm you".
Now, let me be clear. That doesn't mean nothing can come against us but it does mean that it cannot do us any permanent longterm damage if we keep our trust in God. In John 16:33, Jesus himself said, "In the world, you will have tribulation. Cheer up. I have overcome the world". And the amplification says, "I have deprived it of the power to harm you".
Now, I went through a nightmare of a mess the first 23 years of my life and I stand before you totally unharmed, healed, and whole, and helping people. And a lot of things that hurt us sometimes get started in our childhood when other people who have problems have authority over us or many of the hurts that we encounter even out in the world, it's somebody else out there that's got a problem and we get in the way of their problem, and then we get hurt because of their problem, but there's a way for us to be healed and stay whole in every one of those situations.
1 John 3:8, the second half of the scripture says, "The reason the Son of God was made manifest and (visible)," the reason that he came, "Was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil has done". To defeat the enemy and to give us back the authority that Adam gave away. Everybody say, "We're in a war, but I've got authority and I'm gonna use it".
Okay, one last verse, Jesus talking to his disciples and, "'he said, who do you say that I am?' and Simon Peter replied, 'you are the Christ, the son of the living God'". There's actually real power in that statement, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God". You need to know who Jesus is. He is the Messiah, the Christ, the son of the living God. "Very God of very God, begotten not made being of one substance with the father by whom all things were made". He died and rose from the dead and he's coming back again. Amen? And this is our time to prepare to meet him. Amen. "Then Jesus said to him, blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are you, Simon bar-Jonah," which was another name for Peter, "For flesh and blood men have not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven".
So, anyone who can say Jesus is Lord and you really believe it and you mean it, you didn't just go decide to do that, God has revealed to you. Like, I believe and I know that many of you believe you believe with everything you've got that Jesus died on a cross for you and took your sin, but you never saw it happen. How can we believe things like that unless God gives us that revelation? So, he said to Peter, "This faith that you have in who I am was given to you by God". Unto every man is given the measure of faith, but what are we gonna do with it?
Peace is actually, I mean it's actually a weapon against the enemy. The Bible refers it to as armor, which is armor protects us. Weapons, we usually use to go after something. But I believe that peace is one of the most powerful things that we have available to us. And in John 14:27, Jesus said that peace was our inheritance. He said, "My peace I leave with you. I leave it to you. My own peace I now give and bequeath unto you". It was in the will. "Not as the world gives do I give to 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".
Now, what I see in this scripture is that God's done his part, now he's saying, here's your part. We are partners with God. He always has a part and we always have a part. We cannot do his part and he will not do our part. It's so important that we learn that. The Bible says, "Cast your care," it does not say to cast your responsibility. Today, we have people casting their responsibility and then worrying about everything out there. We cast our care on God and he goes to work. We do what he shows us to do by his power.
I marveled recently when I realized and I saw it in my journal that I write in every day. Last January, I prayed for God to give me more energy. I said, "God, I just need more energy, you know, to keep up with everything that I'm doing, and I want to feel good while I'm doing it". Energy, I think, is very important. You know, every day of your life is just so much better if you feel good, if you have energy. And so, I prayed for energy and I didn't even realize this until a couple of weeks ago, but what God gave me was a desire to start walking every day. And so, he didn't just go, "Oh, Joyce asked for energy, zap".
Come on. This is important. He showed me something to do, and he gave me the grace to do it and I lean on him every day for that. I thank God that he's given me the ability to do it. I trust him to be able to do it, but I think we get in the habit of thinking that, you know, well it's everything is God. And God is everything but we're partners with him. That's the privilege that we have to be a partner with God. He comes and lives in us. We're in him and he's in us, and we're doing this thing together as partners. He gives us the wisdom. He gives us the grace. He gives us the strength. He gives us the ability.
So, we're nothing without him, but we can be everything through him and he wants us do that for his honor and his glory. Life can get exciting when you realize that every day you're in partnership with God and that he wants to use you if you will let him flow through you. So, when you pray and ask God to do something in your life, don't just expect like some kind of a new download from your computer system. "Oh, do you have a program for that that I can just download"? Yeah, I do, I've got the program, it's right here. You read it, you study it, you learn it. You put it to work in your life. You keep it up, you keep it up, you keep it up, you keep it up, and you keep it up and all of sudden you realize, "I'm a totally different person than what I used to be".
So, this is a good partnership verse. He said, "Look, I've given you my peace, not a peace like the world has but my own special peace I now give and bequeath unto you, the peace that works in the storm". He says, "I'll give you my peace, now here's your part". Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed. "Well, I can't help the way I feel". Well, actually, the truth is if you change your thinking, your feelings will change. I mean, they really will. If you change your thinking, instead of thinking hopeless thoughts, think, "I've got hope. This is gonna change. I can do this. I can do whatever I need to do. God never allows more to come on me than what I can bear, but he will give me the grace to do what he's called me to do. I am gonna have a good day".
And all of a sudden, you'll start feeling different. Our feelings are very much affected by what we think and what we say. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed and don't permit yourselves to be fearful, intimidated, cowardly, and unsettled. In Ephesians 6:15, we're encouraged to put on our shoes of peace. Your shoes are for a walk. We're to walk in peace as we go through daily life, as we go through every day of our life. Most people, when you get up in the morning, probably one of the first things you do is put your shoes on. Maybe some of you go barefoot, but spiritually speaking, you should not go barefoot. Amen? Don't be a barefoot Christian. Get your shoes of peace on. Don't be a naked Christian. Put on your righteousness. Put on your belt. Put on your robe of righteousness. Put on your helmet of salvation. Put on your shield of faith.
And if you think I'm being out of line, I can take ya to revelation where Jesus, the writer of revelation used the same language. Don't merely desire peace, but pursue and go after it is what 1 Peter 3:11 says. That scripture was so important for my life. Let's take a look at it, 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 11. "Let him", and the verse before this was talking about him who wants to enjoy life. "Let him turn from wickedness and shun it, let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony: undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly". The word "Seek" means to pursue and go after with all your might, pursue and go after with all your might. What are you putting the greater part of your energy into? "Don't merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, and go after them"!
Now, one of the things that causes us to lose peace, probably more than anything else, is works of the flesh, works of the flesh. How many of you have any idea what works of the flesh are? You know what they are? You're like 12 people. I guess I better just stay here then for the rest of the night. Okay now listen, works of the flesh are different than the works of God. We are to work the works of God and we are to work by the grace of God, but we need to avoid works of the flesh like the plague. And works of the flesh is my bright idea of how I can solve my problem, my bright idea of how I can change my husband, my bright idea of how I can change my kids, my bright idea of how I can change myself.
"Well, I'm, I'm just going to do that". Well, not so much, you know? Willpower alone is a good thing and it will get you so far, but it won't take you all the way without God's help. It will not take you all the way without God's help. So, I spent a lot of my years, earlier years, frustrated all the time. Is there anybody in the building that knows anything about being frustrated? Okay, so, God gave me this little phrase and I actually put this on a sign in my house. And so, we had one made up for you. I could probably get good money for this thing after the thing's over here. You all get to see it.
So, here's what I found out, anytime that I felt frustrated, anytime you feel frustrated, you have slipped over into what the Bible calls works of the flesh, and works of the flesh is our energy trying to do God's job. It's us trying to do something that we can't do, that we don't know how to do, that's not working, it's just not working and those things can be so frustrating. Anytime that any of us, and we all have different things that come up in our life, whether it's a marriage problem, a financial problem, a circumstance problem, problems you're having with yourself 'cause you can't get yourself to do what you want yourself to do? You ever have any of those kind of problems? It's like, you know, "I'm just, I'm frustrated with me"!
You know how it is, we try and try to change ourselves. And, you know, it seems like sometimes the thing that you're trying to change, you'll do more of it while you're trying to change than you would have if you'd have just left it alone. And you know why that is? Because you start focusing on what's wrong with you instead of focusing on Jesus. Come on. And we're told to look away from all that will distract unto Jesus. What he shows me to do, I can do. What he anoints for me to do, I can do but I don't need to go out and have Ishmael just because I don't want to wait on Isaac.
And if you don't know enough of the Bible to know what I mean, there's a story in the Old Testament about a man who was given a promise that he would have a child from his own body, problem was, he was a hundred and his wife was ninety something. They were long past childbearing ages. God said, "I promise you that'll have your own child". They waited years, years, years, years, years went by. No child, no child, no child, so they got a bright idea. "You take my handmaiden, get her pregnant, she'll have a child. It will be my child". Well, that was Ishmael and Ishmael means man of war. Isaac means a promise. He's the promised child. He's the one that is our promise.
And so, very often, we don't want to wait on Isaac because it takes a little longer than we'd like it to, and we go and have an Ishmael and then we gotta change his diapers for a long time. Works of the flesh. Anytime you get frustrated, you're in works of the flesh. Three areas that I can talk to ya about. It's very easy to get in works of the flesh about trying to change yourself, and I know all about that because I'm telling you what, every message I heard, I needed it. There was not a message that anybody preached when I first started coming to meetings like this and hearing preaching that I left convicted, well, I left condemned from every meeting 'cause I didn't know the difference in conviction and condemnation.
So, when God would use something to convict me, I would let the devil take it then and condemn me and beat me over the head with it. So, I'd go home feeling worse than I was when I went. Any of you ever had that experience? Well, you know, it's not always the preacher's fault. It's not always them that's making you feel bad. It's because you don't know sometimes just to say, "Well, you're right, God. You nailed me tonight. I do have a problem with that, and I'm asking you and trusting you to change me". Then you go home and you study the word in that area of your problem. It's very simple, very simple. If you have a bad temper, you don't need a teaching on success.
"Oh, I'm gonna go to the success seminar this weekend at the church". And you've been screaming at your family all week acting like an absolute lunatic. And I'll be honest with ya, you'd be better off to stay home from the seminar on success and get your Bible out and look up every scripture that you can find on anger, write them out in longhand, put them on your computer, pray, look up the definition of all the words because when you study the word in the area where you're having a problem, it acts just like medicine for your soul. And it has the power to change your life.
Learn how to use a concordance. If you're impatient, you don't need prosperity. You need to know how to wait and that means to wait with a good attitude. That's what patience is, wait with a good attitude. Amen? Patience is not the ability to wait, it's how we wait. When I learned this, it was major for me and it still helps me today because when I start getting frustrated... Yesterday I got a bill I wasn't expecting and it was a big one. And it was one of those things it's like I should have been getting billed for this like every month, and I didn't get billed for it for like a year.
And so now all of a sudden, I forgot about the thing 'cause if you know, if it doesn't come in the mail and stare me in the face, I forget it. And then I get, I'm like, "What?"! Well, you know, my first impulse was to get frustrated, tell the person off who didn't send me the bill. How many of you know it's not smart to go with our first impulses all the time? Breathe, zip your lip for a few minutes. "Help me, God, help me". So, here's what I thought, well, "I would have spent the money anyway. I would have just spent it in smaller increments". You can talk yourself out of trouble. Amen?
You can't change yourself. You can't change the people around you. I tried so hard to change myself. Every message I heard, I needed it. There wasn't one that I didn't need. I had a big mouth. My mind was a mess. My emotions were a mess. I was selfish, stingy. Anything I heard, I needed it and I thought nobody was as bad as me. And I spent all my time trying to change myself and it was just frustrating.
Let's put up Galatians chapter 3, verses 1 through 3. I'm just gonna lean here on my sign. I'm having fun. "O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless," Texans. Well, we gotta bring it home so we can own it. "Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom, right before your very eyes, Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified"? Now, I checked this out to see when this, Paul wrote this to the Galatians and it was like about 53 years after Christ's death. So, he actually was talking to people, some of which had actually seen the crucifixion and so they knew that Jesus had died for them, yet they were falling back into works of the flesh.
He said, "Let me ask you a question: did you receive the Holy Spirit as the result of obeying the law and doing its works, or was it by hearing the message of the Gospel and believing it? Was it from observing a law of rituals or was it because of faith"? Did anybody here receive Christ because you followed a bunch of rules and regulations? So, these people, he said, "Look, he was crucified right in front of you and now you're going back to all this works, works, works, works, works stuff". How did you receive Christ? How did you receive the Holy Spirit?
Now, verse 3 was life changing for me about 30 years ago. "Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun your new life spiritually with the Holy Spirit, are you now reaching perfection by dependence on the flesh"? How can you change? The same way you got saved, putting your faith in God. Do what he asks you to do, do what he shows you to do, but trade your trying for trust. And I don't mean that we never make an effort to do anything. The Bible teaches us in 2 Peter that we're to put forth every effort to attain Godliness, but it can't be a fleshly effort. It's gotta be an effort with and through the Holy Spirit. Everything is by God, with God, through God, for God, in him, through him, in whom. Apart from him, we can do nothing. And then when you get a victory, the glory goes back to him. "Thank you, God, for changing me. Thank you".
I looked out at the crowd tonight and the first thing I said was, "God, thank you for bringing people. Thank you for bringing people". I'm not gonna assume that people are gonna show up just because I've got slick advertisement. God has to motivate people to do these kind of things today. Everybody's got too much to do to want to go to something like this if they're not motivated by God to be there. Amen? So, stop trying to change yourself. Stop trying to change everybody else you know.
I read something the other day that I thought was good. Criticizing people and trying to change them is the Christian's favorite indoor sport. I mean, if God just said to you, "I'll give you one week to change anybody you want to change," I wonder how many people you could get on your list real quick? And I can just tell ya it don't work. I tried and tried and tried to change Dave and lo and behold, I found out God wanted to change me. I think Dave's changed some. It doesn't matter anymore now because it's God's business, it's not mine. Amen? He's not my property. I'm not gonna give an account for Dave when I stand before God. Our sin of judgment is worse than what people are doing that we judge. Amen?
And then lastly, don't try to change circumstances that ya can't change. Do what God shows you to do. You're a partner with God. Do anything he shows you to do. "Submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee," James 4:7. We cannot just, we cannot just resist the devil, we must first submit ourselves to God and then the enemy has to flee.