Joyce Meyer - It Is Time To Get Off The Fence
It's time to get off the fence. And here, I had 'em build me a fence so I could sit up here and preach, and they're hoping I don't fall off of it. So, now you see, here we've got God's kingdom and over here we got the world, and sooner or later, you gotta make your mind up where you're gonna stand. We can't be in the kingdom on Sunday and then in the world on Monday. We gotta make a decision if we're gonna be Christians that we're gonna be Christians and act like Christians all the time, not just when we're around our Christian friends.
What that's called is compromise, and the world's full of it today, but there's nothing in the Bible that ever encourages it or ever approves of it. And compromise means to go just a little bit below what you know is right. It's kinda like that "Just once" lie that Satan told Jesus when he was in the wilderness those 40 days. "If you'll bow down and worship me just this once, I'll give you all of this".
We are living in the worst of times and the best of times. The conditions in our world today are desperate, and it's not just here in the United States. It's basically pretty much everywhere. And there's a huge movement everywhere from the devil, from the pit of hell, to get God out of everything, but God is not going anywhere. He started it and he will be around to finish it, amen. But we do have a job to do, and I say it's the best of times because it's the best of times for the Kingdom of God, because I believe that there will be one of the greatest ingathering of souls ever in any other time in history.
And you may think this is a tough time to be alive. I think we say that sometimes. "This is a tough time to be alive". But actually, it is an honor for us to be chosen by God to be alive at this time in history in the earth. I said, it is an honor to be chosen by God. But probably more than any other time in history, God's depending on us to make his name famous. He's depending on us to make people hungry and thirsty by the way we live our lives. Not just by the way we preach. Preaching is good. We need that. We need to talk to one another. It's good to talk to the lost. But talking with no walking is pretty much useless. That's called hypocritical Christianity, and there's nothing that disgusts the lost more than a hypocritical Christian, amen? And they don't want us on the fence. They will tempt you to compromise and disrespect you when you do.
Now, did you hear what I said? The very same people that tempt us to compromise will disrespect us when we do. It's almost like a test. It's like the devil testing us through them. And I really do believe, and it took them quite a while to build this thing, but I really do believe that if you look at this all night, maybe you'll get the point that, sadly, this is where a lot of Christians live. I mean, honestly, they do. Lukewarm. But Jesus said, "I'd rather you be either red hot or ice cold, but whatever you do, don't be Lukewarm". You know, we like a good cold drink and we like a good hot drink, but nobody likes a... Pfft.
Now, I'm gonna go read you those scriptures in just a minute, but to be honest with you, I have never really had the courage to study out what "Spew you out of my mouth" means, nor am I interested in finding out. I just know that I'm gonna be red hot so I'm not taking a chance either way. Now, how many of you know what I mean by sitting up here on this fence when I say that people kinda stay on the fence? You know, they're just kinda maybe saved enough to not go to hell. I say this and it's very true.
Before I was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1976, just floating along in my religious boat, I did love Jesus. I did, but I didn't love him with my whole heart. I didn't wholly belong to him. I had the Holy Spirit because if you're born again, you have the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit didn't have me. He had me on Sunday morning for a little while, but he didn't have all of me. And I always say that I had enough of Jesus to stay out of hell, but not enough to walk in victory. Come on. And if you live that way and I'm your teacher, it's not gonna be my fault if you stay that way, because I'm gonna do my best to share what I believe that God puts in my heart, not necessarily what you wanna hear all the time, but what I believe God puts in my heart. Because we are living in desperate times, and if you're on the fence, I am gonna do my best to kick you off on the right side of it tonight, and that's God's kingdom, amen?
Now, you say, "Well, I thought we're talking about the mind"? Well, we are, and we're taking Colossians 3:1-2 as our foundation scripture for tonight. And it says, "If you have been raised with Christ", how many of you are born again? Okay, so, we're talking to you. "If you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing his resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on things that are above, not on things upon the earth". And set your mind and keep them set on things that are above, and not on things upon the earth.
Now, that doesn't mean that we just go around thinking about heaven, and angels, and what it's gonna be like when we die and go to heaven. But it means to get your mind onto what's important in life and off of things that are trivial and useless. And to be honest, and I've done it myself too, sometimes we just waste way too much time even thinking about our silly, little problems, because the more we think about God and the more we're intent on growing his kingdom, the more he'll solve our problems. Amen?
There's nothing stronger than a made up mind. It's really amazing to me the power, you really are stronger than you think you are. And I don't yet understand this mind and what all it's capable of, but I'm telling you, when you make your mind up... Now, I'm not saying that we can do anything apart from God or just by mind control, but anything that God wants us to do, he gives us the ability to do it. However, we've gotta get on his side of it and agree with him whole-heartedly, starting with our mind. I set my will to do the will of God. God has given us a free will, and it's a privilege, but it's also a tremendous responsibility, amen? I can do whatever I wanna do, but the Bible says you will reap what you sow. That's a spiritual law. Just like gravity, if I throw it up in the air, it's gonna come down. We will reap what we sow.
And so, I firmly believe in setting my mind and keeping it set, and it works in my life in lots of little, different, little, practical areas. But I'm gonna tell you somebody else's story besides mine tonight, because I think it's interesting. One of the attorneys for our ministry, his wife never would fly. She was afraid to fly. She would not fly, would not fly, would not fly. So for years, because of his business, he had to travel a lot by himself. And she stayed home, did a great job of raising their kids, and the only way that they could ever go on a trip together would be if they drove, so they didn't take very many long trips. And I gave her my whole best speech about doing it afraid, and she agreed with me, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I need to do it afraid", but she just never could do it.
And so now, all of a sudden, I hear a few weeks ago that she's flying all over the place with Tom. They're just going all the time. And I'm like, "Well, what happened"? So, they're here this weekend and I said to her last night, "So, what happened? I hear you're flying". She said, "I just made my mind up". And I thought this was funny too. She said, "One of my friends said, 'oh, you just decided to do it afraid'", she said, "No, I'm not doing it afraid. I'm just doing it". And I really liked that. I'm just doing it. I'm not even gonna mess with doing it afraid. I'm just doing it.
And I'll tell you the truth, when the people were looking for a miracle from Jesus, and I think it's in... well, I know it's in... I think it's in John chapter 3, maybe. And they wanted him to turn the water into wine for the wedding. The mother of Jesus said to the people that were there, "Whatever he says to you, do it". If you want a miracle in your life, whatever he says to you, do it. Now, if you say it to you, you're not gonna be able to do it. But if he says it to you, anything that God says to you, the power comes with it to perform it if you're willing to set your mind and keep it set on things that are above. We could save ourselves so much misery if we would just set our minds.
Dave loves his sports, and he especially loves to play golf. And I said to Dave one day, I said, "Have you ever thought", I said, "how hard would it be for you, you know, as you're getting older, if you would get to the point where you couldn't play golf"? He said, "Oh, I've already thought about all that". And he said, "I've got my mind set, I'll be just fine". Well, what do most of us think? "Oh, I don't know what I'm gonna do when my kids leave". "I don't know what... Boy, I'm getting older now. I guess I won't be able to do anything. Life's over. I'm 70, you know, oh my". "Woe is me, o my soul, 10,000 reasons to moan and groan". Amen.
And so, he could think, "What in the world am I gonna do"? You know, maybe he has a little ache or pain. He says, "Oh, what am I gonna do"? You know, recently he pulled a muscle in his back trying to play golf, and so for, I don't know, a couple months on and off, he'd go out to play golf and that would mess his game up. And you know, different things happen, and he's always just like, "It'll get better. It'll get better. It'll get better". But see, he's already made his mind up. He's already set his mind that if his circumstances change, he is not going to be miserable. He's already made his mind up.
And some of you need to make your mind up tonight about some things in your life, and maybe even some things that you are thinking may be coming up in your future and you're already getting into fear about those things. You need to say right now, "I am stronger than I think I am, and whatever comes my way, I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who is my strength". You know what? We just think too much. And there's something in particular that I want us to make our minds up about tonight, and I've already made my mind up about this.
I've had a few meetings with myself in the last year, something I think we all need to do. You know, take some time to have a meeting with yourself. Set an appointment and say, "Self, come and let's chat". And I've thought about what's happening in the world and just a lot of things that are being kinda vaguely threatened. You know, the time may come when laws are gonna be made about what we can and can't preach. We don't know for sure what all's gonna happen, but I think we have to set our minds ahead of time that we're here to serve God, not man.
And, you know, I'm gonna say a few things tonight that you're gonna figure out real quick, but I'm gonna tell you what. The government doesn't tell us what to believe and what not to believe, God does. Amen? And every single one of us better make up our mind about that. The government is not God. God is God. And I don't care if it's this nation, or if it's Africa, or India, or Europe, or wherever it's at, God is God. The governments of none of those nations are God, and we cannot bow down to them, and we cannot worship them, and we cannot look to them to fix all of our problems. I cannot even imagine how it wounds God, who has given us everything, when we look past him to some other institution to take care of us and solve our problems.
And so, I've got my mind made up what I'm gonna do, and I hope that you'll make your mind up tonight. What happens if you've got a job and the boss wants you to lie for him on a regular basis? "Well, I can't lose my job". Yeah, I'm figuring it's gonna get kinda quiet in here tonight. "Well, if my wife calls, just tell her that I'm not here, that I'm out". It's a lie. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not lie". Hmm. This is gonna be fun, isn't it? What if your boss wants you to help him steal something? The Bible says, "Thou shalt not steal". Well, you know what? You better be willing to lose your job rather than sin against your own conscience. That's what a compromise is, when we sin against our own conscience.
And you've heard me tell this story, but I'm gonna tell the quick version. I had a job many, many, many years ago. This was back, I guess, in the early '70s. And even though at that time I was just what I would call a religious Christian, I did have a certain fear of God and I didn't want to offend him. And I had a job, I was a bookkeeper, and my boss wanted me to zero out somebody's credit balance so they didn't realize that we owed them money, that they had overpaid their account, and that we really, in effect, should be sending them a check back. And he didn't want 'em to see the credit balance, 'cause he didn't want 'em to ask for a check.
So, every month at the end of the month when I would prepare the statements, he'd go over them before they were mailed out, and he started making corrections to these credit balances and wanted me to debit them out so they were just zero balances, and send out the statement. Well, I knew I'd be helping him steal their money. And you know, I had every kind of conversation with myself that anybody could have that day trying to find a way that I could do it and not be offensive to God. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I needed the job. It was a good job. Dave and I only had one car and this job, we were both working in the same area. I mean, I could think of all the reasons why I had to have that job.
I had just committed to about $1,200 worth of work on my teeth, and that was a whole lot more money back then than it is now. And they were in the middle of doing the work and I had to finish it, and I wouldn't have the money to finish it if I quit that job. And I couldn't sleep that night, and I tossed, and I turned, and I finally came to a decision that even if I lost my job, I couldn't help him steal that money. Now, you can think what you want to. I think that that was a test for me, that if I wouldn't have passed I might not be here tonight. Now, that's just what I think.
So, let me tell you something. You have no idea how many great things God has in store for you, and some of the things that you bow down to now may keep you from the fullness of your destiny. And so, we need to always go with God and never go with the flesh. The mind of the flesh is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit. Well, we can reason out so many things. I could reason that out. "Well, Dave and I both work down here, and we don't have another car, and I can't afford to lose this job"... But you know, it's useless to try to talk God out of being honest, because he just is.
And so, I finally made that decision. And you know, when you're wrestling with God and you make a decision to do what's right, peace comes back, doesn't it? And I know that with this many people in this room, I know that there are people that are wrestling right now with issues, and you're in your mind reasoning, and reasoning, and reasoning about why it would be okay to do it. "Well, everybody does it". God doesn't care how many everybodies, he's talking to you. And if you are the only person that will stand up and shine for Christ in the earth today, then I'm challenging you tonight to shine. Amen?
The next morning, got to work real early, and I said, "You know, I'm a Christian". Not that I thought that would impress him, but I said, "I'm a Christian". And I was shaking so hard, I was so scared. I said, "I'm a Christian, and I can't zero this balance out because I feel like I'd be helping you steal". And I said, "I know that we don't believe the same way", but I said, "It would go against my conscience if I did this". And I said, "I don't wanna lose my job, but I can't do this".
Well, he sputtered, and popped, and told me, "Well, get out there and go back to work". And I kept waiting all day to be fired. I thought at any moment, he'd come out and fire me. It was almost time to get off work and he came out and he put that statement down on my desk. He said, "Just send 'em a check".
Now, listen. Over the next few years, I kept being promoted, promoted, promoted, promoted, and I did not have the qualifications or the education to do the job that they promoted me into. I ended up being second in charge. Nobody had more power in the whole company than me, except him. And it went back to the fact that even though he didn't agree with my Christianity, he respected me because I stood up for what was right.
Now, but then the other side of it is we also know people who have taken a stand. I'm calling people tonight to take a stand. And I don't know what this is gonna mean to you tonight, but if it means nothing to you tonight, it's gonna mean something to you in the future. Because the times are coming when we're gonna have to make decisions. We're gonna have to make decisions to get out of relationships. We're gonna have to make decisions to find some new friends. We're gonna have to make decisions to behave ourselves in a different way than what we do, not go to some places that maybe we go to. We're gonna have to make decisions that we're gonna stand strong. Not be obnoxiously religious, but take a stand for what you believe in and stand strong. Amen?
And you know what? You wanna do that. You do. You wanna do that. This is not gonna be a discouraging message for you. Every one of you, you want to do that, but sometimes we just need somebody to push us off the fence a little bit and say, "You know what? You do it in your corner of the world even if you have to do it by yourself, and if I have to do it by myself, I'll do it in my corner of the world, and maybe you've gotta do it in your family and you think you're by yourself, but really we're all over the place and we're all together, and we're one big family". Amen?
I'm gonna tell you something, I get embarrassed for God. The way people talk and the things they say about him, the language that people use today and the rudeness. And sometimes I just feel like I need to protect God, which of course I know is foolish. But I think he wants us all to have that attitude that we need to protect God's reputation. You know, Christianity's reputation in the world is not all that great, and that reflects on the Lord. And it's time for us to get off the fence. It's time for us to make a decision where we're gonna stand, and to shine, and to shine brightly. You gotta make your mind up. It's time to get off the fence.
Listen, you don't need to sit at lunch, with the people at lunch, and listen to them gossip about everybody in the building. You use that time to go out and walk, and pray, and talk to the Lord. You don't need to say, "Well, I'm gonna go pray. I'm not listening to this". You just need to go be what you are and then come back with your light all lit up. We don't need to do the things that the world does. The problem is, you know, we don't need to be like this super, hyper-religious, don't go to work with your earphones in, your big 40 pound Bible, walking around... "Oh, did you feel him? Did you feel him"?! Well, they're gonna think you're crazy as a lunatic. That's not what we need to be doing, it needs to be love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, meekness, gentleness, humility, and self-control! Amen!