Joyce Meyer - Characteristics Of A Perfect Heart
Tonight, I want to talk to you about the importance of the condition of your heart. What is the condition of your heart? And I'm not talking about your physical heart. I'm talking about the heart of man, the deepest part of our being, what God calls our heart. Are you content? What's going on in there? Are you trusting God even though there are things in your life that you don't understand? Or maybe is your heart full of confusion and just not so content in there? Are you happy for other people when they're blessed? How about when they get what you want, and you don't get it? You still happy? You trust God enough to say, "Well, God, if you didn't give that to me, then it's not right for me yet, and you've got something better in mind for me. And I know you love me, and you'll never leave me out of your blessings".
And it's so good to have a happy heart. It's so good to have a trusting heart. How much suspicion you got running around in there? Are you angry at someone? Is there resentment in your heart? Are you maybe just a little bit upset with God because life hasn't turned out quite like you expected it to? You have some criticisms, some judgment, some lustful thoughts? You know, God calls us to have a perfect heart. And the word "Perfect" can be very frightening to us, but I can tell you this, that I don't believe as long as we're in a human body we'll ever have perfect behavior, but I do believe that we can have a perfect heart. You're not sure, but that's okay. And it happens through growing, through growing. None of us have arrived, but we can grow. And I believe that God would rather have somebody with a perfect heart, and let's just say for a minute that a perfect heart is somebody who wants to do what's right with all your heart, okay?
So see, when I said you can have a perfect heart, you all went... I mean, some of you clapped, but you were kind of like... But see, I don't do what's right in every situation every day of my life. Matter of fact, every day I probably don't do something right. But I want to do what's right. Amen? And if you want to do what's right, and probably a lot of you feel that way or you probably wouldn't be out here tonight. I mean, unless you did just go, you like events, or you like whatever's at the dome, or I don't know, you know. You just think I'm a funny lady or whatever, so you know. But usually people who will come to something like this after they've worked all day, and some of you've traveled and you've gotten hotels and stuff, you want to learn, you want to grow, you know? But I want you to keep in mind as we're here tonight that we're not only talking to you, but there are literally millions of people that are hearing this same message all over the world.
And I'm pretty convinced that, out of all of those people, that there's probably a few whose attitude is not, "I really want to do everything right". And so, hopefully what I say tonight will help some of us to realize that, until we want what God wants, we're never going to be happy. Until we want what God wants, we're never going to be happy. Now, we all spend a lot of time trying to get God to give us what we want. But until we want what God wants more than we want what we want, until you want what God wants more than you even want what you want, until you can say to God and mean it, "This is what I'd like to have God, but please don't give it to me if it's not what you want me to have".
Ooh hoo! I'm going to go over here and talk to these people. I want to encourage you to pray like that. That's a symptom of a perfect heart. "God, this is what I'd like to have. I want this". You can ask for anything. "But God, if it's not what you want me to have, then don't give it to me because, even though I want that, I want what you want more than I want what I want". Now, that's a power prayer right there. And that was worth your car ride down here. 'cause I can tell you, if you go home and start praying that, mm mm mm, boy, some good stuff is going to happen.
Now, I've got seven characteristics of a perfect heart that I'm going to try to talk to you about tonight. And I know Dave is already laughing because what usually happens is I teach on two or three, and then I fast forward through the rest. But at any rate, we'll get going here and see what God does. So, first scripture we want to look at is 2 Chronicles chapter 16, and I'm going to begin in verse 7. "At that time hanani the seer", who was a prophet, "Came to Asa the king of Judah and said to him, 'because you relied on the king of Syria and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you'".
So, because he relied on a human king instead of relying on God, he lost the battle. Let me put it a little plainer. Because he relied on his counselor that he goes to every week instead of relying on God, not that there's anything wrong with getting counseling, but you better go to God first. Amen? "Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge host with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied then on the Lord, he gave them into your hand". So, now he's reminding him of another time in battle where he said, "Now, you won that battle, and they were a mighty host, because you relied on the Lord".
Do you know if we rely on God, I don't care how big the battle is, all things are possible with God. And greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. And no weapon formed against you shall prosper. And I could go on and on and on. Amen? But we got to learn to go to God. And it's a symptom of having a perfect heart, where we always put God first all the time. Now, God uses people to help us, there's no doubt about that. He uses people to speak to us. And you maybe have been going to God for some answers in your life that he's going to bring through my mouth tonight. We partner with God. We're partners with God in life. God uses you to bless me, he uses me to bless you, and so on and so forth. But we get nothing that makes any sense from anybody if we don't go to God first.
Here's a little example. I used to have a bad habit, like if I was down and I needed to be encouraged, I would expect Dave to pick up on that, read my mind. You know, women want men to read their minds. Have any of you guys noticed that? Okay. But not to be rude, but you don't have a clue. You're just, you know, clueless. And so, I would get mad at Dave because he wasn't encouraging me and making me feel better. And God taught me, when I needed encouragement, to go to him. "God, I need encouragement. Encourage me. Do it supernaturally or through whoever you want, but encourage me". And then sometimes God would use Dave, and then sometimes he'd use somebody else. But see, if we don't start going to God first, trusting him to use whoever he wants to, we're going to be mad at somebody all the time because there's always going to be somebody that's not giving us what we think they ought to give us to make us feel better in our life.
Now, he goes on to say in verse 9, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth". God is looking for somebody. "To show himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless", or perfect, "Toward him". So, the eyes of God roam to and fro across the earth, looking for someone with a perfect heart. Not a perfect performance, but a perfect heart. And when God finds that, then he says, "I can show my strength in your life". Amen? A perfect heart. Now, there are people who can put on a good show, but their hearts are still real stinky. Bad hearts and religious behavior, God hates it. Amen? They go to church all the time, they do this and this... But the only ones that can come into the presence of God, into his holy hill, according to Psalm 24, are those who have clean hands and a pure heart. God wants us to do right, but out of a pure heart.
If we're just doing right and our hearts are not right, then what we do means nothing to God. Very simple example. Matthew chapter 6, it's all over the place. "When you give, don't blow a trumpet before you like the hypocrites do, hoping that they'll be seen of men". So, when we give, we don't call attention to ourself. When we do good things for people, we don't call attention to ourself. When we pray, we don't do it to get attention because if I'm doing what I'm doing for somebody else because I want to get attention from them, then I'm not doing it for God at all. I've left God out. But if we do what we do unto the Lord, then the Bible says that God rewards us in front of the people. But if we do it to impress the people, then the Bible says in Matthew 6, "You have your reward in full already".
A story that I tell and haven't told it for a little bit, so I'll tell it tonight. Many, many years ago, I used to get my fingernails done at a certain place. And one day, the girl was doing my nails, and there was another girl waiting to get hers done. And we were talking, and she said she was a nurse in a cancer unit. And a little bit of conversation, we figured out we were all Christians, and she said, "It's so hard to see people in the condition they're in and not be able to, you know, tell them about Jesus. We're not allowed to talk to them about God. And that's just so hard with the needs that they have". And I had this rather sizable rhinestone Jesus pin. And the thought just came to me, "I should give her that", because if she would wear it on her uniform, then whenever she bent over the patients, they would see that name. And just that name would be a blessing to them.
So, I kind of felt like, you know, I should do it in secret. But I didn't know how I could do that because there was another girl doing my nails was sitting there. And just suddenly, the girl got up that was doing my nails and she said, "I have to run next door to the supply house", which happened to be right next door to her shop, "And get some of this powder that I ran out of for your nails". Well, I knew that I knew that I knew that God was opening the door for me to do it in secret. But see, my heart wasn't so good, and I wanted to get some attention. So, I waited just long enough for her to come back and then I made a display. "Oh, you know, I felt like God told me to give you this, and na na na na na na na".
Of course, they all thought I was wonderful, and my flesh was just, come on, you know how your flesh puffs up, it's just like... Feels so good, just feels so good. And honestly, you know, God does speak to you at times. How many of you know that, that God does speak to you in that still, small voice? And I heard very clearly in my heart, "I hope you enjoyed that because that's all you're getting". So, we can do good things. But if we do them to be seen of people, or to be noticed, or to be admired, then that's not doing it from a perfect heart. When you do something good, somebody may see you, but that shouldn't be your motive. Hallelujah? How many of you know the flesh likes to be seen? The flesh loves clapping, oh. I get so much clapping in my life, and my flesh loves it. And then I have to go home and try to pray it off of me, you know, it's like... "God, we know that I'm not nearly as wonderful as everybody thinks I am".
All right, Matthew 23:1-4. "Then Jesus said to the multitudes and to his disciples, 'the scribes and the pharisees sit on Moses' seat of authority. So observe and practice all they tell you, but don't do what they do, for they preach, but they do not practice. They tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and place them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger to help anybody. They do all their works to be seen of men'". So, God really just does not like that religious spirit that can get on people that makes them act like they think they're better than everybody else, be judgmental and critical, but won't lift a finger to help anybody when they really have a need in their life. Amen? Matthew 23:25-28, "'woe to you, scribes and pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)'".
Now, you know, Jesus wasn't always just roses and candy. "'Woe to you, you scribes and pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites). For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but within, you're full of extortion (prey, spoil, plunder) and grasping self-indulgence. You blind pharisees. First clean the inside of the cup'", the heart, "'first clean the inside of the cup and the plate, and then the outside will be clean also'". See, what he's telling us is, if we get a right heart, then it's going to show up out here. We need to work on our heart condition, and then good works with right motives are going to follow that right heart condition.
Now, can I just throw out for good measure that having a meeting with yourself a couple times a week is a good idea? Have a meeting with yourself, and ask God to shine his light on your heart and to show you anything you've got in there that shouldn't be in there. And trust me, he'll be happy to do it. And not under condemnation, but so we can say, "Well, God, let's work together then to get this right because I don't want to keep this bitterness. I don't want to be mad at anybody. I don't want to be jealous. I don't want to be like that. That's having a right heart. I don't want to be like this. Change me, God, change me. I don't want to be like this". Not making excuses for the bad behavior, but saying, "I don't want to be like this". "'Woe to you'", verse 27. "'woe to you, scribes and pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites). For you are like tombs that have been whitewashed, which look beautiful on the outside, but inside you're full of dead men's bones'".
So, if you think I'm tough on you sometimes, I'm probably a little bit nicer than Jesus might have been, especially with some of the junk that's going on in the world today, amen? And we don't need just all fluff and puff in our preaching. We need people to say, "Jesus is coming back soon, and we need to be ready when he comes". Amen? And let me tell you, this is not a time in God's timetable to be compromising. This is a time to stand strong, know what the word says, and be full of the Holy Spirit so he enables you to be able to be Christ-like in your behavior. Because the world is looking for Jesus, and they're not going to see him except through us. The Lord is coming soon. Amen?
"Well, how do you know"? Well because the Bible says so. "Well, everybody says that in every generation". You're right, they do. Paul was saying it back in his day, but I figure if he thought he was coming soon, we're sooner now than that soon. And so, I don't know how soon, but I do know that I don't want to be like the five foolish virgins, who took a nap and didn't do anything extra to be prepared. And then, when the bridegroom showed up, they got left out because they started trying to get ready after he got there. And that's not going to be the time to get ready. This is the get ready session right now. You are here in the get ready session. This is the get ready for Jesus' return, amen? We're going to work on our hearts.
"Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life". That's Proverbs 4:23. Keep and guard your heart. God's telling us to do that. With all vigilance and above all else that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life. If we will do these things with the help and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God can show himself strong in you. And isn't that what we want? So, you got to keep God first all the time.
That's the first point. Number two, a person with a perfect heart is always growing spiritually, always growing. We've not arrived, but we're on our way. That's right. I'm okay, and I'm on my way. I'm not where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. Hallelujah. And that gives me hope. Now, Matthew 5:48 says, "You, therefore, must be perfect growing into complete maturity of Godliness in mind and character". So, to be perfect means to be growing in Godliness and Christ-likeness. I love that. How many of you want to grow? Of course you do or you wouldn't be here tonight. Amen? Or, whatever you came for, if you didn't want to grow, you probably would have left by now because I'm all about growing, all right?
And I love believers, and I don't believe that the moment that we're born again then God no longer has any interest in doing anything with us. I was a miserable believer for a lot of years in my life. Amen? And I'm glad that God cares about those of us that are saved and he sends people to work with us to help us have the life that Jesus died to give us. I want you to have the life that Jesus died in order for you to have. Paul said, "I'm determined to take hold of those things for which Christ Jesus died to take hold of me". Jesus died to take hold of us for a purpose and we have to have the attitude, "I'm gonna take hold of that thing for which he has taken hold of me". I'm gonna grow. Make the devil mad, shout out, "I'm gonna grow"! I love it.
Now, in Philippians 3:12 Paul said, "Not that I have attained this ideal". I've not arrived. Is there anyone here that's arrived? Anybody want to give arrival lessons? I've not arrived. I make mistakes, but I'm actually at the point where I'm really happy when God convicts me of wrongdoing in my life. I mean I remember the day when I would get convicted of doing something wrong and it would always get me down. "How could anybody have that much wrong with them"? Come on, don't get like that. When God shows you that something, that you did something wrong, you should rejoice. Thank God he doesn't leave us alone in our messes. The worst thing that could happen to any one of us is God would leave us alone. And chastisement is a sign of God's love.
When God chastises us or when the Holy Spirit convicts us of wrongdoing, whether it's you shouldn't have said that, don't think like that, don't act like that, don't be selfish, don't be stingy, don't be bitter, don't be jealous, whenever God convicts us of sin, we need to say, "Thank you, God, for loving me enough to stay after me until I get this right". Amen? Paul said, "I have not attained this ideal, nor have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of and to (grasp) and to make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me his own". Ephesians 4:15 says that we are to grow up in every way and in all things into the truth. "Let our lives lovingly express truth in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly. Enfolded in love, let us grow up, let us grow up in every way and in all things into him who is the head, Christ (the Messiah)".
This is the truth. The Word of God is the truth. We're gonna talk a little bit in the morning about some of the nonsense floating around in the earth today about well, there is no, there's no definite truth. You know, there's no, you know, relative truth but no real truth. Let me tell you something, I mean truth just can't be a whole bunch of things depending on what everybody thinks it is. The very nature of truth means only one thing can be true. Amen? And I mean, who are we gonna believe if we don't want to believe God? I mean is there really anything better that you'd want to base your life on? You better be sure. No, absolutely not.
1 Peter 2, gonna begin in verse 1. Let me tell ya, I got a boatload of scriptures up here. "So be done with every trace of wickedness", not even a little, teeny-tiny little bit. "Be done with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all deceit and insincerity (pretense, hypocrisy) and grudges (envy, jealousy)". I'm telling ya, jealousy gets in me once in a while. I gotta, "God, I am not gonna put up with this. I refuse to be jealous. I'm not gonna want what somebody else has got. You've given me too much to be thankful", you gotta fight the devil. You gotta fight the devil. "Oh, I wish I didn't feel like this". The Kingdom of God has suffered violence and the violent take it by force. Amen? "And get rid of all slander and evil speaking of every kind. Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto completed salvation".
I remember when the Lord told me one time, "It's time for your mouth to be saved". Completed salvation has to reach your mouth, your mind, the way you dress, what you do with your money, who you hang out with, what you talk about, what you spend your money on, what kind of entertainment you have. Amen? Come on. Yeah he said, "You're saved, but you don't sound saved. Your mouth needs to get saved". Could anybody else use a little salvation there? Oh, I got all kinds of stuff on the resource table for that. Man, whoo! I got books. I got DVDs. I got CDs. Grow. Verse 3, "Since you've already tasted the goodness and the kindness of God". I kind of wish that verse 3 was first because I think that's really the intent here. What if we read it like this, "Since you've already tasted the goodness and the kindness of God, now be done with every trace of wickedness, (depravity, malignity) all deceit, insincerity jealousy of every kind and like newborn babes, crave the pure, (unadulterated) spiritual milk, which is the Word of God".
How can we see the goodness of God and what he's done for us and not want to be better? I want to be better because I love Jesus. I don't have to try to be better every day so I'll go to heaven. My salvation is based on my faith, but if you have real faith, if faith is real, if we're truly born again, if God really lives in us, then we absolutely cannot stay the same. It is not possible to be born again and never change. It is just not possible. Are you behaving any better than you were last year? Of course. Last time I was here was 2012. Are you behaving any better since the last time that I was here? We're growing. Oh my gosh, my husband could come up here and tell you how much I've grown. Lord have mercy, I'm telling you what, in 48 years he's been married to 20 different women. I just keep changing. There's no telling who he'll be married to next year. Joyce Meyer version number 42. I mean, is there anybody else in here honestly, you can just say that you are just a totally different person than you used to be?
Well now, folks look around you, we're not all crazy and we're not all liars, so there must be something in this wonderful word that is changing people. You know, people say to me, "You've changed my life". Well, it's the word that's changed your life. "We love you". Well, you know really what you love is the word. I mean, that's really it. I'm just a word girl. I just believe the Word of God and I love to share the Word of God. And I'll tell ya what, if we believe the word, and we eat the word, and we love the word, and we live in the word, we cling to the word, things are gonna change in our lives. I attended church for many years without growing spiritually. Going and sitting, you can sit in a church pew until your cute little bottom is totally flat. And has callouses on it from you sitting there, and it will not change you one bit unless you really are hearing something. Don't just go sit somewhere out of some kind of obligation, get somewhere where they're alive and on fire with the Word of God, where the truth is being spoken and love the word.
Don't go out of obligation, go because you can't stand not to be there. "Well, if I leave, granny's gonna get mad". I know, granny got mad at me too but... And it does not matter to me what denomination you go to, I don't care because they're not gonna be in heaven anyway. But the point is is we gotta be somewhere that is alive and on fire with the glory of God, where the word is being preached in a way that is challenging us and changing our lives. If you can go and sleep through church every Sunday, you better go somewhere else, 'cause you go to sleep in my place, we're gonna come and wake you up. Yeah, Jesus.
All right now, one of my very favorite places in scripture is coming up right now. Hebrews 5:12, "For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God's word. You have come to need milk, not solid food". Just like babies, they start out on milk and the goal is to get them on over to meat and vegetables. Amen? Eventually the baby bottle, and the diapers, and the pacifier has to go. For everyone who continues to feed on milk, which is really talking about the milk of the word and the meat of the word, it's like there's messages and then there's messages. Amen? I mean like, I'm getting ready to teach some messages coming up next year on the fire of God.
John said, "Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire". Well, we don't hear much about that 'cause the crowd gets smaller every week if you try to teach on the fire of God. And so, it's great to encourage people, and to edify people, and to tell them how much God loves them, and how sweet they are, and how anointed they are, and all the good things that God's gonna do in their life. We need that, but we need more than that. We have to have more than that. And Paul said, he couldn't, he could not give many of them the meat of the word. He had to keep giving them milk.
Now watch this, this is why I love this scripture so much. "Everyone", verse 13, "Everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness". In other words, they didn't know who they were in Christ. They were insecure. They weren't getting their worth and value out of being the righteousness of God in Christ and so every time a strong word would come that confronted their behavior, that made them more and more insecure so Paul had to just keep trying to get them to feel good about themselves.
I tell ya what, anytime I want to have a happy crowd, all I gotta do is teach on who you are in Christ. And I do that on a regular basis 'cause people need it. We need to know who we are in Christ, that's the beginning and the foundation of so many things, but if you're having a healthy diet of the word, if you're under a teacher or a under a pastor who's giving you a healthy diet of the Word of God, they're not just going to teach you about those things, they're gonna also tell you straighten up, get yourself off your mind. Get busy being a blessing to other people. Get ready for the second return of Christ. And we need that. We need that.
If somebody were to say to me, "What do you think the biggest problem is in the church"? I have always said and will continue to say, "We just need to grow up". We just need to grow up. You don't have to get mad every time you don't get your way. Don't gotta get all down on God because you prayed for something and it didn't happen. Somebody else got what you wanted. God didn't pick you for the choir. God didn't pick you for the worship leader. "Oh no, I'm mad 'cause God didn't pick me and I'm leaving this church because they didn't pick me". Well, you ole silly thing you, you just take your problems and go to another church and you'll leave that one too. Amen?
Oh well. How many of you agree that it's time to just get over our sweet little selves? "For even though by this time you should be teaching others". How many times are we gonna have to hear the same thing? And I mean, you know, we all need to hear the same stuff over and over and over to be reminded, but I think God's just trying to say it's time to get on with it, see, time to get on with it. Verse 14, "But solid food is for full-grown men, whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice". Chapter 6, verse 1 says, "Then let us go on and get past this elementary stage in teaching".
Let's go on to more advanced teaching. I would love it when I sit down to do a teaching on giving if people would clap and cheer and underline in their Bibles and... Amen? Instead of acting like you're trying to get in their pocket. You know, it's like, I didn't write the book. He's the one that said all the stuff about it, not me. Amen? I tell ya, it's hard sometimes on teachers and preachers when they try to bring something that people don't want to hear, you know? So, I don't care what I preach this weekend, I want you to smile. All right, if we always want to grow, God can show himself strong in us. And we have now conquered two points in my seven-point message.
Number three, a person with a perfect heart is fully committed. Everybody say, "All". Oh, that's such a small word with such a big meaning, all. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all of your mind". All. And you shall give thanks in all things at all times. Mmm, all. 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 presenting all your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated), well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship". It kind of goes like this, "Okay God, here I am. I'm going out in the world today, and I offer myself to you as your vessel. I give you my eyes. I give you my ears".
So, if I give him my ears then that means I'm not gonna sit at the lunch table and listen to and laugh at dirty jokes. Let's kind of get it practical so we know what it means. I give you my mouth, so that means I'm not gonna gossip at work with everybody else. I'm not gonna complain about little inconveniences. Yeah, don't get quiet on me. See, now you're thinking, "Oh my gosh, now something's gonna have to change". You're a chosen race, a royal priesthood, God's own purchased special people. He called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Okay now, I love these scriptures. This is Genesis 11:31-32, "Terah took Abram his son, lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together to go from Ur of the Chaldees into the land of Canaan", which was the Promised Land. "But when they came to Haran, they settled there". That scripture amazes me. I believe that God actually called Terah before he called Abraham. He called him out to go to Canaan just like he did Abraham, but Terah settled before he got where he was going. Now, listen to this next verse. Listen to this. And Terah, and this is the only thing the Bible says about Terah after that. "And Terah lived 205 years: and Terah died in Haran", period, end of Terah.
When you settle halfway between where you were and where God wants you to be, come on, he called us out to bring us in. He called us out of bondage to bring us into the full promises of God. He called us out to bring us in. And I'll tell ya what, I've made my mind up when I'm gone, the people left behind better have more to say about me than, "Joyce lived 95 years, and she died". I don't want that to be all that's left. "And Joyce lived 95 years, and she died". No. "And Joyce lived, and she wrote 150 books and we're still reading them". And we all should want to have that kind of testimony. Don't just float through here and not leave a mark and nobody care when you're gone and half the people you know be glad when you're gone. Go through here, leave a mark, make the devil mad. Be all that God wants you to be and say, "I will not settle. I am not gonna settle"!