Joyce Meyer - Confidence In Christ
Well, welcome to "Enjoying Everyday Life," and I'm glad that you're with us today. And I believe, when you hear the Word of God that I'm going to share today, that it will help you to enjoy your everyday life because I believe it's going to help you enjoy God. And really, that's the only way that you can enjoy your everyday life.
Now, you might be able to do some things that would be fun, but I'm talking about just ordinary, everyday life that can get so humdrum if we don't look at it the right way. When you have the right relationship with God through Christ, you can enjoy things that other people would not be able to enjoy at all. I want stability in my life, and I'm sure you want that too. I don't want my joy to be affected by my circumstances all the time. I want it to be in Christ.
So today, I'm going to teach from Philippians chapter 3, and I'm going to actually be doing the first 9 verses, and there are some really powerful things in here. And it says, "For the rest, my brethren, delight yourselves in the Lord, and continue to rejoice that you are in Him."
Now, you know, that little phrase that is really so tiny and can be so easily missed is so powerful. And especially in the epistles, we see in Him, in Him, in Him. We're redeemed in Him, we're sanctified in Him, we're set free in Him, we live in Him, we die in Him. Everything is in Him. And when we do allow Christ to become the actual center focus of our lives and everything that we do, then the quality of our life begins to change really, really dramatically.
I like to keep telling people all the time that being a christian is not just about, "Well, I go to church." So many times, you ask people, "Do you have a relationship with Christ?" They'll say, "Well, I go to church," and then tell me what religion they are. Well, going to church is great. We want everybody to do that, but a relationship with Christ is so much more than that.
When we learn to do everything that we do in Him, and through Him, and I kind of came up with this phrase last year, and I like this: we need to do life with God. Let's just do life with God. I don't want to have one day where he's not the center focus of everything that I do. And it's really important to remember I think that there's such a fallacy in the thinking which we can sometimes get that God is only interested in the, quote, spiritual things that we do. But actually, that's just not true. He's interested in you.
Yes, I said he's interested in you and in everything that you do. He's happy to fellowship with you in the grocery store just like in church. And so, to me, when I entered into a more serious relationship with God over 40 years ago, that was what made my walk with God so exciting. Rather than just be rules and regulations, and these different formats that I followed, life began to be about Him.
And when I learned that He was concerned about everything that concerns me, that got pretty exciting. And I really feel strongly that I want all of you here, but people watching today, there's lonely people, there's hurting people, people that don't know Christ, people that do, people that are just religious and wonder, "Is this all there is?"
I want you to realize that Jesus is concerned about everything that concerns you, and He wants to be involved in everything that you do. But He is a gentleman, and He's not going to force His way into your life. You have not because you ask not. So, just start inviting Him into everything, and you'll be amazed at the difference that you'll see in your life.
Then Paul says, "To keep writing to you over and over of the same things is not irksome to me, and it is a precaution for your safety."
Now, that's really important too because I think a lot of times, if we've heard something once or twice, we think we've got that, and we want something new. And you know, a lot of us radical Christians, we underline things in our Bibles. Or I mean, we'll even make a note in our Bible, imagine writing in your Bible. There would have been a time when I would have thought I might have got struck dead and there is a tendency to think if you've got it underlined, that means that you know it.
But there's a difference in knowing something in your head and knowing it in your heart. And keep this in mind, we never really know anything until it's actually working in our lives. And even when we know things, we have to be reminded of things.
And even when we know things, we have to be reminded of things. It always helps me personally when I study because I teach a lot of different things in a lot of different places, so I need to do a lot of studying, and it's a huge variety because of being on TV every day, I can't just say the same thing every day. And it's so helpful to be reminded of things over and over and over. That's what keeps us strong in things.
And you know, even like in the natural area, if I would start to get kind of sloppy in my eating habits, or not taking care of myself nutritionally, I can go and read a chapter out of a good health book, or you know, that a nutritionist has written, and boy, all of a sudden I have a desire to take better care of myself. So actually, we need knowledge. And without that, we perish.
That's why I'm really having a push here at the ministry to get people to understand the importance of studying the Word of God. Now, so far, we've made it through one verse of what I want to share today. And this is what we've gotten out of one verse. And that's what I want you to understand, it's just like there's so much in the Word of God, and it is so valuable to our everyday lives.
Don't try to read the Bible fast just to see how much you can read. But study it, and make sure that you are getting something the next verse, "Look out for those dogs and judaizers, legalists, look out for those mischief-makers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh." Now, to be honest, many of you may have read that and just think, "What? Dogs, mutilate the flesh, what are you talking about?"
Well, if you don't understand the Old Testament law and how people had to try to relate to God through keeping the law, and that if they didn't keep the law perfectly, they had to make sacrifices, you won't understand this.
Paul is now teaching people the New Covenant because after Christ died for our sins, we came into a New Covenant, a whole new deal you might say, and He became the final sacrifice for our sins. We no longer had to sacrifice, but when we sin, we go to Him, receive His forgiveness because He paid the price for our sins. And one of the things that they had to do as a person in covenant with God was the men had to be circumcised. So, that's what he's talking about when he says, "Those who mutilate the flesh."
Now, keeping in mind what I just told you, let's go back and read it again. "Look out for those dogs the judaizers, the legalists." He's saying look out for the people who are still trying to bring you back under the law. And let me tell you something, that is pertinent today. I mean, there's all kinds of rules and regulations floating around out there, and all kinds of things you have to do to belong to this church and that church and something else. And even if nobody else is trying to put laws on you, trust me, we can make enough of them up ourselves, you know? Bible study can become a law. And what I mean by that is if you don't do it every day for a certain amount of time, then you feel guilty. Prayer can become a law. Instead of a pleasure and a joy, prayer can become a law, where you feel like if you don't spend a certain amount of time in prayer, and if you don't feel like you made a connection, and if you don't get goosebumps and all these different things, then something's wrong. And we can do that in all kinds of different things.
Well, under the new covenant, God does not want us to serve Him because we think we have to, and we're afraid we're going to get in trouble if we don't. He wants us to serve Him because we love Him, and everything that we do is done because we love Him.
I well remember when God put on my heart many years ago, "I want you to stop, I don't want you to do anything anymore for me out of obligation." Now, there's duty, and duty is a good thing, but that's different than just feeling like, "Well, I need to do this or God's going to get mad at me." That's not the way that He wants us to serve Him. And if you can lay aside all that stuff, you'll find that there is a desire in your spirit to do all these things. But if your flesh tries to force you to do them for a wrong reason, then the law actually increases sin.
No matter how much you like something, I mean, I'm telling you, if you like chocolate, I could say to you 12 times every day, "You have to eat bars of chocolate today or you cannot work here. You have to eat four bars of chocolate," and some of you might think, "Oh, that's really cool." But I can tell you no matter how much you like chocolate, after a few days, you would be like, "I do not want this chocolate," if no other reason just because somebody's trying to make you do it. So, do you understand then how that applies to our spiritual walk with God and our relationship with Him? I got to get going or we're not going to get finished. Then He says, "For we Christians are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the spirit."
So, the circumcision, the cutting away of the flesh, which is what circumcision means, that God wants from us is the circumcision of the heart, not the flesh. We don't have to mutilate the flesh anymore to prove that we're in covenant with God. He wants us to circumcise our heart to have a right heart, and He wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. The amplified Bible says in reality.
So, here's the way I like to say that. It's not about just going to a church service, and singing songs, and lifting up my hands in worship. Or if the church you go to doesn't do that, sitting quietly, or however you go about it. Yes, that is worship, but the Bible says that He's looking for worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
So, I can worship and not be a worshiper. The way I become a worshiper is if my whole life is lived with Him as the center, and I offer up everything that I do to Him in praise and worship, and I want to glorify Him in every single thing that I do. So, then he goes on to talk about confidence. And Paul says, "Put no confidence or dependence on what we are in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances."
Well, we can make a four-part series out of that, couldn't we? Because you know what? We live in an age of image. How many people are on my facebook account? How do I look when I take my selfies? What do people think about me? What are people saying about me? Do I have the right degrees? Am I in the right social group? Do I have the right friends? And then we begin to get our worth and value out of all those things, and that's not pleasing to God. Because it's all right to have them, but He doesn't want our confidence to be in them.
Education would be a good example. I mean, yes, education is great, and I'm all for being educated, and going to college if you can, and getting a degree, whatever. I didn't get to do that, but I'm certainly not against it. However, when you go out to look for a job, I wouldn't depend on your degree because there's a lot of people with degrees that aren't getting jobs. I think that if you go depending on God, then He may use your education. But if you depend on your education and you're not asking God to get involved... see, He can open a right door for you that nobody else can open, not even your degree.
So, Paul is trying to make the point here that look... well, let's just go on and read the next verse, and then you'll see. He says, "Though for myself I do have grounds to rely on the flesh. If any other man would consider that he has or seems to have reason to rely on the flesh, I have more. Circumcised when I was eight days old, the race of Israel, from the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew, the son of hebrews. As to observing the law, I was a pharisee."
And so, let's put it in today's terms. "Man, I was born on the right side of the fence." I was born into a well-known, important family. I not only have one degree, I have two degrees from two top universities. I not only have a regular degree, I have a master's degree. And I know the bible, I can quote the psalms, and I can quote the proverbs." And we can get all proud of ourselves because of everything that we have. And here again, God's not against us having it. But He doesn't want us to put our confidence in that. Don't put your confidence in things that you have, or the social group you're in, or what you look like.