Joyce Meyer - Do What You Know to Do
Well, thank you so much for joining us today. I really pray that you will enjoy the teaching and that you will receive it as something that God really wants you to learn. Today I wanna talk to you about doing what you know to do. To be honest, sometimes I get to the point with some people where I just simply don't know what to tell them anymore because they just keep having the same problems with the same things and you've told 'em and told 'em and told 'em and they just keep coming back wanting you to tell them something else. And I finally, I just, toward the end of last year, I thought, "You know what? What's left to tell people except do what you know to do".
And I know when I say that there's some pushback from some people, "Well, you just don't understand what I'm going through and you don't understand how hard it is". And I do understand because I've been through it. But unless I'm wrong, and I'm willing to be corrected if I am, for the life of me I can't figure out why God would tell us to do something and then not give us the ability to do it. So I think to say, "I can't," just is not a correct answer. Maybe somebody needs to get some counseling, maybe they need some help from somebody else, you know, I'm not saying that we all get help one way, but if God says I can be free then I can be free. And if he says I can forgive then I can forgive.
And so, I think maybe we just need to realize that ultimately we're gonna need to do what God tells us to do in his Word and what he puts in our heart and that there is no other answer. We're not gonna get a different answer from God if we put it off for 5 years. It's gonna be the same thing. So I believe that doing what we know to do, and I really wanna press that today to all of you watching by TV, it's time to do what you know to do. Little things. "I know I eat too much sugar, but". "Well, I know I should get my finances in order, but". "Well, I know I need to forgive, but". "I know I shouldn't stay angry, but". "Well, I know God wants me to apologize and make things right, but". And that's the kind of stuff we've gotta stop.
I mean, honestly and truly, what do you think? I mean, is there really anything left to tell somebody? I mean, sometimes we're over educated. It's, like, how many times do we need to hear a message on the importance of forgiving people before we're gonna do it? How many times do we need to hear a message about the importance of giving and being generous to finance the Gospel before we're gonna do it? "Oh, we're gonna do it when we get our next raise". "We're gonna do it when we get out of debt". No, chances are, you'll never get that raise or ever get out of debt if you don't start doing it now. Psalm 119:1 through 6, actually I was reading this Psalm when God dropped this message in my heart. "Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied)".
How many of you want that to be you? "Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, the truly sincere, and the blameless) in the way of the revealed will of God," now, listen to this, "Who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord". So, right away now, I've got a responsibility. "I'll do the blessing," God says, "I'll show you in my word how to walk, what to do, what not to do". Isn't the Bible an amazing book? I mean, it's just an amazing book. And everything that God tells us to do or not to do, it's not for his benefit. It's for our benefit. And it really helped me when I saw that. He's not just giving me a list of hard things to do so I can go through every day being miserable. Everything that God tells us is something that's gonna help us if we do that. So, he says, "I'll bless you. I'll show you what to do.
Now, you order your conduct and your conversation according to what I've shown you to do". So, whoops, now we have a part. God gives us free will. He's not gonna make us do what's right. Do you know what? If you really wanna be miserable, God will protect your right to be miserable. He'll continue to try to show you. He'll continue to try to guide you. Continue to try to lead you. But he's not gonna make anybody do what's right. "Blessed (happy, fortunate) are they who keep his word: they walk in his ways. You have commanded us to keep your word, that we might observe them diligently". And it just goes on and on and on, talking about how my word is here.
Now the only thing left to do is to do it. You know, there's nothing complicated about this message today. I wonder how many people are watching right now that if I said to you, "What is it that you know to do? You know full well that you should do it, but you haven't done it"? I mean, nobody will have a boring day. You'll have plenty of things to take care of and plenty of things to get busy with. See, the whole thing about our relationship with God, thankfully, we don't even have to be led by laws, rules, and regulations anymore. That was part of the old covenant. Now, we have the Holy Spirit living in us as Christians and we learn to obey the promptings of the spirit. So when the Holy Spirit prompts you to do something, the best thing for your life or my life is just to get busy and go do it. Not argue with God.
Can I tell you something I've learned in my 41 years of teaching the word? God is always right. Isn't that amazing? And no matter how long I put something off, he's not gonna change his mind. He really doesn't even care what I think about what he wants me to do. He just wants me to be obedient to him for my benefit. Now, James 1:22, love, love, love this scripture: "But be doers of the word obey the message, and not merely a listener to it," now listen to this, "Betraying yourselves into deception by what reasoning that is contrary to the truth". So we have to unpack this to get the most out of it. You love God, I love God.
So, if he shows me to do or not to do something and I don't do it, it's usually not just because I'm just blatantly being disobedient and saying, "Well, I'm sorry, you know, but I'm just... No, I'm just not gonna do that". But we can, our mind gives us a reason why even though it's right, there's a reason why we can't do it. "Well, it's because of this and because of that. Because of this and because of that". And sometimes, the biggest excuse we give is, "I'm just not ready". Well, can I ask you just lovingly, when are you gonna get ready? "Oh, this is not the right time". Well, what is the right time? "Well, maybe tomorrow". And tomorrow comes and, "Maybe tomorrow".
And every time we put off being obedient to God till tomorrow, we waste today. It's time to stop wasting our days. It's easy to hear the word. You're all gonna agree with me today. Those of you watching by TV, you're in agreement with me. You're, like, "Yes, amen, amen," you know? It's amazing how many "Amens" I get when I have my conferences. I mean, I've got the most agreeable people sitting out there. I mean, nobody stands up and says, "I don't believe that". Thankfully. They agree. We underline in our Bible, we use highlighters. We buy the CDs, we buy the books. So why are so many people's lives still in such an unbelievable mess?
We've gotta stop giving ourself reasons, and sometimes we will believe that somebody else should do something, but there's a reason why we don't have to. There's a reason why we can't do that. You know what? Let me just say this and if you're willing to do it, I think it's a life-changer. Start having a few meetings with yourself. Get to know yourself real well. Okay, if I have an argument with my husband and I really want him to apologize, but he's not apologizing, and so God just tells me to go be the peacemaker and I'm not gonna do that, I don't wanna do that, why, why, what's the reason behind this? Well, pride. That's the only reason that there can be is pride. I don't want to have to humble myself and go say, "I'm sorry", when I don't feel like that I did anything wrong but that he did something wrong.
But see, God said, "Blessed are the makers and the maintainers of peace". So if I wanna be blessed, if I wanna have that happy, enviable, joyful, to be envied life, then I need to be willing to just swallow my pride and simply go do what God asked me to do and not worry about anything else except just being obedient to God. How do you think your life would change if you just made a decision today: "From now on, to the best of my ability with God's help," we can't do it by ourself. "To the best of my ability with God's help, I'm gonna do what he shows me to do. I'm not just gonna listen to it. Not just gonna read it. But I wanna do it".
I think that every time that a person goes to church, every time they turn on a Christian TV program, every time they listen to a teaching CD, I don't think there's any point in doing it if you don't make your mind up before you ever even hear what's gonna be said that something in this is probably gonna challenge me and I'm ready, God, to do what you ask me to do. See, don't just be a hearer. We can think that we're so together just because we've got it all underlined and we hear it all. But none of it really does us any good if we're not doing what God asks us to do.
John 13:17. In John chapter 13, Jesus washed his disciples' feet. And that's a whole message in itself. But then he said, "If you know these things, blessed, happy, and to be envied are you if you practice them". So he's saying, "Look, I'm gonna show you the secret into an amazingly wonderful life. Serve other people". Get your mind off yourself. See what you can do for somebody else. And you know what? I wanna say today, especially people who have huge problems in your life, one of the worst things that you can do is sit around and meditate on your own problems. Because it just makes us... We get these little lives where there's nobody in it but us and our problems. And the very best thing that you can do is tell God what you need, which he already knows anyway, but tell him what you need and then get about being a blessing to somebody else. You'd be amazed what kind of a miracle God can sneak up on you if you're not focused on trying to get one all the time.
So he's saying, "Serve one another". The greatest in the kingdom are those who serve one another. And, you know, the foot washing thing is kind of an interesting example because I think that he's basically saying, "Do things that maybe aren't pleasant for you. Do things that might be a little challenging to you: little, seemingly insignificant things, and do them unto the Lord. And you'll be amazed at the blessings that will come back to you".
Now, we don't buy God's favor with our good works. But what does happen is they're released into our life as we become obedient to God. And I'm certainly not gonna stand here and tell you that God is not merciful. I believe that he blesses people while they're in the midst of their disobedience, but I will tell you this. Paul said great grace was given to him because he acted in ignorance. It's one thing to be doing something wrong and not really know that you're doing it wrong and God does give us a space of time.
You know, it took me a long time to really be convinced by the scripture that God actually really did want me to forgive my father who sexually abused me and my mother who let him do it. I mean, it took a while. And there are things that take a while in our lives. And I'm not saying that they don't take a while. But what I am saying is that the minute you know that you know that you know that you know this is what God is speaking to me, at that moment that's when you need to make your mind up, "God, with your help, I wanna follow through now and do what you're asking me to do".
Let me tell you something, a lot of the stuff that God asks us to do, it's not easy on your flesh. I mean, it's just not easy on your flesh. Oh, but it's so good for us spiritually. If I'm gonna be miserable, I'd rather be miserable because I'm trying to obey God than to be miserable because I'm out of God's will. Because if I'm miserable because I'm out of God's will, I'm gonna stay miserable forever, but if it's just hard on me to do this thing that God's asked me to do, that's a kind of difficulty that's gonna lead to more freedom and more blessing in my life. What do you know to do that you're not doing?
Galatians 6:9: "And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right". Maybe some of you are watching today and the truth is that you're just tired of doing what's right. "I'm just tired of being the only one around here that does what's right. I'm tired of always being the one that has to make peace and say I'm sorry. I'm tired of being the only one that ever offers to pay for lunch when I go out with my friends. They all just sit there like a block of stone". But see, the Bible says you're blessed when you're the one that gets to give. See, the word is there to constantly... For us to be called back to the word for the word to constantly challenge our behavior. God uses his word to chastise us, and we need to be thrilled about chastisement.
I'm glad that God doesn't leave me alone in my misery, but he uses his word to show me the way that I should go. You might have to do what's right for a long time before you get a right result. But now catch this, we don't do what's right to get a right result. We do what's right because it is right. And because that's what God asked me to do. See, if I'm just doing it to get a right result, I will get tired of it because we don't know how much time it's gonna take for that breakthrough to come. But if we're set on, "I'm gonna do this, God, until you come back to get me if that's what I need to do, just because I believe it's right". That kind of action, God can bless.
So be committed to continuing to do what's right, even in those times when you're not getting a right result. Have you given up on doing what's right because you're tired of waiting? Genesis 8:22: "While the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest". You hear me say this around here at least and I've said it in numerous teachings. I really wish that that word "Seedtime" was laid out a little bit differently. Because I think it's "Seed, a lot of time, and then harvest".
And what does the Bible say? It uses the example in James 5:7 about the farmer. See how the farmer plants his seed and then he keeps up his patient vigil over it until the harvest. So what happens during that time? You keep doing what's right. C'mon, you keep doing what's right. You keep doing what's right. You keep doing what's right. You keep doing what's right. And you know what? If we refuse to stop doing what's right, we will eventually get a right result. It is impossible not to. Your breakthrough will come, but let me tell you something. The number one thing the devil wants us to do is quit and give up. And he gives us all kinds of reasons.
Something I've noticed that the enemy will say to me sometimes is, "This is never gonna change". And then my flesh will say, "Well, I can't do this forever". See, I might be willing to do it for a little while, but I can't do this forever. Well, we gotta remember the devil's a liar and he's gonna try to tell you that change is never gonna come and that's when we need to open our mouth and say, "God is working in my life right now and my breakthrough will come because God is faithful". Because God is faithful. "As long as the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest". Psalm 19:7 through 11: "The law of the Lord is perfect".
I wanna say this a little different way, not to be rewriting the Bible, but "The Word of God is perfect". I think we get a little freaked out about the word "Law". "The Word of God is perfect, restoring the whole person," wow. So my whole life can be changed. There's nothing in my life that can't be redeemed, nothing that can't be renewed, nothing that can't be made better, but only as I'm willing to do what God asks me to do. See, it concerns me because I think a lot of people think just because they go to church, magic things should happen. "Well, I go to church every week". Well, I hate to say this, but that, in itself, is not gonna bring victory. It's time to do what we know to do.
Now, here again, and I wanna please make sure that I stress this. You're, like, "Well, I'm trying. I'm trying. I'm trying". Well, honest, I'm not even really asking you to try. I'm asking you to believe and start taking steps of obedience. We can sit in a corner somewhere and try until we just feel like we're gonna bust, and still not ever have taken one step toward making anything change. Don't ever try to do anything, even that God tells you to do, without leaning on him to do it.
I remember when I first started hearing messages about the mouth. Well, I'd go home and try to be quiet. Try to be quiet. It didn't work. I started getting depressed. "Why am I depressed, God? I'm trying to do the right thing". He said, "Well, you're keeping your mouth shut, but nothing inside has changed". I was still having the same stinking thinking. You'd be amazed if you really start partnering with God in your life at what he will show you about things that you need to do or why maybe you're still stuck in a place that you have not been able to get out of. You can't do anything without his help. God, help me.
See, I realized I would hear a message on the mouth and then I'd go home and try. Now, hear me. I'd go home and try, but I had left God out of the loop. First thing I need to say is, "Thank you for showing me that. Now I humble myself under your mighty hand and just say that I can't do it without you. It's what you want me to do, but I need your grace and your power now to be able to do that". How many of you think I'm right that we just sometimes try and we forget about the calling on God to get him to help us to do everything that we need to do? "The Word of God restores the whole person. The word of the Lord is right. It rejoices your heart. The commandments of God are pure and bright: they bring light to your eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever, and the word of the Lord is true and right".
It's so amazing what the Bible says about how powerful the Word of God is. I've been thinking in this past week about Hebrews 4:12: "The Word of God is sharp and quick and powerful like a two-edged sword". And the amplified Bible says, "It's operative". And I think, "Yeah, the word operates on me just about every day," amen.
All right, got just a few minutes left. Three things I'm gonna challenge you about today. Three simple things that I believe will be life-changing. Number one, take responsibility for your thoughts. Don't just think whatever falls in your head and think it doesn't matter because the Bible says, "As a man thinks, so does he become". No behavior is gonna change until the thoughts change. No behavior's gonna change. As long as you think, "I can't do this," you're not gonna be able to do it. But when you start thinking, "If God's asking me to do this, I can do it. I can do it".
I've got a sign on my wall in the gym that says, "We can do it". And while I'm on that treadmill every morning and I get to about mile four, I have to look at that. "We can do it". And it says "We" because I'm not trying to do it myself. I need God's help. So in everything, whether it's something practical or some deep spiritual thing, we need God's help. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5: "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal weapons of flesh and blood, but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and the destruction of strongholds". In other words, the mind is the battlefield where satan tries to defeat us. He tries to build strongholds in our mind that are built up over a period of time from a lot of wrong thinking. And we can tear down those strongholds. If we know the word, every thought that comes in that doesn't agree with the word, it's out.
Second thing, use restraint with your words. Hm, I didn't even get a smile out of anybody in here. You know what? Every day of my life, I can pretty much tell you probably every day of my life, I say something I probably shouldn't say. Or I'll say it with a voice tone that maybe I shouldn't say it with. So, when I tell you these things to do, I'm on this same journey. But the good news is, is I'm not where I used to be, thank God. I'm not where I need to be yet, but I'm not where I used to be. Every day that we work with the Holy Spirit toward being more obedient, every day we make progress and we need to celebrate that progress. Oh my gosh, I'm so much better than I used to be. You really would not wanted to have known me 50 years ago. I'm much nicer now.
James 1:26: "If anybody thinks that he's religious but does not bridle his tongue then he deludes his own self, and his religious service is worthless". I pray this pretty much every day, Psalm 39:1: "I will take heed and guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue: I will muzzle my mouth as with a bridle when the wicked are before me". God, put a watch over my mouth lest I sin against you with my tongue. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight. I love this. The tongue is a muscle. If we exercised our other muscles as much as we exercise our tongue, we would be amazingly strong.
And then the last thing I'll challenge you with today before we close. Three things, I said. Take responsibility for your thoughts. Use more restraint with your words. And lastly, if you are angry with anybody today, forgive them. Forgiveness is a choice, it's not a feeling. You choose to forgive, you choose to pray that they'll be blessed, and then, when you have occasion to be around that person, you choose, now, listen to me, to treat them the way God treats you. So let's just all use this teaching today to come up higher. If there's something that you know that God wants you to do and you haven't done it, pray for his help. Continue to pray for his help. Continue to study the word in that area because just studying the word in an area that you know you need to come up higher in gives you the strength to be able to be obedient to God.