Joyce Meyer - Doing Life With God
There is a way that you can make ordinary, everyday life extremely extraordinary, and that is when you learn how to do life with God. Now, that's the title of my message today, which is not hard, but what I'm gonna share with you today was probably one of the most profound things that ever happened to me in my spiritual walk. I just realize I didn't finish the story about Mike, so I'll go back and finish it. This morning, I realized I didn't finish a story I started last night. Mike became so serious as a Christian.
And one night, he was sound asleep, and Pennie: woke him up and said, "Mike"! "What, wha, wha"? "Mike, are you ever gonna make me laugh again"? And he said, "What? What? What are you talking about"? First he didn't get it. Then, about a week later, his mother called him and said, "Mike, are we ever gonna talk about sports again"? See, when he became a, "Serious Christian", he forgot about everything else in life except just doing something that he thought was spiritual.
And I remember going through the same thing where I actually felt guilty just doing anything ordinary. And even when I was doing ordinary things, I didn't enjoy them. I just wanted to rush through them and get them over with so I could do something that I thought was spiritual. You know why? Because I felt that I was more pleasing to God - come on now, you're gonna get this today. I felt that I was more pleasing to God if I was praying, or studying the Bible, or going to church than I could've been if I was watching tv or sweeping the floor. Do you know that lighting a candle in a church is no more sacred than lighting the candles on your 2-year-old's birthday cake? If you're doing it with and for God.
Now, I don't care what kind of a life you have, you're never gonna really enjoy your life because God won't let you if you try to do it apart from him. The way to bring enthusiasm into every ordinary day is to learn, learn Colossians 3, not just as a scripture, but something we put into practice in our life. "Do everything in the name of Jesus in dependence upon his person, giving praise and glory to him". Everything, everything that we do. I hope that I can convey to you in the little bit of time that I have this morning how life-changing this was for me when I stopped dividing the sacred from the secular, and I realized that everything became sacred if I did it with and for God.
Come on, you're gonna like this today. This is gonna help you. God didn't meet with Moses in a temple. He met with him at a bush. Come on, a bush! And when God showed up in the bush, the ground became holy. So, everything that we do, if we do it with and for God, it becomes holy. Whoo! Everything we do. You know, yes, I like looking good, but one of the reasons why I exercise and walk 5 miles a day, I'm doing it for God because he told me 12 years ago, "If you don't start taking better care of yourself, you are not gonna be strong for the last third of your journey".
And I wanna finish what God has called me to do, so I know that in order to do what I'm doing at my age, I have to do that. And so, it is something that I'm doing for God. Therefore, even though it's hard, I can actually tell ya I enjoy it, because I do a lot of my praying while I'm walking and I talk to God while I'm walking. We gotta understand that God's not stuck in a church somewhere. He's everywhere and God, now listen to this, God is never more than one thought away from you. Did you hear that? God is never more than one thought away from you. He's here all the time, but you can bring him right into your awareness just by thinking about him. We even overly spiritualize prayer. Prayer is just having a conversation with God.
We don't have to become like a different person now because we're praying, "O most holy Thou". Get outta here. God don't wanna hear that. Just act like who you are. "It's me again, Lord". And prayer doesn't have to be long, it doesn't have to be eloquent. When the Bible says, "Pray without ceasing", we can actually do that. We can pray our way through the day. "Thank you, Lord. I need you, Jesus. God, help me with this. You're awesome, Lord. You're wonderful". For so many years, even as a woman who loved God, he was just this little spiritual part of my life. He lived in a little Sunday morning box. And the rest of the week, I tried to do life on my own. And I only called on him when I had a crisis. I only called on him when I thought I was over my head.
Well, you see, I've learned that I'm always over my head. I mean, I am so far over my head, you have no idea how much trouble I would be in if God didn't help me, amen? People talk about, you know, "Go deep". Well, you know what I figured out? When you're over your head, it doesn't matter how deep you go because you're still dead if God don't help you. And so, I had God in this little Sunday morning box and I didn't know any better. Nobody was teaching me any better. And back in the '70s when God really touched my life, during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that was taking place at that time, and by the way, you don't have to wait for some special outpouring. You can have more of God anytime you want to.
Anybody can be as close to God as they want to. It all depends on how much time you're willing to put into it. Yes, I said anybody can be as close to God as they want to. It all depends on how much time you're willing to put into it. Anybody can make an adjustment here today and say, "From now on, God, you're gonna be first in my life. You're not gonna be second, you're not gonna be third, you're not gonna be after my job, after this, after that. You're gonna be first. And I don't care what else has to be cut out, you're gonna be first". God is before my ministry in my life. He's before everything else. And the more I learn that, the happier I get.
Relationship with God is not supposed to be a burden, it's supposed to be a lot of fun, joyful. And I'll tell you something that has happened to me over the 40 years that I've been serving God, and if you're not here, I pray that something I say today will help you get there. I am just really comfortable with God. I mean, I'm just comfortable with the Lord. I don't feel like I have to pretend. I don't feel like I have to put on airs. I don't feel like I have to try to impress him. God has taught me, "Joyce, I knew what I was getting when I got you. And there is nothing that you do that will shock me. Because I already knew every wrong thing you were gonna do before you ever did it, I know every word in your mouth that you have not yet spoken, and I know every thought that you have not yet let drift through your mind, and I love you anyway". Amen?
And I felt like God told me awhile back, I was trying to change something, he said, "You know, I like you just the way you are". You see, you don't know what to do with that. One man over here went... Yeah, he likes you just the way you are. I didn't say he likes all the stuff we do that's wrong, but he likes you. There is a difference. You gotta separate your "Who" from your "Do". I am a child of God. I don't always do everything right, but I've got some good news for you. I'm not where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. Whoo, and I'm gonna celebrate my progress, because it makes the devil mad when you celebrate.
I don't know if you know it or not, but God likes a party. I mean, you go read the Old Testament, they were commanded to have parties. It was not an option. And they had long parties, week-long parties, several day parties. I mean, they partied. And I love the story about what we call the prodigal son, but really that story is just as much, if not more so, about the elder brother. And the elder brother was a religious guy. He didn't know how to enjoy life. When the son came back, the father was so overwhelmed and so full of joy that the first thing he wanted to do was have a party. And I love this, don't miss what I'm gonna say. The elder brother refused to go in. He stayed outside and had a bad attitude.
But you know what I noticed? That didn't keep God from throwing the party. And here's the thing I want you to know. God's got a party going on, and even if you don't wanna come, there is a party going on, and I've decided to go to mine. I'm going to the party. I'm gonna enjoy my life. I'm gonna enjoy myself. I'm gonna enjoy my husband. I'm gonna enjoy my kids. "Jesus came that we might have and enjoy our lives, and have it in abundance, to the full, until it overflows". Come on, if you wanna make the devil mad, just get happy. Just get happy.
You say, "Well, how can I be happy with all these problems"? Well, you better learn some way to get happy with problems, 'cause you're likely to have some all your life. Seriously. Oh, we are so stinkin' religious. Can't listen to a song if it's not a Christian song. Now, I don't wanna get myself in trouble here today, but obviously, I am in no way, shape, or form suggesting that we even begin to think that we can participate in things that are not clean or proper, but everything that we do doesn't have to have a so-called, "Christian", label on it. Well, good, I got one person over here with a tiny clap. There's a party going on. God wants us to enjoy life, but you gotta stop dividing what you think is sacred from what you think is secular, and realize that all of life is to be done with and for God. And if you can't do it with and for God, then that's a clue, don't do it. Amen?
Listen, I have no trouble at all knowing when to turn a television show off. That doesn't mean that sometimes I don't hang onto 'em a little longer than I should because I wanna see the end. I know, we're just like you. But I'm just saying that we know. We know right from wrong. We do not have to be afraid of liberty. We do not have to have all these legalistic rules and regulations for following God. We are led by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I know when I need to shut my mouth because I'm gossiping and God doesn't like it. I know when I'm saying something about somebody that I shouldn't say. We know when we're doing something that's wrong.
Let me just give you a few things I got on my list here. Common things are sanctified when they're done with and for God. What does it mean when something is sanctified? Now, I don't have it here, but I got this really pretty crystal glass that we carry on the road with us for our conferences, and you know, kinda, so to speak, that glass is sanctified because that's my glass, it's for my water, and that's what we use it for. Now, we're sanctified by the Holy Ghost. We are set apart and made holy for God's use. And God uses ordinary things, common, ordinary things, just like he met with Moses at that bush, but the ground the bush was on became holy because God showed up.
You're gonna have to think about this for awhile after you go home. Common things that can become sanctified when they're done with and for God: grocery shopping, household chores, cleaning house, exercising, driving in traffic, going to the same job... One more day. Stay in one more hotel, studying for one more message so I can preach to one more group of people. Come on, it doesn't matter what it is. If you're gonna be faithful to anything, there's gonna be times in your life when you are just gonna want to rip your hair out and scream, "I cannot do this one more time". And that's when you do a little turn around and you say, "God, but I will do it with and for you".
Now, let's talk for a minute about motive. Boy, our motives make such a big difference. Such a big difference. You know, I even look at getting, when I get dressed in the morning, I look at it like I don't wanna look good just for the sake of looking good. I represent God, so I want things to look nice. I want my clothes to not look like they sat in the dryer all night and I just pulled 'em out and put 'em on because we represent God everywhere that we go. I mean, I see some people and I think, "Do you not have one mirror in your house? What is your problem"? Well, we should do our best for God, because we are his representatives in the earth. So, even in things like that, if we do it with and for God, it takes on a whole different thing.
I remember when I learned to go to the grocery store with God. Talk to God in the grocery store. Some of the most exciting times in my life was when I was young and just newly baptized in the Holy Spirit. And some of this stuff may sound silly to you, but I don't care as long as you get it. I remember, right after I'd been filled with the Holy Spirit and I was bowling one night, and I wasn't bowling good, and God said, "Ask me to help you". I thought, "I'm not gonna pray about my bowling". Cause see, I didn't think God cared about that. Are you here? I didn't think God cared about anything ordinary. It had to be something, "Spiritual". And so, sure enough, I prayed and asked God to help me, and I started bowling better.
I remember another time when I was fixing my hair and I had one little piece of hair that I could not get to go in place, and I was so mad I was ready to just beat myself in the head with the hairbrush. That's the way I used to handle stuff. And the Lord just impressed on my heart, "Ask me to help you with your hair". "Well, I'm not gonna pray about my hair". See, God... Listen to me, please. Don't make me come down there and get you. Everybody listen. God cares about everything you do. And get this, he wants to be involved. He wants to go to the grocery store with you. He wants to clean house with you. He wants to help change the oil in your car. He wants to walk with you when you cut your grass. He wants to drive with you in traffic. He wants to do blue sky with you and green grass. Are you there?
I love the Amplified Bible where it says that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be in close fellowship with us. The Amplified uses that term several times, "Close fellowship with us". Jesus didn't die so we can all have a religion. He died so we could have a personal relationship with him, through him, with God, a personal relationship with God through him. And he sent the Holy Spirit. How much closer can you get than in you? God is as close to us as our breath. And we don't have to do anything without him. All the chores of daily life can be sanctified and made sacred when we do life with God. I love that phrase. God gave me that, "Doing life with God". Say, "What are you doing joyce"? "I'm doing life with God".
Monday's, not much different than Tuesday, Tuesday's not much different than Wednesday. All days are sacred to me. I mean, God had to go at me a number of times before I finally swallowed this. 'cause we just have such a wrong mindset about what God expects out of us. And you know what religion is? Religion is what we think God expects out of us instead of us looking at what he's done for us. Religion is me trying to get to God where it's really all about relationship. Okay. A Christian bookstore is no more sacred than a financial planning business. A call to the mission field is no more sacred than a call to be a stay at home mom.
Come on, mamas, I'm gonna try to help you today. Your call to raise your kids is just as holy as my call to preach the Gospel. And if you want to know the truth, the thoughts of staying home with five kids all day scares the living daylights out of me. I'd much rather be up here. I look back and I wonder with my half brain that I had back then, "How did I ever raise four kids"? And we lived in three rooms, a little three-room apartment, and had one car, no money. It's a wonder that I wasn't committed somewhere. God gives all of us the grace to do what we're supposed to do at the time we're supposed to do it.
Now listen, don't ever, ever say, "I'm just an anything". If you're a janitor, you're just as holy as the pastor. Dodi said to me, "Do you ever get nervous up there"? I said, "Nah". I'm not nervous, you know why? 'cause this is where I'm supposed to be. Now, I'll tell you what, though, I've got 11 grandkids. And if my kids all brought them over one day and said, "Can you watch all the kids while we go somewhere"? I'd be nervous. Oh yeah, when I was looking for what my place was in ministry, I tried working in the nursery. 'cause I was willing to do anything for God, and that lasted about 2 weeks. And the kids knew I wasn't called, and I did too.
I tried a lot of different stuff that didn't work, but man, when I started talking, whoo, I found my slot. Just let me talk and I'm good. Don't ever belittle little things. "I'm just this or I'm just that". Nobody's just anything, you're in Christ. We have worth and value not because of what we do, but because Jesus died for us. Amen? And we who think we're doing important things need to make sure that we don't look down on. Because we're no better than anybody else. Anything that we are, we are that in Christ or we're nothing at all. You know, the Word of God amazes me, it's like you can read something, and read it and read it and read it, I've been studying the word for 40 years, and I read this scripture again last week, and I just saw something out of it that I really hadn't gotten before. "And whatever you do no matter what it is in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in dependence upon his person, giving praise to God the Father through him".
Okay, so I am on a journey to form a new habit. If you want to join me, you can. Forming habits take time. Every day you don't succeed, but if you just keep at it, keep at it, you will form a new habit. So, I'm taking this literally, and I've started everything I do, "Okay, Lord, I'm going to get dressed now. I do this in your name, and I'm depending on you. Okay, Lord, I got to go preach three services at Lakewood this weekend. Now, I go in your name, and I go depending on you, and I give praise to God".
Now, listen to me for just a minute. It is so good to actually take a moment to verbalize things like that. When we take a moment to verbalize something, it's even better than just thinking it, I think. Because you hear it and it helps you get it. "I'm doing this in the name of Jesus. I'm going to eat this meal in Jesus' name, and I'm depending on you, God, to help me not eat more than I need to eat". Or, "I'm depending on you to help me make right choices. I'm depending on you". Come on, is somebody there? "God, I'm gonna get on this treadmill and I've got 5 miles, Lord. I do it in your name and depending on you".
Start bringing God into everything that you do, and don't just think he's only interested in Sunday morning and Bible study. I'll tell you what God is interested in, you. That's what he's interested in. Do everything. Our motive is not what we do, it's why we do what we do. And that's what's important to God. And I enjoy ministry so much more now, I'm so comfortable and I love God, and I like myself, and you know, I don't care what you think about that, but I just like myself. I spent enough years hating myself, I'm done with all that, amen? I mean, I'm the only me I've got, so I've tried to be a lot of other people, and I finally figured out they're all taken.
God's not gonna let me be somebody else. I gotta be me. I tried to be my neighbor, my pastor's wife, and all kinds of stuff, and I finally just figured out I'm stuck with me, so let's enjoy it. 'Cause everywhere I go, I'm there. You ever notice you never get away from, you can't even go to the bathroom without you. You are everywhere, so you need to like yourself. So, I've decided to like myself. All this stuff really makes the devil mad 'cause he wants us to be miserable. And I'm trying to tell you some things that will help you not to be miserable. I'm trying to tell you some things that can actually help you enjoy God, and enjoy yourself, and enjoy blue sky and green grass. But see, my motive is if I clean my home because I love God and I want to take care of what he's given me, now my motive becomes different. And when my motive is right, then God can dump joy all over me.
Anyway, when I first started in ministry, I'm just going to have to be honest and tell ya, I was called, but my motives weren't right. I wanted to have a big ministry because I wanted to feel important, because I had never really felt important because my parents never made me feel important. And if you want to know the truth, I think everybody kind of starts with a mixture of some of that. And God knows that. He deals with us about all that stuff at the right time. But you know one of the benefits of getting older? I'll tell you what's so good, it's like, "I don't care what you think".
I mean, see, I think I can have fun with you, I can have fun with this because I'm not trying to impress you. I'm just trying to finish my race and do what I believe God's called me to do. And I've decided I'm gonna have fun with it whether anybody likes it or not, amen? We're never free until we stop trying to impress somebody. Why are we so caught up in what people think? They're going to think something anyway. Doesn't matter what you do, they're gonna think something. Let them think about you, then they won't be thinking about somebody else. Oh my gosh. Start asking yourself, "Why am I doing this"? Not just, "What am I doing"? But, "Why am I doing it"?
And if you're really not doing it because you believe it's what God wants you to do or you're doing it for his glory, then maybe you need to make a change. Maybe it's something you need to not do. But anything that we do with and for God, it becomes a holy and a sacred thing. It's amazing how this little principle changes our life.
One of the things that you can do to bring God into your life all throughout the day is just be a little more thankful. Just a little more, and here's the thing. Thank God not just for big things, but a lot of little things. You know what? Whatever I had, flu, virus, I don't know what it was, I think it was a little bit of all of it, I usually, first of all, if I get something like that, I don't stay sick that long. And I normally don't feel as bad as I felt, and I felt really bad. And in the midst of that, I got to go to Indonesia and be on an airplane 39 hours, praise the Lord. I have felt good for the last 3 days, and I am so thankful. Oh my gosh, "Thank you, God, that I feel good. Oh, thank you, God, that I feel good".
Now see, some of you feel good every day, and you never even think about thanking God for it because sometimes we just need to not have something for a while to realize what a gift we have in having it. Amen? One of the scriptures that God gave me at the beginning of this year, he reminded me of Nehemiah 8:10, where they had built the wall, and everything was great now, and so they were gonna celebrate. And God said, "Eat and drink and enjoy. Send", that's the first thing, enjoy, "Send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. Enjoy your life, help the needy and the poor. And do not weep or mourn, for this day is holy unto the Lord. The joy of the Lord is your strength".
Now listen, every day that God gives us is a holy day unto him. And one of the best ways that we can celebrate and be thankful for what God's given us is to just enjoy every little thing that we do. And we can do it if we do it with and for God and for his glory, amen? Whoo! Amen! Come on, the party's on. God loves a party!