Joyce Meyer - Never Give Up
Well, thank you for joining us today. I believe that God has got a real word in due season for you. Today, I want to talk to you about something that I think is actually one of the most important things that we need to do in our life and in our walk with God. And that is just being a determined person who makes your mind up from the beginning that whatever your goal is, you are never going to give up until you reach that goal. Never going to give up. Everybody in here say nice and loud, "I'm never going to give up".
And there's going to be lots of times when you're going to want to give up. There's going to be a lot of times when it looks to you like that there's no way that what you're wanting to take place in your life is ever going to happen. There's going to be times when the enemy's going to come against your mind. You may have times when people will even try to tell you that it's never going to happen. You're never going to change, you can never get over your past, all the different things that people come up with. But the devil is a liar.
And you know, there's so many people in the world that have been hurt. I mean, it's amazing how many people have been abused, how many people have been rejected, how many people have had things happen to them in their life that has left them dysfunctional. And all that really means is that they come out of that pain functioning in a way that's not healthy or a way that's not God's best for them. You know, just because we learn how to function in life or in relationships, that doesn't mean that we're functioning the right way.
For example, I was abused growing up by a father who was very controlling and manipulative. And so, one of the things that I came out of that with was a fear of ever letting anybody else be in control but me. Well, I managed to find a way to function like that, but it wasn't very good for relationships. And there's not too many people that are going to long term put up with somebody who has to have their way all the time in order to be happy. But I wasn't doing it even because I wanted to control, I was doing it out of fear, but I didn't know that.
So, a lot of times, our behaviors have roots to them that only God can show us. And the only way that we can ever get from where we are to where we want to be is to realize it's going to be a journey and that we are going to have to give up, I mean, never give up, that's not good. We're not going to give up, we're going to never give up. And I always try to tell people that there's a beginning, and we're headed to the end, but there's always a middle. And it's the middle part that gets a little bit challenging sometimes.
Now, it intrigues me or it interests me that out of all the people in the world that have been hurt, some very, very badly, some get well, they get beyond the things in their past, and they go on and they do really great things with their life. They have happy lives. And then there's others who just are always forever their whole life in recovery. They never seem to make it. I had a brother like that. And actually, I was, if you want to compare being mistreated, I was mistreated a lot worse than he was. But I was able, through the grace of God, to get hold of that amazing whatever it is in us that helps us press through things, and go ahead and overcome those things. He was not. And his life ended when he was very young, and it was very sad even during the times that he was here.
And so, in asking God to show me what is that thing in people, I really believe that it's this determination factor that you are just not going to give up. And I don't think that God plays favorites. I don't think it's ever a situation, well, here's ten people that have been wounded, I'm going to heal five of them and five of them are going to just have to be in a mess their whole life. There's a part of it that only God can do, but there's a part of it that only we can do. And a large part of getting well from any kind of tragedy in your life, whatever it might be, it might be something that was done to you, it might be something you did that you're having a hard time getting over, but whatever it is, the Bible says, "If you continue in God's word, you'll know the truth. The truth will set you free".
And I can tell you that facing truth is a pretty gut-wrenching thing, especially if the truth that you need to hear is something that's going to cause you to have to take the responsibility for the way things are in your life now. You know, it's easy to blame all of our bad behavior on something that happened to us back there, but the thing that God put on my heart and the thing that I like to share with people is what happened to me was a reason why I was the way I was, but I could not let it become an excuse to stay that way. And that's what so often people do. It's always because, because, because. But Jesus said that, "If any man is in him, he is a new creature. Old things pass away".
Let's think about that, old things pass away. So, if you're watching today from home, or on your iPad, or computer, or wherever you might be, and you're just thinking, "Well, you know, there's no hope for me", that's just absolutely not true because if you receive Christ as your Savior, you get a brand new beginning. And not only that, his mercy is new every day. And I want you to keep this in mind, God will never give up on you if you will never give up on him. Now, I've written over 100 books, and I don't write them just because I'm looking for something to do. I write them because I believe that books are so valuable. Many of the books that have helped me the most were written by people that have been dead 100 years. And so, I'm hoping that all of this word that I'm leaving in these books is going to be helping people a long time after I'm gone.
And so, today, I'm going to be doing some teaching out of this book, "Never Give Up". And it's a book that I wrote, you know, a good number of years ago, but the word never gets old. And so, one of the chapters in here says, "Never say no way". Now, that's one of the things that the enemy puts in our head all the time, "Well, there's just no way". That there's just no way. No way you're going to get over this. No way you're going to change. Or we look at the other people in our life that are maybe giving us trouble and we think, "Well, there's no way you're ever going to change". And it's very easy to give up if you think there's no way ever to get out of your situation.
So, please remember, if you're taking any kind of notes you can write this down, if you're going through something really challenging right now, remember this too will pass. One of the things the enemy wants us to think is the way we are right now is the way we're going to be forever. This is never going to go away. This is never going to change. You know, we've got a lot of the girls here today in the studio from the mercy ministries home that we support, which is a home that does a lot of wonderful good helping girls that have been abused and hurt in the past recover. And you know, I'm sure that sometimes you may think, "I'm never going to get out of here", you know? "This is just going to be my existence forever".
But you know what? You'll graduate, you'll get out, you'll get a job. You're still going to have a lot of decisions to make, but everything in life is always changing. The only thing that never changes is God, and that's good. We're always going to be growing spiritually. We're never really at a dead end as long as we have a relationship with God. There's always a new place to reach for and a new place to go. God does not ever run out of new ideas and good ideas. And we just need to believe there's always a way. John 14:6 says, "Jesus said, 'i am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except by and through me'".
So, Jesus not only provides a way, he is the way. So, don't believe those lies anymore, "There's no way, there's just no way". Or the lie that says, "This is never going to change. This is never going to change". How many of you hear those two lies pretty often? You know, "This is never going to change. There's no way". You know, well, the enemy is just trying to get you to give up. There's always a price to pay for success in any area of your life. And the price that we pay really is that sticking with something when it's hard and sticking with something when it looks like it's just not doing any good at all. You know, when you think about the changing of a human being, I look back and I think about my own life, and oh my gosh, if you knew all the problems I had in my personality and in my temperament by the time I started even trying to walk with God, I mean, any kind of dysfunction anybody could have, I had it. I mean, really I just, my mind was messed up, my emotions were messed up.
Now, looking at me, I can hold down a good job, I had a family. You wouldn't have thought by looking at me that I had that many problems. But boy, if you got to know me, it wasn't very long and you started thinking, "What is your problem"? I remember after Dave and I had been married about 3 weeks, you know, we only had 5 dates and got married and I always say it's a good thing he married me quick before he found out too much. And so, after about 3 weeks, he looked at me one day, I remember still where we were standing in the little apartment we had, and he said, "What is wrong with you"?
Well, see, I thought there was something wrong with everybody else in the world, not me. I didn't realize that I had a problem. And so part of that price that you pay is realizing that everything takes longer than you think it's going to. Everything takes longer than you think it's going to. I mean after I'd been what I thought was seriously trying to change for 5 years, I mean, I remember thinking, "I haven't changed at all". Well, I had, but there were so many other things yet that needed to be done that I felt like I had not changed at all.
So, one of the things that I encourage anybody to do that's on any kind of a journey, you're trying to reach any kind of a goal, is don't just look at how far you have to go. Celebrate every little, tiny success that you have. I don't think we do enough celebrating in our life. It's most people focus on what they're not instead of what they are, and most people focus on what they don't have instead of what they do have. And my goodness, every one of you, I can guarantee you that if you've been walking with God one year, just one year, or we'll just say 6 months, if you really are serious about letting God do a work in your life, you have changed. You may not have changed to the degree that you want to, but you definitely have changed.
So, if we look at the things that have happened, it gives us hope for the things that can happen in the future. "Which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see whether he has sufficient means to finish it? Otherwise, when he's laid the foundation and is unable to complete the building, all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, saying, 'this man began to build and was not able (or worth enough) to finish'".
So, one of the things that I like to try to teach people is from the very beginning when you start something, and this is not intended to be negative at all, you need to think, "Okay, this is going to take longer than I think it will. It's going to be harder than I think it will. And what I have to pay or give up to get to that goal may be more than I think it's going to be".
You see, when we have this perfectionistic thinking, it's unrealistic. I mean, how many of you ever really have even one whole day in your life that goes exactly the way that you wanted it to go when you got out of bed? Most of us have already had a few disappointments this morning, whatever it is. You know, maybe you wanted to take a walk, and you got up and it was raining. Or you know, it can be a lot of different things. And so, we need to be realistic about life, and realize that the devil's alive and well on planet earth. And any time you try to make any kind of progress, don't ever forget this, any time you try to make any kind of progress, the enemy is going to come against you and try to stop it. Paul said, "A wide door of opportunity opened unto me, and with it there were many, many, many adversaries".
Now, another chapter in this book is about not giving up on yourself. And boy, that's usually a big one. You know, how you feel about yourself, the kind of relationship you have with yourself, affects every other relationship in your life. And I know a lot of you, especially if you've come from a background of rejection or a lot of abuse, you know, in the early stages of our life, the way we feel about ourselves, our worth and value, is very much connected to how our parents treat us or how the people in our life at that time treat us. So, if they don't treat us good, it's very easy to get started off in life with this thinking, "Something's wrong with me". But you have to keep in mind that when you go into recovery and you come into a relationship with Christ, that's all a thing of the past.
So, you have to learn how to think about yourself the way that God thinks about you and see yourself the way that God sees you. And I know that's hard because we have bad mental habits and things that we need to break. But I had such a difficult time trying to love people, and I was in church and I was hearing messages about love and loving people. And I wanted to love people, and I just did not understand what was wrong with me. And it was a great day for me when God finally spoke to my heart, or I'm sure he tried to speak to me before, but I just heard him. And he said, "You can never love anybody else until you love yourself".
You see, I didn't love myself. And so, whether you're at home watching or you're here in this little studio watching, you need to think about what kind of relationship you have with yourself. If you're mad at yourself, chances are you're going to end up being mad at somebody else in your life today. What's in us ends up coming out of us. You know, I looked fine on the outside, but inside I was a mess. And so, because I was a mess inside, it kept spilling over and coming out of my life. So, don't ever give up on yourself. Refuse to live in fear. The only way that you can ever overcome fear is to confront it.
Fear is a factor that's going to be around as long as we're around. I still have different fears come against me. There's not one person listening today or watching that doesn't have fear come against you in some way, shape, or form, whether it's major or whether it's minor. And we have to learn how to stand up against them because courage is forward motion in the presence of fear. It's not the absence of fear, but it's doing it afraid. God said, "Fear not, for I am with you". We need to have more of a conquering spirit, more of a, "I can do it. I can do all things through Christ who is my strength. There's nothing I can't do if God is on my side".
Now, you know, we all want to have a testimony. I've got a great testimony now. But you know, the word "Testimony" begins with test. And so, guess what? You never get a testimony without a test somewhere along the line. And the Bible teaches us a lot of things about that. James 1:2 and 3, "Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you're enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort, or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and the proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience".
Well, I always say before they brought out patience and endurance and steadfastness, my trials brought a lot of other things out of me that weren't all that pretty. And to be honest, a lot of times that's why things are permitted in our lives, or we don't get rid of things as fast as we'd like to because anybody can behave well when everything's going their way, anybody. I mean, a person in the world can do that. You don't have to have a relationship with God to do that. But God wants us to get to the point where we believe his word so much that even when we have painful circumstances or disappointing things happen, we're still going to go back to the word and say, "Well, this is how I feel, but I'm not going to live by how I feel. This is what I believe".
And eventually, I love one scripture in Isaiah 41, it says, "God will harden you to difficulties". And I love that. You know, many of the things that maybe upset you right now, like some of you girls from the mercy home that are still real young, some of the things that upset you now and just maybe totally throw you off kilter, those same things used to do the same thing to me. But now they don't anymore, and you will get to the point where things that really just get you totally unnerved now won't even bother you at all, you won't even hardly notice them. And the only way we can get to that is by things happening, going through them, learning how to pass the test, and then ultimately you can sit and share with somebody this great testimony that you have. But you'll never have that testimony if you don't go through some tests.
1 Peter 4:12, "Beloved, don't be amazed and beWildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange unusual and alien to you and your position were befalling you". Well, what are some of the tests that we might have to pass? Let's just put a little practicality into this today. How about the forgiveness test? Do you ever need to forgive anybody? Maybe there's somebody from your past you need to forgive. Maybe there's somebody from this morning that you need to forgive. You know, that's a test. And we don't do it because we feel like it, we do it in obedience to God. We do it because he forgives us over and over and over and over.
How many times in our relationships with people do we think, "Well, it's fine to forgive, but surely you don't expect me to just keep forgiving you for the same thing over and over and over"? But then we need to go back and remember that God forgives us for the same thing over and over and over and over. I want you to remember this, Jesus will never ask you to do anything that he wasn't willing to do himself when he was here. He'll never ask you to go through anything that he has not first gone through and had victory over. What about the, I call it the Judas kiss test, where somebody that you trust, somebody that you think is for you, ends up being the very one that comes against you and deceives you.
I don't think there's anything worse than being betrayed by someone that you really love and you really believe loves you. And of course, we know Judas was that person for Jesus. He was one of his 12, and he betrayed him, and it happens in our lives too. See, the thing is, is if somebody betrays you and they don't mean anything to you, then it's not going to hurt. But the closer you are to somebody, that's why many times the people that end up hurting us are the people in our own families, or sometimes our close friends. And I know it doesn't seem like it, but believe me, eventually it will work out for your good. How about the loving the unlovely test? It's easy to love people that are nice, isn't it? But what about all the people that aren't? Or how about this, how about the test of time? Wow, that's probably one of the hardest tests that we'll ever have to pass, isn't it?
So, I want to encourage you today, be determined. Find something way down deep in yourself that I believe is in every person, and it's willpower, God gives us free will, and we have the ability to do what God wants us to do. He never leaves us to do it on our own. He's always there to help us. But I can tell you right now if you're looking for something easy, then victorious Christianity is probably not for you. You know, a lot of people who don't want to believe in God say, "Oh, you Christians, you just need a crutch".
Well, let me tell you something, going to church is easy, but walking in victory, forgiving people that have hurt you, letting go of the past, letting God change you, these things are not for the weak and the wimpy. These are only for people that are going to say, "I don't care what it looks like, I don't care what I feel like, I don't care how long it takes, I am never going to give up". There's a little thing that I like to say, just keep on keeping on. When you feel like you can't take one more step, just go ahead and take one more step, and then one more step after that. And I can promise you that, no matter what kind of a problem you have, if you will make that decision I am never going to give up.
1 Peter 5 teaches us that the devil roams about like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking someone to seize upon and devour. But you know what? It doesn't have to be you, and it doesn't have to be me. And then it says, "Withstand him". See, there's certain things that nobody can do for us but us. You realize that? I mean, there's things that we ask God to do for us that he's not going to do for us. He will give us the ability to do it, and he'll be there with us when we do it, but if God did everything for us, we would never mature and grow up. One of the worst things that a parent can do for a child is to make life so easy for them that they never have to resist or stand against anything.
And to be honest, sometimes that's why people later on in their adult life, I think that's one of the... Was the issues with my brother. My mother just pampered him and pampered him, and got him out of everything, and gave him everything he wanted. And I think ultimately, it ended up not to be good for him. And so, don't be surprised if you have to do some things, you're the only one that can do those. "Withstand him: be firm in faith against his onset-rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined". So, make a decision today that you are absolutely never, ever, ever going to give up.
Now, today we're offering the paperback version of this book, "Never Give Up". How can anybody not want a book like that? I mean, you get a good picture there of me, that'll help you I'm sure. I'm just kidding. "Relentless determination to overcome life's challenges". Anybody could use this book I'm sure. And so, we're going to offer this to you today for your gift to the ministry of any amount. Now, not only do you have a great book, but you've got a great offer. I mean, what could be any better than saying you just do your best, send an offering that you feel like that you can do, ask for this book, and we'll send it back to you. Now remember, we never fail unless we give up, so do not give up, thank you.