Joyce Meyer - Staying One Step Ahead Of The Devil
Well, I thought this weekend after prayer and pondering that I wanted to teach you some things about how to handle temptation, what to do when you're tempted, how to stay one step ahead of the devil. Does that sound good to anybody? Instead of always letting him chase you, stay one step ahead of him. Does anybody here ever get tempted? And you know when we talk about temptation, we're talking about everything from the temptation to worry, the temptation to be jealous, the temptation to be greedy, the temptation to be selfish and self-centered all the way to the temptation to lie, to steal, to commit adultery, to do all kinds of different things. And so I don't think that there's any of us that don't experience temptation, and I don't think there's very many of us that probably don't experience it in some way, shape, or form basically every single solitary day.
I want you to know straight out that temptation is not sin. I think a lot of people think, "Well, I shouldn't feel this way or I shouldn't think this or you know how could I want that? Or, you know, I shouldn't get mad or I shouldn't feel that way". And I know myself for a lot of years every time I felt tempted to do something wrong, especially if it was very strong and especially if it didn't go away right away, then I would think, "Oh, there's something wrong with me. You know am I even saved? How could I think this? How could I feel this and be a Christian"?
Is anybody with me on that? You're just like, "You know I shouldn't feel this way". We think we should just feel loving all the time and wonderful and never have a thought about ourselves and never be greedy, and you know it's just actually not reality because although we have born-again spirits as believers in Christ, there's a lot of good stuff in us, we still do have a flesh that we have to contend with and there is a war, you might say, that goes on in our soul. Now if you feed yourself enough of the word, you're gonna win most of those wars because if your spirit is stronger than your flesh, then you're gonna come out the winner on top.
And one of the biggest problems that I think that we have, and you're gonna hear me say some things about this this weekend is that... I want to say this right. I think that we've heard, "Read the word, read the word, read the word, read the word," but actually the Bible says we are to study the word. And there's a big difference in reading and studying. Now actually if you study the word "Read" even in the Greek it means to know more fully, to perceive, to grasp and to understand. So it's a little bit different than what we think about just, you know, reading a chapter every day and getting a checkmark on our little God calendar and going on about our business because we've put in our Bible time. We always feel a little bit guilty if we don't put in our Bible time.
But you know the truth is we don't study this for God. He already knows it. He wrote it. So we need to study it for ourselves. Amen? And it's great to read. It's great to listen to other people. I'm glad you're here tonight listening to me. I mean today we can get so much word at just the punch of a button, it's amazing. I mean you can download everything. You got the Bible on your phone. You can pop up a scripture on your way to work. You can read a quick devotional. You can listen to, you know, half a teaching tape by somebody on your way to work. You can get a little word on your computer. But you know what? I think sometimes we need to trade in some of our downloading for a little more digging. Amen? Sometimes it just gets a little bit too easy, and it's so easy for us that we're not even putting really much effort into it. And I believe that we have to be willing to not only put some time, but a little bit of Holy Ghost effort into studying the word.
You know, I don't know how many scriptures I have for tonight. I won't get to all of them. I probably got 30 or something like that. And I, you know, I've been doing this a long time. I could probably quote most of them. But I set in my hotel room today and I looked up every single one of those scriptures, and I read them because the more that I see that word, it's alive and it literally comes into me and it strengthens me and it feeds me. And I'm kind of on a little Holy Ghost rampage right now trying to get people to realize that we need to get back to what we've lost some of in the last few years, which is really personally loving and studying the word of God and not just waiting for somebody to spoonfeed it to us all the time. Amen?
So if we're going to handle temptation properly, then we need to make a decision that we're going to be students of the word. You say, "Well, I go to church every Sunday". Can I tell ya something? Look at me when I tell you this, that's not enough. It's just not enough. "Well, I watch your program every morning, Joyce". I'm glad you do. I hope you continue, but that's not enough either. You know why? 'Cause your pastor's not God and I'm not God, and you gotta take time and you gotta go to him to get what you really need.
So anyway, we'll probably say some more things about that over the weekend. But do you know that the Bible says that temptation must come? There's no way to live life and not be tempted. If we never had any temptations, we wouldn't need any faith. We wouldn't need the fruit of self-control that God's given us. If there was no temptation, there would be no pressing against anything in life. Temptation tests us. Temptation shows what quality of believer that we are.
Let's look at a couple scriptures. Let's look at Luke 17:1 because I want you to see them. "And said to his disciples, temptations (snares, traps set to entice to sin) are sure to come, they're sure to come, but woe to him by or through whom they come"! Matthew chapter 18, verse 7, "Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influences to do wrong! It is necessary that temptation come, but woe to the person on whose account or by whom the temptation comes"!
So he's basically saying, don't even expect temptation not to come. And instead of trying to get to the point where you're never tempted, just make sure you're not a temptation to anybody else and learn how to stay one step ahead of the devil so when you are tempted, you're full enough of God and the wisdom of God to know how to resist those things right away so you don't fall into the temptation. You know, the model prayer that Jesus taught us to pray when his disciples said, "Teach us to pray," we have what we call the Lord's Prayer, but it's really like a model prayer. And he said, "Lead us not into temptation". He didn't say, "Pray that you won't be tempted". Jesus did not say, "Pray that you won't be tempted". He said, "Pray that you come not into the temptation".
So temptation is gonna come. It's in the world. Our own flesh will tempt us. The devil tempts us. The devil will use people to tempt us. I doubt that any one of us goes through one whole week without being tempted to be offended or to be angry at somebody. How many of you beautiful, wonderful, amazing believers were tempted even today to get angry? Oh, my goodness, you have got to be kidding. I got a better response on that than I thought. That was almost about 80% of everybody in here.
Well, you know what? I had that same temptation this week. And you know when you get tempted a lot of times it's after a great victory. You know that? Sometimes you have a great victory and then all of a sudden comes this thing and you're like, "My gosh, can I just have one good week? Wouldn't everybody just leave me alone and let me have one good week"? You know what? The only way we can have really good weeks consistently is to live in Christ and to learn that temptation is part of life. You don't have to feel condemned when you feel temptation. But you do, in the power of the Holy Ghost, need to resist it. We must learn how to resist it and the sooner we resist it, the better off we're going to be. You know, Jesus was tempted. Jesus himself was tempted.
Let's look at Hebrews 4:15. And I was just thinking about our TV audience that's with us right now. And, you know, although I'm here doing a conference in Houston, we're very happy that you've joined us by television all around the world. And I'm sure that many of you experience temptation in many different ways and maybe you have thought, "Well, you know, if I just wasn't tempted, then I could live a better life. I could be a better person if I just wasn't tempted". But the good news is is greater is he that is in you than he that's in the world if you're a believer in Jesus Christ.
Now, if you haven't received Christ as your Savior, then you don't have Christ in you yet and you're gonna have weakness, but you can trade that weakness for strength by simply accepting Christ as the sacrifice for your sin and beginning a brand-new life with him. And we're happy at our ministry to lead you into that relationship with Christ. All you gotta do is call the number on your screen. Somebody's gonna talk to you, and your sins can be forgiven and you can begin a brand-new life with Christ. And you can learn how to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, not be under something all the time, but be on top of things and be a victor in life.
But it's wonderful for us to know that the Savior that we love so much and trust and believe in, that he understands what it's like to be tempted. I don't know about you, but I find, and maybe it's more of a woman thing than a man thing, but I just want somebody to understand me. I mean I've told my husband, "I don't care if you do or not, tell me you do". How many of you just love it when you go to somebody and tell them your woes and they say, "Man, I understand. Yeah, I get it. I understand". Don't you hate it, ladies, when you tell your husband something like that and you know, "Well, just get over it. Well, just don't worry about it. Just don't worry about how the kids grow up. They're gonna turn out fine. Just don't worry about it". It's like, "You do not understand me at all".
And so Dave and I have an agreement now. He just says, "I understand," and even though I know sometimes he's just telling me that 'cause I want to hear it, it still makes me feel better. But Jesus understands. Hebrews 4:15, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but we have one who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning". Hallelujah. He made it through and was able to resist every temptation, and I believe that we can do that more and more as we grow in him, get to the point where we can be very strong against every temptation that comes.
Jesus fully God and fully man in his humanity experienced every temptation that you experience. I want you to understand that tonight. He knows how you feel. He knows what it's like to be hurt, to have a hard time forgiving somebody. He knows what it's like to feel everything that you feel and yet in his divinity, he was able by drawing strength from the spirit, to resist every one of those and to go to the cross and pay the price for all the weaknesses that we can't resist and get into. And aren't we glad tonight for the cross of Jesus Christ and the blood that he shared and what he has done for us? I don't know about you but I'm glad.
And then verse 16 says, "Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we might receive mercy for our failures and find grace to help us in plenty of time to meet every need". And so it's wonderful when we feel weak or we feel tempted to go to God right away and to realize that he understands and he doesn't turn away from us. Let me tell ya, whoever you are in this place tonight or whoever you are watching by television, no matter what you have done, God is not turning his face away from you. God is looking toward you and he's reaching his hands out to you right now. And it's not too late for you to have a fresh start. It's not too late for you to begin again, and there is no pit so deep that he can't reach down in it and lift you out, amen? Amen.
And a lot of us are living proof that you can overcome absolutely anything through the power of God. Apart from him we can do nothing, but through Christ we really can do all things. Jesus understands. I feel very strongly that somebody needs to reach out and grab that tonight. He understands what you're going through. But don't believe the lie that you can never be free. Don't believe the lies of Satan. Believe what the word of God says because what you believe is what you're gonna have. I said what you believe is what you're going to have.
God's word says, "Be it unto you even as you believe". And then in Luke 4:13, you're probably not gonna care for this scripture much, but I'll take you to it anyway 'cause I think it's a good one. I'm a run you all over this Bible tonight. Luke 4:13, "And when the devil..." now you know Jesus was tempted. He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. Interesting, isn't it? Led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tested and tried for 40 days and 40 nights. After he went through every temptation from Satan and passed every test, verse 13 says, "And when the devil had ended every the complete cycle of temptation..."
I love that, the cycle of temptation. Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's not just one day? It's like Monday you get through it and here it comes back again on Tuesday. And then Wednesday something else happens and then Thursday something else happens and you just think, "Oh, my gosh, when is this gonna stop"? "When the devil had ended the complete cycle of temptation, he temporarily left him that is, stood off from him until another more opportune and favorable time". And I love verse 14, "Then Jesus went back full of and under the power of the Holy Spirit into Galilee, and the fame of him spread through the whole region round about".
So here's the good news, when you make it through all of your tests and all of your temptations and you're standing firm, then you are doubly filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and God can use you in even a greater way than what he's ever used you before. So let me tell you that whatever you're going through right now, it is a test and if you pass it, you will be stronger than you were before you entered it, and the anointing of God and his power will increase on your life and God will be able to use you for greater things than he ever has before. Come on. Amen. See, some of you are getting stronger right now and you didn't even know it. You've been hating what's really gonna turn out to be your best friend. Amen?
Don't be surprised when you have difficult times. The Bible says in James 1 to be holy joyful when you fall into all kinds of trials and temptations knowing that the trying of your faith brings out patience. Well, you know what? I found out they brought a lot of things out of me before we ever got around to patience. That was a big problem.
Do you what happens when you're tested and tried, when pressure is put on you or me? The real me shows up. Not the spiritual me that I take to church, not the victorious me that I present to all my friends. And it helps us. It actually helps us when we go through things like that because then we're able to see the weaknesses in us and we can go to God, knowing that he understands and that there's no condemnation, but we can face where we're at so Jesus can help us get to where we need to be. And we do it for him.
I don't even have to do this to get to heaven. We go to heaven because Jesus died for us if we believe in him. But I want to serve him here in the earth, and I want to be victorious and I want to have what Jesus died to give me. And I want to be what he wants me to be and do what he wants me to do. Amen. I'm excited about all the work that God is doing in people's lives around the world, and I think the hungrier you are for God, the happier you're gonna be. Amen?
You know, I recall one morning when I was getting ready to go do my little Thursday morning Bible study when I was still back doing those at the church that I worked at, and Dave and I'd had an argument, which wasn't all that uncommon in those days. And I mean I was really mad, I mean piping hot mad. Now in about an hour, I had to be at the church to preach. Now, you have never done anything fun until you try to preach mad. It just somehow or another, at least for me I find that whatever's in my soul as the God part of me is coming out of my spirit, sometimes some of the soulish stuff collects on it and it just doesn't come across right to people.
So I really have a reverential fear and awe of God concerning getting up here and not being right with God and right with people because I don't do anything fancy so what I do really desperately needs to be anointed. I really depend on God's anointing to keep your interest because like I said, you know, I don't sing. I don't play an instrument. You know, I do tell a funny story every once in a while, by I can never even know what that's gonna be until God gives it to me. So I'm just here with the word and my Bible, and I really, really, really need God. So I was really just like... I was having a rough time that morning because I felt so guilty because I had let myself get mad.
And God taught me something that morning that has been so valuable to me for many years, and I hope you get a hold of this tonight. He took me to Ephesians 4, which says, "When you're angry," it says, "Be angry and sin not". Let's look at Ephesians 4:26. How can you be angry and not sin? I thought being angry was sin. This is gonna set somebody free tonight. 'Cause see, the point is, listen to me, even if you have a bad temper and you get mad frequently, if you keep feeling guilty about it, you'll never get free because guilt is just like a treadmill. It just wears you out and never does anything for you.
So what you have to do is you have to go to God with it and say, "I know that you still love me. I know this doesn't mean that I'm not born again. My confidence is in you. I don't want to be like this, and I know that you can change me. I know that your word can change me". And then what I recommend to people is to take the word of God like medicine. Just take it like medicine. Now, you know, if you've got a headache, you don't put a band-aid on your head. How many of you if you have a headache, you don't put a band-aid on your head? You'll take some kind of aspirin or whatever it is you take. And if you cut your finger, you don't stick an aspirin on your finger. You put a band-aid on it.
So we're smart enough to know how to doctor our natural illnesses, but sometimes we don't know how to doctor our sick souls. And the word of God is medicine for your soul. But let me tell ya something, if you got a bad temper, listening to a teaching on success and prosperity is not gonna help you get over it. If you have a bad temper, you need to go to the concordance in your Bible and you need to look up everything that you can about anger, realizing in the meantime that God is not mad at you, that Jesus understands you, that you don't have to be under condemnation. But if we really love Jesus, then we cannot be satisfied to stay that way. There's something in us that says, "For Christ's sake, I must change because I want to glorify him in the earth today. I am not willing to stay like this". And I really want to see people get to the point where they're not struggling with these things because they think they have to because God's gonna be mad at them and not love them if they don't, but where they just want to do it for his sake because they love him with all of their heart.
So when temptation comes — now hopefully this is turning some lights on for somebody. Every time you're tempted, that doesn't mean that you're a terrible sinner. It means that you're a human being and that the devil is not happy about you. Amen? And sometimes the more that you do right, the more things you may go through because he's gonna see if you really mean business and if you're gonna hold firm.
Now, James 1:12, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the victor's crown of life. Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive the victor's crown of life which God has promised to those who love him".
Well, what is this victor's crown of life? We looked it up in the strong's dictionary of the original Greek words and the victor's crown of life was like a badge of royalty. It was a badge that sports-people would get or runners would get whenever they crossed the finish line or whenever they had a victory. And that badge of royalty gave them special access to special places. It would be like if you got a badge to come into the back room with us tonight. Well, you know, what Jesus is offering you is much better than that. Amen?
Do you know that when you are willing to endure, to endure... let me ask you a question, how many of you, especially maybe some of you young people, you are willing to endure not being invited to the party, losing some of your friends, staying home and being lonely for 2 or 3 months, rather than to go hang out with people that are gonna drag you down into a pit and tempt you? How many of you are willing to endure that loneliness? Come on now, just listen. See, the flesh doesn't like to go through anything. I don't know if you know it or not, but we're pretty addicted to comfort. Amen?
We ride escalators and elevators and we don't want to be hot and we don't want to be cold. And, you know, my goodness, we just created a mess for ourselves. We've had so much convenience. And but if you endure, say you endure that time of loneliness and you endure that being left out and not being invited, then when you make it through that time of testing and trial, then God is gonna give you the crown of life or this badge, this special badge of royalty, that gives you special access into places that only God can open up for you.
Let me tell ya something, God can open doors that no man can open and you better pray that he closes ones that no man can close. I have no interest anymore in trying to push doors open and shove doors open and trying to get in with this social group and trying to get in with that well-known minister. I don't want to be with anybody. I don't want to be anywhere. I don't want to be around anybody if God didn't put it in front of me and give it to me as his gift in my life.
So when you're going through difficulty, just remember you're gonna come out like Jesus did, out of the wilderness, having survived all those temptations with a brand-new endowment of power from the Holy Ghost, a brand-new anointing, and you're gonna come out with a badge of royalty that's gonna give you Holy Ghost access into places that nobody else could open up for you. Come on, give God another praise.
Now if I could just give you the very simple definition, to endure means to outlast the devil. Everybody say, "I'm stronger than the enemy. I know more than he does. I can outlast him. And I'll be better for it when I'm done". Now, temptation comes largely during times of trial and difficulty. Somebody hurts your feelings, you're tempted to get mad. Somebody does something really bad to you and you're tempted, just like I am, to be in unforgiveness, to be bitter and be resentful, to shut them out of your life, to tell everybody what they did to you, to speak unkindly about them, to never speak to them again, to want to get them back, to want revenge. Oh, man, it's pitiful how we are when our feelings get hurt. I said it's pitiful how we act when our feelings get hurt.
Of course we don't remember during those times how many times we've hurt somebody else's feelings. "Well, you could just forgive me and give me a little mercy, you know, I didn't mean it". But the Bible teaches us that we can overcome these temptations. Let's talk about some ways that we can overcome temptation. Let's look first at 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13. Now this scripture is so long in the amplified Bible, but I am gonna put it up here and we are gonna look at every word of it. You know, I've decided that I'm gonna start spending more time having people actually look at scriptures on these... you know, I mean you're blessed. You don't even have to find it. We're putting it up on the screen for you. Probably actually be better if we made you find it, but that would take too long. And because I really think that something wonderful happens in our heart when we see it. I think when you hear it and you see it, something gets in you that might not get in you otherwise.
So, just look at this with me. "No temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), no matter how it comes or where it leads has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man". So can you just say this, "I'm not going through anything that other people aren't going through". You didn't say that much like you meant it or cared. "I'm not going through anything that somebody else is not going through". Come on, make this easy for me tonight. Say, "I'm not going through anything that other people aren't going through".
Thank you. See, that wasn't hard. "that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear. But God is faithful to his word and to his compassionate nature, and he can be trusted not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure," I love this, "But with the temptation he will always also provide the way out". Can somebody say, "Hallelujah"? God will always provide the way out. "The means of escape to a landing place, that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently".
So let's look at five ways that God helps us get through or get out of these things that come against us. How many of you go through what I'm talking about? You have things come against you. How many of you don't want to keep failing, you want to pass the test and be victorious and, you know? I think a lot of times we worry too much about where our trials are coming from. "Well, is this God? And I don't understand if it's God, why is it so hard? And is it the devil? I rebuke you, devil. I'm not gonna put up with this".
And, you know, actually I don't have to get into this tonight, but if you do a deep more theological Bible study on this, you'll find out that some trials, God never temps man to sin. He cannot be tempted with evil and he tempts no man with evil. But when we're in times of testing and trial, if there are weaknesses in us that God wants to strengthen and change, then they will show up during those periods of time. And so for that reason they end up working out good for us in the end because they show us things that are hidden as long as everything is going good in our lives. But when there's a little pressure, then out pops these things that you didn't know was there and you're like, "Oh".
Good, I got a dozen or so people that are understanding me. Do I need to say that again? Do you ever do anything that just surprises the living daylights out of you? You're like, "Man, where did that come from"? I mean I still remember when my kids were little and I was first getting into all this. And man I tell you what, I was so spiritual during the day when nobody was home. Oh, my gosh, I'm telling you what, I got along with everybody. I loved everybody when nobody was there. Come on. I mean I had this wonderful idea, this theological, ideologic about I surrender all. I'd listen to my music and listen to my teaching cassette tapes back then and I would just be so spiritual.
And, you know, I could remember one of my kids, one of them's here tonight, Sandra. She used to just, she just dropped stuff all the time, right? You'd just dropped stuff all the time. And I remember her dropping a whole pot of vegetable soup in the kitchen floor one night and back then we had carpet in our kitchens. Can you imagine that? You talk about a mess trying to clean that up. And sometimes I remember one of my kids coming through the back door one night, and I was always at the kitchen here. "I surrender" and the garage was right here, and she came through the door and tripped on the step and threw all of her books across the room. And I... "Can't you ever come in this house without destroying everything while you're getting in"?
Now how do you go from... Because you see as long as there was no pressure... come on, I'm talking to ya. I said as long as there was no pressure. You never know what kind of fruit you got till it gets squeezed. Have some of you had your fruit squeezed this week? And so actually if you know how to handle it right, you can actually ask God to forgive you, apologize to somebody if you need to, which I'm sure we all need to do a lot of that. But then you can actually say, "You know what, God? I'm actually kind of glad that happened because boy, I saw something that you need to deal with. Now God, I can't change myself, but I'm willing to be changed if you'll work with me".
Come on, doesn't that sound good and refreshing? But what did I do for years and years? "I don't understand. I'm so terrible. I'm a terrible mother. I don't even know if I'm saved. How could I even consider teaching a Bible study? What makes me think I can be in ministry"? And the devil's just off somewhere going...'cause that's just what he wants. He must know who we are in Christ. We must know that we have a High Priest who understands. He understands. And you know what? When your child is a year old, you don't expect them to act like they're 20. And when they're 3, you don't expect them to act like they're 30. And God understands where we're at and how far we are along in him.
And I want to tell you the truth and I can tell you this, and I believe this with all my heart. It does not matter to God one iota that you have not arrived. The thing that he's concerned with, is are you pressing on? Did you hear me? Don't be upset that you're not grown. Be happy that you're growing. Hallelujah. And you know what? You're all wonderful. You wouldn't be here tonight if you didn't care about doing this right. I mean maybe a few of you here somebody drug you here and you really didn't want to come and you took one look at me tonight and thought, "I don't even like her. I don't know what I'm doing here". But nonetheless we pray that God will sneak up on you and help you anyway. But the biggest majority of you that are here, you're here because you want to get on with God's plan for your life. Amen?
And so why don't you just compliment yourself and say, "I'm on my way to great victories in my life"? All right, so there's no temptation that we cannot resist, none. First way, first thing to do is don't be condemned because you're tempted. We've talked enough about that. The second thing to do is the minute that you feel tempted or even more important, if you have an area in your life that you know is a fairly consistent temptation, then don't even wait until you're tempted to pray. Pray ahead of time on a regular basis that when you confront that thing, you will not come into temptation. Jesus said, "Pray that you don't come into temptation".
Don't sit down and eat a half of a chocolate cake and then try to rebuke the calories. Don't pray after you eat it that you don't gain weight. Instead, you every morning when you spend time with God, you pray that that day you won't overeat and you'll be able to resist whatever temptation comes to you because you recognize and know that that is a weakness in your personality. If you're tempted toward wanting to control every situation, if you're tempted towards selfishness, if you're tempted towards, you know, sexual areas of weakness in your life, don't wait until you're just in a full-blown case of temptation. Pray on a regular basis and even find a good friend that you can trust, share with them, "I need help in this area and I'm asking you to pray for me that God will help me get through this and I'll be able to do what he wants me to do".
Now, I wrote this in my journal this morning. I've kept journals for years and years and years and years and years and years, for probably about 35 years, and it's just something I do every morning. And this is what I wrote in my journal this morning. "I do believe that prayer is our only hope of having the help that we need in life. It is our secret weapon. It is a mystery filled with power". Who can understand the mystery of prayer that God would need us to pray before he could do something? But the Bible does say, "You have not because you ask not".
So here's the thing, if you don't ask for help, you're not gonna get it, unless somebody else is really good at praying and they're praying for you. Thank God for the people who pray for us when we don't know how to pray for ourselves. But, you know, when you grow up a little bit and you know how to pray, then we need to learn how to pray about everything, in every circumstance, and we need to do it right away. And, you know, if you look at prayer properly and you see how simple it is, you don't have to make some big, religious, hyper, super, huge, massive religious job out it. It's just really just having continual communion with God all day long and just letting him into every area of your life.
And whenever you feel the least bit weary or tempted or you think you're about to get mad... You know, I mean I had to pray several times this week. "God, help me not to stay mad. Help me not to stay mad". I didn't want to, but I was. But I refused to stay that way. So I started praying, "God, help me, help me, help me". Or in any area where I'm tempted, you just start praying, "God, help me, help me, help me. Help me forgive. Help me get over this. Help me not to have a bad attitude. Help me not to be jealous of that other person's blessings". Yeah, sometimes I feel jealous. Do you ever feel jealous? Oh no, you're too spiritual for that, I know. Do you ever feel jealous? Yeah, you know somebody else gets what you want and, you know, you're like, "Well, what about me"?
I hate to tell you this, but more than likely you won't get what you want until you can be happy for somebody else who's getting what you want while you don't have it yet. I think I'm a say that again just for the fun of it. I said, more than likely you won't get what you want until you can be happy for somebody else who gets it while you still don't have it. And maybe one more time. Verily, verily, verily I say unto you and again I say unto you. Like Paul, "Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice". More than likely, you won't get what you want until you can be happy for somebody else who gets what you want while you still don't have it.
That's a good word tonight, folks. You say, "Well, I can't help it that I don't feel happy for them". No, you can't help how you feel, but you can start praying right away, "God, I am not gonna be jealous. I do not want to be envious. God, help me be happy for them". And then you get your little buns over there and you say, "I congratulate you. I'm happy for your blessing. It's the most awesome thing". Even if you feel like it's ripping your guts out, you do what you know you should do. And here's what happens, when you do what you know you should do, your feelings will catch up with your decision. That's one to write down. If you do what you know you should do, then your feelings will catch up with your decision. Isn't that good news?
So pray. My goodness, you know, Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane going through some of the absolute worse trials and testings and he was tempted. He was tempted to run away from the will of God. That's a temptation. Is anybody ever tempted to just give up on what you know God wants you to do? You ever tempted to just quit on the whole thing and just say, "No, it's just too hard. I just can't do this". Of course we all are at different times. And he prayed and he prayed and he prayed. And he was under such pressure that the Bible says he sweated great drops of blood. And he went to the disciples and he found them sleeping and he said, "Can you not pray with me one hour"? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
So what was he saying? You got what you need inside. As a born-again believer, you got what it takes inside, but we all also have a weak flesh. And so that's what we need to pray for. We need to pray that God would help us get strong enough inside that no matter what comes against us, we can resist it. God never tells us to pray that we'll never have problems. He tells us to pray that when we have them, we will be steady in the storm. Amen? It doesn't really matter where they come from. If it's something that God has permitted, if it's something the devil's doing, if it's something I permitted in my own life through my own foolishness, I don't even need to try to figure that out. I can ask God, "Did I open a door somewhere"? And he'll show me if I did.
If not, my main goal is to be steady in the storm, steady in the storm because I don't want to take the same test over and over and over and over all my life. I want to pass these tests and get on to greater things in God. Amen? And I'm sure you do too. I want that victor's crown of life. I want that badge of royalty in the spirit. Amen? Just see yourself wearing that badge. Wow.
So Jesus told him to pray. He said, "You need to pray because tonight you're all gonna fall away. You're all gonna be offended and you're all gonna fall away". And old Peter pops up and says, "Now Lord, if everybody else leaves you, I would never. I would never". I don't have the time to take you to all these scriptures but, "I would never". And, of course, we know what happened to Peter. He was tempted and he did have weakness in him that he did not know that he had, and what happened to Peter actually turned out to be very good for him because it exposed something in him. Now listen to me, it exposed something in him that had to be dealt with before God could use him in the way that he wanted to use him.
Well, Jesus said we should pray that we will not come into temptation. He never said that we should pray that we'll never be tempted because we all are attempted at times, it's just part of life. There's no sin in being tempted. The sin comes in when we actually get into the temptation and carry it out to its fullness but with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be bold and courageous and we can resist sin. God will help you resist any temptation and so I want you to always remember that.