Joyce Meyer - The Power Of Contentment
You know, in Exodus chapter 2, verse 21, and I think this will be a good example for a lot of us. Let's take a look at this. You know, Moses was raised in the house of Pharaoh and he had every privilege that anybody could have, wealth, fine clothes, anything, he had everything, power. Well, he tried to help an Israelite man and it was out of God's season. Although God had a call on his life, he kind of jumped out ahead of God, and he went and he killed an Egyptian because that Egyptian was mistreating an Israelite that was actually one of his kinsman. He took matters into his own hands, and so God had to do some character work in him and a lot of times when you need character work, you end up somewhere in what the Bible calls the wilderness or the desert.
Anybody having a wilderness experience right now in your life? All right, come on now. You gotta understand what it's all about. When we have these times that we go through that are so hard for us, they're not intended to hurt us. They're intended to shape our character and help us be the kind of people that God wants us to be so we can finally have what he wants us to have. Are you with me? My gosh, if you knew some of the things that I went through in order to have the privilege of standing here before you here today. Oh. One of these days, I'm gonna try to teach or write a book or something on my journey with God. It's just gonna take a while to write it. I mean, I don't even know if you can imagine.
Well, maybe some of you can, you know, if you're as messed up as I was. How many of you are pretty messed up? Okay. Well, it's already been painful to get from where you were to where you are. But then on the other hand, you have more joy and peace now than you had back then. And so the more you go on with God, the better all of that stuff is gonna be, but you do have to spend time letting God deal with you. You have to let God be God and not be in such a hurry to get everything when you want it the way you want it. "I'm just not satisfied, discontent. I want it now, I want it now". How about if we just start saying, "God, whenever you think it's right, if you think it's right and until then I only have one goal and that is to be content every day of my life as a way of worshiping you". I believe if we will be content every day of our life, it is worship to God. Amen? That's a way of worshiping him. "I trust you. I love you. I can enjoy this day even if I don't get what I want".
So Moses had run out into the wilderness, had to make a whole new life for himself. Now let's look at verse, Exodus 2:21, "And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter". So I just think it's interesting to see that he had a whole lifestyle change. Come on, this is for somebody today. He lost life as he knew it. Is there anybody here maybe that you're at a brand-new start in your life? You've lost life as you knew it? This is for you today. I don't think I've ever used this scripture in a message.
Moses had a complete lifestyle change. He was no longer what he used to be. He wasn't doing what he used to do. He didn't live where he used to live. He didn't have the same authority and privilege that he used to have. And now he finds himself living in a desert, and yet the Bible says he was content. No wonder God called Moses. And you know what? If you can learn and I can learn how to be content no matter where we're at in life.not meaning you don't want anything else. Sure we want things. Go ahead, want things. It's not a problem, but don't lust after things.
And you know what lust is? When you want something so much you can't be happy without it, when you want that promotion at work so bad that you cannot be happy without it, when you're a single woman and you want to be married so bad that you cannot be happy for your other friends who get married. And you think, "I can never be happy if I'm not married or I cannot be happy if I don't have children. Or I can't be happy if I don't have this. I can't be happy if I don't have that". That's a clear sign that we're not ready for the thing that we want.
Hello. Gotta get happy where you're at if you ever want to get what you want. Gotta get happy where you're at if you ever want to get what you really want. And, you know, I'm sure there's a lot of people watching this message on television right now and you've had big lifestyle changes, you've lost some things, maybe a loved one's died. Maybe you lost a relationship. Maybe somebody walked out on you. Maybe somebody's really hurt you. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe your lost your retirement. Maybe you lost all your money in the stock Market, I don't know, you know? And you find yourself in a totally different place now. You know what? This is the day the Lord has made. Don't let this be an ending. Let it be a new beginning and learn that you can be happy, married or single. You can be happy in any phase of your life.
You know what? I'm well aware that every day that goes by for me now brings me closer to the time when I won't be here. Now that doesn't mean that I don't have a lot of great years left, but I just want to tell you, you start to think differently when you hit around where I'm at. I mean, everybody knows how I old I am. I tell them all the time anyway so I don't care. But, you know, you do think differently. But you know what? Dave and I don't sit around and think about that all the time. We just I don't feel old. I feel as good as I did when I was 35. And a lot of it is being content. Not everything in life works out the way we want it to, but I'm determined to serve God with a content heart. I'm gonna be like that woman in proverbs 31.
When those negative, life-stealing emotions try to fill my heart, I am not going to put up with it. I am not going to allow it. Self-pity get out of here. Discontent, get out of here. It's not the way I'm gonna live. Now, proverbs 27:20 is very interesting. Listen to this. It says, "One of the torments of hell is that people will never be satisfied". Proverbs 27:20, that's one of the torments of hell, they will never be satisfied. So I think that maybe we could say and not be too far off base that if we are never satisfied here on the earth, then maybe we've got a little bit of hell here on earth. I think a large part of what hell's gonna be is a total separation from God and a thirst that absolutely cannot be quenched. That's a miserable way to feel.
I remember I used to be that way. We need to be able to enjoy where we're at on the way to where we're going. All right, now let's talk about a few doors to contentment and satisfaction. First of all, a humble attitude is one of the main things that will help us be content. A humble person is thankful for what they have, very thankful for what they have because the humble man realizes very much realizes that he doesn't deserve anything he's got anyway. So everything he has a great blessing from God. Are you with me? But a proud person always thinks he deserves more, no matter what he has, he should have more.
You know, humility is probably the cardinal virtue that we should seek after. Humility is the doorway to promotion. The Bible says in 1 Peter 5, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that in due time, in due time, he may exalt you". And then the next verse says, "Casting all your care on him, for he cares for you". So the way that we humble ourselves is through casting all of our care about our life on him and saying, "I'm not gonna be worried about when this happens or how this happens or who's getting what or why I'm not getting it. My job is to glorify you today through living a contented life, and I believe if I humble myself and do that that at the right time, you will promote me".
Wonderful. The humble find rest for their souls. Only the humble can live in harmony and get along with other people. Humble people don't always find something wrong with other people and that's one of things that causes us to be discontented. We're never happy with people where they're at. We're never happy with ourselves where we're at. We always want to look a little different than what we do, be somebody that we're not.
I wrote down a few things here that might be possible areas of discontentment. You can see if any of them fit you. Maybe not so much, I don't know. You want to be someone different. You're not content to be who you are. No takers on that one, okay. You want a different life. Maybe you even look at other people and think, "I wish I had your life". Maybe some of you've even looked at me this weekend and thought, "I wish I had your life". Well, maybe not so much, you know, because this is not all there is to it. Maybe you wouldn't want to work as hard as I worked. Maybe you wouldn't want to live in a little glass fish bowl where everybody's got something to say about what you do.
There's a price to pay for standing here, and I love it 'cause I'm anointed for it. But I mean it doesn't do any good to want what somebody else has. You know why? Because if God has not equipped you to be where they are or equipped you to have what they have, then it is going to make you miserable. The responsibility of doing what I'm doing or doing what somebody else is doing can absolutely kill you and crush you if you're not anointed for it. Don't want to be somebody else. You are amazing the way you are. I mean you are flat-out amazing the way you are. And God has gifted you and given you the ability to be you. Don't ever want to be somebody else.
My gosh, I wasted so much of my life trying to be other people. You want different talents or abilities. You want to look like someone else. You want to have their body, their metabolism. How many times have I looked at some thin woman who eats her brains out every day... and just stays thin. "Oh, yes, I just have a really fast metabolism". And I'm like, "Yeah well, I think mine's in a coma so maybe I could, you know... I want your metabolism". 'Cause, you know, I gotta count it out, okay, four peas, three green beans. And she's shoveling it in. "Yeah, I'll have dessert, throw whipped cream in that coffee". And I'm like, "I'm so content, God, I just am so content".
Come on. You know what I'm talking about. And I've got one that you just absolutely are not gonna be able to handle. I couldn't find the reference this morning, but I can promise you that it's in here. The Bible says, and it was basically talking to soldiers but it fits for everybody. He said, "And be content with your wages". "Well, now lady, you've gone too far". I didn't say that you can't want a pay raise. I'm just saying for today say, "Lord, this is what I'm making today and me having a bad attitude about it is not gonna get me any more". That's the thing.
You see, we look to men to give us what we want, but only God can give it to us because God's even gotta speak to them to get us what we want. We gotta get our eyes off of people and stop expecting people to give us what we want and look to God. Don't even be mad at the people 'cause that'll stop up the pipeline too. Say, "I'm not gonna be mad at them. I refuse to be mad at them. God, I am trusting you to pay me what I'm worth on this job. And if you want to give it to me through my paycheck, that's great. If you don't, you can give it to me some other way, but I refuse to put my trust in people. I put my trust in You". Is anybody kind of feeling the difference of how, what kind of a difference this can make in your life?
And, you know, one of the things that I had to go through over and over and over in my life was this kind of thing like I'm talking you about. While I was getting from where I was to where I am now was learning to not put my expectations in people. You know, one of the reasons why we get disappointed and discontent is because we have our expectation in the wrong place. The Bible tells us to expect God. People are great. They're awesome, but we don't have any ability not to let each other down. You know, people do things that just devastate us sometimes and I can honestly tell ya, they don't even have a clue what they're doing. They just don't even know what they're doing.
And I had jobs, one in particular, where I was working for somebody that was supposedly spiritually mature. And to be honest, I was taken advantage of. I wasn't really paid what I should have been paid. And it took me a lot of years to realize that I had to stop looking to that person and look to God. And all I can say is maybe I didn't get it there, but God's paid me back many times over. If you have a good attitude, even if you don't get it where you think you should get it, God will take care of you. Amen? Does anybody need this today? Be content.
"God, there's a lot of things I want, but I refuse to be discontent". "And there was a certain man who had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, give me the part of the property that belongs to me. Give me, give me, give me". Immaturity always says, "Give me". "And not many days after that, the younger son gathered all that he had, went into a far country, and there he lost all of his fortune". See, that's what happens if you get things before you're really ready for them, then you just waste them anyway. Do you know if God would have let me do this when I wanted to do it, I would have made a fool out of myself and probably hurt a lot of people?
Verse 14, "And when he had spent all that he had, a mighty famine came on the country, and he began to fall behind and be in want". So, you know, if you've read this, you know the story. He finally ended up working for a farmer and eating with the pigs. That became his life. From being the younger son of a wealthy man, a landowner, a man of wealth, a beloved son with privilege, he said, "Give me, give me, give me. I want it now". And he ended up in his own wilderness which for him was a pigpen. For Moses it was a desert. Mine was a lot of different things. I'm sure yours can be a lot of different thing, but we all have to learn one way or the other.
So verse 17, and I love this, "Then when he came to himself". What does that mean he came to himself? It means he finally said, "What am I doing"? What am I doing"? "How many hired servants does my father have, and they have enough food and even food to spare, but here I am (dying) of hunger! I'm gonna go out. I'm gonna get up and go to my father, and I'm gonna say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. And I am no longer worthy to be called your son: but make me..." mmm, mmm, mmm. Okay, baby Christian, "Give me, give me, give me. I gotta have this to be happy. I gotta have that to be happy". Visit the pigpen.
How many of you know what I'm talking about? All right, if you don't, just forget it. You'll catch up in a few years. You finally realize, "What am I doing? None of this stuff that I think I have to have is really what I need. What I need is God. I need his will in my life. I need to do things his way. Father, make me what you want me to be". To get from "Give me" to "Make me," it usually takes a pigpen or two. Oh, well, I ain't got time to explain it anymore.
You know, it could be working for somebody that doesn't treat you right. It could be putting your trust in somebody that really hurts you and disappoints you. "Well, Joyce, why would God let that happen"? Well maybe you had too much trust in that person. Maybe you felt like you couldn't live without him and sometimes, you know what? We even do things that are sin in order to keep a relationship. Uh-oh, now you don't really want me to go there, do ya? That's not putting God first. We need to be able to walk away from any friendship if that friendship is gonna come between me and my walk with God. "For from him and through him and to him are all things. All things start with him and end in him. All things are maintained and sustained by him". It's all about him.
The proud prodigal son started with "Give me," and then he humbled himself and said, "Father, make me what you want me to be". And God had to teach me this message that it's not things that are gonna satisfy. Only God can satisfy. And I actually went through a period of time where the Lord put on my heart, "I don't want you to ask me for one thing again until I release you to". And so every time I would start to ask for something, I would just have to back up and say, "Oh, never mind, God, all I need is you".
And God was just trying to establish something in my life. Like I said, it's not wrong to ask for things, but it might be good to have a season where you don't for a while, where you just go through a period of saying, "You know what, God? I can do without all that. You know what I need. I just need more of you". And so then I had come to the point where I was doing that and my life was getting better and better. And I, you know, I spent more time with God and God became the main thing. And I saw this scripture one time and it meant so much to me. "As for me, I will continue beholding your face in righteousness (rightness, justice, and right standing with you): I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake to find myself beholding your form and having sweet communion with you". In other words he said, "I'm gonna be fully satisfied when my relationship with you is so close that you're the first thing on thing on mind every morning".
Isn't that beautiful? And Psalm 63... "O God, you are my God, earnestly will I seek you: my inner self thirsts for you, my flesh longs and is faint for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water". I pray this pretty often. I say, "God, you have to quench my thirsty soul because I live in a society that is dry and barren. I need you. I need you". Verse 5, "My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness: and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips when I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the night watches. For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings will I rejoice. My whole being follows hard after you and clings closely to you: your right hand upholds me".
This is a man that was passionate for more of God in his life, and I can tell ya king David didn't need three more sheep to be happy or one more pasture or to write ten more songs. I don't even really think it made him all that much more difference if he was king or not. He was happy hanging out with God. I can promise you this, now watch, I'm gonna give you a promise right out of the word of God. Any one of you that will put God first in your life, if you will really consistently put God first. And you know sometimes that means making hard choices. It's not just some religious-sounding thing that we say. I'm talking about really putting God first, putting his will first, putting his ways first. I am telling you right now, you will never ever, ever be without every blessing that you could possibly ever want or need. That's a promise. Amen?