Joyce Meyer - The Value Of Experience
Today, I want to talk to you about the value of experience. The only way you get experience is by going through things. And so, a lot of times we just so hate the things that we go through that aren't comfortable, but you're never going to learn anything if you run away from everything. Let me say it again, you're never going to learn anything if you run away from everything. You'll never learn how to love unlovely people if every time somebody's hard to get along with, you just get them out of your life and go try to find somebody else. We're anointed for hard.
Come on, it'll sink in, in a minute. You know, we don't need to be filled with the Holy Spirit for easy. You can do whatever you need to do with a smile on your face. We got to add that. All right. So, I guess the first thing I'd like to say to you is, how much experience do you have? Well, you know, if you're 40, you've got more experience than you had when you were 30, or more experience than you had when you were 20. And so, wow, just think how much experience I've got by now, hmm.
Now, if you're 18, you think you already know everything. And you're very happy to tell everybody that. Correct them, look at them like they're kind of stupid because they don't get what you get. But let me tell you something, just because somebody can't navigate an iPhone doesn't mean they don't have wisdom. I've taken two selfies in my whole life and one of them came out crooked. But I'll tell you what I have had, I've had a lot of experience with a lot of different things.
Proverbs 3:13, "Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly wisdom, the man who gets understanding, drawing it forth from God's word and life's experiences". So, we learn by the Word of God, but to be honest, even the Word of God doesn't mean to us what it needs to mean until it has been tested and tried in our lives. And we've had experience, that's why just because you might have it underlined in yellow in your Bible does not mean that you know it.
So, if I talk about a scripture today and you open up your Bible, and boy, you got the whole page underlined in three colors, don't sit there hoping the person next to you will see how spiritual you are. We never know anything until we're doing it. And I might add consistently because it's not what we do right one time that gives us great lives, it's what we do right in every situation all the time.
The first question you're probably going to be asked at any employment interview is, "How much experience do you have"? Now, they're probably going to ask you about your education, and there are places that will hire you just based on your education, but boy, let me tell you something, if you've got education and experience, now you are seen as being even more valuable. And the good thing is in God's economy, even if you don't have the brain tissue to know how to do something, if you've got experience with God, he can anoint you to do something. No matter how educated you are, don't put all your dependence on that.
You know, they tell me sometimes, "Well, you probably shouldn't tell people, you know, that you didn't go to college, you didn't do", I said, "Why not? That's what they need to know". They need to know that one human being surrendered to God can do unbelievably amazing things. How much experience do you have? You know, God's looking for the same thing. I believe that God is always looking for people to promote. Did you hear me? And not just to promote in ministry, God wants to promote believers, his children into positions and companies and out in the world because we are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath.
And God wants people not just that have education, but have wisdom and experience with him to be in positions of authority so they can lead. How amazing do you think this nation would be if every leader that we had was somebody who knew the word and had a lot of personal experience with God? My gosh. Whoo. Well, God looks for the same thing. Deuteronomy 1:13. Moses was at the point where he said, "God, look, I can't do this all by myself. I can't carry all these people by myself. You got to give me some help". And look at what God said to him, "Choose wise, understanding, experienced, and respected men according to your tribes, and I will make them heads over you".
Deuteronomy 1:15, "So I took the heads of your tribes, wise, experienced, and respected men". Do you know what? I looked and I don't find the word "Talented" in this list. He doesn't say, "Go find somebody talented". He said, "Find me somebody that's wise, that's discerning, that has understanding, and that has experience. That's somebody that I can use". So, really the good thing is, is nobody in this room is disqualified from being used greatly by God if you will really just go through and get life's experiences, and not just moan and groan through every one of them, but actually get something out of each one, and let it teach you something. Education's good, but wisdom is a whole lot better.
You know, Joseph had a dream, but before he saw his dream fulfilled, he had to get a lot of experience. I want you to think about this. Why is it that God gives us a dream or a vision, or he puts something in our heart, but then we may not see it come to pass for years and years and years? Because it's not enough just to have a gift or even just a call from God. You have to have experience. Joseph went through a lot of hard things. And the experience that I'm talking about getting today doesn't all come easy. We can't get the kind of experience that we need to really be used mightily by God if everything in our life feels good all the time and we never really have to deal with anything.
You know what? I didn't get to go to college, but I've gone to the school of life. Amen? And when you're going through life, you can be mentored and schooled by the Holy Spirit. Because I'll tell you something, some of the greatest lessons that I learned in my life I learned in my everyday life when my kids were just little, in places like the grocery store, just out shopping and things like that. God can teach you anywhere if you really want to learn, and he can teach you through anything. So, every time you go through something hard, stop saying, "I hate this, I hate this". Why don't you just get a new prayer and say, "God, if I'm in this situation anyway, how 'bout teaching me something? I know the devil meant to do me harm, but I think you can get some good out of this".
Do you believe that? That everything that you go through, something good can come out of it if you'll let it. Now, nobody loves going through hard times, but we can learn to have a different attitude toward them. You know, Moses was called by God, and he knew it for a long, long time. And he stepped out really before God released him just out of emotional enthusiasm, which we all have a tendency to do. You know, he killed an Egyptian, and then somebody saw him, and he knew he was going to get in trouble, so he ran out into the wilderness, and lived 40 years out there. And then finally God said, "Okay, now you're qualified".
It's amazing what 40 years in the back side of nowhere will do for you. It's amazing what being in a job that you really don't like with a boss that doesn't treat you too great and other employees who don't treat you too, it's amazing what that can do for you. You know, this is going to be hard today, isn't it? You're going to make this hard. Okay. You know how I learned not to mistreat people? I worked for somebody for five years who mistreated me. You hear me? And I begged God to get me out of there. I mean, I didn't understand why God didn't deal with this guy. I mean, he was a Christian man, I didn't get it.
"God, how can you just let him treat people like this"? But you know what? I needed that experience because I'd been through a lot of rough stuff in my life, and I was kind of hard-hearted, had a little bit of a tough exterior, and I probably would have not been the nicest, sweetest person in the world either if I wouldn't have had that experience of knowing what it's like to be on the other end of it. Come on. But see, we don't get it when we're going through it.
We live life forward, we understand it backward. What you're going through right now you probably don't understand at all, but five years from now you might. A year from now you might. I look back at my life now, and I can honestly say that there's not too many things that I went through that I don't now thank God for. And I mean it because I know that they have made me the person that I am today, and they have equipped me and qualified me to stand here today and teach you. I wouldn't be a good Bible teacher just because I studied the Bible. You got to have this stuff tested out in your life. I can come to you with fire in my soul because I don't just think this is right, I know this is right. I know. I can say, like job, I know that my redeemer lives, amen?
Hebrews 5:8 and 9, "Although he was a son", we're talking about Jesus, "He learned". I wouldn't have thought Jesus needed to learn anything. But see, the man part of him did. That's why he's a high priest that totally understands us because he's been through everything that we've been through, yet he never sinned. That's so cool about Jesus. Fully God, fully man. "Although he was a son, he learned active, special obedience through what he suffered". Somebody get this today. "And his completed experience making him perfectly equipped, he then became the author and the source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed to and obey him".
I love that scripture. Jesus went through things. He learned, he got experience. And even Jesus could not be our Savior until he had the experience to understand us. That's why the Bible says that we have a high priest who understands our weaknesses and our infirmities because he's been tempted in every point just like we have, yet without sinning. That's why you can go to Jesus and he gets you.
When nobody else gets you, he gets you because he has felt what you feel. He knows what it's like to be mistreated. He knows what it's like for people to lie about him. He knows what it's like to be judged and criticized. He knows what it's like to be rejected. He knows what it's like to be abused, to suffer. In all your difficulties, Jesus knows. He knows because he went through long before any of us ever went through. We need personal, personal experience with God. You don't need borrowed faith, you don't need secondhand faith. You can't make it in the world today on your mama's faith, on your grandmama's faith, on your preacher's faith. You got to have your own faith. And the only way you can have your own faith is by having your own experiences.
Come on now. Exodus 29:45 and 46, "And I will dwell among the Israelites and I will be their God. And they shall know", from what? "Personal experience". Somebody say, "How you doing"? "Oh, I'm going through". Well, you know what? Thank God you're going through and you're not stuck in the middle. Going through is not really all that bad. That means you're still moving. Amen? "And they shall know from personal experience that I'm the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt and that I am their God".
Deuteronomy chapter 8 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I lived out this chapter in my life, didn't have any idea what in the world God was doing in my life. And when he showed me chapter 8 in Deuteronomy and allowed me to understand it, it was so helpful to me. And we don't have time to go through the whole thing, but let's just quickly say that when, you know, in my childhood I was abused, I married the first guy that came along, that was another 5-year nightmare.
Finally, God sent Dave into my life, and then I was a nightmare for him for a lot of years. And I was just hurting in every way that you could be hurting. And I loved God, we went to church, 1970's God really touched my life. He gave me this desire and calling to teach his word, and I had a dream from him, a vision, but I didn't have any experience. Not the kind of experience I needed to qualify me to stand up here and be able to really say to you, "Hey, I get it. I know what you're going through, but I also know that God is faithful, and that if you don't give up on him, you will come out on the other side".
And when I say that to you, I think you can feel in your spirit that I'm not just saying that 'cause I read it in the Bible. You know that I know. And God wants you to know so you can have that same conviction when you share with other people. And so, I had to live out Deuteronomy 8 in my life, and everything took so long, so long, my gosh. And I'm not a person who likes for anything to take long. I'd much rather things just happen real quick, you know? "Oh, you're going to go all over the world and teach my word".
Good, let's go. Five years in a home Bible study. Sat in my living room floor five years. Years. Years! I felt that God directed me to quit my job so I could study the word 'cause I didn't know anything. You can't be telling anybody else much if you don't know anything. And I had three little kids, I couldn't go off to Bible college, so I entered the school of the Holy Ghost. And Lord have mercy, he turned me every which way but loose.
Well, and I just didn't get it. I mean, I remember one day, I was moaning and groaning in my car, "God, why are you not doing anything"? I mean, we were financially needy every month. We had to have a miracle just to pay our bills. And I had made this great sacrifice in quitting my job to serve God, and I'm thinking reward big time, next day. Well, I mean, I had less for six years, I'm thinking, "I should've kept working".
Well, but see, if I would've kept working, if I wouldn't have done what God told me to back there, I wouldn't be standing here sharing this with you today because I had to go through those years to be able to stand here and tell you if you are doing what God has asked you to do, there is no way that he will fail you or let you down. God is faithful.
Deuteronomy 8:3: "And he humbled you and he allowed you to hunger and he fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that he might make you recognize and personally know that man does not live by bread only, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord". Now, what does that mean, "Man does not live by bread alone"? That's talkin' about stuff. And if you go on and read Deuteronomy 8, which I don't have time to do today, he gets around to this, saying, "And I led you all this way in the wilderness. I led you all this way in the wilderness these 40 years to humble you, to test you, to prove you, to see if you would keep my commandments or not".
Oh, we have no idea what we'll do until we're put to the test. You can have every scripture in the Bible on faith underlined with circles around it, and that doesn't really mean that you have any faith until it's put to the test. You know, just because we can come together in church and sing songs about thanksgiving, that doesn't mean we're thankful people. We find out if we're thankful when nothin's workin' out in our life and we're still giving thanks to God. I've lived 73 and 1/2 years, and so, I guess I should know somethin'. I think by now I should know some things.
And so, I'm just gonna tell ya a few things that my experience has taught me. And I could not be more sure of these things if my life depended on it. This is one thing that I know, that I know, that I know. Painful and unjust things that happen to us will always work out for good if we love God and really want his will. And I'm gonna add if we keep a good attitude. 'Cause I don't think you can have a bad attitude and get a miracle. Faith always has a good attitude. Come on, let's say it again. Faith always has a good attitude.
You know, I say this often, but I used to say that, you know, "Hey, my life is great. And boy, if only I wouldn't have been abused when I was a child". Then one day, I just felt like the Lord just told me, "Stop sayin' that". And really, when I thought about it, it's like, I can't, and this sounds ridiculous I guess, but I can't even say that I'm sorry it happened, not now. I mean, because I know that God took that awful, painful situation and he worked it out not only for my good, but also for the good of a lot of other people.
I wanna tell you somethin'. Please listen to this. Sometimes you might go through something only in order to be qualified to help somebody else later on. What you're goin' through has very little, if anything, to do with you. You're in school. You're gettin' experience. How much experience do you have? Do you run away from everything that's hard in your life? If you go to a church and you wanna be the worship leader and they won't even let you sing in the choir, do you just leave and go to another church?
Genesis 50:20, with all the stuff that Joseph went through, and now God had promoted him, man, he went from the pit to the palace. His brothers now had come and bowed down to him like he saw in his dream that they would. Because now he was in charge of all the food in Egypt and there was a famine. Watch this, they needed food. They were afraid that Joseph now would take revenge on them. And he said, "I'm not in the place of God". Now, Genesis 50:20: "'As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good", now, listen, "To bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day".
See, we usually just get the first part of that, "You meant it for harm, God meant it for good". But now he's saying, "And I went through that, God used your wickedness, it became a sanctified experience, and I went through that just so I would have enough experience, gain enough wisdom, be qualified enough now to be in this position at this time in the world so I can distribute the food to the starving people". Come on, is anybody seein' this? Is it maybe making some of the things that you're goin' through a little more understandable, maybe just a little bit more?
And I'm not sayin' it's right. I'm not sayin' it's fair. I'm not sayin' the people mistreating you are right. All I know is sometimes God will use somebody else's wickedness to work somethin' good in me. Come on, if you're gonna get at loving people, you've gotta have somebody to practice on. Well, it's the truth. "Oh, God, help me love everybody. But just don't put anybody around me that's not sweet and nice". Age and experience teach us what's truly important in life.
Okay, listen, when I was 36, man, I thought, I mean, I was new in ministry. I was workin' at a church then. I was on the staff of this church in St. Louis and it was small still, but it was growin' real rapidly, and just a lot of great things were happening. And I just felt so important because I was on the staff. Man, I had a seat on the front row that had a sign with my name in it every week, whoo. And I remember, like, the few really important people, they had a parkin' place with their name on it. And oh, my gosh, I was believin' God for a parkin' place with my name on it. I mean, I'm just tellin' you the truth. I mean, when I look back now and I think of some of the things that I really used my faith for... Lord, help us.
And oh, my, I remember the day that I got a parking place with my name on it, whoo, and it was only two spaces down from the pastor. Whoa, I mean, how important can you be? Well, now, you know, probably when I came into this city, there were billboards with my name on it, and I didn't pay any attention to 'em, didn't see 'em. And even if I would've, it wouldn't have done one thing for me because, thank God now, at 73, I know having my name on a parking place is not really all that important. Is anybody awake out there?
But here's the thing. When we are insecure and trying to find our worth in things other than Christ, we love seein' our name on stuff. Yeah, I'm tryin' to, honey, thank you. And boy, I tell you what, when I got to the point where I had my name on the seat, my name on the parking place, and my own office with my name on the door, and every Sunday, my name was in the church bulletin... Whoo, you just don't know how important I was.
And I had this ladies meeting that I did on Thursday morning, and I can so clearly remember proudly teaching my four-part series on humility. Some of these sanctified experiences you're going through, I'm tellin' you the truth, later, you'll look back. We do not learn things just because we read 'em or just because we hear one sermon. I could preach you the same sermon 200 times, and although it might renew your mind, it's not gonna get worked into your soul until you have to put it to the test in your everyday life. I'll tell you what, at 40, I must've thought that being right was the most important thing in the world because I certainly engaged in many arguments tryin' to prove my point in every disagreement.
However, I finally learned, and do you know, you cannot find one place in the Bible where Jesus ever tried to prove that he was right about anything? He said, "Whatever you think. It's up to God. He knows me". I started so many arguments and got into so much strife tryin' to prove I was right over some of the stupidest stuff. At 45, I thought I knew everything, including what was wrong with everybody else in the world. By 60, I finally realized I didn't know much at all, and that my opinion about people was not even anything God was interested in. He really didn't care what I thought.
If you're 20, 25, 30, you may think that you know so much, but you give it another 10 or 15 years, and you'll find out you don't know hardly anything. And I'm not tryin' to put anybody down. I'm just sayin' that you gotta have some time. You gotta live a while. And you know what? I think every day we should learn something. You know, one of the things that I've learned in my years, and you know, you may hear messages on this a lot, but I hope just in the next few minutes to really, that what I'm gonna say is really gonna grip your heart.
I have learned that forgiving people who hurt us is probably the most powerful and most spiritually mature thing that anybody can possibly do. And I tell ya, so much of the church of Jesus Christ is angry. Get the strife out of your homes. Don't be a party to causing strife in your church. Stop judging other people, being critical, having opinions where you have no responsibility. "Well, if I were you, I would", you don't have any idea what you would do.
"Well, I don't think she, and I don't think he, and I don't agree". Nobody really cares. When somebody hurts you, they cannot pay you back. They cannot give you back what they took. My father stole my childhood. He stole my innocence, but he could not pay me back. I tried for a lot of years to collect from everybody in the world. Are you there? Stop tryin' to make other people pay for what somebody else did to you. Are you hearin' me today? And I suffered for so many years until I found out that God would pay me back.
Come on, God can pay you back, and he won't just give you back what you lost, he'll give you double blessing for your trouble. Please, please, please, whatever you do, don't spend one more day of your life angry. "Well, you just don't know". Just drop it. I mean, just get on with life. "Well, you don't understand". That is not true. I do understand, and Jesus understands. Your pain might've been different than mine, but let me tell you somethin', pain is pain. And you can forgive. You can because God commands you to, and he's never gonna command us to do anything that we can't do. We can forgive. We can let go of the past.
Why don't you become an expert at forgiving people? Just see how quick you can forgive somebody when they make you mad. Don't give the devil one more day of your life. Come on. Another thing that I know, that I know, that I know from my years of experience is always seek God's face not his hand. We start out in our relationship with God seeking him for what he can do for us. "I need a breakthrough in my marriage". "I need a job". "I need a healing". That's okay, that's a fine place to start. You've got a need in your life, come to Jesus. But for many of you, it's grow-up time. God brought you here for a transition.
You might have come in wanting to know what God could do for you, but I want you to leave asking God what you can do for him. Amen? "Well, I came to get my miracle". Well, how 'bout if you say, "God, I wanna be a miracle in somebody else's life"? How 'bout if somebody today will say, "God, give me all the sanctified experience that you need me to have so I can be equipped to get out in the world and make a difference in somebody else's life"? Don't be satisfied just to go to heaven. Take a bunch of people with you. Amen?
I'm here to tell you that any one of you that will lay your life at the altar and say, "God, your will be done in my life. I wanna be valuable to you. If you never do one more thing for me, God, I am blessed beyond measure just to know you". Let's stop taking our long list of what God has to do for us every day just to keep us with a smile on our face and start prayin' different.
"God, what can I do for you? Who can I help? Put somebody in my path today. Let me make a difference in somebody else's life". And boy, when you do, when you stop chasing blessings, blessings will start to chase you. Don't ever be overly concerned with the opinions that other people have of you. Haters are gonna hate. Critical people are gonna always find somebody to criticize. And jealous people are always gonna find somebody to be jealous of. Jesus wasn't overly concerned about what people thought of him, Paul wasn't, and you don't have to be either.
You got a short time here on this earth. Then the only one you're gonna be left to face is God, amen? Just keep lovin' people no matter what. Just keep prayin' for people. Last thing I wanna say is this. Never, never, never, never, never purposely mistreat anybody. You know, we make mistakes. As much experience as I've got, I can still kinda get full of myself and maybe say somethin' to somebody that I shouldn't say. But I will tell you this. The moment that God convicts me, I go back and I apologize.
Those of us who belong to Jesus Christ, we must get out in the world and represent him. And he is no respecter of persons. You don't treat important people good and treat people that can't do anything for you bad. Amen? Never, never, never, never, never mistreat anybody. And very last, I wanna say, learn everything you can about God's anointing. Because God's anointing is his presence and power in your life.
Question Of The Day
Ginger: Today, we have a question from Lori, in Florida, and she says, "Joyce, I've heard you teach about talking and praying to God out loud. I think, when I pray out loud, I'm letting satan know how to attack my life. Since satan can't read my mind, I thought, 'Is it better to say my prayers and talk to God in my mind?'"
Joyce: I think you can do either, you can pray silently or you can pray out loud. Because here's the thing to remember about prayer, prayer is one of the best defenses that you have against the enemy. And so, for example, if you're praying about a problem, you can pray about it in a way that already lets the enemy know, that you know, it's gonna turn out. In other words, you know, not just, "Oh God, I'm so miserable. I've got, you know, blah, blah, blah. I've got this", you know, but, "Here's my problem. And I know you're good, and I'm asking you to help me". And right away, the minute that you ask for God's help, you already start closing the door in the devil's face.
And so, we can never feel like that if we pray out loud, that's just opening a door for the enemy. I think, just the opposite, sometimes. It's like, making that declaration is like a releasing of your faith. You know, faith is a power that resides in our spirit, but I think that faith has to be released for it to do any good. And so, I say sometimes, that we release our faith through praying, through saying, and through taking God-inspired action. So, I think you can pray either way. But you never have to be afraid that when you pray, you're letting satan in on what's going on. He kinda knows anyway, I'm not, you know.
Ginger: So, those words praying especially, the Word of God out loud is a weapon against satan.
Joyce: Well, sure. The Word of God is our main weapon against satan. And the Bible says in Ephesians 6 that we are to wield the sword of the spirit, the two-edged sword, which is the Word of God. Well, wield it, means get it out and use it. And I mean, if you just want to look at one example, when Jesus was being tested and tempted by the devil for 40 days and nights, when he was in the wilderness, it's found in one place is Luke 4. The devil said to Jesus and Jesus said to the devil, and he quoted him back the Word of God. And I think probably, all of us, it would help us to maybe, pray the word in our prayers may be a little bit more.
Now, maybe, some people are really good about that. But, you know, in other words, "Your word says that you are my rock, my hiding place, you're my strength. And so, even though I don't feel like I can do this, I know that I can through you". So, even when you pray, you don't have to just sound negative, like, you know, "I can't take this if you don't do something. I just can't stand it anymore. I feel like I'm gonna fall apart", so...
Ginger: Yeah, yeah. Very helpful, thank you.