Joyce Meyer - You Are Stronger Than You Think
Well, thank you for joining us today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". You know, I don't know what you might be dealing with, but I'm sure that there's a lot of people watching, as well as people here in the studio with me, that you don't have a lot of difficult challenging things going on in your life right now. And when we're going through challenges, one of the things that the devil loves to tell us, one of the thoughts that he likes to keep putting in our head over and over is, "I can't do this. It's just too much for me. It's too hard. I can't do this. I can't take it".
And today, I just want to tell you that you are stronger than you think you are. I'm gonna say that a good number of times so I want you to let that get down on the inside of you. The enemy wants us to think that we're weak, that we can't do it, it's too much for us, it's overwhelming, it's too hard but the truth is is that if you think strong, you'll be strong and if you think weak, you're gonna be weak. And so, there's obviously a lot of things that we cannot do. I would say most of the problems that any of us have, we're not up for it, especially if it's a longstanding problem. You know, it's one thing to have a short term problem, it's another thing to have a longterm problem that you pray about, and pray about, and you pray about, and you just don't seem to see much of a change.
It's also difficult when you have a problem and you stand strong, and you see God's deliverance, and then you get to breathe easy for about a day and then here comes another one, and then another one, and another one. And I'm particularly fond of what the Bible says that Jesus said in Luke chapter 4 when he was taken out by the enemy into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil 40 days and 40 nights. It finally gets around to saying, "And when the devil had ended his complete cycle of temptation, he went away to wait for a more opportune time". So, it seems like there's times when he doesn't just attack once, but he'll attack over and over and over and over. Like just this past weekend, we did a conference that we were just remarking before we started doing the show here.
How many different things we had in that one conference that were problem type situations, equipment that didn't work, just all kinds of different situations. And so, I just want to tell you that if you're going through something really difficult right now, you've been having to stand strong for a long time and you just got this thinking, "I can't do it. It's too much". You're just the person that I'm speaking to today because God wants you to know and he wants you to begin to think, "I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who is my strength, and I am stronger than I think I am". I think all of us, to be honest, can do a lot more than the devil would like to have us think that we can do and the truth is is if you think you can't, you can't. And if you think you can, you can.
Now, obviously, we can't just do anything that we want to do because we decide to think that we can but anything that God wants us to do, anything that it's his will for us, any assignment that we have from him, we can do whatever we need to do. We have several young ladies here today from the Mercy Ministries Home that we support here in St. Louis and all of you have been hurt pretty badly in some way, shape, or form, or whatever the situation is, you've got your life pretty messed up. And so, the enemy would love to have you think that you're never gonna get over it. I know for me, because of being abused by my dad, one of the things that I just pretty much settled in, and accepted, and decided was that, well, I mean I'll do okay but I'll always have a second-rate life. My life will never be what it could have been. Come on, do any of you ever hear that? My life will...
If only I wouldn't have. If only, yeah, well, we'd all like to go back and do everything perfect, but the whole thing is is God is able to take our worst mistakes and actually work them out for our good. And I can be honest with you and tell you and those that are watching from home, because God is God, it doesn't make any sense in the natural, but because God is God, actually whatever happened to you that was hard, if you trust God, you can actually end up being a better person than you would have been if it would have never happened. And so, God really wants us to take a real positive attitude toward things and it's hard. It's hard when you're hurting. I have a book that I've written that we'll be offering soon, or it may already have been offered depending on when this show goes on tv, but it's about trusting God. And I said, you know, it's much easier to write a book on trust than it is to do it when you need to do it.
So, all of us, no matter what the Bible says, no matter what promise is here, we have to decide to believe it. We're either gonna believe it or we're gonna doubt it. And the Bible tells us pretty clearly that all the things that God wants us to have comes through believing. So, you're stronger than you think you are. Can everybody in here say that? How about one more time? And, you know, I'm pretty big on making positive confessions and verbalizing your faith and so, I would encourage all of you, especially if you're going through a rough time right now, every time you hear one of those "I can't" thoughts, it's too much for me, you open your mouth and say out loud, if you're in a place where you can, "I am stronger than I think I am, and I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who is my strength".
Maybe right now you're dealing with a sickness, a longterm sickness, maybe you've had pain in your body for quite a while, maybe it's financial situations, maybe it's relationship situation, but I can tell you that God will not allow more to come on you than what you can bear but with every temptation he always provides the way out. The Amplified Bible says that he provides an escape to a safe landing place, and I like that. So, whatever we go through, if we're trusting God...
Now, none of this works if you don't trust God. But if we're trusting God and doing the best that we know how to do to learn and to grow spiritually, then we can be confident that God never allows more to come on us than what we can bear. So, when you feel like, "I can't take anymore", another good thing to say is, "I will not have more than what I can deal with. God promises me". So, instead of thinking, "I can't take this one more day", you know, you can say, "Well, I'd rather not have it one more day, but whatever it is, I can do it". So, Philippians 4:13, very familiar scripture. "I can do all things which he has called me to do through him who strengthens and empowers me to fulfill his purpose. I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency".
And I love this part of the Amplified verse here. "I am ready for anything, I'm equal to anything through him who infuses inner strength into me". Isn't that wonderful? "I'm ready for anything, I'm equal to anything", and I think it's wise to think that ahead of time. I think it's wise to think that on a regular basis, then you're a little prepared for whatever comes. You are capable of amazing things, but if you don't think you are, then you will let challenges defeat you.
My mother never dealt with the situation in our home when I was growing up. My dad was sexually abusing me. He was very mean to her. He would regularly beat up on her. He'd come home drunk, and smack her, and hit her, and beat up on her. And she knew that he had other women all the time and she just never dealt with him, and it was the hardest thing in the world for me to understand why she just would be so passive and let him just keep mistreating her. And she never apologized to me for about 30 years after, 30 years after I left home when I was 18, she finally said, "I'm sorry for what I let your dad do to you". And here's what she said, I want you to listen to this. She said, "I didn't think that I could support you and your brother, and I didn't think that I could take care of you and make it without him, so I just stayed".
Well, what would have happened if she would have thought that she could, see? Her own thinking defeated her. Listen, you have to be very careful what you think when you're laying in your bed at night. I think it's especially important what you think when you first get up in the morning. I think that we need to, I mean at least for me, I find the enemy will make a bid for my mind early in the morning, sometimes before I ever put my feet on the floor. And so, one of the things that you can do early in the morning is say, "I am gonna have a good day. Whatever I need to deal with today, I can deal with it because God is with me. He won't let more come on me than what I can bear".
So, if you think strong, you're gonna be strong. We prefer no problems and no challenges, that certainly would be my first prayer. "God, I'd love to have no problems today". But I think we all know that there's very few days that are like that in reality. So, I don't want this to sound wrong, we've gotta toughen up a little bit. We have to make sure we're not like wimpy, whiny Christians where all we ever do is pray for God to make everything go away, but we're defeated by every little thing that comes along.
Now, 2 Corinthians 12:8 and 9 is a good example of this not wanting to have a problem and it's Paul, the apostle Paul, who had what the Bible calls a thorn in the flesh. And we don't really know for sure what that was, if it was a person aggravating him, if it was some kind of sickness he was dealing with. But, you know, no matter what package trouble comes in, trouble is trouble, isn't it? And each of us, you know, we can always say and, you know, I say this to people and it's a good thing to say. You know, when you're having trouble, there's always somebody that's worse off than you are. Well, that's true and that's good, but that doesn't mean that your trouble isn't still very important to you. And God knows that and we wants to help you.
So, three times Paul said, "I called on the Lord and besought him about this and begged that it might depart from me". I think it's amazing that Paul got it after three times. I mean, some things I've been praying about for years. "Oh God", so God said, "My grace is enough for you. It is sufficient against any danger and it will enable you to bear the trouble manfully". So, in other words, he's basically getting ready to say, "I'm not going to remove it, but I will give you the grace to go through it and to go through it with a good attitude, and a smile on your face, and still being ready to help other people". If you're like me when you have a problem, it's very easy to turn in on yourself and do nothing but think about what you're dealing with and that's one of the worst things that we can do. He said, "For my strength and power are made perfect in your weakness".
Well, Paul apparently got it because then right away he said, "Oh, okay, well, I'm gonna glory in my weaknesses and my infirmities". I haven't got to the point yet where I like them and I welcome them, but I am encouraged by this scripture. You know, there's some wonderful scriptures about how God will strengthen us, and I want to encourage you every day of your life, depend on God to give you the strength that you need. You can't just be strong, you have to depend on God to be strong through you. I don't even pray anymore, "God, give me strength". I say, "God, you are my strength". He is our strength. So, I just want to share four scriptures real quick:
1. Psalm 119:28, "My soul is weary with sorrow. Strengthen me, o God, according to your word".
2. Isaiah 40:29, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak".
3. Isaiah 40:31, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and they will not faint".
4. Ephesians 6:10, "In conclusion, be strong in the Lord. Be empowered through your union with him".
And that means through your oneness, through your intimate personal relationship with him. We draw strength from God when we spend time with him on a daily basis and that's why I recommend do it early. I mean even if you only think that you can manage five minutes, I mean get up and before you do anything else, spend some time with God. Let him know that you need him, that you don't even begin to think that you can have a successful day without him. Draw your strength from him, and I love the honesty of the Psalmist David. This was one of my favorite ones, Psalm 22:19, "Be not far from me, o Lord, o my help, hasten to aid me". I love what David says, like, "God, I need help. Hurry up and help me. Don't even take a long time about it. Let's just get busy and help me now".
Now, here's a story that I think will prove my point. "A story is told about a young man who'd lost his job and all of his money. He was sitting on a park bench feeling very depressed and hopeless when an elderly gentleman noticed and asked why he was so sad. Well, the man told him his story and at once the older gentleman took out a checkbook and wrote him a check and said, 'i will visit you this same day on this same park bench one year from today. And by then, you will have made enough money that you can pay me back.' when he looked at the check, it was written for one-half of a million dollars and it was signed John Rockefeller, who at that time was one of the wealthiest men in the world. The man in the park put the check in the safe and although he didn't cash it, it did give him confidence to believe that he need not be afraid to start over".
So, this is interesting. He didn't cash the check, but it gave him confidence to know that it was there if he needed it. So, I mean, this so relates to our relationship with God. He said, "I will be with you always. I'll never leave you nor forsake you. I will be your strength. I won't let more come on you than what you can bear. You can do all things through me". And so, it's like having that check in the bank that no matter what comes our way, if we need extra help, we're gonna be able to get that from God.
"Well, the man began doing business again and he started making money, always being aware that he had the check in the safe if he needed it. The year went by and by then he had plenty of money and was anxious to return to the check to the man who helped him. He went back to the same park, sat on the same bench and waited. Well, soon he saw the elderly gentleman approaching because he always walked in the park every day, but it appeared that he had a nurse with him. The man seemed to be fairly unresponsive to the younger man who was holding out the original check trying to give it back to him. The nurse took the check, looked at it and said, 'oh, this is no good. He's confused most of the time. He often thinks he's John Rockefeller'".
The young man succeeded because he believed that he had what he needed in the bank and could draw on it at any time. So, he didn't actually have any more money than he did before but he thought he did and because he thought he did, he responded in a confident manner proving that God has put so much ability in us. I don't think any one of you has any idea how much ability that you have. I mean, God-given, God-ordained ability on the inside of you. Now, once again, I know that some of you are hurting so bad right now and maybe your pain has been so bad, you even just feel really confused. And you know what? If you can't seem to grasp anything that I'm saying today other than this, I want you to remember that you are stronger than you think you are and you can do whatever you need to do because, you know what? You've got the check in the safe. You've got it there. Jesus is in you, he's for you, he's with you. He said, "I'll never leave you nor forsake you". And so, we can live freely. We can go out and we can try things. We don't have to be afraid of failure. Believe that you can and you'll be able to.
In numbers chapter 13, there is an absolutely wonderful account of something that happened to the Israelites and it's actually numbers 13:27 through 33. And just to kind of bring you up to date, the Israelites were now ready to cross the border into the Promised Land. And they'd heard about the Promised Land, heard about the Promised Land, heard about how great it was gonna be and so, there were 12 men that were selected to go in and spy out the land to go ahead of the rest of them and go and spy out the land to see if it actually really was as good as everybody had said that it was gonna be. Well, when they came back out, ten of them had a very bad report and only two had a good report.
So, here's what the ten said. "They told Moses, 'well, we came to the land of which you sent us and surely it does flow with milk and honey, and here's the fruit'". And, you know, the fruit from the land at that time was so big and so good that they had to carry a cluster of grapes hanging on a pole with each end of the pole on a different man's shoulders, that's how good God's plan is for us. So, he said, "That's right. Everything flows with milk and honey, and here's the fruit. But". And honesty, we could just stop right there and that's the story of our life. "But... Well yeah, it sounds good, but. Well, I know it worked for you, but. Well, I'd like to try, but". We've always got some reason why we don't think it's gonna work for us. "But the people in there are strong, and fortified, and very large, and there's giants in the land".
Let me tell ya something, if you really know God and you know the Word of God, you are a giant killer. You don't have to be afraid of giants, you know what? We've all got something going on in our life, maybe not today, but at different times, that we think is just bigger than us, more than we can stand, more than we can take. And then it goes on and it says, "The two", which was Joshua and Caleb, "Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, 'let's go up at once for we are well able to conquer it'". So, here you have ten people who says, "We can't do this, the problems are bigger than we are". But you have two people who say, "We can do it. Be quiet. Don't be negative. Stop saying you can't". And I love this, he said, "Let's go up at once and do it".
You know what I think? I think sometimes we have an issue in front of us and God is encouraging us to go forward, but we think it to death. We stare at the giants too long and we think too long about everything that could happen, and everything that might happen, and maybe even things that we've tried to do in the past that haven't worked. And so, Caleb was being led by the Spirit of God and he had that sensing that because God was great, he could do it and he said, "Let's don't even wait. Let's just go up right now". Sometimes you need to move when you feel like you have the confidence and you feel like you have the courage and not just keep putting it off, and putting it off, and putting it off. Can anybody say, "Amen"? "But his fellow scouts said, 'oh no, we're not able. The people are stronger than us, they're bigger than us.' so, they brought the Israelites an evil report of the land which they had scouted out saying, 'the land through which we went to spy it out is a land that devours its inhabitants and all the people that we saw there are giants'".
Last verse, here it comes, "There we saw the giants, the sons of anak who came from the giants: and we were in our own sight like grasshoppers,so we became in their sight". Do you understand that? It wasn't the giants that was their problem, it was the way they saw themselves, that was their problem. "We are like grasshoppers and so we became in their sight". You know what? If you don't have any confidence, the people around you won't have any confidence in you either. I've experienced that myself, even just in trying to work with people. If I'm working with somebody that has no confidence, it makes me feel that I can't put confidence in them, but if I have somebody that is confident and will at least step out and try things, they have a humble attitude, they know that they need God to do it, even if they're not qualified in the natural, it makes me believe in them because they believe in them.
And so, it's very important what you think of yourself. Let me tell ya something, the Bible says that we are more than conquerors and you have to be careful if you had a rough past that you don't see yourself as a victim. I do not use that terminology, "I am a victim of sexual abuse". I am not a victim. I more than a conqueror. I am a new creature in Christ, and so are you. How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as strong or weak, capable or incapable? Do you believe that your past has to always affect your future? Do you believe that God loves you? Do you believe today that you're special? Maybe all your life, you've been treated like the tail end of everything, maybe you had siblings and it seemed to you like your mom and dad always preferred all the other kids over you. Maybe you had difficulty learning in school and you always got the worst grades. Maybe you were always the last one that was picked for the sports team when you were playing sports in school. Maybe you've been rejected. Maybe you've been abused. Maybe you've been abandoned. But let me tell ya something, you are special and God has a plan for your life. And there's nothing that you've been through that you cannot recover from because you are stronger than you think you are.
Now, today we're offering you a book, and I like the book 'cause I wrote the book but I like it anyway. Wouldn't make much sense to write a book if you didn't like it, right? And so, this is the paperback version of "The Confident Woman", and I always tell the guys, you can just cross out the W-O and it'll be "The Confident Man", and you'll get a lot out of it too. But we did this at one of our women's conferences one year, and I just want you to know that you can start today living boldly and without fear. You're stronger than you think you are and if you believe you can, you can. We're offering this to you today for your gift to the ministry of any amount. We trust you to send in your best, do your best, and I think this book will really help you. And I just want you to know that we are very happy for us and for you that you joined us today. And remember that God has a wonderful plan for your life and you've got what it takes to do new things today.