Joyce Meyer - Don't Offend Yourself
I'm doing a series on the spirit of offense, and I call it the spirit of offense because I believe that, honestly and truly, that it is an evil spirit. Satan is the instigator of offense. When you're offended, it's like having a spiritual hangnail. Have you ever had a hangnail and instead of just going and cutting it off and dealing with it, you just keep waiting and waiting and it doesn't bother you for a little bit and then you touch it and it's like, "Ow," you know? Hangnails hurt, don't they?
Well, I believe we can get hangnails in our spirit, and the reason why I call it a hangnail is because an offense is different than a full-blown case of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. You've not gotten into hating anybody. You're just a little bit miffed, just a little bit sour. They just did a little something and maybe you didn't shut them totally out of your life, but you just got this little thing now that you're just kind of like, hmm. Well, and then you get maybe two or three or those, four, five, six, get a whole bunch of them and it actually begins to affect your walk with God.
Jesus offended people and he said that he was the stone that they stumbled over. The word "Offense" can mean a little rock that people stumble over. It can be a big stone that people stumble over, but the point is is when we get offended, it causes us to fall down and stumble and stop making progress. I want you to say with me, "When I am offended, I don't make spiritual progress". See, we need to take care of those things so we can continue to grow in God. And then it comes from a Greek word skandalon. The word "Offense" comes from a Greek word "Skandalon" which means the part of the animal trap that the bait hung on that lured in the victim. So I want you to realize that all these opportunities to be offended are simply the devil trying to draw us into his trap so we do not ever become the people that God wants us to be.
I hate to say this, and I don't mean to sound negative, but I think there's probably more angry Christians than there are ones that are totally at peace with everybody. And you know what? Truly, being an angry Christian is an oxymoron. What I mean by that is it doesn't compute. Christians are supposed to be full of love and forgiveness and mercy and, you know, not easily offended and always believing the best. You know, to be a Christian is more than to go to church on Sunday and then go home and never change. We need to really believe this stuff and put it to work in our life.
And we can be offended about so many different things. You can be offended at God. We're gonna talk about that is little bit tomorrow along with some other things. You can be offended at a store somewhere that didn't treat you right or wouldn't return your money when you bought something from them that didn't work out good. You can be offended at your place of business because you don't think you get treated right. We know that many husbands and wives have offense between them. They have strife between them. You know, the Bible says that when there's a house full of strife, the children end up in rebellion. You know that? Isn't that interesting? Where there's strife, there's every evil work. It's a progressive evil spirit that just keeps causing more and more and more trouble.
I believe that you can give offerings and God wants to bless you and return it back to you, but I think that even having a house full of strife can affect the return on your giving. I believe that we need to realize how important it is that we learn how to take care of these little things and make sure that we dwell in peace. But tonight I want to talk to you about a unique and a particular area of offense, one that you might not think about, but I want you to ask you if you are perhaps offending yourself. You say, "Well, what in the world do you mean by that"? You don't have the peace that God wants you to have. You don't have the joy that God wants you to have. So I'm gonna talk to you tonight about some of the ways that we offend ourselves. I'm sure that I won't hit all of them, but I'm hoping and praying that some of you are gonna get a hold of a little something.
First of all, you can offend yourself by not honoring your conscience, which is a God-given organ. It's a function of our spirit man. Your conscience doesn't function in your soul or your body. It's a function of your spirit man. Your spirit is where you get intuition, it's where you receive revelation from God. Your spirit is where you can receive conviction from the Holy Ghost if something is not the way that it should be. Our confirmation that something is exactly the way that it should be.
And also a function of our spirit is our conscience and our conscience, either approves or disapproves of our actions. Now just to say that I've said it, there are people who have an overactive conscience. I had one at one time and that meant that I felt guilty about everything including I felt guilty if I didn't feel guilty. When I started getting to the point where God was setting me free, then I actually felt bad that I didn't feel bad anymore. So I grew up in a home of abuse and I felt guilty about a lot of things from the time I was a little kid. So my conscience was like wounded and it wasn't functioning right. And the word of God is what brings healing to that. As you begin to know the word, you begin to know what is truly right and what is truly wrong and your conscience works with the Holy Spirit to keep you out of trouble.
I thank God they've got a healthy conscience because it keeps me out of trouble. And it's not a matter of saying, "I have a guilty conscience". I think it's more of just knowing, 'cause I don't think God wants us to feel condemned and guilty. I know that he doesn't. The Bible says that there's no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. If our sins are forgiven, then the guilt of those sins is also removed. So where there's forgiveness, there's always no condemnation. But we still have this conscience that walks through life. I know when I'm talking about something I shouldn't be talking about, I know when I'm getting ready to spend money on something that's just gonna be a waste and I don't need to do that at all. I know when I'm behaving in a way that I shouldn't behave. I know the moment that I become a little bit of a smart aleck with my husband, I don't need an angel to come and preach a three-part series to me. I've got it on the inside of me. And you have the exact same thing.
But here's the problem, the more we ignore our conscience, the better we get at it and it's a very dangerous thing to do. If God gave us that conscience, then he gave it to us to keep us out of trouble. How much better do you think life would be if we honored the organ, the spiritual organ of conscience and if our conscience said NO, then we say NO, and if our conscience says YES, then we say YES? Maybe a person wants you to do something. They want you to go somewhere with them. They want you to do something that you don't have peace about. Your conscience is not approving it. You don't even really have to explain it to them. All you need to say is, "I don't have peace about it for me. I'm not responsible for you. I'm not condemning you. You have to be led by God, but for me, that's not what God wants me to do and I'm not going to do it. It doesn't matter if you understand. It doesn't matter if you get mad. I am going to be led by my conscience".
Now, I want you talk to you a little bit about sin. Isn't that a great subject? My opinion is is sometimes we don't talk about sin enough in the church anymore. I think sin has become our hangup, our problem, our bondage. But Jesus called it sin, and I think we still need to call it sin. He came to set us completely free from the tyranny of sin and sin is not your master. If you're born again, sin is not your master unless you give it the right to be something in your life that it has no legal right to be. So many people don't know their rights and so we live under tyranny, many times, and rights are taken away from us because we don't know that we ever had the right to start with. So we need to be educated to know what our rights are. And it's the same way when it comes to our relationship with God. You need to know who you are in Christ, what you've been delivered from, that the devil has no legal authority over you. He only has the authority that you give him.
We need to begin to stand up against these things and say, "No, I'm not bowing down to that anymore. I'm not giving into that anymore. God, I need your help. I need you to strengthen me". Do not ever go out of the door of your house not one morning without asking God to strengthen you and help you do everything that you need to do that day and behave the way that you're supposed to behave. I want to back up and say that again. Don't ever go out of your house, not one single day, without taking the time to say, "God, I need you today. I need your strength". Ephesians 3:16 says, "Paul prayed that they would be strengthened with all might and power in the inner man and that the Holy Spirit would indwell their innermost being and personality". I don't know about you, but I need some Holy Ghost in my personality a lot of days. Is there anybody else here who you're a little rough around the edges, you can use a lot of Holy Ghost in your personality every day?
Matter of fact, and I'm not trying to sound silly or overly spiritual. I'm just gonna let you into my private life for a minute. I've developed a habit. I get up in the morning and this is what I do... And the first thing I say is, "God, I need you. Help me with everything that I've gotta do today and there's also things gonna come up that I don't even know about. I ask you for grace". And then I make this confession, "I love you, Lord. I love my life. I love myself and I love people. In Jesus' name". It only takes a second, but I tell ya what, I think that's a good way to get a day started. Amen?
And like I said, I'm not trying to be overly spiritual, but, you know, I'm just giving you an example of how we need to know what we're not without God. We need to know that apart from him, we are absolutely nothing and we can do nothing without him. But we also need to realize that when we have him, and we do if we're true believers in Christ, then that gives us a power and an authority that we need to exercise. And if we don't exercise that authority, the devil is going to walk all over us. He is under our feet and that's where we need to keep him. We are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath and we don't have to keep putting up with all this bondage in our life because we don't realize who we are in Christ. Now I want to get somebody stirred up enough to just get a little bit mad at sin and just say, "That's it. You are not my master. You are not gonna rule me anymore. I died when Christ died. I was raised when he was raised. Actually, I am now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven in Christ Jesus. Sin is not my master and it is not gonna rule me". And if you have to, you can say that on the way to sinning.
You have to first know who you are in here and then eventually it will make its way out here. This is an inside job that God does in us. He comes and gives us a new heart, a new want to. You want to do what's right. If you didn't, you wouldn't be in here tonight. I mean, they told me there were people that were parking as far as a mile away and walking up here. People don't do that if they're not serious about God. You're here because you've got a right heart toward God and the more you learn who you are and what your rights are and you begin to stand up for yourself, you're gonna see some things change in your life. You are the head and not the tail and you don't have to be under stuff.
The Bible says in Matthew chapter 18, verses 8 and 9, "If your eye offends you, pluck it out. If your hand offends you, cut it off". Well, isn't that a violent scripture? "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away: it is better and more profitable and wholesome for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into everlasting fire". I tell ya what, Jesus preached some straightforward, bold, aggressive, messages and we have a tendency to think today that we gotta pat everybody on the head and just tell them how wonderful they are, otherwise they won't come back. Well, you know what I've decided? If I don't preach what God gives me to preach, then I am gonna be not so happy when I stand before him and give an account of my life. And as leaders in the body of Christ, we are not here to always make everybody happy. We're here to tell you the truth because it's the truth that will make you free. Amen?
Now more than anybody, I'm aware that you cannot set yourself free from sins and bondages in your life. It has to be God. It has to be the grace of God doing it. But I've also learned this about God, when I get determined to have what Jesus died for me to have, then there's something that happens in the spirit realm. When I get determined that the devil is not gonna run my life, something amazing happens and there's a power that rises up on the inside of me. It's the grace of God and the enemy no longer can rule and control me. And sometimes it takes a little determination. Sometimes you gotta stand your ground for a while. The Bible says, "Set your mind and keep it set on things that are above". Sometimes you gotta say, "Devil, wear yourself out because I am not giving up. I am not gonna quit. I am not gonna shut up. I am gonna have what Jesus said that I could have, and I am gonna be free from this bondage in my life. I am not gonna let this thing control me".
Now I hope you can get in the spirit with me and understand what I'm saying 'cause I'm talking about getting a little bit mad in the Holy Ghost. I believe there's a holy anger that needs to rise up in us once in a while instead of just, "Well, you know, well... And I just don't think I'll ever get over this". No, you need to say, "I am not putting up with this anymore, devil. I am not gonna put up with this anymore".
Well, obviously he's not saying really pull your eye out and cut your hand off, but what he is saying is when there are things in your life that are offending you, things that are keeping you from the best that God has for you, then you need to deal with it in a more violent way. In Matthew chapter 11, there's an amazing scripture. It says, "The kingdom of God has suffered violence, but the violent take it by force". Now that word "Violence" and "Violent" come from two different Greek words. "And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault". How many of you know there is attack against the kingdom of God? I mean, everywhere we look today there's an aggressive attack against the kingdom of God. The devil hates the work of God, and he is in a frantic frenzy in this hour that we live in because he knows that his time is short. Amen? And then he says, "And violent men", I'm a violent woman. Amen. "And violent men seize it by force as a precious prize... a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought after with most ardent zeal and most intense exertion". Amen.
We need to get a little more violent. You know, I was thinking about food the other day and I thought, you know what? I am fed up with food running everybody's lives. I'm fed up with food threatening people. It's something that God gave us to enjoy, and we have the fruit of self-control in our lives. And I just got mad at food, not the part of it that we enjoy, but just the fact that here this beautiful gift from God tries to control so many people. And we need to just get a little more like, "This is ridiculous. I am not gonna be bossed around by a cupcake and a cookie and a piece of pie my whole life".
I mean, come on. How about getting out all those plastic credit cards you got and taking a look at them and saying, "That's it. You are not gonna drive me deeper and deeper and deeper into debt. I don't have to have all the stuff that you drive me to go get, and I am not gonna be making payments on stuff the rest of my life when I don't even know where it's at and couldn't find it if I had to. And I'm not gonna believe these lies that I can buy it now and not make any payments for 6 years and, you know, all that goofy nonsense that's out there".
I feel a little fiery tonight. How many of you agree with me? Amen? 'Cause here's the bottom line. As long as you'll put up with it, get depressed about it, feel sorry for yourself about it, complain about it, get counseling for it... and I'm not against any of that and I don't mean that that's wrong to do. But what I'm saying is sooner or later, you gotta rise up and take responsibility for your life and say, "God, you are my God and if anybody can be free, I can be free, and I am not going to put up with this junk".
You know, my brother and I, of course, we're raised in the same house by the same parents, and we were both abused in different ways. I was sexually abused by my father and with that always comes mental and verbal and, you know, emotional abuse. My mom lived in a lot of fear, didn't know how to help me so she just ignored it, which was a bad mistake 'cause that ended up having a great negative effect on her life. My brother was abused in different ways. He had really no father who ever went to a ball game, ever did this, ever did that. He taught him how to drink. He taught him how to use bad language. He taught him how to run around with women. Whatever he did teach him, he taught him all the wrong things.
Well, my brother's 9 years younger than me, which means if he were still alive, he would be 61, but sadly he died a few years ago, 2, 3 years ago in an abandoned building out in Los Angeles. We had tried to help him on numerous occasions. He lived with Dave and I for a long period of time, got his life straightened out but every time that he would get out on his own and have to start making decisions for himself and be responsible for himself, he would always do the wrong thing and go with his emotions and how he felt and that temporary comfort of taking another drug, another drink, doing the wrong thing every time. We finally, the last time, sent him out to the dream center in L.A. I thought well maybe his coming back to St. Louis is not gonna work for me, it's not gonna work for him. I've been around this mountain enough. Sent him out there, talked to pastor, they agreed they would help him, they would love him. He was in the program a month. He was doing really good. He'd gotten sober. He'd gotten clean. He was about to start getting a little bit of spending money. They had him doing some plumbing work, which was his trade.
After a month, he went to the leader and said, "This is a great program. I appreciate all you guys have done for me, but it's just not for me. Would you take me to the V.A. Hospital and drop me off"? He wanted to get some pills. He wanted to get some pain pills. He wanted to get something that he could take. And a short while later he died in an abandoned building.
Now, what's with that? Here I am preaching the Gospel to a large majority of the world, just enjoying the living daylights out of my life, have seen the promises of God come true. Am I a favored special child and my brother was some kind of lowlife that had no opportunity? No, I believe with all of my heart that the promises of God are for whosoever will. Let me tell ya tonight, you can have everything that God says that you can have, but that doesn't mean... I fought for it, my brother wouldn't. I said, I fought for it, and my brother wouldn't. I fought for it and my brother wouldn't. I got violent with the bondage in my life. You can't just sink down into things and just say, "Well... I wish that I was blessed. I wish I didn't... Well, if there just wasn't any temptation".
Yeah, I remember when I used to say, "If the devil would just leave me alone". Well, revelation, the devil is not going to leave you alone, not now, not ever, so you need to learn who you are in Christ and say, "Devil, get thee behind me in Jesus' name. You are not going to rule my life". Amen? And I remember when God said to me, "You can be pitiful or you can be powerful, but you can't have both so take your pick". Some of you could have a breakthrough in your life if you would just get violent with self-pity and every time the devil invites you to a pity party, you need to scream out loud, "No, I've wasted enough time in my life feeling sorry for myself. I am blessed to the Lord, and I am not gonna sit here today and feel sorry for myself".
I remember when God first started showing me this thing about enjoying everyday life. Well, I didn't know that was possible. I thought you had to be doing something special, super spectacular all the time. I mean you, maybe you could enjoy Friday when you got your paycheck and, you know, but you couldn't enjoy, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. You couldn't do that. Maybe you could enjoy vacation, but man, soon as vacation was over, you had to get all bummed out again 'cause now you gotta work another 52 weeks or 50 weeks before you get another vacation. I had no idea that I could enjoy going to the grocery store, driving in traffic, that God would actually give me the power. Do you understand that you've been given a power to enjoy simple, little things that other people would be bored stupid with? Because you can enjoy everything because God is in you and he is joy.
The joy of the Lord is our strength and you can learn to enjoy yourself. You are the creation of God. He created you with his own hand. You are not an accident. You are not an oops. You are not a second thought. God planned you. He created you and even if your parents didn't want you, God does want you. And even if you did not get a good beginning in life, God is still on track to give you a great finish, but you cannot give up on God. He is not gonna give up on you and you cannot give up on God.
Can I tell ya something I've learned about God? And it's a marvelous thing. You might say, "Well, I messed up the plan of God for my life". Well, let's just say that there was a plan-a and you messed it up royally. Can't go back and get that one. That's too late. But here's what I found out about God, because God is God, he can take plan-b and make it better than plan-a ever would have been even if plan-a would have worked out. So here's the message, plan-b is better. But when we give up, when we sink into this stuff, slide into it, "Well, if only I would have and if only I wouldn't have. If I could have gone to college. If I would have been born in a different family. If I had more money. If I would have been born with one of those silver spoons in my mouth". This is why I think God picks the most unusual, unlikely people and raises them up and does unbelievably amazing things through them because he wants you to know that with God all things are possible. Amen?
Can I tell you something? My brother's life was a great tragic waste. And I don't want to sound unkind, but it wasn't God's fault. You say, "Well, it was the devil's fault". Well, yeah, maybe but really the bottom line is is it was my brother's fault. Because he heard the truth. He lived in our home for 2 years. He traveled with us. He heard the word. He knew the word, but he would not apply the word. And when temptation came to him, he would not get violent with it. You'll be amazed what will happen when you start to feel tempted if you just get somewhere and have a little talk with yourself and just say, "Okay, let's go have a meeting. Now, here's the deal. We've been there, done that, not doing that again. It's over. Get back out there". Amen.
You know, I had some real, I guess, mood issues. I mean, I never knew what kind of mood I was gonna get in until the devil told me. I just kind of had to wait daily to see what it was gonna be like, you know? If I woke up and the devil said, "You're depressed," then I was, I'm depressed. I didn't know that the enemy was controlling a lot of my thoughts. Whatever fell in my head, I took it and thought about it and, you know, where the mind goes, the man follows so the enemy was in control. Thank God that we can have our mind renewed through the word of God and we can learn the truth and that truth will make us free. Thank God for that. And you know what? Tonight no matter how long you have been having a problem with the same thing, don't you dare sit there and think, "Well, you just don't understand my problem". Listen, I had it rough too, really rough, really rough. A lot of people have been treated very, very badly but the point is if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. We get a brand-new start. Now true, there's a healing of our soul that's needed.
More than anything, we need to learn who we are in Christ. If there's something medical going on, get the medical help that you need, but don't let things control you and manipulate you. I had to make a decision that with God's help, I did not have to sit around day after day after day and feel sorry for myself anymore. And I'm telling you the truth, the devil will come and invite you to a pity party. If you're a cranky, moody, bad attitude, bitter, offended, all that nonsense, get over it! Now here it comes, "Well, it's just not that easy". We're not anointed for easy. We are anointed for hard. Amen? We are anointed with the Holy Ghost and power for hard.
And you know what? Please understand, I realize if you're hurting. I realize if you've been hurt and wounded. I realize. Maybe you've had a man walk out on you and leave you with a bunch of kids. I realize that this stuff is gut-wrenchingly hard. I'm not trying to make light of your problems at all. Please understand that. I know what you're going through but I know that sooner or later, you gotta get mad enough in the Holy Ghost to reclaim your life. You have to say, "I am not gonna sit around and just let my feelings rule me and control me". God will heal your feelings. He will heal your mind. He will heal your life and you can have a most amazing, wonderful life, but you have got to do something besides just sit around and take guff off the devil.
When God first started teaching me about enjoying life, which I did not do, I didn't even know how to enjoy life because I never got to be a child. I was responsible from the time I can remember because nobody ever took care of me and if anybody did do anything for me, then they expected some kind of payment back. And I didn't know how to enjoy life. Didn't know how to enjoy anything I did. I got all my worth and value out of work. As long as I was working and accomplishing something, then I felt okay about myself, but actually if I tried to enjoy myself, I felt guilty. Anybody know that? Why do we do that? That's stupid. That's the devil. Jesus said, "I came that you might enjoy your life".
Yes, we're supposed to work. There's no doubt about that. We need to work and we need to work hard. It's healthy to work hard, but you need to enjoy the fruit of your labor. You don't have to just work, work, work, work all the time, just work, work, work. It's okay to do things for yourself and it's okay to enjoy doing things for yourself. And I didn't know how to do that. How many of you know when you're not enjoying life, it kind of irritates you when you're around somebody else that is enjoying theirs? Come on, let's be truthful. If we're not enjoying our life, it irritates us when we're around somebody else that's happy. "Well, what are you so happy about"?
And I had to get violent in the spirit. I'm not talking about violent toward people. I'm talking about having a violent attitude toward the devil. And if you think Jesus didn't have that, then you better go read some parts of the Bible that maybe you haven't read. When Jesus was trying to share with Peter, and it's recorded in Matthew 16, that the time was very close when he was going to suffer and die, Peter rebuked him. "Oh no, Lord, this must not happen to you". Well, I'll tell ya a secret. Maybe Peter was concerned for Jesus, but I think Peter was a little more concerned for Peter even than he was for Jesus 'cause Peter knew he was hanging out with a guy that if he was about to get persecuted, that he might get in on it. "Oh, no, Lord, this must not happen. No". And Jesus immediately turned to him and said, "Get thee behind me, satan, because you are an offense and you are in my way".
Why did Jesus say he was an offense? Because Peter was trying to stop him from doing the will of God. Peter didn't even realize he was being used by the enemy. That's why Jesus didn't address Peter. He addressed satan. "Get thee behind me, satan". We spend too much time mad at people, instead of getting mad at the devil who's working through the people and not letting him control our lives. It didn't do me any good to hate my father. I tried that for years. Being mad at him didn't get me well, but when I finally forgave him and I realized that hurting people hurt people and he only hurt me because somewhere in his life, the devil managed to hurt him. And there it went from generation to generation to generation to generation until somebody decided to say, "Enough. I am not going to put up with this anymore. I am drawing the bloodline of Christ across my life. It stops here. It's not going to my kids".
You're not gonna have victory watching soap operas and eating doughnuts everything day. Some of us want to have authority over the devil and we don't even have authority over a sink full of dirty dishes yet. Get up in the morning. Clean your messes. Get places on time. Don't come into church 15 minutes after it starts, saunter down the aisle, interrupt 4 or 5 people, not care about them at all, and then leave 5 minutes before it's over when the pastor says, "Well, in closing," and now half the church gets up. You have any idea what that feels like? It makes you just want to rip your hair out. It's like, good grief, I'm trying to land this plane. I've been circling the airport here trying to help you people, now you're gonna get up and go because you want to get your car out of the parking lot.
"Well, I don't want to have to wait". You just need to stay to your flesh, "Shut up and sit down. We're staying 'til it's over". Once again I want to say, I know that we can't change anything in our life without the grace of God. But God's not gonna just do it all for us while we sit back and do nothing. We're partners with God. God will link up with you and give you the grace and the power that you need to overcome, but you gotta be determined that you're gonna overcome. Look up those words, "Endure, persevere, be steadfast". There's words in the Bible that make it very clear that we're gonna have to hang on to some things and refuse to let them go. Is anybody getting an inkling in your spirit that maybe you just need to fan your flame and not let the fire go out? You know what happens? When you have a lot of trouble over a long period of time, sometimes that fire begins to go out and you just get kind of beat down and you need a good Holy Ghost pep rally like we're having tonight just to say, "Enough is enough, I'm not putting up with this anymore. God is on my side".
So anyway, back to enjoying life. I tried to tell this story eight times and I keep drifting away from it. I didn't know how to enjoy my life, but I really wanted to and I actually knew that God was telling me that I needed to do that. When I saw that scripture that Jesus died so that we might have and enjoy life, I thought what a tragedy it's gonna be if I spend my whole life and don't ever really enjoy it? Look at me and let me tell you something. God didn't want you to spend your whole life fighting something. He wants you to stand from a place of victory, knowing that it is finished, it has already been done. He wants you to enjoy every day of your life. And I had to get violent with the devil. I mean, I still remember where I was at. I was going up my staircase, and I had something planned that day that I was gonna enjoy. And I remember starting to feel guilty like, "Well, I probably should get some more work done".
Let me tell ya something, I am a hard worker and that was just plain stupid. I mean, that was just like plain stupid for me to listen to that from the enemy. That would just be ridiculous, but I had listened to it for years. And, you know, when the enemy's had a stronghold in your life for a long time, he's not gonna give up easy. You're gonna have to stand your ground. And I was determined, determined, determined that I was gonna learn how to enjoy my life. I was tired of watching everybody else enjoy their life while I sat around feeling sorry for myself because all I ever did was work. But I wasn't willing to give up the work because that's where I got my worth. "And I work all the time. Everybody else has fun". That was my fault. It wasn't their fault. It was my responsibility to learn how to enjoy my life.
And I remember standing on that staircase saying out loud, "No"! I was home alone, thankfully but I probably would have done it anyway. I said, "No"! And I said this, "Now hear this, devil. I am going to learn how to enjoy my life if it is the last thing that I ever do. You are not going to make me miserable anymore". And I believe there was a shift in the spirit that day. Did you hear me? I think you can make a shift in the spirit. Some of you can make a shift. You don't need to go home and be violent with the people at home because you walk in the door and they didn't leave the house the exact way you wanted it. Go off to a conference like this and some you by tomorrow afternoon, you're already gonna be thinking, "Man, when I go home, if they left that house a mess, there's gonna be a price to pay 'cause I told them". You're already preparing to be violent with the wrong people.
Don't let the devil control you. When we do something wrong, thank God that there's repentance. Thank God for the beautiful gift of repentance and being able to take that situation to God. We're not perfect. We're gonna do things wrong, but I'll tell you one thing I've decided I'm a fight for myself. I'm gonna fight for my rights. I'm gonna stand up to the enemy. I'm gonna walk in the authority that God has given me. I'm gonna learn everything that I can possibly learn about my beautiful, amazing Lord and Savior, and I want to love him with my whole heart. And I am gonna have a good relationship with myself. I am not gonna be against myself. I am not gonna be mad at myself. I am not gonna pick myself apart and find 20 new things every day that I can be mad at myself about. I like myself. Matter of fact, I love myself in Christ. I am not in love with myself in a selfish way, but I love myself. And I double dare you about three our four times every day to say out loud, "I love God. I love my life. I love myself, and I love other people".
You say, "Well, is that scriptural"? "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength, and you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself". Come on, I want you to be the best friend you've got. I feel it in my spirit. I can feel in the spirit what a difference it's gonna make for some people if you can just get over all this, "I'm not this and I'm not that". Why don't you start celebrating victories instead of looking at how far you have to go all the time? I mean, I spent a lifetime thinking about what I'm not, but you know what I am? I'm faithful. I'm a hard worker. I don't give up easily. I love to give. I love to help people. There's a lot of good things about every single one of us, but we are so afraid if we happen to think anything good about ourselves that we're gonna get off into some kind of pride.
You know what? God is well able to correct us if we get off into a wrong kind of pride. That's a totally different thing than knowing who you are in Christ. It is not holy to sit around and think about how no good you are all the time. I hate it when one of my kids are insecure and feel bad about themselves. I hate that. I pray for them. I want them to feel good about themselves. I want them to know how much they're loved. I want them to know the capabilities that they have. I want them to do great things. I want them to really enjoy themselves. So you can imagine if we feel that way as parents, how does God feel that way about us?
Come on, get a good relationship with yourself. Stop offending yourself by being against yourself. If you're not for you, who is gonna be for you? It's certainly not gonna be the enemy and we all know we can't always count on other people to be for us. And there's a lot of great people in the world, but you know you can't put that kind of dependence on people to always count on them to make you feel good about yourself.
I just did a little exercise just for the fun of it. Didn't even have to get a concordance out or a Bible or nothing. And I just thought, I'm gonna start with the as in the alphabet and just jot down all the good things that I know, from all my years of study, are in the word about me and about you. And to be honest, I stopped after one-third of the alphabet because I already had so much. And I just did this off the top of my head. I mean, I didn't even really get down to studying.
"I am anointed. I'm able, amazing, abiding in Christ. I have authority over the devil. I'm blessed and I'm a blessing. I believe I'm a confident, caring person. I'm free from condemnation. I'm complete in Christ. I'm consecrated, set apart for God's use. I'm chosen. I'm changing daily. I'm compassionate, committed, content, bold and courageous. I hear from God. I'm full of faith. I am loved, accepted. I'm righteous through Jesus Christ. I am crucified with Christ. I look good. I feel good. I have divine health. I don't look as old as I am". Hallelujah. "I am debt free, dedicated, disciplined, determined, diligent, wise, discerning, obedient, humble, patient. I have favor with God and man. I am generous, equipped, talented. I encourage people. I am excellent. I walk in integrity. I'm truthful, smart, strong, faithful, fearless, peaceful, joyful and I am a good friend".
I got a little bit more to go. We're now in the F's and heading for the G's. "I am free. Sin is not my master. I am kind, gentle, loving, godly, full of grace. I am gracious to others. I am guiltless, redeemed, justified, kept safe by God. I am healed. I have a pure heart. I'm going to heaven. I'm a hard worker, full of faith. I'm intelligent. I have the keys of the kingdom. I'm a body filled with God, and I am destined to be conformed with the image of Jesus Christ". Can anybody say, "Amen"? Whoa. Hallelujah. And you know what? That same thing is true for every one of you. Aren't you already feeling better? My goodness, you're already feeling better. Now you know what I'm challenging you to do? Go home now and make your own list and make it all the way through to Z. "Well, are there any Z's"? "I'm full of zeal. I'm zealous for the Lord". Amen?
You cannot run out of the good things that God has to say about you, but you know what? You can't find a bunch of bad stuff. You know, you can't find a bunch of bad stuff. It's the devil that puts that junk in your head, and your believing is gonna dictate your living. When you begin to believe right, you're gonna start to live right. When you know who you are in Christ and you can say, and I had to say this a thousand times before I ever believed it, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ. Through Christ, I have been made right with God". We are not in wrong standing with God. We are in right standing with God, and he looks at you just like he looked at Christ and he says, "This is my beloved son. This is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased". "Well, how could God be pleased with me"? Well, you're here, aren't you? Amen? You're watching me on television. You wouldn't do that if you didn't have something going on on the inside that you cared about God. God sees the good things in us. He doesn't just look at the things that still need to change. He sees where we're going to be if he doesn't give up on us. And I've got good news for you. God is not going to give up on you. He has got something for you to do, and you are gonna get violent enough in the Holy Ghost to do it. Amen.