Joyce Meyer - Let Your Test Become Your Testimony
Let your test become your testimony. Everybody likes a testimony. We overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, and it's good to be able to testify to the veracity and the truth of God's word. Life sometimes can get tough anybody agree with that, all right? Nobody ever ends up with a testimony. How many of you love hearing a good testimony? Nobody ever has a testimony if they haven't had a test. And so, we're gonna be tested and not only will the enemy try to test us, but God himself will test us. David even prayed for God to test him. I don't pray that prayer real often but, you know? I mean, David prayed, "Oh God, try me, test me. See if there's any wicked thing in me". Wow, that's nerve.
We love to hear great testimonies but if we don't pass our tests, we'll never have the testimony. Some of you wonder why you keep around and around the same mountain all the time, all the time. Well, there's a little something you need to know about God, you never flunk out in his school, you just keep getting to take the same tests over and over and over until you pass them. Amen? And then even after you pass them, occasionally, you'll get a little refresher course. Just to check and see if you're still where you need to be in that subject.
Well, we love to hear and read about Noah, Joseph, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Ruth, Esther, Peter, Paul, but would you have wanted to have been them? "Oh, it would be great to have Joyce's life". Oh honey. Yes, I have a great life, but you don't do this and not pay a price to do it, amen? Would we, you know, we think, "Oh, man, it must awesome, Paul wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, wow, man. Moses parted the Red Sea, wow". None of these people were making their own choices in life. They each had a plan that was suddenly interrupted by God. Maybe some of you have plans and God's been trying to interrupt them, and you're not letting him and so things are not going so well for you. 'Cause, you know, when God decides to get in the middle of something, come on now. Most people have an invisible sign hanging on their life. God can see it, but other people can't. It says, "Do not disturb". Those are signs you can hang on hotel doors but you don't get to put one your life. If you're gonna hang out with God, you better get ready to get interrupted. You can have a good plan every day but that doesn't mean you're gonna get to do what you plan because if God needs you, you gotta be on call.
I'm sure Esther had a plan for her life and it probably wasn't to take a chance on getting killed by doing things that you normally don't get by with. These people were placed in situations that they'd never encountered. You know, when God asks you to do something telling him, "Well, I've never done that before," that don't bother God. So, they were placed in situations they'd never encountered and in the natural, were not equipped to handle. They were alone many times in their pain and their tragedy, misunderstood and criticized. And these men and women, we see things like the death of loved ones, persecution of the righteous, famine, prison, rejection, abandonment, abuse, injustice, misunderstanding. How many of you still want to be used by God? Where's the hands? I saw one that went about like this.
You know, I'm gonna tell you the truth, they had to be willing to die. They had to learn to love unlovely people, have long suffering impatience, get criticized and accused, long periods of waiting for God's deliverance. But we also see in the lives of these people that great fruit was produced and that God used them in amazing ways. He used Esther to save a whole nation, one little young girl in her 20s, because she was willing to lay aside her plan and step out and do what she felt like God was telling her to do.
Now, I know all of you are not called into full-time ministry, but I can tell you, this affects every single person because there's not a person in this room that God doesn't challenge you and ask you to do things that you feel like are more than what you can handle. I don't care if it's nothing other than talking to your next-door neighbor about Jesus. Nobody gets a testimony without a test. If you're gonna hang out with God, endurance, the word "Endurance," a Bible word, "Endurance" is a must. We have to learn how to endure, how to not run away from hard things. We have to learn that the only way to get through is to go through, amen? And so, I have my own little definition for endurance and I like it. I believe that endurance means to outlast the devil. In other words, however long you want to aggravate me, that's just how long I'm gonna stick with God and not quit and not give up. You go ahead and wear yourself out trying to wear me out, but I am not going to give up, amen? And I'll tell you if you don't have anything going for you except being bullheaded enough to say, "I am never gonna give up," you'll end up getting the victory.
I've got a sign in my office that says, "Never, never, never give up". I almost brought it this weekend just to show you. Don't give up. "Be not weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap if you faint not". And that scripture is for every single person here. We all get tired of it. We all get tired of waiting. We all get tired of the devil picking on us. We all get tired of the stuff that happens to us but only the ones that refuse to give up are the ones that will come out and be part of the group that parts the Red Sea and does the kind of things that these guys did, men and women. Come on. Endurance means to abide, to remain under, to be patient, patient, and patience is not just an ability to wait. You're gonna wait whether you like it or not, but it's how we act while we wait. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that keeps us sweet and kind, come on. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that keeps us sweet and kind.
How much can you go through personally and still be nice to other people? Oh my gosh, I've come a long way. Forty-two years ago if I would go to the grocery store and the clerk was new... I mean, I could have my rhinestone Jesus pin on and everything. But I tell you what, the fruit wasn't pretty. Now, 42 years later, not two days, come on. Now, 42 years later, and thankfully it didn't take me the whole 42 years, but it did take about four or five. And now if we got a new clerk and I can tell she's getting nervous because she's having trouble I'll just say, "Hey, don't worry about it. Don't worry about it. You'll get it. You'll end up being great at this job. Everybody makes mistakes. I'm not in that big of a hurry". I can actually, I actually can now think more of somebody else than I do myself. Took 42 years, but I'm good with that now. Now, you know, there's other things that I'm maybe not so patient with but I've got the slow clerk thing down.
Patience, endurance, outlast the devil, learn that everything in life is not gonna be your way and God expects you to be sweet anyway. Christians are supposed to be nice, did you know that? Maybe that's the revelation for the day, I don't know. What'd you learn at the conference today? "Joyce said we're supposed to be nice". "We're supposed to like each other". Hebrews 6:12, "So that you will not be spiritually sluggish, but will instead be imitators of those who through faith lean on God with absolute trust and confidence in him and in his power and by patient endurance even when suffering are now inheriting the promises". So, if you're in this building today and you feel you have victory in your life, that doesn't mean everything's perfect, but you feel that you've come through and you've got a good measure of victory in your life, it's because at some point, you endured, at some point, you stopped running away from the hard things and you learned to just run to them and get it over with, come on.
I'd have to say that I've got a good measure of victory in my life right now. It's certainly not perfect, but I'm pretty happy most the time, pretty content, pretty peaceful. I've come a long way, but I tell ya, I had to learn to stop running from things and just say, "God, just do whatever you gotta do and just get it over with. And if you have to, just tie me to the altar and don't let me get away from you because I don't want to stay the same". There's two kinds of pain, the pain of change and the pain of staying the same, and staying the same should scare you more than changing.
They endured and they're now inheriting the promises. Hebrews 10:36, "For you have need of patient endurance to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising, so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may receive and enjoy to the full what is promised". How many of you are seeing these things? We go through to get through and the reward is always on the other side, but we're gonna be tested, we're gonna be tried, and we're gonna need to be proven. Would you lose your job rather than lie for your boss? There wasn't enough clapping on that, that's for sure. Now I'm really concerned. We may have to stay a while. There's no tellings how many times people are tested way back here somewhere and if they would have done the right thing back there, now they would be enjoying a life that would be amazing.
I've told this story before, wasn't part of this message but gotta do it to make the point. Years ago, I worked for a wholesale fish company, and I was the bookkeeper. And he wanted me to basically help him steal some money from a customer because we owed them money. And I sent out the statements every month and these people had like a 300-and-some-odd-dollar credit balance because they'd accidentally paid a bill twice. And so, he would look over all the statements before I'd send them out, and he brought that one out to me and he said, "I want you to put a debit on this account and make it have a zero balance". In other words, he didn't want to send them the money because they had a credit on their account.
Well, I knew right away that it was wrong to do but I went home, I slept on it. Well, I didn't sleep, actually. And I wasn't even really what I would call a real strong Christian back then, but I loved God. I went to church. I had some moral fiber and I just knew that I couldn't do it. Dave and I both worked in the same area. We only had one car so that meant that, you know, my transportation wasn't good. There was a lot of reasons not to lose that job and I was petrified if I went in and told him that I wouldn't do what he asked me to do that he would fire me. And so, I went in real early the next morning. I made my mind up, now just listen, I made my mind up I was gonna go with God even if I lost my job.
Come on, I want y'all to hear that. I made my mind up that I was gonna go with God even if I lost my job. And there was a lot of things I didn't have the answer to if I did lose my job, but I knew that I had to go with God. Come on now, are you willing to lose a friend if that's what you have to do in order to go with God? Are you willing to be made fun of if that's what you have to do in order to go with God? Are you willing to be judged and criticized as the religious nut in your office in order to go with God? Come on, I'm asking some serious questions. It's time that we make our minds up we're not gonna compromise what we know is right just to be accepted by everybody else, or to keep a job, or whatever the case may be.
And there's no tellings how many Christians today make compromises in their life just to be accepted by the world or to keep a good-paying job or something like that. And here's what happens, now, thankfully God gave me the grace to pass that test. I went in real early the next morning and I just went in and I was shaking like crazy and I said, "You know, you may not understand this but I'm a Christian and I do not feel that I can balance this statement out and make it have a zero balance because I would feel like that I was stealing their money if I did that". And said, "I need my job, don't want to lose my job, but I can't do it". Well, he got red in the face and he sputtered and just said "Well, just get out there and go to work".
And all day long, I kept expecting to get fired and finally just about five minutes before quitting time, he came out and he kind of slammed that statement down on my desk he said, "Well, just send them a check". Long story short, I kept getting promoted in that company until I was right beneath him. I didn't have the education for the job. Half the time I didn't even know how to do what I was doing, but God gave me the grace to do it. And I'll tell you this, and believe this, if I would have compromised back then, I don't think I'd be here today telling you this story. I've got a testimony because I passed the test.
Come on now, don't give up what God has got planned for you, the amazing life that God has got planned for you just to compromise with somebody who wants you to sin to keep them happy. Go with God if it costs you everybody else in the whole world, you go with God because when all this is over, there's gonna be nothing but God. Come on. And, you know, I feel real strong about what I'm saying to you right now because you're getting tested, and you will get tested, and I really, really, really, really want you to pass the test so you can have the testimony, so you can stand up and tell somebody else, "Go with God. Don't let the devil steal God's plan for your life by some silly compromise". Now, that doesn't mean that you can't be forgiven for sin. God can forgive us, but he can only use people in a great way that he can trust in a great way. God's gotta be able to trust the people that he wants to use not to cave in if it means a little bit of discomfort.
See, you gotta think about the prize that's on the other side of the pain. The Bible says about Jesus in Hebrews 12:2 that: "He despised the shame of the cross, but he endured it for the joy of the prize that was on the other side". See, what I'm tryin' to tell ya today is, if you're goin' through somethin' difficult, and you're just wantin' to quit and give up, run back to your old life or start actin' bad, instead of tryin' to get out of it, why don't you just tell God, "You just do whatever you gotta do, and when you're done doin' it, I know that you'll lift this burden. Until then, let me get stronger and stronger and stronger". Concentrate on continuing to be what you know God wants you to be no matter how much you're suffering personally, and there will be, there will be, not there might be, there will be a reward on the other side for you. You will come out a better person than you were when you went in.
Come on, payday's comin', amen? I said, "Payday is coming". God never misses payday. He's never late. Man, we could think about all the things that these people went through. Ruth chose hardship rather than be disloyal, but she ended up married to the richest man in the county. Abraham believed the impossible for 20 years, but he got his kid. Moses turned his back on a life of luxury, but he also parted the Red Sea, saw great miracles. Esther laid her life on the line, but she saved a nation. Daniel took a chance on bein' killed rather than compromise his integrity, and he just kept getting promoted and kept getting promoted. He outlasted, I don't know, three or four kings. Even the lions couldn't eat him.
Tests are given to prove what we really know, not what we think we know, but what we really know. I say this all the time. Just 'cause it's underlined in my Bible doesn't mean I know it. I can have it colored in in four colors, and that still doesn't mean that I know it. Amen? Just because I've read it doesn't mean that I know it. Do you know how you know when you know it? When you do it. So, don't look at what you think you know. Look at what you're doing. Have a meeting with yourself occasionally. I prayed last week real strong one day for God just to show me truth. "God, I wanna know myself. I don't wanna be deceived about myself. I don't wanna be goin' around thinking that I'm something that I'm not". We need to know ourselves. There's nothing more valuable than to be able to be honest with yourself about yourself and stop blaming everything on somebody else. Come on, You know, we're not havin' dessert today, but this is the only way I know to help you. You can get some dessert somewhere else.
Know yourself. Blame, blame, blame, I mean, that's the first thing we wanna do when somethin' goes wrong is blame it on somebody else. You know the first step to healing? Take 100% responsibility for your life right now. And you might say, "Well, it's not may fault that I'm in this situation". It may not be your fault that you got here, but if you don't take responsibility for it, you'll never get out of it. I know, 'cause I used all those excuses: "Well, if I just wouldn't have been abused. If I just wouldn't have this. If I just wouldn't have that". Finally, we gotta stop feelin' sorry for ourselves and say, "I'm gonna take responsibility for this mess. I'm gonna apply these principles in the Word of God, and I'm gonna find out if all this Bible stuff is true or not". And I can tell ya, it is, it works. Come on, don't just have a bumper sticker on your car. Let's get some fruit.
All right, we're gettin' close to gettin' out of time here, so let's just jump over here to this. What types of tests can we expect to encounter? Well, the patience test. Everybody gets that one over and over and over. I can't even tell you how many times our hotel door keys don't work when we're out. Yesterday, we were in a hurry. We got on an elevator that was supposed to be going down, and it started going up. And somebody had played with the buttons, and it was stoppin' on every single floor. You know, we've learned to just say, "Well, of course. We're at a conference. What else? Well, what else would you expect"?
The forgiveness test, you're gonna have to pass that one. Boy, that's what this whole weekend's been about, bein' slow to anger. "A wise man is slow to anger". Ephesians 4: "Don't let the sun go down on your anger". That's a little more helpful if you get mad early in the morning. You got all day, but I'm telling you, it's tough if you get really mad about ten minutes before bedtime. That's only for the really mature believers. Come on, don't be mad at anybody. Just don't waste your time bein' mad at 'em. That's not gonna change 'em. Pray for 'em. Remember some of the stuff that you do. I'm not sayin' let people walk all over you, but I'm just tellin' you that bitterness and resentment, unforgiveness, and bein' offended, it's killing people. It's shutting down the power of the church.
Where any two are in agreement, God's in the midst of them and can do great things. If God can just find two people that can get along, he can do great things. Just imagine what would happen if you could have a whole church that had no strife in it. You know, the minute you get offended by your pastor, from that minute on, he can no longer help you. You can't learn from what he says until you get over it. Most of the ground the devil gains in people's lives is through unforgiveness. It's a tough one, isn't it, when somebody hurts you? You know why? 'cause everything in is screams, "It's not right. It's not fair". We're so concerned they're gonna get by with it. You don't need to be concerned about that. God's our vindicator. But he's much more interested in changing them than he is in getting 'em back. Thank you.
Okay, two more. I'm only gonna mention two more tests. The faithfulness test, you know what the faithfulness test is? It's when all the excitement's gone and you keep doin' it anyway. You know, when you've been married to somebody 50 years, you don't get goosebumps when they walk in the door. Well? But what you think is love when you're in your 20s and get married turns into somethin' totally different if you stick it out for 30 or 40 years. I can tell ya now, my husband and I, we really love each other. But it's not an emotional type of thing. It's somethin' way different than that. And you come to a point, a lot of people come to a point in their marriage where it's not exciting anymore. And so, then they think they need somebody else because they're just living on excitement.
Faithfulness, you know, I'll be very honest with ya. I had to make a decision about this ministry a few years ago. It's one thing when you're climbin', but when you've reached your goal? You know, people ask me all the time, "Well, what's next"? Well, nothin'. I mean, I'm livin' my dream. I'm doing what I believe God sent me to do. And now my job is to just keep on doin' it, you know? I mean, I don't get as excited as you do about comin' to a Joyce Meyer Conference. Now, don't misunderstand me. I love doin' it, but I don't feel the same way about it that I did 25 years ago. But you know why I'm tryin' to be open with you and sharing? You're gonna come to that same place about somethin' in your life, and I want you to remember that just because something doesn't emotionally excite you anymore, that doesn't mean you have a right to walk away from it. We need people that are gonna stick with stuff a long time after it's not exciting anymore, amen?
And the last test... well, it's not the last test, but it's the last one I'm gonna talk about, and you're gonna like it the least of all. Turn to the person next to you and say, "You're not gonna like this". Okay, here it comes. Are you ready? The submission to authority test. Listen to that. You are not fit to be in authority until you know how to come under authority. God is gonna put somebody in your life that's over you that tells you to do things that you don't wanna do that you don't think are fair. And then he's gonna tell you not to talk about 'em behind their back. He's gonna tell you not to murmur and complain, to show them the utmost respect. And your flesh is gonna have a fit, an absolute fit. All right, I'm gonna read ya one last scripture. I don't like this scripture, but... I mean, this scripture positively aggravates my flesh. "Servants, be submissive to your masters with all proper respect, not only to those who are good and kind, but also to those who are unreasonable," amen.