Joyce Meyer - The Pursuit Of Peace
Now Matthew chapter 5, verse 9 is a wonderful scripture. We're gonna look at this together, take a little time and examine it. "Blessed," amplified Bible says, "Enjoying enviable happiness, and spiritually prosperous, with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation," now get this, "Regardless of their outward conditions". Now see, that's really what we're after. Here's why, I cannot and you cannot and we never will be able to control everything that comes against us. Not all storms are in the forecast. Amen? Not all storms are in the forecast. A lot of things happen suddenly and unexpectedly.
And let me tell ya something, we need to be prepared. We need to be strong ahead of time and not wait until we're in the midst of a mess then trying to get strong in God and get prayed up. We need to not get ready. We need to live ready. Amen? Did anybody hear what I'm saying? We need to live ready. So this scripture says that people that are blessed are those who are happy and they have joy regardless of their outward conditions. And then it goes on to say, "Blessed are the makers," now watch this, "The makers and the maintainers of peace". So we can't just say, "Well, I wish I had peace. Oh, God, give me peace". He says, "Be a maker of peace. Be a maintainer of peace". "They shall be called", and I love this, doesn't say the children of God, it says the sons of God.
See, you give privileges to sons and daughters that you can trust who know your heart that you don't give to babies and to children. We're all children of God but some people honestly never get out of the baby stage. Some never get out of the kindergarten stage. Some never graduate from grade school. They never go on to do anything with their life. They're always complaining and murmuring and upset and unhappy and don't have any peace and don't know who they are in Christ simply because they've never either be taught or they're not willing to go deeper in God. God loves you so much but his goal is not to give us every single thing we want. If that's what it takes to keep us happy, then we certainly don't have any depth. I used to be like that. I could be happy when I was getting everything I wanted. Well, that's not any kind of spiritual maturity. Anybody can do that. You don't need to be saved to do that.
So are you willing to take on the role of a peacemaker? Are you willing to be the first one to say, "I'm sorry"? What about even if you don't think it was your fault? Now that's another whole level right there. Now we're really going deep. See, I've gotten hungry enough for peace. Now don't misunderstand me. There are times when you need to make a fuss about things that aren't right, no doubt. I'm not talking about not confronting evil and not standing up against anything, but how many things do we lose our peace over that don't make any sense at all? It just really doesn't make that much difference in the long run. It's not gonna matter to us. That's not what we're gonna be concerned about on our death bed, is it? And so I've learned that being right is highly overrated and that you're much better off to just say, "Look, maybe I'm wrong. I'm sorry. Let's don't fight".
Be the peacemaker and be a maintainer of peace. So we're gonna get really practical tonight and we're gonna learn some of the ways that we can do that. But first let's look at 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 11. See, we want more peace, but are we willing to make the changes that we need to make in order to have it? And I'm gonna ask that question again when I'm sure that you're listening. We want more peace, but are we willing to make the changes that we need to make in order to have it? We want more peace, but are we willing to make the changes that we need to make to have it? See, you finally figured out I was gonna keep saying it till you got happy. You know, I found out that I could have more peace in my home if I stopped trying to tell my husband what to do all the time. That's just one little hint of how things can improve. But see, I enjoy telling people what to do. I have a strong type a personality. I'd much rather been in charge and be in control, but it doesn't bring peace. It don't bring peace. And Jesus said, "I left you my peace. Stop getting upset. Stop allowing yourself to be upset and disturbed". Another place in the Bible says, "Hold your peace. Be a maker and a maintainer of peace".
We've gotta just quit sitting around wishing for things. "I wish I had more peace. Well, I wish I had more peace". Well, you know what? You're never gonna have more peace if all you do is wish. Remember I said this morning, I have a goal in my heart this year. I feel so strongly about this. I want to help people become on-purpose people rather than passive people who sit around and wait for the right thing to happen. I want to teach people how to do what they need to do on purpose because if we do what we need to do, God will always come up with his side. The blessed part is God's part. He'll bless us, but he says, "Now you be a maker and a maintainer of peace". How many of you can just think of just a few things right now that if you really, I mean if you really wanted to, if you would just swallow a little of that pride, be a little less stubborn, how many of you can think of just a few things that maybe if you would be willing to do in your home that maybe, just maybe you could have a little more peace than what you have now if you'd just be a little willing to?
Okay, so if you know what you could do and you won't do it, there's only one reason. Peace is not important enough to you. See, there was a time in my life when peace was not important enough to me for me to make the change. I would have rather been right and been upset all day. Now what kind of dumb is that, let me ask you? I mean just what brand of dumb is that? And so then I had headaches all the time, and I was going to the chiropractor, getting my neck adjusted all the time... I didn't know how to let people be who they were. I was determined everybody was gonna be like me. If you are gonna live in my house, come on ladies, anybody ever had that speech with your kids? "If you are gonna live in my house, you are gonna live by my rules and we are not gonna be messy in this house". Except I had two kids that did well to find themselves, let alone any of their belongings. Come on, anybody got some like that? You're just like you think, what is this kid gonna do when they're grown? How can they ever leave home? They will never make it out in society.
Well, you know what's really hysterical? Out of those two kids, one of them now is the CEO of our stateside office. And the other one helps take care of me. So all my fits were for nothing. They grew up, they survived and just think, all those years of happiness that I missed because I was determined that everybody was gonna be like me. 1 Peter 3:11, "Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony: undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and let him seek it eagerly. Do not merely desire peaceful relationships with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, and go after them!" oh my gosh, how valuable is that? All right, let's put that whole scripture back up again. I want you to look at the strength of some of these words. "Let him search for peace (harmony: undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) seek it".
Seek means to be willing to sacrifice in order to have, to pursue to go after with all your strength and all your might. Don't merely want it but go after it with all your strength, pursue it and go after it. Now, this is when things begin to get sweet in your life, when you decide, now listen to me, "I'm gonna be peaceful on purpose. I'm not gonna wait for my circumstances to make me peaceful. I'm not gonna wait for everybody to do what I want them to do to be peaceful. I'm not gonna wait till there's no storms in life to be peaceful. Starting tonight, I'm making a new covenant with God that I am gonna be peaceful on purpose. And if it takes me 5 years of failing and trying again and failing and trying again, I'll repent every time that I lose my peace, but I'm gonna get up and go after it again because I am deciding that I am not willing to live without peace. I will enjoy the life that Jesus died to give me".
"Peace with God, peace with yourself, peace with your fellow man". This is actually a three-part series if I preach it properly, but you're gonna get this download here in five minutes. If you're gonna have peace with God, you've gotta know that God loves you. You have to know God's character so you can know what to expect from him. You know that when you sin, he's ready to forgive. You know that he's full of mercy. You know that you can trust God. You can be open with God. You can talk to God about anything. There's absolutely nothing that you need to try to hide from God because he knows everything anyway. So, if you're gonna have peace with God, don't try to keep secrets from him. There is no such thing as keepin' a secret from God. How silly is that, to think we're not gonna tell God something? Peace with yourself, this is another four-part series.
Why don't you, once and for all, if you need to, accept yourself tonight? Quit havin' a war with yourself. You don't have any peace if you're constantly pickin' on yourself, takin' a continual inventory of everything that's wrong with you, comparing yourself with other people. "I don't look like this, and I don't look like that, and I wish I had their figure, and I wish I had your hair, and I wish I had your gift, and I wish I could sing like that, and whining". Not. We are what we are. Let's take what we are, which is God's will. He doesn't make any junk. He doesn't make any mistakes. And let's do the best that we can with it and stop competing with other people and wanting a life that's not the life we have. We can be sour and sad the rest of our life because we're not like somebody else, but that's never gonna make us like somebody else. Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken. Amen?
Now, let me just tell ya. If you don't like yourself, you're in a for a rough go because everywhere you go, there you are. I mean, you can't go to the bathroom without you. You can't take a shower without you. Think about it. That's a pretty scary deal. You never get away from yourself, ever, for one second in your whole life. There you are. Do you know how distracting it is to just even have to spend two hours with somebody you don't like? So just think about spending your whole life with somebody that you don't like. And I spent years. I didn't like myself. I did not like myself. And I'll you the truth. Until you can come to terms of peace with yourself, you are not havin' any joy. You are not gonna enjoy life. You are not gonna get along with people. Because how can you have peace with anybody else? How can you like them if you don't even like you? "Well, I don't like the way I look".
Well, make peace with your thighs. Make peace with your big feet that you don't like. How many things are you letting rip you apart? Come on now, think with me. How many things are you letting make you cry yourself to sleep at night, or give you depression, or discourage you, or torment you? And it's nothing that can be fixed unless you come to terms of peace with yourself. Who cares who don't like you if you like you? I mean, you spend more time with yourself than you ever will anybody else. God likes you. He not only loves you, he likes you. And I think that's a lot. God not only loves you. He likes you. He likes to hang with you. He likes to talk with you. He likes to do everything that you do, if it's clean. Thought I'd better throw that in there. Accept yourself.
Joyce: Well, it's always best to be aggressive when it comes to pursuing peace and we really need to seek it on purpose. Well, Ginger, I know you're gonna ask me some questions about peace so let me get all peaceful here so I can answer these questions.
Ginger: Well, it really is interesting the way that you said that to be aggressive about pursuing peace because we feel like peace can just kind of ease down on us without any word.
Joyce: "Oh, God, give me peace, you know? I wish I had peace. Why don't have I peace"? And the thing is I found out for me, I mean I finally got so hungry to have peace in my life that I was willing to change whatever and part of that was my attitude, my approach to things, the way I handled situations in life or circumstances or even disagreements with Dave. I had to be willing to do some things on purpose to have that peace.
Ginger: Right, well, we have a lot of great questions from people who are ready to do what it takes. They just want to know what to do. The first one is from Lanise in Ohio and she says, "I'm a stay-at-home mother of three and I love it, but recently conditions have taken a toll on me and I find myself overwhelmed, depressed and out of control. In order for me to have any peace, I have to just get away from everybody. So what advice or scripture can you give me that would help me be at peace in the midst of my stress without having to just get away"?
Joyce: Well, you know the very first thing that comes to me, and of course I don't know that she's not doing this, but I think how we start our day is extremely important. And I'm sure she's a young mother. She may have difficulty getting what I would call quiet time or God time early in the morning but to be honest, that is very, very important. That's always been important to me. It's still important to me. I'm the type of person that could easily get upset about things if I didn't have my God time, and so I go to him early every day asking him to help me with whatever's gonna come up that day. You know, there's hardly ever a day that goes exactly the way we'd like it to go and we pretty much have to expect that, not in a negative way, but to realize that I need to set myself not for perfection, but I need to set myself to realize that whatever comes my way, I can handle it. And I think also there's a scripture that says that we're to resist the devil at his onset in 1 Peter 5:8. I think that what I found with me was it doesn't work for me if I wait until I'm really upset and then try to calm down. What I need to do in the midst of that circumstance and what I would recommend for this young woman is that the minute she starts to feel, which you can. You feel it in your emotions in yourself, that's when she needs to say, "God, help me. I don't want to lose my cool here". Because the point is is really when we lose our peace, we start saying and doing a lot of things that are just out of emotions that we're gonna be sorry for later. And really sometimes when you're already losing your peace, the more you talk, the more upset you get. So I would say just to reiterate, go to God early, have that God time, even if it can't be a long time. Honor him by saying, "I need you" and then secondly try to get a handle on it before things get really out of control.
Ginger: Great, okay, thank you. This is from Lena in Australia. "I know the Bible says not to be anxious, but honestly I'm a miserable Christian most of the time because of worry. How can I become peaceful and find joy in my Christian walk"?
Joyce: Well, I spent a fair amount of time worrying in my life and I think the one thing that a person has to come to before they're gonna stop worrying, if they're inclined in that direction, is you really need to realize that it just does absolutely 100% no good. It's the most useless thing in the whole world. I use the analogy that it's like rocking in a rocking chair. You stay busy all day but you don't get anywhere. And so the worry keeps us busy. You're rotating your mind around and around and around the same thing and coming up with nothing. And the other thing that is necessary, and I don't mean this to be insulting, but anyone who worries still thinks that they can solve their problem. And so I think that humility has to precede not worrying. The more we know that we can't fix it, that only God can, the more inclined we're gonna be to let it go and let God be God. And actually I've been meditating on worry myself the last couple of weeks. I just feel like that God is just telling me to even go to a deeper level of peace in my life and just don't waste your time, worrying, being concerned about things and part of the way to do that is instead of meditating on your problems is to meditate on the word. So I've been thinking about be anxious for nothing but in all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. But in all probability, this woman that's writing in has had some issues in her life maybe of never having anybody to really take care of her, not having anybody that she could really depend on so she got in the habit of doing it all herself. I know that was part of it with me. And I had to learn that God was faithful and that he would take care of me if I would give him the problem. But the Bible says in 1 Peter 5, "Cast all your care on him for he careth for you". But I think we could say it like this, if you don't cast your care on God, then he won't be free to take care of you because I've kind of discovered that it's either gonna be God taking care of me or I'm gonna do it but we're not both gonna do it. He wants me to let him do it.
Ginger: And what you said about humility being a big part of this, 'cause I think most of us who are worrying don't think about it as a prideful thing.
Joyce: We always think we're obligated.
Ginger: Yeah, we're doing it for their benefit because we care about them and yet you make a really good point is that letting God take that control is a pride issue.
Joyce: One thing's for sure, if I'm worrying about somebody else, say one of my children or whatever, if God can't change him, I sure can't. And if God can't give them a desire to want to change, then I sure can't. So we definitely need to pray but to pray with worry is not the way to get an answer.
Ginger: Well, let's see what we can do for Ardelia, she's in New York and she says, "I am stressed out over finances, job, health and children. I know God is taking care of all of it, but I feel responsible and guilty for what I do and don't do. I may be doing too much but I feel like if I take anything off my plate then it will be my fault when things go wrong. How can I get peace"?
Joyce: Well, I think there's a couple of ways that I would respond. First of all, she sounds like she has the same disease that I had, which is a false sense of responsibility, feeling like that we have to have to fix everything. And we have to learn that we're not the Savior, Jesus is and that it's not our job to fix everything. We need to, like my husband always says, we need to do our responsibility and then we need to cast our care. So or I like Ephesians 6. "Having done all the crisis demands, stand firmly in your place". So yes, we do what we can do, you know? For example if it's finance, well, you know, you don't want to buy more than you can pay for. That's something you can do. And you want to pay your bills on time but if for some reason something's happened and you can't, you want to communicate properly. There's things to do, but I can't do what I can't do and that's where we need to trust God. And then the other thing that I feel like I need to say just out of love, but in a spirit of truth is when somebody says, "Well, I'm worried about all these things, but I know God will take care of them". Well, actually that's like self-deception because if I know that God will take care of it, then there's no need to worry. So we may believe that God has the ability to take care of it, we hope God will take care of it, we know that God can take care of it, but we're not sure that God will take care of it because the moment that you believe that it's done in the spirit, that's the moment which you could rejoice and you no longer need to worry. So a lot of these worry issues really is coming into a deeper relationship with God where you really do trust him. And to be honest, Ginger, and I don't think there's any other answer to this other than sometimes if you're a worrier, you have to just have enough experience with God to find out firsthand that he will help you and meet your needs. Peace is very important and it's not dependent on our circumstances. If that were true then no one would ever be able to be peaceful. So remember, peace is something that you have a privilege of seeking. You need to crave it, not just kind of sort of want it but crave it and when you do, God will give it to you.