Joyce Meyer - Triumph Over Opposition
Anytime that you take a step to build anything, whether it's to build your life, to build your faith, to build your marriage, anytime that you're attempting to make any kind of progress at all in your life, you will get opposition. Jesus said, "In the world, you will have tribulation". That's a promise just like, "Sow and you will reap". The enemy is not at all happy that you're here today. He's not happy that I'm here today. And, honestly, it would probably be amazing if we knew how many people fully intended to come but some opposition came their way and they didn't know how to press through it.
You know, the Bible says in Colossians 3 that "We should set our mind and keep it set". And I think that's so valuable. When you make up your mind you're gonna do something, don't change it in the next 5 minutes because it looks like it's gonna be difficult or a little bit inconvenient. If there's anything we need, we need to know what we're supposed to be doing and we need to go do it, irregardless of how we feel. So you are gonna get opposition.
Now, you may not get a lot of opposition if you're just not try to do anything with your life but I can tell you the absolute truth. I would be more concerned if the devil wasn't bothering me than if he was. Did you hear what I'm saying? At least if the enemy's coming against you, you know you're probably trying to do something right. And that you need to keep on keeping on. And I think it's important for people to understand this. You will have opposition but it's not anything that you need to be overly concerned about because you're already a winner.
Romans 8 says that we are more than conquerors. "Right in the midst of all of these things that are going on we are more than conquerors through Christ, who loved us". And that nothing can separate us from that love. Well, I think being more than a conqueror means that even before trouble comes, I already know how it's gonna end. That doesn't mean that we love going through it but here's the good news. We can go through it and come out on the other side.
So often, when you ask somebody how they are, they'll tell you what they're going through. But really, I think we need to congratulate them that they're going through. Thank God that you're not stuck in the middle or that you're not buried underneath. But you're going through and you're gonna come out on the other side. Whatever you're going through now, you're gonna make it. Whatever you're going through right now, you're gonna come out on the other side. This too will end. This too will pass.
And can I tell you something interesting? This is a secret that the enemy doesn't know. He may be listening but he won't believe us anyway. When you come out on the other end of this thing that you're going through that's hard, you're gonna be a better person than you were before you went in. And you know what else you're gonna have? You're gonna have more experience with the faithfulness of God and so then, the next time you have trouble, it's not even gonna bother you as much as it did this time, because now you've seen the faithfulness of God. So it's much easier for you to believe God the next time.
And so every time that happens, you become more skilled at trusting God and so then you know what happens? You come to the point eventually where you're really not even that aware when opposition is in your way because you've just learned how to deal with stuff and just go on with your life and do what you're supposed to be doing. Anything is much harder in the beginning of our walk with God than it is if you stick it out. How many of you have been walking with God for a long time and you can verify that? That the longer you walk with God, the easier it is to just go through things.
You know, I have a little message that I do sometimes called, "Making it through the middle". And you know, there's a beginning to things and, hopefully, there's an end to things. Sadly, some people never get to the end of anything because they don't know how to make it through the middle. And today, we wanna talk some about how to triumph over opposition. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, "But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph". Everybody say, "Always".
Now, that doesn't mean that we don't have to cooperate with God. We do. We can derail our own victory. But if we will listen to God and do what he asks us to do and be steadfast, you'll always come out on the other side. I wanna say again, and I may say it 20 times this morning, "Whatever you're going through, you're gonna get through it and come out victorious on the other side". I think people need to hear that today. Everybody say, "I'm gonna make it". "Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph as trophies of Christ's victory".
Many years ago, it was a thanksgiving morning and I was in my little office where I go every morning and pray and spend time with God and I started to thank God, especially that day because it was thanksgiving, and I had kind of a little, like, I saw something in the spirit and I saw, like, a trophy case with all these little trophies in it. And, you know, sometimes you'll go in somebody's home and maybe if they've got a child that plays sports and the child is really good at those sports, they might have a certain area in their house where they keep a lot of trophies and that lets you know then that whoever got those trophies is an expert at that particular thing or they're very good at that particular thing.
And so as I waited to kind of see what that meant, what I was seeing meant, God spoke to my heart and I was not aware of this scripture at this time. And what he put on my heart is, he said, "You're a trophy of my grace. You've gone through, you've come out on the other side. You're now using your pain to help other people," and he said, "I have a trophy for you in my heavenly trophy case, letting people know that I'm an expert at restoring messed up lives," amen?
So I have a little tiny trophy that I keep sitting on my shelf just to remind me that I've come through on the other side and I'm being useful and fruitful. I didn't get destroyed in the middle. I actually worked with God to let him bring victory not only to me but to other people. And that's the choice that we have. When we're going through, we can either cave in and give up and quit and get sour and bitter and resentful, which a lot of people do. There's so many people in the world that are mad at God but they're mad at God because God didn't do what they thought God should do. We're not to dictate to God what he's gonna do and not do. We are to trust him no matter what. And certainly never blame God for our problems. So you either are or you're on your way to being a trophy of God's grace also. Let me say again. He is an expert at restoring broken humanity, amen?
Now, it's obvious if you read the Bible that we're gonna have trials, we're gonna have tribulations. We're gonna have opposition. We're gonna go through things. Never are we promised a life that is without any kind of opposition. As a matter of fact, if you read the Bible, you'll find out just the opposite. Now, here's the interesting thing. Whether you're a Christian or not, you're gonna have some of that. So why go through it alone? Why not get God on your side and have the help you need so you can go through it with victory and let God work something good out of it? Cause my Bible says and yours does too, in Romans 8, "All things work together for good". They may not all be good but, boy, when you put 'em all together, they work out for good "To those who love God and are called according to his purpose".
So if you love God and you want his will, I don't care what's happened to you in your past, God can put it all together, shake it up, and bring it out for something good in your life. So we're gonna have opposition but how we handle opposition is what we wanna talk about here today. It's not an issue of whether we're gonna get it or not. We are gonna get it. When we go through things, we can either have a testimony of faith, we can come out with a testimony that is about the goodness of God and the power of God. Or it can weaken our testimony and the people who know us as Christians will not be encouraged to seek Christ for themselves because they don't see it doing us any good.
One of the greatest things that you can do in front of your unbelieving friends is to stay stable in difficult times. To have joy in the midst of difficulty and to have peace in the midst of the storm. We are in such need of stability today, people that we can count on to be the same in every situation and not just up and down with their circumstances. We win when the devil does his worst and we come out loving God and helping people. I'm gonna say it again. We win when the devil does his worst that he can do and we come out of it still loving God and helping people.
Romans chapter 12, verse 17, "Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble aiming to be above reproach in the sight of everyone". So that's another way of saying what I'm talking about today. When something bad happens to you, don't just go, try to give it back to somebody else, but let your behavior be such that nobody can bring a reproach on you. "If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone".
Now, I will admit that there are a few people that are just not gonna get along with you, I don't care what you do. But we have a responsibility to be peacemakers, makers and maintainers of peace. Don't ever hesitate to be the first one to apologize. I said, don't hesitate to be the first one. You say, "Well, it's not my fault". That doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. Keeping the strife out of your life is much more important than you being stubborn and saying, "Well, I'm not gonna apologize to you because it's your fault".
I remember the foolishness of telling God one time when he was prompting me to apologize to Dave again and I felt like I was the only one that was ever doing that. And I actually tried to tell God it wasn't my turn, it was Dave's turn. "That's not fair, God. I apologized to him the last time. It's his turn". However, I could not find the scripture that said, "Apologize and make peace, if it's your turn". So here's the thing. The first one to make peace is the stronger one in God. Amen? The first one to go and say, "Look, I was wrong. I'm sorry. We need to have peace".
Dave and I don't put up with a bunch of nonsense between each other. We make peace. I cannot fight with him all morning and then get up here and preach and expect to have any kind of an anointing on my life. And so we've gotta make sure that we're not living one life in public to impress people and then some other life at home behind closed doors. Verse 19, "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God's wrath: for it is written, 'vengeance is mine, I will repay (requite),' says the Lord. But if your enemy's hungry, feed him: if he's thirsty, give him something to drink: for by so doing you will heap burning coals of fire upon his head".
And I know sometimes we're, like, "Yeah"! But that's not what that means. It's not what you think it means. If you'd go and read the footnotes on proverbs 25, which we're not gonna go there, it actually says that those fiery coals are love being poured out on your enemy that then melts their heart and shows them the love of God. And I know that, you know, if you watch me on television, you've heard a lot of the stories that I tell but just very quickly, one of the greatest examples in my own life and I'm sure that you have others too, is when God asked me to take care of my father who had abused me in the latter years of his life until he died. And in the process of that, God used that to bring salvation to him and I got to baptize him and see him completely change, amen? He did not apologize to me until he was 80 years old for what he did. But he's in heaven now and I'm sure he's glad that I'm telling his story because, finally, we're getting some good out of it, amen?
Now, I will tell you that it was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do because it cost a lot of money, it took a lot of time, and it wasn't anything that I particularly wanted to do. But the thing we've gotta realize is we don't have to want to do everything we do. I don't imagine Jesus wanted to go to the cross. But there was another part of him, a spiritual part, that wanted to obey God more than he didn't want the discomfort. And so if you want to obey God more than you don't want to be uncomfortable, then you can do everything that God asks you to do and that includes being good to your enemies. I know that's so hard to hear.
Romans 12:21, one of my very favorite scriptures, "Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome and master evil with good". So when you're having a problem, the power position that you need to take as a believer is, "I'm having a problem, but I'm going to keep being as good to everybody as I can possibly be good to". Wow, I better rewind and try that one again. When you have a problem, don't just, like, "Ew, you know, I gotta go over in my corner and have a pity party all day". No, you've gotta look beyond that to see what the enemy's trying to do. That's exactly what he's trying to get you to do. Take you out so you're not serving God, you're not worshiping God, you're not helping anybody. You're just sittin' home and feelin' sorry for yourself. And that does not help. It does not change anything. Trust me, I have tried it. And it doesn't help.
Okay, now, a friend of mine who's a pastor, been in ministry for a long, long, long, long time, his young beautiful wife died with cancer. Now, here's a couple, they've been faithful. They'd worked hard in ministry. Unfair situation. How do you make any sense out of that? But he said that the very first thing that he said to God after she passed and I want you to get this today because this is really, like, a hinge-point for this message today. The first thing he said to God: he said two things. The first thing he said was, "God, help me do this right".
I hope somebody else here can understand the depth of that statement. "Help me do this right". In other words, he was saying, "God, I want to represent you right in this situation. I don't wanna get mad at you. I don't wanna blame you. I don't wanna be negative. I don't wanna get depressed. I don't wanna handle it wrong. Lord, help me do this right". I feel really good about that for this meeting today and for those watching by TV because I think if that would be our first prayer when we have trouble, whoa, just think how that would change things. Lord, help me do this right. I wanna do this right.
The second thing he said and some of you may kind of go, "Ah, I don't know about that". Second thing he said, and I like it. He said, "I'll never ask you why". Now, I don't necessarily suppose it's wrong to ask why. I've done my share of that in my life but the thing is, is a lot of times you don't get answers. Or you don't get one that you like. But what normally happens is you do get yourself confused. C'mon now, I just wanna help you today. I just wanna help you. So I'm not gonna tell you, you can't ask why. That's between you and God but I like what he said.
I vote with that because I spent a lot of years in my life asking God why he didn't deliver me from the abusive situation that I was in as a child because I prayed and asked God to get me out of that situation. I was born again when I was 9 years old and I prayed and asked God to get me out of it. And that's not what happened. And I don't know why. But I stopped a long time ago trying to figure out why and just decided that I was gonna let God do something good with it and I wasn't gonna spend the rest of my life being miserable because I couldn't understand the why behind the first 15 years, amen?