Joyce Meyer - What About Me?
God's interesting in that he doesn't create us to where we can't do what's wrong. He creates us to where we can do what's right or we can do what's wrong. It's up to us. He doesn't want a buncha robots and puppets. He wants us to choose him. We are to use our free will to choose his will. Come on. God tells you what his will is and then he said, "Now I set before you life and death. You choose". Joshua said, "Choose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Well, Lucifer said, "I will, I will, I will, I will," and God said, "No, you won't". In Luke 10:18, the Bible says that Jesus saw satan fall like a lightning flash from heaven. He was kicked out of heaven. And like it or not, his dwelling place is here in the earth and the atmosphere above the earth between here and heaven.
Now some of you are like, "Whoa, why are we talking about the devil"? Well, let me tell you something. I went to church for a lot of years and I never heard a good sermon on the devil. I mean, I thought that he was some dude that came out on halloween in red pajamas with a long tail and a pitchfork. I had no idea that he was the author of destruction in my life and that I had been given authority and power over him in the name of Jesus, and that I didn't have to just lay down and let the devil walk all over me. And so I want to tell you tonight that satan is alive and well on planet earth. Now the earth doesn't belong to him. It belongs to God and the fullness thereof, but he is temporarily infecting the world's systems. And the system that the world goes by is you deserve it, get it for yourself. And if you don't do it for yourself, then nobody else will. Baby, we've come a long way. And we have to fight against that and say, "No, that's not God's will for me. That's what satan wants me to do. And if I spend my life trying to take care of myself, then I'll miss what God wants to do for me".
Let me tell you something, God can take better care of you than you could ever take of yourself. He could open doors for you that you could never open. He can close doors that will keep you out of trouble. God can give you favor everywhere that you go. Stop trying to push doors open and ask God to give you favor everywhere you go. When you go in to apply for a job, don't try to impress them with your greatness. I mean, do a good interview, share your skills, but go in, "God, if you don't give me this job, I ain't gonna get it. I need your favor. I need you to make them like me". That's what it means to have favor from God. God makes people like you and they don't even know why they like you. They just do.
Now I'm all over that because I spent too many years of my life finagling around trying to get in the right groups of people. I don't want to play those games anymore. Job 1:7, "And the Lord said unto satan, 'whence comest thou?' then satan answered the Lord and said, 'from going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down in it.'" 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking whom he may devour". Well, guess what? It's not going to be us anymore. I said guess what, it's not going to be us anymore. Devil, you're going to have to go get another lunch. It's not going to be me because I'm turning myself over to God. He's going to lead me and guide me and give me the grace to do what I ought to be doing. I'm not going to spend my life selfish and self-centered, trying to take care of me and worry about me and what do I look and what do people think, and is one hair out of place?
And oh my gosh, what about this one pimple I have down here on my chin? Come on. Satan invades the minds of people with the poison of selfish self-centeredness. "Well, what about me? Well, what about me"? You know, all disobedience is related to selfishness. It started in the garden. Eve wanted the apple. Even though she knew it was wrong, she wanted it. The serpent told her how good the apple was going to be, but he didn't tell her about the consequences. Come on. There's consequences. When you play around with snakes, you're gonna get bit. Little girl was walking down a mountain path, a little cute little snake was crawling around the mountain path. And it was very cold that day and he said, "Oh please would you pick me up and put me inside your coat"? "No," she said, "I'm not going to do that". He said, "Oh please, oh please, oh please, I'm so cold. Please put me inside your coat and keep me warm".
So finally she got talked into it. I said finally she got talked into it. I said finally she got talked into it. You know, the devil's a patient dude, very deceptive, suggests things to your mind. So after a little bit, he bit her. And she said, "Well, why did you bite me? I picked you up". He said, "You knew what I was when you picked me up". Come on, you sweet lonely lady you, you go pick up a married man, you're going to get bit. Well, just sayin'. You know, the Bible's full of accounts of people that were selfish and thankfully people that were unselfish. I've probably got eight stories of people that were selfish and seven or eight of people that weren't.
And I wish I had the time to tell you all of them, but I don't. But you know, Cain killed Abel because he was selfish. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery and threw him in a pit and lied to their father because they were selfish. They wanted the relationship that Joseph had with his dad. He was the baby and they were jealous because his dad had a little special place in his heart for him. King David committed adultery because he was selfish. I mean, God even said, "I would have given you anything, but you had to take somebody else's wife"? He committed adultery, committed murder. It affected his life. He remained king and he was forgiven and he still had a good relationship with God, but he still paid a price for it. Jonah was selfish and he got swallowed by a whale. We don't have time for that. A rich young ruler held onto his riches and lost eternal life. A rich man had no concern for anyone but himself and he lost all of his possessions in addition to his soul.
These are just different stories in the Bible. But let me tell you a couple of good ones. Let's get to the good stuff. Let's look at 1 kings chapter 17. Thank God we can change. Thank God we can change. You know, maybe tonight, you're in here or you're watching by tv and, I don't know, maybe you're not even saved yet and you're thinking, "My goodness, I have just been so full of myself all my life". But you know what? I mean, tonight you can change. Tonight, you can receive the new life of Christ by receiving him as your Savior. Tonight, you can make a turnaround. You can let go of what lies behind and you can become a brand-new person with a brand-new outlook.
Tonight, you can say, "I'm not going to spend my life trying to take care of me. On purpose with God's help, I'm going to be a blessing everywhere that I go". And you don't just do it tomorrow because you're still in the afterglow of the conference, but you do it day after day, after day, after day, after year, after year, after year. And all of a sudden, you'll be sittin' somewhere telling people, "I don't really know what happened in my life, but I'm so satisfied, you know, it sounds crazy, but I just feel like I get everything I want". And it doesn't make any sense. But you know, sometimes I sit around and think, "Now let's see, what would I like to have"? And sometimes it's a little bit annoying because I can't even really think of anything.
Now I know that you're probably thinking, "Oh, come on". You know, Jesus said, "If you eat of me and drink of me, you will never hunger and you will never thirst". Now listen, you know, I like nice things and I like pretty stuff like any other woman does. There's a lot of things that I like. But you know, having all those things still doesn't satisfy your soul. And so when you have that satisfaction in God because you're bearing good fruit and you know you're in his will, listen to me please, please, please, please. I'm old enough to know what I'm talking about. Wherever you're at, I've been there. The best way in the world to live is to get yourself off your mind and stay busy being a blessing to other people. I mean, it is so satisfying. And don't have some kind of a martyr's attitude.
"Well, I just live for everybody else". You know, need to do it with joy. And probably one of the best stories in the Bible is found in Luke chapter 10, verse 27 through 37. Verse 25, "And then a certain lawyer arose to test (tempt and try) him, saying, 'what am I to do to inherit eternal life?' and Jesus said, 'what is it written in the law? How do you read?' and he said, 'you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your might, and you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.' And Jesus said to him, 'you have answered correctly. Now do this and you will enjoy active, blessed, eternal life in the kingdom of God.' and he, determined to acquit himself of reproach," because obviously he hadn't been doing it, "Said to Jesus, 'and who is my neighbor?'" exactly who is it that I'm supposed to bless and help? People I like? People I don't like? People that have helped me first?
You know, even when we get ready to help people, sometimes we're picky about who we're willing to help. I wonder what all we give up in our relationship with God in order to hang onto our things. Let me say it again. Always use money and things to bless people. Don't ever use people to get money and things. Well, who is my neighbor? "And Jesus, taking him up, replied, 'a certain man was going from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him of his clothes and belongings and beat him, and went on their way, unconcernedly leaving him half dead, as it happened. And now by coincidence a certain priest.'" This is such a powerful story because here comes the religious people. "'A certain priest was going down the road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.'" He crossed the street and went over on the other side so he didn't have to deal with the guy. And chances are he was on his way to church. "'A Levite likewise came down to the place and saw him.'" And you know, they were the religious crowd too. "'And he passed by on the other side.'"
I wonder when somebody's in need how many people God has to speak to before he can finally get someone to be unselfish enough to meet the need. "'But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled along, came down to where he was: and when he saw him, he was moved with pity and sympathy.'" you know, the only way you can really have compassion is to forget yourself because we either have self-pity or we have compassion. God doesn't want us to turn our pity inward on ourself. He wants us to turn it outward toward a hurting world. And I wasted so much of my life in pity parties, sittin' around feeling sorry for myself because somebody wasn't doing this, that, or some other thing for me. It's much better to have compassion. "'And he went to him and he dressed his wounds, and he pouring on them oil and wine. And then he set him on his own beast and he brought him to an inn and he took care of him there.'"
I mean, this guy is takin' time. He's making an effort. He changed his plan. He was on his way somewhere. He took him to the inn and apparently he had some business to attend to. He said, "'You take care of him until I get back. And whatever it costs, no limits, whatever it costs, I'll give it back to you.'" Can we stop putting a limit on what we're willing to do for people and just say, "Jesus, whatever it takes"? I'm so glad that Dave didn't put a limit on how long he'd put up with me while he was waiting for God to change me. Come on, take the limits off of your goodness. Take the limits off of your generosity and just say, "God, whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. I'm not here to please myself or make myself happy. God, that's your job. I'm here to make somebody else happy".
Do you see what I'm trying to say tonight? If you turn yourself over to God and you stop living to make yourself happy and trying to take care of yourself, now the burden's lifted. You use the life that Jesus has given you to be a blessing. In doing that, you're sowing a seed. Now God takes that seed and he brings back a harvest in your life of all the things that you were trying to get and never could get trying to get them on your own. Come on now. It's time for a change. I said it's time for a change.