Joyce Meyer - Diligence
Well, welcome to "Enjoying everyday life". You know, I believe that we can enjoy everyday of our life, but not if we don't learn how to live by God's principles. And what we're gonna talk about today is the power of being diligent, or another way to say that, is to make a decision that you're never going to give up. And you know, it doesn't take very much courage to give up. Anybody can do that. That's not a special thing. But it does take a lot of courage to stick with something once it gets hard. It's not hard to start things, but it's difficult to make it all the way through the middle and get to the finish.
And of course, to get from where I started to where I am, and I'm not just talking about being in ministry, but the changes that God needed to make in me in order for me to be able to do this, I was tempted to give up thousands and thousands of thousands of times. And of course, I would threaten God with that, "Well, I'm just gonna give up". Well, I could tell you, that doesn't impress him. And so, I keep this in my home. It says, "Never, never, never give up". So, if I can get it to sit there, I'm gonna put it there, so you can kinda see that while we go along here.
Alright, Hebrews 11:6, says, "Without faith it's impossible to please God, and those who come to him must believe", two things, "That he is, he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him". So, one thing to remember, when you're going through the hard part of something and feel like quitting and giving up, is that there is a reward at the end and you don't want to miss that reward.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, or gain weight, I don't know too many people that are trying to do that but might be a few. Whether you're trying to build muscle at the gym, get out of debt, read a 400-page book, get a college degree, build a business or a ministry, be in good health, studying the Bible, it all takes diligence. And that means it's a process and it's not an instantaneous thing.
And today, we have, I think, a problem throughout the world of people want things right now. They don't wanna wait. They don't even think they should have to wait, and work, and be diligent. They think sometimes, that you know, for example, like somebody gets a job and they're right out of college or right outta school and they think they should get the same pay as somebody who's been there 12, 14, 15 years. And that's not even good for people. We enjoy things so much more if we feel like that we put some effort into getting them.
For example, I was given a doctorate degree from Oral Roberts University. And so, I could officially call myself Dr. Joyce Meyer. And I appreciated it. I thought it was wonderful that they gave it to me. They gave it to me based on all the books that I've written. And so, the knowledge that I have of the Bible is seen in those books, and so they equated that to the knowledge you would get if you went to college. And I appreciated it but it didn't mean as much to me as it would have if I would have went to school for four years and then have gotten it.
And so, there's one thing I want everybody to understand, those of you here today and those watching by TV or whatever device you're looking at, it's good for you to put effort into something, to be patient, and to have to wait, and to watch things change and grow little by little. Bible says in the Old Testament that God delivers us from our enemies little by little. I can give ya an example. My husband and I both used to smoke cigarettes. And Dave just prayed and said, "Well, God I'm just gonna smoke until you take away the desire". And next day, he woke up, never had the desire again, to smoke.
Well, that didn't work for me. I had to suffer. And it took me awhile, and a few failures, and then a few restarts. And so, I have much more compassion on somebody who comes and tells me that they're having a hard time giving that up than Dave could. Not because he's not a compassionate person, but that came easy for him. So when things come easy for us, we usually don't understand why they're hard for somebody else. And so, a good thing to remember is not everybody is alike. And just because something is easy for you, that doesn't mean it's easy for somebody else.
So, when they tell you it's hard for them, you need to realize that maybe, God gave you some extra grace in that situation. And instead of being proud about your victory, thank God that you had it, and still show compassion to them. So, the first area, we'll talk about today, just a little bit is finances. So many people have financial problems. They struggle all the time for money. And in Proverbs 21:5, it says, "The thoughts of the steadily diligent tend only in plenteousness: but everyone who is impatient and hasty hastens only to want". So, the individual who is impatient and wants to get everything without going through the process will always be in want, and they'll have lack in their life.
Now, our ministry does not and never has had any debt. We've never paid one cent in interest on any kinda loan. Now, I'm not judging somebody else who does borrow money for something. There maybe times when that's necessary. But the only reason why we're in that condition is because Dave was patient. And he could save until he had the money to pay for something before he bought it. The only thing that we ever made payments on, was our very first, what they used to call copy machines. And we bought it from a baptist church for $500 and made ten, $50 payments, ten months in a row. And that's the only thing we ever made payments on. Everything else was paid for.
Well, anybody who ever gets to the point where they're debt-free, you can say that's somebody who is prudent with their finances. Proverbs talks a lot about prudence, and prudence is good management. You know, a lot of people never have money and they think it's because they don't make enough money or they get mad at their employer, "Well, you don't pay me enough". When really, they're making a proper wage for the job that they have, but they're not managing their money properly.
And so, just because you decide to go out and make a lot of debt, doesn't make it somebody else's responsibility to pay you enough to pay off all those debts, because even if they did, you know what? If you have a problem in this area, you'd still be in debt because until you realize the truth in this area, you'll always end up spending more than what you actually make. My husband has a little thing that he lives by that he calls, "Give some, spend some, and save some". So out of everything that you get, if you save a little, give what God tells you to give, and spend a little on yourself, then eventually, you can have everything you own without being in debt.
Now, you know, today, debt is just, I mean, the world begs you to be in debt. It gives you all kinds of ways to be in debt. And for most people, it would never even occur to them that they could be debt-free. And probably, even in saying that, there may be those of you in here, and I'm sure, many watching my television, you just think, "Well, that's just not possible". But I'll tell ya, all things are possible with God. But if you have a lot of debt right now, you'll never be debt-free unless you're willing to be diligent. Amen?
Proverbs 10:4 says, "He becomes poor who works with a slack and an idle hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich". And you know rich or wealth, or prosperity, as I use those words today, remember that it's not just about money. I mean, you can have money and no peace and still be poverty-stricken. You can have money and no joy, and still not have a happy life. So true prosperity is having an abundance of everything that you need, and some left over to share with other people.
Now, Proverbs is the book of wisdom. And I happen, right now, to be working on a book on proverbs. So, I talk about it quite a bit, right now. And it talks about being prudent. And prudence is good management. And sadly, some Christians think they can just pray everything away, or pray everything in that they need without using the principles that everybody else in the world would have to use. So, just because you have a dream, or a vision, or a goal that you really believe came from God, that doesn't mean that God is just gonna make it happen without you applying all the same principles that you would even if you weren't praying. "A dream comes to pass with much business and painful effort".
Now, if we're gonna talk about diligence, I think we need to know what the word means. And so, in the, "Webster's 1828 dictionary", which, I would highly recommend that everybody own one of those. It was true definitions based on the Word of God before everything got so carnal and humanistic. And so, in that dictionary it says that, "It is steady application in business, being constant in effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken". You know, I don't know why you guys aren't smiling when I say, "Effort". You're just really kinda like... Very straight-faced. "Constant in effort or exertion".
You know, I've been working out with weights, three times a week for about 13 years now. And I thought the other day, "Am I ever gonna get to the point where this isn't hard"? And the truth of the matter is, is if there's no effort, if it's easy to do then it's not doing you any good. So, if I get to the point where I don't really feel it or it's not doing me any good, then I obviously, need to increase my weights. Or as I've gotten a little bit older, I've had to decrease some of mine because no matter how godly you are, your body does age and you can't always do the same thing when you're 50 or 60 that you could do when you're 20. So, we need to use wisdom.
"Constant in effort or exertion. Exertion to accomplish what is undertaken. Being attentive, industrious, not idle or negligent, steadily applied not carelessly or negligently". And then, the Hebrew and the Greek from the, "Vine's dictionary", says that, "Diligence is a working", a working. Not works of the flesh but you have to work toward things. How many of you agree with me that we've kinda gotten to the point, especially, in the western world, where we kind of are addicted to comfort, and convenience, and ease? And we can whine about some of the silliest things.
Like when I said, "Wealth", there's a lot of people watching that would think, "Well, I'm not wealthy". Well, you know what? Compared to two-thirds of the rest of the world, if you have a roof over your head, some clothes to put on, and something to eat, you are extremely wealthy. Our problem is greed. And we just keep wanting more, and more, and more, and more, and more. And God wants us to learn how to manage well what we have.
Now, how many of you are ever tempted to give up on something that you start? Okay, good. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't talking to people that are so spiritual that you didn't need this. Wonder how many people here have started a diet and quit when they got hungry? You know, it's very easy to go on a diet Sunday night after dinner, "Tomorrow morning, I'm gonna start my new eating plan". And that's good until maybe, three, four o'clock the next day when you get hungry, and then it's a different story.
A friend of mine is on a new eating plan, one of the, "Popular", ones out there, and she's losing about two pounds each week. One week she lost three, one week she lost one. And that doesn't seem like very much. You might say, "Well, that's an average of eight pounds a month". But if she does that for a year, even leaving room for her to not be 100% good everyday, in a year, she would lose 80 pounds. Now, that's gonna make a big difference. But you see, it's little, by little, by little. And you have to realize, when the going gets tough, which it always will, that there is a reward at the end.
Studying the Word of God, working with God to let him make the changes in you that you need to make. I'm sure a lot of you girls from the mercy home, you know how hard it is to make those changes in your life and to stick with them. And it's even easier now, that you're with a lot of other people doing the same thing. And I don't mean to sound negative, but when it's really gonna get challenging is when you get out on your own and there's nobody there giving you a pep talk everyday, telling you what you need to do.
And you know, I always tell people when they come to my conferences, "I'm so glad you're having a good time, but I do wanna tell ya that you have to go home". And they all go, "Aww..." See, it's easy when the music's playing, and the lights are flashing, and everybody's clapping and cheering, and you got somebody really pumping you up, you know, being a spiritual cheerleader. But we all end up by our self, in a tough time, having to make our own decisions. I always like to say that we all eventually, have to face our own Goliath. We can't always have somebody else doing things for us that we eventually, need to do for ourselves.
So, it means, "A working. It is indicative of a process. Business gain gotten by work. Endeavor, pains, earnestness, and zeal. To hasten to do a thing, not procrastinating or putting it off until later, and to attend to carefully". Now, you know, procrastination is about one of the biggest liars that exist. Because we always think, "Well, I'm going to do it". But see, there's no reward in, "I'm going to do it". There's no seeds sown that will bring a harvest in your life if you're going to do it. And I think it's very deceptive.
"Well, I'm gonna clean that garage out sometime this year". So, that makes you feel good. "Yeah, I'm gonna do that". "I'm gonna get my body in good shape this year". "Well, when you gonna start"? "Well, soon". Well, what is soon? It's still another way to put it off because we are experts at avoiding pain and discomfort. Can anybody say amen? Now, everyone who is impatient hastens only to want. As I said before, we find some people who get angry with their employer because they have financial problems or pressure. "You're not paying me enough", is what they say, and even, what they tell others. But there's more to prosperity than just giving an offering and confessing a few scriptures out loud over your life. And there's wonderful scriptures.
Let me just read a few. "He became poor that we might be made rich". "My God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus". "Beloved, I would above all else that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers". "God delights in the prosperity of his children". "God will prosper you and your children more and more". "Give and it shall be given unto you". See, God is the Lord of the harvest, but now, listen to what I'm gonna say, you are the Lord of your seed. He gives us all seed to sow, the Bible says that. Not seed to stick in your pocket, but seed to sow. And we must be diligent in sowing if we expect to be diligent in reaping.
So, remember that. God is the Lord of the harvest. There's no harvest without the God-factor involved. But there's no harvest either without the seed being planted. Here again, I'm not just talking about wealth. You know, anybody that's wanting to change, for example, you can't do that without being a diligent student of the Word of God. And that doesn't mean just letting somebody else preach to you. It doesn't mean even just reading a book that somebody else's written. It means, eventually, you're gonna have to get in and dig, and dig into the word for yourself, and spend your time, and when you do that, the Word of God is full of power and it has the power to absolutely change your life.
There's so many things that we just expect today, that at one time were considered blessings. And so, we really need to be careful that we don't just start expecting things that we're not putting any effort into. When I was young or younger, younger, I changed that on my notes. First, I had when I was young, and then I put "-ER". When I was younger, people always started at the bottom and worked their way to the top. And it is so good for us to do that. It was expected and actually enjoyed. It was accomplishment and excellent in work that people were proud of.
But today, we deal with thousands of dissatisfied people. And I believe much of the reason why people are so dissatisfied is because too much is handed to them. Does anybody see what I'm talking about? Too much is handed to them without them putting the effort into it that they need to put into it. And some of you in the room that are a little bit older, not old, but older, you remember what things were like 50, 60 years ago. And some of you that are younger, you, of course, weren't around then, so you don't, expecting things immediately seems normal to you, but it's not biblical. It's really not biblical at all.
And so, I really just want to encourage you today that no matter what it is that you're trying to do in life, remember it's gonna take time. It's not gonna be easy. There's gonna be a million times when you wanna quit and give up. But once again, it takes absolutely, no courage at all to give up. Anybody can give up. You don't need to be born-again and full of the Holy Spirit to give up. You have God in your life and I have God in my life to help me keep going when I feel like I wanna give up. He's the one who is our strength.
And so, I wrote a book called, "Never Give Up". And so, we're offering this book to you today for any amount that you want to send into the ministry. And of course, we ask that you do your best. See this is a good test. Don't do the least you can just because I said you could, but go the extra mile. See, that's the way we need to live. We need to always go the extra mile. Never do the least that you can, but always do the best that you can. And even if nobody else sees that, God sees it and that's what he rewards. And so, your offering today, will not only get you this book, but it's gonna help us keep the Gospel going around the globe and help us help a lot of people in need. Thank you for being with us today. We love you. God bless you.