Joyce Meyer - How Many Lies Do You Believe?
The title of my message this morning, "Is how many lies do you believe"? How many lies do you believe? It's a serious subject because if you believe a lie, even though it's not true, it becomes true to you because that's what you believe. And even though it's a lie, you'll react as if it's the truth. And that's how satan gets an entryway into our lives. He is a liar, the father of lies, the great deceiver. And we're told in the Bible that as the last days approach... And if we're not living in 'em, I don't know when anybody ever has. As the last days approach that deception will become greater and greater in the earth.
How many of you see, without even doing too much thinking about it, you can see the deception at work out in the world today? Alright, John 8:44, "'You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language'". I like that. Just like I speak English, the devil speaks lies. That's his language. He speaks the language of lies. "'For he is a liar and the father of lies'".
Well, now, Jesus is being pretty stern here. He said, "You are of your father, the devil". Who was he talking to? He was talking to, "Religious people". Hmm... I didn't say, "godly people", I said, "Religious people". You know how many people march off to a church somewhere every single Sunday? And they have like, zero, real relationship with God. They're just doing what they think they should be doing. And they're not necessarily bad people but they don't realize that Jesus didn't die so we could all have our own little brand of religion. But he died so we could have a deep, intimate, personal relationship with him.
As long as your experience is just, "I go to church", then you're missing the point, entirely. You are the church. He lives in us. We corporately are the church. And by the way, just in case the thought hasn't occurred to you, Jesus is here today in the midst of us. And he's also living in the midst of you, if you have received him as your Lord and Savior. And God does a lot for us.
How many of you agree that he does a lot for us? Okay, but now, let me tell you the second part that some people don't get. He also, expects a lot from us. This is not just a one-sided thing where we just get this heavenly Santa Claus type thing where, you know, every time we need something, we run and ask God for it. But he says, "I will if you will. If you do this, I'll do this. If you do this, I'll do this".
I'm actually, working on a project in Proverbs. I got an itch to write a book on proverbs and so, I'm about halfway through that and a handful things that I find very interesting is... I don't know, there's probably 12 main subjects in proverbs, but he just repeats things over, and over, and over, that you know, now that I'm on chapter 17, I'm thinking, "Well, what am I gonna say that I haven't said before"? And then, the thought came to me, "Well, if God just kept repeating himself, I guess it's okay if I do too". But the one thing you learn in proverbs is that if you walk in wisdom, you'll be blessed. And if you're a fool, you won't be blessed. It's just that simple.
If we do what God asks us to do... I don't care how big of a mess your life is in, if you would take the Bible and begin to learn what's in it and apply it to your life, your life will change and you will have what God says you can have. Religion can be more deceptive than anything because it's easy to think, well because you go to church, and you put some money in the offering, and I don't know, maybe you volunteer at church for something that, that's it. You believe that God exists, but are we living for him? I mean, truly living for him. Do we believe that song that they just sang, "I can't get enough. I can't get enough". Are you living for God or are you just expecting him to live for you? Are you married to Jesus or are you just dating?
See, I never got Dave's name until we got married. A lot of people are just dating but they want the power that's in the name of Jesus. We need to get serious. We are living in serious times and we need to get serious about this. 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul said, "But I'm afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ". So, Paul had this concern that people were going to be deceived. And I'll tell you something. I think every one of us could pray everyday, "God, please help me not to be deceived". And I've been praying lately, "If I'm believing anything that's not true, please reveal it to me".
It's a very deceptive thing because when you're deceived, you're believing a lie, but the very nature of the word deception means that you don't know that you're believing a lie. And so, we need to pray that God will reveal truth to us in every area of our life. One of the subjects in proverbs that's covered extensively, is that only a fool hates correction. There's so much in it about loving correction. We need to love correction. You know, not get all... If somebody says something that you know, makes you a little uncomfortable. Matter of fact, I'll tell you, I think, if you can go to a church week, after week, after week, and they never say anything that makes you squirm a little bit, then they're probably, not saying very much. Amen?
I don't apologize if you squirm a little in your seat. "Well, I just came to be encouraged". Well... "You don't understand. My life is a mess. And I just, I mean, Joyce, it's a mess and I need to be encouraged". Well, I'm trying to tell you why it's a mess. So, you can become someone who encourages other people and not the one who always needs the encouragement.
Genesis 3:1-4, "Now the serpent was more crafty", little creep, "Than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman". So, the devil talks to you. Now, I know there's a theory floating around out there. It's amazing all the new doctrines. "Well, you know, we've evolved". Well, can I just tell you something? God has not evolved. I think, we think that you know, because we have all these new ideas now, "Well, you know, this is the 21st century". I don't care what century it is. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And sure, we make progress, and things change, and societies change, and the way we do things change, but God doesn't change. If he said it 10,000 years ago, he still means it today. And so, we can come up with whatever we want, you know.
I heard somebody say something recently and I thought, "You, silly thing, you". They were talking about... Let's see, what were they talkin' about? Oh, you know, some people don't believe now, that there's a hell. You know, because God is so loving and kind he would never send anybody to hell. Well, he doesn't send people to hell. They send themselves. "God is so good. Now, everybody's gonna be saved because God is just so good". Well, you know what? The Bible says that God is good, but it says that he's kind and also severe.
One of the things we're missing today, more than anything, is reverential fear and awe of God. We need to do a little bit of trembling, when we think God's in the house. Amen? Sure, everybody wants to believe that it's just, you know, all dessert and sweet, and you know, kind and nice. And we need that, we all need to be encouraged, but we need to be corrected too. And we need to learn to let the word do that and to receive it personally, for ourselves. So, the devil talks to us. "The serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals. And he said to the woman, 'did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"'"?
Now, you see, he hasn't really just told her a lie yet, he's just kinda... I'm sure the tone was, "Did God really say that"? "And the woman said to the serpent, 'well, we may eat from the trees in the garden, but God did say, "You must not eat from the tree that's in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it or you will die"'". Here it comes. "'You will certainly not die'". There it is. Well, right there, Eve shoulda said, "Out. Conversation's over".
You gotta be careful about engaging the devil in conversation. It's kinda like those little arguments you have with yourself, in your head, when you know you shouldn't do something but you're trying to figure out a way that you can do it and it still be okay. "No, you won't die". The devil was suggesting to Eve that God was keeping something good from her. Now, listen to what I'm gonna say. And that if she did what God had told her not to do, there would be no punishment. You didn't hear that. Don't think that if God says not to do something that you can do it and be the one person, in the universe, that gets by with it. See?
"Oh, well, God's good. He understands. He wouldn't... You know, yeah, I take all kinds of supplies home from the office, my paper clips, my rubber bands, you know, my pens and pencils, my notepads". And if a little conviction comes, and right away we say, "Well, they don't pay me enough anyway". No, you just stole from the company you work for. And I could even go so far as to say... And some of you won't like this, but if you're late for work everyday, you're stealing from 'em. Okay. I can tell when I'm not welcome. I'll go on to something else.
2 Corinthians 4:4, "The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God". He has blinded the minds of unbelievers. So, when it comes to praying for people that are lost and not saved, I think, one of the best ways to pray for them is that God would open their eyes and show them the truth. Amen? Your kids that have strayed away from God, who have never gotten close to God, pray for them that they will see the truth and that God will open their eyes. So often, we're trying to make people believe things that they just don't even understand because they're deceived. Satan has blinded their minds and their eyes need to be opened. Amen?
I started to tell you a story a while ago, and I just remembered I didn't finish it, about the guy that I thought, "Well, you, silly thing, you". Wanna hear the rest of that story? He said... I don't even remember what he said. It was too dumb to even remember, but just, it was something like, you know, "Well, I don't believe there's a hell". And somebody else was trying to tell him that there was, and he says, "Well, that's not my Jesus". Well, we can't all just pick our version. There is one God and father, one Jesus, one Holy Ghost. They're all in complete agreement. And you can't just go pick your version because the true version is uncomfortable for the lifestyle that you wanna live. Amen?
Deception means to believe that wrong is right. But you know, the Bible says, "Be it unto you even as you believe". Now, that works in the positive, but it also works in the negative. You know, if you really believe something, then you're gonna live as if that's true. And i, the older I get, which is pretty far up there now, the more I realize how simple it is. Here it is. Read it. Do it. Everything works out good. Read it. Don't do it, and have a messed up, miserable life. It's up to you. Peace, turmoil. Heaven, hell. Good, bad. "I set before you life and death. Choose life that you and your descendants may live".
Now, you know, we're not real big on responsibility, today. And so, even, this book that I've written on, "Your Battles Belong to the Lord", I mean, I might as well just tell you ahead of time, 'cause you'll figure out on page one that I'm not saying that God will do everything for you while you sit and do absolutely nothing. See, we're partners with God. And what God wants us to do, he wants to fight our battles for us, but he wants us to stop getting our own plan and going out and trying to do our own thing, and get still long enough to hear what he wants to say that will actually, maybe, really work.
In 2 Chronicles, when Jehoshaphat had all these enemies coming against him and he did not know what to do, and they went before God and they said, "God, we don't know what to do. We don't have the wisdom to know what to do. We don't have the strength to know what to do". And God told them, "The battle is not yours, but mine. I'll fight the battle", but he said, "Now, you go. Take your place and wait for me". And you know what their place was? Jehoshaphat bowed on his knees and worshiped, and he sent out singers to sing, "O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever".
And you know what the Bible says? The enemy got so confused, they were self-slaughtered. Now, that's the way to fight. Amen? That's the way to fight. Not, "Well, I'm mad at you and I'm never letting you into my life again. And if you think I'm gonna put up with that, you've got another thing comin'". That's just doing what the devil wants us to do. That's not doing what God wants us to do. He worshiped and they sang. Well, of course, the enemy got confused. He doesn't understand that. He just gave you the biggest one-two knockout punch of your life. You've had a lousy week and here you are at a conference worshipping God. Well, he doesn't know what to do with that. He don't know what to do with that.
Let me tell ya. We all have problems. You're not the only one in the room with problems. We all have problems. And no matter how big your problem is, there's somebody in this room that has a problem bigger than yours. But we have a goal. Stay peaceful in the storm. Stay thankful. You know, doing spiritual warfare is really not that hard. It can almost be fun when you learn how to do it the way Jesus did it, not the way we do it. Amen? So, we're partners with God. He's not gonna do everything for us, while we're passive and do nothing. But what we have to learn is what to do and what not to do. Because we can't do some things that only God can do and he won't do the part that he's given us to do.
Truth is the only thing that saves you from lies, only thing. One of the first little group of scriptures that God revealed to me when I first started studying over 40 years ago was John 8:31-32. "If you continue in my word you will be my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free". Amen?
Now, to continue in the word doesn't mean you just read it once and underline it and think you got it. To continue in it means that you not only read it and learn it, but then you go ahead and you do it and you apply it to your life. Just reading the word won't make you free. It's the doing that makes you free. It was easier for you to listen to me talk about forgiving your enemies, than it's going to be for you the next time you see that person and your stomach gets in a knot. And then you remember, now, that's when you're set free. When you can do what you know God wants you to do and your flesh is screaming not to do it. Come on.
John 1:14, "The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. And we've seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth". Now, you know, we talk a lot about grace and everybody loves grace because that's God doing something for us that we don't deserve, but he didn't come just full of grace, he came full of grace and truth.
So, when you're willing to walk in the truth, then you never run out of grace. God gives us the grace to obey the truth that we read in the word. He doesn't give us the grace to cover us even though we're doing what's wrong. I mean, I'll tell you how bad it's gotten. And I told this story one other time, maybe twice, I don't know, but, we had somebody write in to our office. Very sincere person, "I need your help. I have some friends that are doing some illegal things but their lives are really blessed. And they said that God's grace is covering them. And that even though what they're doing is wrong, it's obvious that God's blessing them". And she said, "Can you tell me what you think about that"?
Now, she was sweet and deserved an honest answer but my first thought was... And this was not about her, but I just thought, "That is just like, the dumbest thing I've ever heard". "I'm doing something illegal, but because my life appear". How many of you know that you can do the wrong thing and the devil can make it appear that it's working out and you're getting by with it? But the time comes. The time comes. Nobody does what's wrong forever and lives in the blessings of God. God is merciful and even Paul said that because he lacked knowledge, God gave him grace, even though he had been out persecuting Christians. He really thought he was doing what God wanted him to do. So, yes, when we're totally ignorant. God will give us a lot of grace. But do you know that every time you step inside the door of a church, or you turn on a TV program, or you listen to a CD, or you read a book that you become responsible then for that truth that you heard?
Alright, now, 2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5. We're gonna put these up and I want us to really look at this. This is a very important scripture. "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world". Now, other translations say, "They're not of flesh and blood". So, they're not natural weapons. They're supernatural weapons. They're weapons that you can't see with your eyes because you're fighting an enemy that you can't see with your eyes and serving a God that you can't see with your eyes. So, they're spiritual. They work in the spiritual realm, and then you see the good results in your life. We have to learn that there's a spiritual realm that is very real.
You know, like, right now, this room is full of angels. Jesus walking around in here. "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds". Now, what is a stronghold? A stronghold is a lie that we believe. So, when you get that stronghold in your mind, it's like an area where the enemy has gotten in and dug in so deep that he's buried himself and that lie has become your reality. "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take", this is not something God does for us, "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ".
So, how 'bout if we start paying a little more attention to what we're thinking? When you start getting in a real bad mood, think about what you're thinking. When you start feeling sorry for yourself, think about what you're thinking. When you start feeling depressed. Sometimes, it's a chemical issue in your body, but sometimes it's just stinkin' thinkin'.
C'mon, you all okay? When you're gonna have to be around somebody that you're not just real crazy about, be careful what you think about them in the days leading up to that event. Because if you spend a week thinking all these bad things, there's no hope of you getting in front of them and being nice and friendly. Even if you said the right things, the body language and the voice tones would all be wrong. Think about what you're thinking about. And if your not thinking what's in agreement with the Word of God, then you pull down that lie and you replace it with the truth.
You can think yourself happy. You can. How many people... You're in relationship with somebody, we'll make it a husband if you got one, or a friend, or a mom, or a dad, or whatever and you think all the time about what's wrong with that person and what they do that irritates you. And you've thought about what's wrong to the point where that's all you see. And you know what? I can pretty much guarantee you, there's more right with them than wrong with them. But because you don't ever think about what's right anymore, now you forgot all about that and everything is just wrong. Take every, every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ.
Romans 12:2, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world". You know what that means? Don't let the world draw out a little box and cram you in it. Say, "This is what you have to do if you wanna be accepted by us". But be transformed, and that means change from the inside out, which only God can do. Christianity is not a program for behavior modification. Christianity is falling in love with Jesus and focusing on him until you become like him. And he changes you. Now, watch how your transformed. "And be transformed by the renewing of your mind".
How many years did I think nobody liked me, people didn't like me. But now, I know that God loves me. And so, I think more about that than who doesn't like me. So, if there's somebody that don't like me, I'm not thinking about it, so I don't know about it anyway. Whoo, Jesus, okay. Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything that you do flows out of it". Heart and mind can be interchanged here. Proverbs 23:7 is an interesting scripture. I used the amplified translation of the Bible for many, many, many years and still love that Bible, but I've gone to the NIV because more people use it today. And in the amplified it says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he", or so does he become.
Now, these other translations say something that sounds totally different but it's really cool if you sit and ponder it. Like, proverbs 23:7 in the new living testament it says, "They are always thinking about how much it cost. 'eat and drink,' they say, but they don't mean it". And in the NIV it says, "For he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. 'eat and drink.' he says to you, but his heart is not with you". Then there's a footnote in the NIV that says, "Or for as he thinks within himself, so is he".
But let's take this story and think about it. Okay, I take somebody out for dinner and I say to them, "Just enjoy yourself. Get whatever you want. I'm paying for it". But inside, I'm thinking... "I hope they don't order that Wagyu Beef, 'cause that stuff is $29 an ounce". So, what this is saying is, "What I said to them about, 'enjoy yourself and eat whatever you want', that wasn't really the truth. The truth is what I'm thinking in my heart". C'mon.
And boy, here is where we have to start dealing with our self because how many times can we go... "Praise the Lord". Or somebody shows you a blessing they got, "Oh, I'm so happy for you". And inside your thinking, "Well, I don't know why you got that. I'm a better Christian than you are. I should have gotten that and not you". So, you see, the real us is not this thing. C'mon, are you with me? The real me is not this pretty blue jacket, and my matching gold Jewelry, and you know, that's not the real me. The real me is what goes on in my heart.
It's not even important that I'm here, but it's why I'm here, that's important to God. Am I here because I've gotten well-known enough now that I can draw an arena full of people, and now, I feel all good about myself because you're all watching me and I think it's marvelous, or did I drag my 76-year-old body here so I could help you and minister to you because I love God and I wanna finish the call on my life? It's not what we do, it's why we do it that God cares about. And I can tell you what we did not come here to put on a show for you. I'm here because I know what God can do in your life. If you will be really serious and do things God's way, you will have a life that is so amazing that you hardly won't be able to take it in. Amen?
Some lies, I believed. I believed, because my dad sexually abused me, that I would always have a second-rate life. I remember thinking that. Well, you know, "My life will never be really good, I mean, I'd get by". But then, on the other hand, I had this impression that would come to me, always it would happen at night when I was laying in bed, and this thought would just go through me, "Someday, I'm gonna do something great". Okay, so... Who do you think was talking to me when I thought I'd always have a second-rate life? And who was talking to me when I would think someday I'm gonna do something great?
We need to learn who to listen to. C'mon. I was born-again when I was nine. I don't know why, but I've always had an awareness of and loved God. And I mean, I was raised in a very ungodly atmosphere, but I sneakily, went to church with some relatives that we were visiting out of town. And as a nine-year-old child, I went up to the altar and I asked the preacher, "Could you save me"? And you know, I look back and the abuse didn't go away. It still continued week, after week, after week. But I made it through because God was with me. And I don't know why he did it that way. He could have...
I don't know why my mother put up with it. I don't know why, you know, we can't always figure out the whys and we need to stop trying to. We just need to remember that God is our redeemer and he's our restorer. And what satan meant for harm he will work out for good. So, while the devil was whispering to me, "Now, you're used merchandise. You're always gonna have a second-rate life". God would blow by every once in awhile and whisper, "Someday, you're gonna do something great". Amen? C'mon, and I wanna say to you today, someday, you're gonna do something great. And God's got some big plans for you, but you need to learn to fight the good fight of faith and stop letting the devil control all your thoughts.
Another lie that I believed: what happened to me was my fault. Something must be wrong with me for my dad to want to do that to me. But then, I learned from God that the devil is a liar, and that there's no six or seven-year-old child who's doing something that's causing an adult to abuse them. And I learned that, "He that knew no sin became sin that I might be made the righteousness of God in Christ". God doesn't bring us into relationship with him to tell us everything that's wrong with us. He starts out with saying, "You're right with me". Oh, yeah, we got things wrong with us, but God knew all about it before we did. And he loves you anyway.
Another lie, I believed that was actually tormenting, was no matter how hard I tried to be a good Christian, I always felt that God was not pleased with me. I lived for years with this low-level feeling that God was mad at me. Wasn't even like this big, you know, in your face thing. It was just this, kinda, always the devil reminding me of what I did wrong. "You didn't do this. You didn't do that. Well, you read the Bible but you didn't understand it. You prayed but you didn't pray right. You this, you that, you something else".
You know what? I'm free from all that junk. I don't listen to those accusations anymore. And the devil will never completely go away, but the sooner you stop listening to his lies and believing them, the less trouble you're gonna have with them. Amen? Every single one of you, in this room today, every single one, there is more right with you than wrong with you. Think about that. How 'bout waking up in the morning and saying, "Lord, I've got some things we could work on, but my confession is, is there's more right with me the wrong with me".
Well, the enemy will go find somebody else to try to bug that day. And then, here's another, just couple of lies that I believed. I believed that all my problems, especially, my bad behavior was somebody else's fault. Thank you for that one agreement. And everything I did wrong was because I'd been abused. Blame and excuses, and neither one of them help you face truth and get free. The point was I had been abused. I was really pretty messed up. But I was starting to learn the truth. I had a relationship with God. He was showing me things. And a lot of the way that I was, was because I'd been abused but God said, "Stop using it as an excuse to stay that way". C'mon okay, yes. This, and that, and that happened to you, but God says, "Let go of what's behind. Behold, I'm doing a new thing. Will you not get in agreement with me"?
C'mon, you gotta learn who the devil is. That he hates you. That he's a liar. And you pay attention to your thoughts, and when something comes into that brain of yours that does not agree with the Word of God, that's when you open your mouth and say, "No. No. I know that you're a liar, satan". And then, when you start to know the word and you can throw the word back at him like Jesus did... Whoo. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He didn't lead him to a beachside resort. Come on, it's time to square off with the enemy and let him know that you know who you are and that you know who he is and that the battle is not yours because God is fighting with you and on your side. C'mon, get up and give God a big praise.
Ginger:Joyce, you'll love this question because it's from someone who wants to know how to study the Word of God even better. And I know you're all about that. So, Veronica, from Pennsylvania, says, "As soon as I start to read the Bible, I get so sleepy and my eyes start to hurt. I don't understand because I can sit through hundreds of sermons and I even love to play the audio Bible, but reading it is a struggle. I love the Lord, and I have a hunger for his word. What should I do"?
Joyce: Well, I heard about one man... I don't recommend this. But I heard about one man, he's actually a well-known preacher, now. He couldn't stay awake. So, he started standing on the edge of the bathtub and reading the word out loud for 30 minutes. That kind of encourages you not to fall asleep.
Ginger:And it promotes balance in life.
Joyce: Yeah, it promotes balance in life. You know, I guess, I wonder, does all reading make her sleepy? You know, I can only read for a certain period of time without getting sleepy. My husband can sit and read all day and it won't make him sleepy. So, you gotta kind of work with who you are. But if it's just when she studies the Bible that she gets sleepy, well, that's like the devil overplaying his hand. And so, I mean, if she has to, if she could walk around and read and study. I think the big thing with satan is determination. You have to let him know, "I don't care how long this takes, I am not gonna give up". Plus, also, asking for God's help. You know, God can certainly, you know, be in a room that's well lit. You know, you're more likely to get sleepy, I mean, like, on real cloudy days, you're more likely to get sleepy. But you know, some people can't read as long as others, so get up, walk around, do somethin', come back, go at it again.
Joyce: Be tenacious. Make sure that you... You know, studying the word is great. And I mean, I guess, if she just absolutely cannot stay awake, then she needs to get in a Bible study group where there's a little more going on.
Ginger:That's a great idea.
Joyce: You know, one thing's for sure, you have to let the enemy know, "I'm going to learn the word, sleepy or not".