Joyce Meyer - The Warfare of Rest
It's so important to understand that we are in a battle. You can feel it. You can feel it. You know you feel war in your soul, one part of you wants to do what's right, one part of you wants to do what's wrong. One part of you is selfish, and one part of you wants to give to people. And the enemy plays on the weaker parts of our flesh and he does everything that he can to keep us from being fully committed to God and serving God. I talked this morning about what a liar he is and how so many of us believe so many lies.
Let me just ask a question, have of any of you since this morning, have you caught the devil in any lies that he's been telling you? Yes, and I hope that you continue to do that until you're just completely free. But satan tempted Jesus when the Holy Spirit lead him out into the Wilderness and the devil told him one lie after another and every time the devil said something to Jesus the Bible says, "Jesus said to the devil", and he quoted him the Word of God. Because you see the truth of God's word is the very best weapon that we have to use against the enemy. The Bible says, "Let him who has my word speak my word faithfully".
So, we need to learn how to speak the Word of God, instead of running to everybody else all the time to find out what we oughtta do about our problems, we need to know the word well enough to know when to apply what scripture to what situation, and we need to speak that. When the devil tells you, "You're never gonna have anything". You say, "Everything I lay my hand to prospers and succeeds". When he says, "Nobody's ever going to love you", you can say, "God loves me and he causes everybody else to love me". Learn how to fight. And one of the greatest weapons that you have is your mouth if you got the right stuff coming out of it. Let me stress, if you have the right stuff coming out of it. It can also be our biggest problem if we have the wrong stuff coming out of it.
And so, 42-43 years ago when I first had the privilege of being touched by God, and although I was a Christian, I had no victory in my life and I needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I needed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And at that particular time, there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in all denominations all over the world and some of you remember that, some of you don't. But there are special times when God moves in the earth and that was one of those special times.
Now, let me quickly say that you do not have to wait for some special move of God to be touched by God, or to be filled with his Holy Spirit. Everyday, say, "God, fill me with your spirit and give me all the gifts of the spirit that you want me to have so I can serve you in a powerful way". We don't have to just live life in a natural way. We can live it in a, "Super", huge on the, "Super", natural way. And so, I started learning back then, that the devil was my real problem, not people, but the devil was my real problem. He works through people, but many times we're blaming people when we should be dealing with the one who's behind the problem.
The Bible says that "Satan entered Judas and caused him to want to sell information about where Jesus was being kept, for 30 pieces of silver". In another place, it says that satan entered Ananias and Sapphira's heart and caused them to want to hold back what they had promised to give. And Jesus dealt with Peter, Peter, the apostle Peter, when Peter was trying to get him not to go to Jerusalem and suffer, and Jesus looked straight at him and said, "Get thee behind me satan"! Now, how would you like that? Now, I don't suggest the next time you have an argument with your husband that you look at him and say, "Get thee behind me satan". That might not be the best thing for everybody concerned, but you can certainly go in the other room and say it. Not saying that your husband is the devil, but the devil can work through you, he can work through me, he can certainly work through unbelievers, but he can work through anybody that will let him work through them.
How many of you understand what I'm saying? Now, a few of you are looking a little squeamish like, "We have to talk about the devil"? Well, honey, you better hope somebody talks to you about him on some kind of a regular basis because if you go around all your life thinking that he just comes out on Halloween in a red suit with a pitchfork and some plastic horns on his head, he's going to eat you alive and you're never going to know what happened to your life. Amen? The devil is alive and well on planet earth. But the good news is, Luke 10:19, "Behold, look and see I have given you power and authority over all the power the enemy possesses and nothing shall by any means harm you".
Now, I don't want you to miss what he said the devil has power, but it doesn't say anything about him having authority. "Behold, I have given you power and authority over all the power the enemy possesses". The only authority that the devil has is what we give him through our lack of knowledge or through our passivity of not stepping out on the knowledge that we have. For example, the Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Don't give the devil any such foothold in your life". Well, how many times in a year do you go to bed mad? Sleeping next to the person you're mad at? C'mon, we've all done it, sleep on the seam of the mattress because "I'm not gonna touch you. You're not gonna to touch me".
I would do that and sit there and freeze all night because I wasn't gonna, "I'm not asking you for any cover". Well, it wasn't hurting him. He had 90% of the bed and all the cover. It's just dumb. I mean, anger just makes you do stupid stuff. Amen? And we need to be slow to anger and we need to know how to get rid of it when it gets hold of us. And so, there are many different things that we do that opens the door for the enemy to have some authority in our life. Now, he had no authority until Adam gave him the authority that God had given Adam, but Jesus came and took it back away from him. Amen? He crushed his head and he took the keys of hell and death away from him and now he's given us the authority back, but authority does you no good if you don't use it.
You guys need this I can tell, you're like... And I get it. I mean 40 some-odd years ago, I'd never heard anything like this and I'd been in church for years and years and years. I knew that there was a devil, but I never heard anything about him. Do we think it's not good to talk about the devil in church? Well, this is a pretty safe place to talk about him. And I'm going to tell you that he is a liar. He comes only to kill, to steal, and destroy but Jesus said, "I came", thank God that's there, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows".
Now, who are you going to side with? Whose side are you gonna take? Are you going to spend your time on the internet passing along gossip when nobody knows what they're talking about, or are you going to get up in the morning and pray and act like you know who you are in Christ and let the enemy know early in the day? I don't know what, you know what I say in the mornings? "Father, whatever plan or scheme the enemy has plotted against me for this day, I overturn it right now, in Jesus' name. You are running my life, not him". So, I learned a lot about "Spiritual warfare". Some of it was right, a lot of it was kinda out there. But I got so tired of screaming at the devil, and nothing ever changing in my life.
You know, if what people are telling you is not working, you oughta go to God and ask God if they're right. Because the Word of God works, if you work it. Amen? And so, I always say, "I rebuked until my rebuker was worn out and I still had all the same kinda problems", and so, I went to God and I said, "What is wrong"? That's a good question to ask God sometimes, but you better get ready 'cause he'll tell ya. Amen? And so, the Lord challenged me to study and look around in the word and see how Jesus did spiritual warfare. The devil didn't give him any trouble and he was after him all the time. He never upset him. He never got him depressed. He was constantly after him, but he had no effect on him because Jesus knew, first of all, who he was, and two of the lies when he was being tempted in the Wilderness basically came down, "If you really are the Son of God".
So, his identity was attacked twice in those 40 days and that's one of the big things that satan tries to do to us, is to make us feel like we have no power, we have no authority, God doesn't love us, there's nothing supernatural about our lives. If you're gonna fight and win, you gotta know who you are and you gotta know whose you are. Who you belong to and who you are in Christ. Listen, without him we're absolutely nothing, we can do nothing but through him we can do all things that he wants us to do. "Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world". "If God be for me, who can be against me". "If God is on my side, whom shall I fear".
And I could go on, but I would run outta time. Are you alive? You alive? And so I started really looking because I didn't see Jesus screaming at the devil. And I started looking at how he did warfare, and rest is warfare. And I'm not talking about taking a nap on the couch, I'm talking about internal rest, having peace in your heart at all times no matter what's going on in your life. Jesus knew who he was, the Bible says to, "Put on the breastplate of righteousness, tighten the belt of truth", it's all in Ephesians 6. Jesus knew the truth, he walked in the truth, he lived the truth. Put on your helmet of salvation, if you are gonna be a Christian, think like a Christian. Amen? Wield the two-edged sword, which is the Word of God.
Thanksgiving is warfare, I'm sure Holly talked about that today. It's warfare every time you thank God instead of complaining, you're giving the devil a punch in the eye. Did you hear me? Every time you thank God for every little thing that you can think of instead of complaining about the few little things that you don't have, you're doing warfare with the enemy. Do you know that some of you could change your life if you just would stop complaining and start being thankful, aggressively thankful, all the time. C'mon, now, I'm trying to help you. You think I don't wanna complain? I want to complain everyday. The flesh just likes to complain. We are addicted to comfort. We do not want to be uncomfortable. We don't wanna be hot. We don't wanna be cold. We don't wanna sit on a hard chair. We don't wanna park more than three steps from the front door.
When I was coming in to the meeting tonight, I saw these ladies walking for blocks, I mean, they were just like this, and I thought "Yes"! Make everybody wonder, "Where are all those women going? Look at all those women walking from all over, they're coming from everywhere, where are they going"? Ya know? "We're going to meet with Jesus"! But one of the things, and the thing that I want to talk to you about tonight was that Jesus always stayed in rest. And I want you to trust me when I tell you that if you can manage to stay in peace, Donnie sang about it, "When you've done everything else that you can", what do you do? You stand. Well, that word, "Stand", actually is translated from the same word that means abide, which just means to rest in God. When you've done everything you can, then you say, "God, I can't do what I can't do and so I'm waiting on you".
And let me tell you a little secret. When you're waiting on God, it's okay, I'm giving you permission to go ahead and enjoy your life. Hey, if you're going to be waiting anyway, you might as well have some fun while you're doing it. We think when we've got problems, we've got to be miserable, but we don't. Okay, now listen, if we wanted to describe Jesus, in one word, if I said, "Give me one word that describes Jesus", we would get a whole bunch of different things. But I heard one person say, and I really like this, he said, "I think the best way you can describe Jesus is 'rested'". Can you imagine Jesus being frantic about anything? He never hurried. He never worried. He did many things but they were all done out of rest. And the kind of rest that we're talking about, this sabbath rest, this rest that God offers, the rest of God, entering the rest of God.
If you study the word in the Greek, it means not rest from work, but rest while you work. You understand that? Yes, I work when I do these conferences, and in a way, I'm working right now, but it's not really hard for me because I trust God for everything that's gonna come out of my mouth next, even though I don't know what it's gonna be. And I've got all of you who came here, you paid money, you traveled you flew, you drove, and I'm responsible, least I feel like, for you to leave and say, "That was really good". Well, but see that doesn't bother me either because I've done all I can do so if God doesn't make it good, then it just won't be good. Amen?
And if you can just get a revelation tonight that you can only do what you can do. Having done all... He was singing out of Ephesians 6, "Having done all the crisis demands, you are to stand firmly in your place. Stand firm"! When you've done what you can do don't murmur, don't complain, don't get mad at everybody else that doesn't have the problems that you have, but just say, "God, I believe your word is true. I trust you and I'm gonna stand and watch you work in my life". Like Chris said today, we've got to get our faith stirred up again. I said, "We gotta get our faith stirred up again". Stir up your faith, stir it up. Paul had to tell Timothy, "Stir up your faith, fan that flame. You once were red-hot on fire, full of faith. But now you've gotten weary". We all get weary. You think that I never get tired of doing another conference?
Now, I mean, I love you guys to pieces and I'm here because I love you and because I love God. But people say to me, always, "Are you excited about the conference"? Well, no. You know why? Because if I was just running on excitement, I woulda run out of gas a long time ago. Let me tell you something, new things are exciting, but when you've done it two thousand times... Come on, listen to me, because once the excitement's over, real men and women of God kick into faithfulness. Come on, hear me tonight. Once the excitement is gone, then you better know how to be faithful and you keep doing it not because it excites you, but because it's what God has assigned you to do and you do it out of love. That's when you're doing it with the right motive.
We all get tired. You get tired of doing dishes. I get tired of needing another sermon, you know, we all we all get tired. And I'm just being honest with you, you know, we're all people, right? How many of you get tired of just doing what you do all the time, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Come on, Holly. You ever get tired of having to have one more sermon, for one more Sunday morning? You know, that doesn't mean that we're... See, you like to think of your leaders like people who float around on a cloud singing the, "Hallelujah chorus", all day long. You think the devil gets after you, you ought to try doing this. You look at me kind of odd, like, "You want to talk about the devil"?
Well, I'd really rather talk about some cool little, sweet little dessert thing that everybody could just clap and cheer, but I need to tell you that the devil hates you. And you better start stirring up your faith and not keep wanting somebody else to do everything for you. Sooner or later everybody has to face-off with their Goliath. Why was Jesus led by the Holy Spirit out into the Wilderness to be tempted by the devil 40 days and 40 nights? Right after he had that victory, he began his public ministry with power. Why did he have to go through that? Because God needed him to prove to himself that he could standoff with the devil and come out a winner every time.
I just get so mad when I see what the devil is doing to people. Whoo! Jesus did many things, but he did them all out of rest. You can do everything that God has assigned you to do and you can do it from a standpoint of rest. And you know how you enter the rest of God? He that believes enters the rest of God. The Israelites could not enter the rest of God "Because of their unbelief" it says in Hebrews. And what they heard did them no good because of unbelief, but there is a rest that still remains available for the children of God, for all those who believe they can enter the rest of God. Let's start believing God. Let's stir our faith up. Let's let Jesus marvel at our faith. Finally, I've got a church full of people that believe what I say. Amen? It's time.
"Well, I don't know. All that faith stuff". And let me just tell you a little secret. Faith is not something that God gives you so you never have to go through anything. And if you can't get rid of every problem, it's not because you don't have any faith. And if you get sick it's not because you don't have any faith, it's because the devil hates you. And he's trying to make you miserable and we need to show him that we know who our God is and that no matter what he does, we are gonna stand and we are gonna serve God and we are gonna love him and we are gonna be faithful whether it's exciting or whether it's not. Come on. It's time for us to get some Holy Ghost back bone.
"Well, I wish God would do something special for me". Well, you know, sometimes I go a long time without feeling like God shows up and does anything for me and I give, and I give, and I do, and I do, and sometimes I'm just like, "Okay, God I need something here". We all go through times like that, everybody does. And believe it or not, it's actually good for us because in those times we grow. It says in Deuteronomy 8, "I led you through the Wilderness these forty years, to test you to see if you would keep my commandments or not". We're never gonna know what we're made out of... Holly talked to you about the year or two years that she had that was like nightmare two years, but let me tell you somethin', she found out what she was made out of. And you know what her testimony is? She's still here, and she's still preaching, and she's still telling you to give thanks to God.
But there's other people who had a lot less to deal with than she did, that gave up on God and they're sitting somewhere on the sidelines of life now, all mad at God because he didn't make their life comfy. We need to be excited about God again. Don't get familiar with Jesus, don't get so used to God. I said to the Lord, few years back, "Why don't you do the things that you used to do"? You know when I could just play Bible roulette... C'mon, how many of you play Bible roulette? You know, I remember all the sweet things that Jesus used to do for me and I just thought, "This is the most wonderful thing". And then I go to God and say, "Why don't you still do those things". He said, "I'm still doing 'em, you've just gotten used to it".
And we don't need to play Bible roulette anyway, we need to know what's in here well enough that we don't even have to look. When people came together, intending to throw Jesus off of a cliff because of his teaching, he simply walked away from 'em. He didn't even bother gettin' mad at 'em. When he was falsely accused, he didn't even answer his accusers. In proverbs it that says something about how dumb it is to answer a fool. Sometimes people can say some of the stupidest things, and we start trying to defend ourselves and convince them that we're not what they think we are. Why don't we just say...
When the soldiers came with Judas into the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus, Peter took his sword and cut off one of the soldier's ears, and Jesus responded by picking up the ear and putting it back on his head and healing him. You know what? We gotta remember that Jesus was and is God, but he was also man. So, for all intent and purposes, when he was living here on the earth, those three years, he was God in a human body or he was a human body filled with God.
Now, let me ask you what you are. If you're born again, full of the Spirit of God, you are a human body full of God, okay? Now I didn't say you're Jesus, I said, "You're a body full of God". And let me tell you that Jesus had to use self-control to stay calm. It wasn't that he never felt upset, when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane awaiting his crucifixion, he said, "Father, if there's any way, remove this cup from me, but if not your will be done". And he prayed and he prayed until his sweat became like drops of blood. He resisted until he was sweating blood. I would say he used some self-control.
And I'll bet when that soldier came and Peter cut off his ear, maybe Jesus didn't feel so much like putting his ear back on. Maybe he would have liked to cut off the other one. I don't know. Come on. It says that, "He despised the shame of the cross but he went and did what God told him to do, for the joy of obtaining the prize that was on the other side". How many of you will do the hard stuff now, for the joy of getting the prize that's on the other side?
I'm going to give you a goal to go home with. Can I give you a little homework assignment? I want you to go home and focus on not letting the devil upset you. Come on now. Don't make me come out there. You're not gonna go to this conference and then go home and walk in the front door and start yelling at everybody because they didn't do what you told 'em to while you were gone. And some of you have already planned it. Yeah, you have, you've already planned it, "When I go home, if I walk in that house", come on. Look at that. Look at that. Come to this conference and make me work so hard and you've already planned to go home and have a fit.
Now you're gonna get a new plan. "God, give me grace when I walk in the house, if things are not the way I want them to be, help me handle it in a godly way. Let them know that I went somewhere that did me some good". Come on. And you know, you're gonna get home and you're gonna be tired, but let me tell ya, you're not gonna be as tired as I am. And most of you aren't as old as I am. And I don't get to go home and be grouchy. You know why? Because if I wanna live the life I'm living, and do what I'm doing, and carry an anointing on my life that will break bondages off of you, then I can't act that way. During a hurricane, he went to sleep in the bottom of the boat, and his disciples were frantic. "Well don't you love us"? Well he got up and spoke peace to the storm. But you know what? You can't speak peace to the storms in your life if you don't have any peace in you, to speak. Whew-oo, whew-oo.
Romans 12:18 says, "As far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men". As far as it depends on you, so your homework assignment is to go home, having made your mind up that you're going to be a peacemaker, from now on. I'mma to find some people that are excited... I said, you know what that means? Every time there's trouble or turmoil, you're gonna be the first one to apologize. Okay, I'mma try somebody else. "Well, it's not my turn to apologize, I apologized the last time". I tried that on God once and he said, "Where does it say, 'be a peacemaker if it's your turn'"? I'm serious.
Let me tell you something, the stronger Christian is the one who apologizes first. The stronger Christian is the one who makes peace first. The stronger Christian is the one who's willing to shut up, not have to have the last word. The strongest Christian is the one who's willing to let somebody think that they're right when you already know they're not. How many of you are married to mr. Right? You just didn't know his first name was, "Always", did you? I'm not gonna pick on Dave tonight.
John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you: my own peace, I now give and bequeath unto you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed: and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled". Well, what do you wanna say about that? Jesus said, "Look, I've left you my peace. Now you stop letting yourself get upset". Can I get any faith, at all, that you think you might even possibly be able to go home and do this? Oh, it is gonna be so hard on your pride. You gotta get ready. "Yes, honey. Yes, dear".
Dave did a little shopping today. And he bought two paintings, that he loved, and guess who didn't? And do they match anything in the house? Dave likes things to stand out. But the problem is, he wants everything to stand out. So, you go in a room and you think you're going crazy, because it's all standing out. Okay now, this is between sessions and I'm not liking this. And I can feel it coming. How many of you know, you can feel it coming? It starts somewhere down in here and just moves up. And here's the trick, you gotta stop it before it gets to your mouth. I didn't want the pictures. But we have 'em. And I realized, I am going tonight to teach on entering the rest of God.
Come on, I am going tonight to teach on entering the rest of God, and the devil is standing on his head trying to upset me. And I'm not going there, been there, done that, no thank you. So he can just put his pictures in his room, in his office, lock himself in there and just trying to figure out what to look at. He's talking to me about these paintings, and I've got like a million things running through my head trying to get ready for all this stuff and I'm like, "Painting, painting, painting". And then I had to go see them, and I didn't wanna go see them, because I didn't have time to go see them. And then when I saw them, I really didn't want them, but we have 'em. No, no, no. No! Do not give him a microphone. Now, he...
Dave: you know, this was long overdue, go over and sit down for a minute, will ya? This has been long overdue. I coulda bought the most beautiful picture of Jesus and she woulda said, "I don't like it"! Hey, listen, she's inferring that I'm always right. Well, I'm married to, "Miss wrong". The problem is, her first name is, "Never".
Joyce: c'mon ladies, help me.
Dave: sometimes you just have to come up and straighten a preacher out. Because I know where the spirit of truth ends and the spirit of exaggeration begins. So, you can carry on the meeting now, thank you.
Joyce: thank you. But you see, here's the good news. 30 years ago, I woulda stayed mad a month over those pictures. I wouldn't have talked to him, I woulda had it on my mind all the time, it woulda been eating at me, like poison. Today, I got over it in five minutes. Five minutes. And now, look at how you've all benefitted. So, really, the truth is he did the world a favor when he bought those pictures, that don't match anything. Because now, you've all learned a good lesson about how to stay in peace. Oh, thank you Dave, that was so helpful.
How many of you see my point? See, I thought, "I'm not going there. Why do that"? You know why? Peace is too valuable. It's one of the most valuable things. No wonder, Jesus right before he died, he said, "My peace I leave with you". He could have left us a hundred different things, but he said, "My peace I bequeath unto you, not the kind of peace the world has, the kind of peace I have. Now, you take my gift and stop allowing yourselves to be upset, and disturbed, and bothered about every little thing that comes along that's not comfortable and doesn't feel good". Amen?
Matthew 11:28, amplified Bible, "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest". The minute that you start to feel upset, the minute you start to worry about something, take it to Jesus. Come on, the minute you start to worry. "Jesus, I'm giving this to you, it's not gonna do me any good to worry about it, I'm praying about this, and I'm asking you to solve it. If there's something you want me to do, show me what it is and I'll be happy to obey you, otherwise it's your deal". Amen? "Come unto me, when you're overburdened and I will give you rest".