Joyce Meyer - How Does Your Mind Affect Your Joy?
Alright, I'm doing a series on "Joy and enjoyment". Putting an emphasis on enjoying life, not just living life, not just making it through, but actually enjoying your life. Not just vacations, not just when you go shopping to get a new outfit, not just when you got a holiday and don't have to go to work, but enjoying ordinary, everyday, sometimes same old, could be boring, life, if we let it be. We all do a lot of the same things over and over, and over and over, but I shared last night, that in every situation, no matter how much you dread it, or don't want to do it, or think you don't like it, one of the great secrets to enjoying anything is to find something to be thankful for, in that situation or in that thing.
For example, I used this last night, a lot of people like, ya know, "I hate to do my laundry. I don't like laundry day, I got to do the laundry". Well, you could change your attitude by saying, "I thank God that I've got clothes". See, we lose an attitude of gratitude through having so much abundance, that we no longer appreciate, really truly appreciate, the things that we have. I mean we should be so appreciative of being able to walk into a place like this, and spend the whole, entire day worshiping Jesus, hearing the Word of God, without fear of being arrested, because we did it. And yet, we haven't seen the other side of the way a lot of other people live, and so we can tend to take this for granted.
I shared last night that I'm not really a morning person. By that I mean, it just takes me a little while, so, give me some coffee, give me about an hour, little caffeine and an hour of Jesus, and I can behave and act right. So, I wake up in the morning and I lay there, and sometimes I think, "Oh man, I don't want to get up. I don't want to get up". But, ya know, I decided the other day, instead of doing that, I'm gonna say, "I'm glad that I have feet, that I can jump out of this bed, and stand on my own two feet. I can walk around my house, I can go out and make my coffee, I can sit in my recliner, I can look out my nice window". And I'm saying this again, even though, maybe if you were here last night, you heard it already, because I really believe that this is one of the secrets to enjoying everything that you do. In everything you do, find some thing that you can be thankful for. How many of ya agree with me that could be really life-changing?
John 10:10, very powerful scripture, "The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and destroy". But Jesus said, "I came", and I can stop right there and we can just preach on "I came" for the rest of the day. Isn't it wonderful that Jesus interrupts what the devil's trying to do? Just think about that, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life", not just have it, but "Enjoy your life, in abundance, to the full, until it overflows". Well, since most of life is just ordinary, everyday life, that means we have to learn how to enjoy, what other people would call, boring and mundane. And we can do that, because everything we do should be done for the glory of God. And we're gonna talk about this a little bit later, but our motives for why we do things, has a lot to do with whether we can enjoy life or not.
If you go to work just to get a paycheck, it's doubtful that you'll be able to enjoy your work. But if you go there with the idea in mind of letting God use you in that place to serve him, and you see it as the place where God has planted you for right now, and you believe you have a purpose there, it completely changes things and turns them all the way around. It's our thinking, and the way we talk, that gets us in a lot of trouble. I'm actually writing a book right now on Proverbs, which is an interesting challenge, because I decided to take it chapter by chapter, and Proverbs is extremely repetitive, which only proves that we need to hear things over, and over, and over, and over, and over. But, there are hundreds of scriptures in Proverbs about the mouth. Words, the mouth of the foolish, the mouth of the wise, and it is really amazing how much the Bible has to say about the importance of our thoughts and our words. And let me say right now, that both of them are something that with God's help we can learn how to control.
How many of you believe that what you let go on in your mind, has a lot to do with your joy, or your lack of joy? Ok, well you sit around and think junkie thoughts all day, I don't care what you own or what you're doing, you're not gonna enjoy it. Because, our real life is in us, I want to talk to you about the inner life today, and I want you to get in touch with what's going on inside of you, because we can dress it up and take it to church, and we can say, "Praise the Lord", and smile at everybody, and clap at all the right times, but that doesn't mean that, that's really us. Amen? You can hide the real you from everybody else, but you can't hide it from God, you can't hide it from yourself. We can look at somebody and smile, and be thinking, "That outfit you have on is the stupidest looking thing I've ever seen in my life". "Well, praise the Lord, nice to see you today".
I think it's time for us to get real, and by get real, I don't mean, say, "That outfit looks stupid on you". But I mean, we need to realize that what we think is the real us, it's not what we pretend to be. And so, we feed on our thoughts, and the Bible actually says in Proverbs 18, "That we eat our words". You've heard that phrase, "You're gonna eat those words". Well, that actually comes from Proverbs 18:21, which says, "That we feed on our words". So, ya know, we have joy, you don't need to pray for God to give you joy, you need to pray for you to learn what's blocking your joy. You already have it. We spend a lot of time praying for stuff we've already got, and we need to spend more time thinking about, "If I've got it, then why am I not using it"?
And, in the old covenant, in the Old Testament, a lot of the way that, say the Israelites enemies tried to attack them, and affect them, was to throw stones in their wells until they were so blocked up, they couldn't get any water out of 'em. So, I want you to look at yourself today like a well, and through the new birth in Jesus Christ, he comes to live on the inside of you, and so, if he comes, all that he is, comes with him. We have the Fruit of the Spirit. We have peace. The Bible says in John 14:27, "My peace I leave with you", Jesus bequeathed and left us his peace. We have the Fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, meekness, humility, all those wonderful things. You have self control. Oh yeah, you got it. Just because you don't use it, doesn't mean you don't have it. So, you can just stop saying, "Well, I just don't have any self-control". Yes, you do. Why don't you just tell the truth? "I have lots of self-control, I just don't use it".
And so, you have joy, but satan throws stones of jealousy, and stones of envy, and stones of worry, and big boulders of guilt, and all kinds of things down in our well, until all the good things in there are blocked up. So, maybe instead of praying for all this stuff we've already got, we need to start asking God to show us what's blocking them, and with his help, start removing them one by one. One of the things that David did when he became the king was, he unstopped the wells. And I think today can be a day of unstopping wells. Hallelujah. All right, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he". Proverbs 23:7, very powerful scripture, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he".
If we think about problems, and sad things, and negative things, it adversely affects the release of our joy. But I'll tell you something that does release joy, and that's hope. Hope is such a powerful word, and it's not hope like the world thinks about, "Well, I hope something good happens, but I don't know if it will or not". No, hope is an aggressive expectation that something good is about to happen to me, at any moment. Hope is about your expectations. So, let me ask you, what are you expecting from life? What are you expecting today? Many people don't expect anything. They're just like, "Well, we'll see. Who knows? We'll see". Or, they actually go to the worst extreme, and expect bad things to happen. And I used to be like that, I'd had so many bad things happen to me in my life, that I had a bad case of what the Bible calls, "Evil forebodings". I always had like, this feeling in my atmosphere, "What's the next terrible thing that's gonna happen in my life".
And sometimes you've had so many bad things happen, that you're afraid to hope because you don't want to be disappointed again. But hope is necessary, even for faith. A lot of people trying to have faith, but they don't have hope. So, just for the sake of making it really simple, let's just say that hopelessness is a negative attitude that nothing good is ever gonna happen to me. But hope is an aggressively positive attitude that says, "I believe God is working in my life, and I am expecting something good to happen to me today". So, you want to get rid of all stones of hopelessness. Romans 5, talks about hope. Romans 5:2-5, "Through him", him, of course being Christ, "Also we have our access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we firmly and safely stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God".
The word glory means "The manifestation of all of God's excellencies". So, that's saying that we can rejoice in believing that we are going to see the glory of God in our lives. Don't give up on your dreams. Don't start thinking that it's not gonna happen just because it hasn't happened yet. You be spiritually bullheaded, you know how to be bullheaded in other ways, so let's be spiritually bullheaded, and say, "No God, you promised in your word, and I am not gonna give up until I see it manifest in my life". And actually, God likes that. Okay, now, watch this next verse, "Moreover, let us also be full of joy". When? Eh? When? One more time. Alright, not be full of joy when your problems are over, not be full of joy when it's time for vacation. But be full of joy now, while you do the laundry. Be full of joy now, while you cut the grass. Be full of joy now, when you get called to school by the principal.
Do you know how many things there are out there that try to steal our joy every, single day? I mean, the world is full of what I call, "Joy suckers". They're just, things and people that just, it's their mission in life to just try to see how miserable they can make you, and how upset they can get you. And I've almost come to the point where I love playing the game, because the devil's not gonna win and I'm gonna stay happy. "Let us be full of joy now! And exult and triumph in our troubles. And rejoice in our sufferings, knowing", see, we can rejoice in our problems, if we know that God is going to use it to work something, "knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance".
See, that's why Paul could be happy even when he was in jail, because he really believed what he wrote, that's recorded in Romans 8, "That all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to his purpose". The devil cannot beat you if you'll have that kind of a positive attitude. And ya know, I know somebody might be thinking, "Well, you just don't know the problems I've got". You know what? I have empathy for you, but I can guarantee you, that there's somebody in this room who has a bigger problem than you do. I mean, I can guarantee it. "And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character of this sort produces the habit of joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation".
And I want joy to just be a habit in my life, not something that I have to work up, or have some special event to have. How many of you just want to be more joyful than ever before? How many of you would really love it, if what I'm saying today, is not a myth, it's not just a story, I'm not up here just being a spiritual cheerleader today. But how many of you really believe that you could, it's really possible to enjoy every, single thing that you do? You know, my time with you is very important to me. I'm doing this because God has taught me so much.
And I want to tell you, whatever problem you have, I had it. I mean I've been hurt, I've been wounded, I've been mistreated, I've been abandoned. I was the most negative, hard to get along with, grumpy, grouchy, distrusting, suspicious... Come on. I mean, I don't care how bad you are, you couldn't have been any worse than me, when it came to attitude. And I am just so not like that anymore, I mean, let me tell you... It is absolutely true, that God changes us. He changes us, and if we continue in the word.
See, I don't even know, if you know, how valuable it is for you to be here today. What you're gonna learn in just this one day, or if you were here last night, you invest about 23 hours in this, and I tell ya, you're going to learn a lot more than if you laid home and watched soap operas on the couch. These are things that will stick with you. Even that little exhortation about spending time with your kids, you know, just that little thing, that can totally change some of your kids, if you go home and do it. And I come and do this, because I know what God's word can do for you, and I believe with all of my heart, I really believe, that you can learn to enjoy every single thing that you do, if you apply these principles that I'm sharing.
We call our television program, "Enjoying Everyday Life", because I didn't start even learning how to enjoy my life until I was 50, and I don't want that to happen to you. I want you to get started early making the devil mad, and being as happy as you can possibly be. And don't even sit there today and think, "I dread going home 'cause I got all that work that I left there". Depression and sadness is gonna try to come over you, but learn how to talk to your emotions. Manage your emotions, don't let them rule over you. David, in Psalm 42:5, 42:11 and 43:5, in that short period of time, he said the same thing three times, the exact same thing, "Why so downcast, oh my soul? Put your hope in God. Why so downcast? Oh my soul. Put your hope".
Come on, soul, expect something good. It's just as easy to believe that something good is gonna happen to you, as it is to believe something bad is gonna happen. Actually, it takes a lot less energy, because negative things take more energy than positive things do. You can give the devil a nervous breakdown, just by being positive. How many of you agree that most of the time, we just kind of have this wait-and-see attitude? Isaiah 30:18, I love, love, love, love, love this scripture. Is pretty long, so you gotta really pay attention. "And therefore the Lord earnestly waits", and what does it mean to wait? "To expect, to look, and to long for God to be good to you".
When the Bible says, "They that wait upon the Lord", it doesn't mean you go sit in a chair and do nothing, it means that you, you may sit the chair, but you're expecting God to show up at any moment, and do something great in your life. "The Lord earnestly waits expecting, looking, and longing to be gracious to you: and therefore he lifts himself up, that he might have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice". God makes wrong things, right. Hallelujah.
Now watch this, 'cause here's the turn, "Blessed, (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who earnestly wait for him, who expect and look and long for him for his victory, his favor, his love, his peace, his joy, and his matchless, unbroken companionship"! So, here we have God waiting, looking, and longing for somebody to be good to, and the only kind of people he can be good to, is those who are waiting, looking and longing for him to be good to them. Now, I want to know is it gonna be you, or is it gonna have to be somebody else?
What all goes on inside of us? Hoo, it's a busy place in there. This is something you need to think about. I want you to think about this. What's going on in me? Well, first of all, a lot of self-talk. How do you talk to yourself, about yourself? Eh-heh, heh, I got some guilty people over in this section. "I'm so stupid. I can't ever do anything, right". "I'm dumb". "I'm fat". "I'm ugly", and you know, don't think or say negative things about yourself. When you do, you're just agreeing with the devil. Now, here's a good one. What do you think that God thinks of you? You know, the Bible says that, "His thoughts toward us are more than the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world". God has got you on his mind all the time.
So, I thought this morning, "Okay, Joyce, what do you think God thinks of you"? And I thought, "He loves me. He likes me. He's proud of me. I believe he's pleased with me". And you might be thinking, "Well, you kinda sound like you're full of yourself". See, that doesn't mean that I do everything right, but God sees my heart. And I may not do everything right, but I sure want to. And I've given my life to this. You need to stop thinking that God's mad at you about half the time and believe, "The Bible says he rejoices over you with joy". God is dancing over you, he's so happy with you. Do you know how happy he is that you're here today, instead of somewhere else? Whoo. He was so glad you were here last night instead of out getting a hangover. Just think, you coulda went out and got drunk last night and felt so bad this morning, you couldn't even get out of bed.
Now, wouldn't that have been fun? And instead, you came here and actually, had a good time at a church service. You laughed, you cried, you learned something, you sang, you jumped up and down. What about your imagination? What goes on in there? Imagination... If you're gonna take the trouble to imagine something. Why not imagine something good? Amen? I'm imagining getting that phone call this afternoon, about three, four o'clock, "We got an offer for you on your piece of property". Woohoo, Jesus! You say, "Well, what if it don't happen"? Then, I'll expect the phone call tomorrow. I am not caving in and giving in to the devil, anymore. I did it for too many years. Come on, your enjoy is not based on getting what you want, it's based on knowing the one who can give you everything you want.
And trusting him enough to know that if it's not today, then today's not the right day, and at the right day, he will not be, not one second late. And all he wants out of us, is to keep trusting, and keep believing, and keep expecting. And you know what that does for you? It keeps you happy while you're waiting. You're gonna wait. We're all gonna wait, like it or not. So, you can choose to be miserable while you wait, or happy while you wait. I like my preaching this morning. You know, our old nature produces evil imaginations. And you don't even have to try to sit around and imagine something bad, but you'll have to imagine good things on purpose. Amen? If you're overweight and want to lose weight, go buy a dress that's too little for you, hang it in your closet, and everyday look at it and say, "I'm gonna wear you". Amen? Get a vision. Get something in front of you.
Alright, thoughts, ugh, the battlefield of mind. I cannot tell you what it did for me when I found out that I could do my own thinking. That I didn't have to just think whatever fell in my head, that I could actually, cast that thought down and choose to think something good. 2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high and lofty thing that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God: bring every thought into captivity under the obedience of Jesus Christ". That means we have a responsibility.
Satan will try to put things in your mind because the mind is the battlefield, and it will go on all of your life. It's our responsibility, when those things come, pray for the Holy Spirit to help you recognize right away when you have thinking that is what I call, "Stinkin' thinkin'". And then, it's your responsibility to cast that down and to replace it. 'cause if you leave your head empty, somethin' will just come back, just as bad. But if you replace it with something good, then there's no place for the evil to get in. And you know one of my favorite things to do? And I mean this sincerely, I love to sit around and think about things I can do for other people. I just think that's so much fun.
Just think about, "Now, who am I gonna be around today? And what could I do for them? Who can I bless today? Okay, Lord, I'mma really listen today, 'cause people are gonna tell me what they want and need, and I wanna meet needs". Don't sit around and think about, "I'm gonna get you back for what you did to me. And if you think you're gonna get by with that, you've got another thing coming. I'm not gonna put up with that. I'm tired of the way you're treating me". No, you just say, "I've got the nature of God on the inside of me and no matter what you do to me, I can love you with the love of Christ. And I will because I am not gonna let you poison my life by filling me full of bitterness".
Come on. You happy today? Hoo, what about attitudes? The Bible says in Romans 4:23, that we need to have, "A fresh attitude every day", a fresh attitude every single day. Your attitude belongs to you, now, listen, your attitude belongs to you and nobody can make you have a bad one if you don't want to. See, if we would take responsibility for some of our stuff and not always blame it on, you know... "Well, if I had a better job". "If my husband treated me as good as her husband treats her", if this, and that, and something else. Well, make the devil mad and have a good attitude, anyway. You gotta live with yourself. You're not ever gonna get away from yourself, not for a second, so you might as well do something to make yourself enjoyable. Right?
Alright, I got a little story to read you, that's really good. "Ninety-two year old woman getting ready to go to the nursing home. Her husband had recently died, and she was legally blind, couldn't live by herself anymore. And she was a little petite, well-poised lady. Every morning, by eight o'clock, she was fully dressed, had her hair fixed, little makeup on. Today, she's moving to a nursing home because her husband of 70 years had recently, passed away. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told that her room was now ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, the staff person provided a visual description of her tiny room including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on her window. 'I love it', she stated with enthusiasm of an eight-year-old who had just been presented with a new puppy. 'Mrs. Jones, how can you love it? You haven't seen it yet. Just wait'. Then, she spoke these words, 'the fact that I haven't seen it, doesn't have anything to do with it. Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like the room or not, does not depend on how the furniture is arranged, it is how I arrange my mind'".
Listen, make your mind up, right now, that you are not gonna be a grouchy, grumpy, old person. The older I get, the funnier I intend to be. I had a good laugh last week, and so did my kids. I was praying over my food, and I said, "Thank you, Joyce, for this food I'm about to receive". My son said, "We better get you some counseling if you're praying to yourself". Laugh at yourself. Don't get so mad at every little mistake that you make. Amen? I think God laughed at that. "The way I arrange my mind: it's a decision I make, every morning, when I wake up. I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulties that I have with the different parts of my body that no longer work, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do work. Each day is a gift. And as long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day and all the happy memories I have stored away just for this time in my life".
I love that. Love it, love it, love it. Dave and I talk often, about the early days of the ministry and how hard we worked, and the little tiny meetings that we had. Oh, my gosh, and dreaming of this day, hoping to see the day. I remember when I was just believing that just, "God, if just a hundred people will show up today". And that took years. And, you know, it was hard sometimes to hang on to that dream. And there were a Gillian times, when I wanted to quit. But that's exactly what the devil wants you to do. Can I tell you it does not take any courage to quit? Anybody can do that. But only strong people can hang on to your dreams when there's nothing, no reason to make you ever think that it would come to pass except what God has put in your heart. Amen?
Now, another thing that we have floating around on the inside of us that I personally think is one of the most important things: motives. God is not nearly as concerned with what we do, as why we do it. And I wanna add that no matter what you're doing, if you're doing it for the wrong reason you cannot enjoy your life. Only works done with right motives will be rewarded or be satisfying. Matthew 6:1-7. Yes, I said, "Seven verses". "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them". It doesn't mean that people can't see you doing good works, but it means if you do them on purpose, in front of them to be seen by them, guess what? You have no reward. You get no reward.
"So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full, already. But when you give to the needy, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing". What does that mean? I believe, that even after we do something really good for somebody, we're not even supposed to sit around and think about how good we were. Amen? I read one book, a long time ago, that says, "Love stays in the shadows until it's needed then it steps out and does its work and goes back into the shadows, waiting for the next opportunity". "When you give to the needy, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that you're giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you openly".
Do you know how hard it is to do something really good for somebody and nobody know it but you and God? You know why? Because the flesh craves credit. It just wants a little pat. A little nod. Now, I've told this story before, but it's been awhile since I've told it. So, if you've heard it again, I don't apologize, you just probably, need to hear it now. Probably, this has been over 30 years ago, and I'm glad to be able to say that, that it wasn't yesterday. But anybody here remember those days when these big, Jesus rhinestone, Jesus pins were popular? How many of you ever had a rhinestone Jesus pin? Come on, there's only three of us in here, that old? Lord, help me. Anyway, they were a big thing.
And so, I was in the nail shop one day, getting my nails done. There was somebody else in there, getting theirs done, and they were talking about being a nurse in a hospital, and how hard it was to see people in such bad shape and not even be able to talk to them about God because it was against hospital policy. So, I had this thought, that was from God, give her that bright, shiny pin you wear, and tell her that if she'll wear that on her uniform, even when she leans over patients and they see the name Jesus, it'll bless them and help them. But I felt like I was supposed to do it in secret and I didn't know how, in the world, I was gonna do that since there was a girl there working on me. And lo and behold, the girl working on me said, "Oh, you know what, Joyce? I just ran out of a product here that I need. I'm gonna have to run next door to the supply house and get it".
So, God opened up the door for me to get no attention. He made a way for him to get all the glory. And so, I sat there, while that girl was gone, wrestling with myself about whether to do it now, or to wait until the girl came back. And I'd like to tell you, I did the right thing, but I didn't. I sit there and waited, and I even, told myself, "It might really bless her to see my generosity, you know, it might be a good example to her". And so, she came back. And when I got finished, I took the pin and I took it over to the girl and I said, "I want you to have this. I felt like God told me that if you would just wear it on your uniform", and blah, blah blah... And I got just exactly what I wanted. "Oh, that is so nice. You are so kind. That is so sweet".
And as I walked out the door to go to my car, I heard the Lord whisper in my heart, "I hope you enjoyed that Joyce, 'cause that's all the reward you're getting". Anybody else here ever done anything like that? Of course. Well, thank God, that was 35 years ago. Motives are so important. "And when you pray, don't be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full".
You know, I'll be honest, even when I'm praying corporate prayers in these meetings and praying for you guys, I had to learn not to be concerned about what you thought about the eloquence of my prayer, but to keep my eyes really on Jesus and listening for what he wants me to say and not be up here trying to impress you. I don't want to lose my reward. C'mon, how many of you don't want to lose your reward? "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, don't keep on babbling like pagans", I love this, "For they think they'll be heard because of their many words". Many people do right things, but they do them with a wrong motive. And if you do a right thing with a wrong motive, you're not gonna have joy in doing it.