Joyce Meyer - Resist The Devil And He Will Flee
Most of you have heard that the Bible says, "Resist the devil and he will flee". How many of you have ever heard that? Okay. Well, it does say that, but that's only half of a scripture. And we really do have to be careful about just quoting half of things, because really, if you pull this out, and that out, and this out, and you stick it all together, you can pretty much make the word say anything you want to. What it actually says is, "Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee".
So, our power to resist, is in our willingness to submit. I'm gonna say that again. Our power to resist, is in our willingness to submit. I think one more time wouldn't hurt. Our power to resist is in our willingness to submit. Now, much of what happens in our lives, is based on our level of obedience. Now, I'm not saying that every time you have a problem in your life, or I have a problem in my life, that I've been disobedient in some way, and it's opened a door for the enemy. It's not even worth going down those rabbit tracks, because all you do is get yourself confused and messed up. If I am having trouble in my life, I will often ask God, if there is something I've done, or if I've opened a door, please show me, but if he doesn't show me anything, I don't go on a digging expedition trying to find something that I've done wrong, that's opened a door.
Believe me, if God wants to say something to you, he will make himself heard, one way or the other. God can make himself heard. But I think that, we'd all, if we read the Bible, would have to agree, that there is some connection between obedience and levels of blessing. Right? It's so obvious in just reading Proverbs, that only a fool will not receive correction, and that discipline is something we need to love, not something that we need to resist and hate, and that the wise man always ends up with a blessed life, and the fool always ends up in trouble. And the fool is the "Morally deficient". In other words, they are not making the right choices that they should make.
Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge. Doesn't do any good to know what the Bible says, if we're not going to apply it when we need to apply it, in the areas that we need to apply it in. I don't think we have any lack of knowledge available to us today, it's everywhere. But we do have a problem with willingness to apply it, and I'm going to add, to apply it promptly. Some of you, maybe, God can't get you to do anything he wants you to at all. Some of you maybe, will eventually, do it, but God's gotta stay after you for a long time, I know 'cause I used to be the same way. Some of you have finally figured out that God's not gonna change his mind and that he either will get his way in the end, or you will be miserable. Come on, get smart today.
Let me repeat myself, God will not change his mind, he will get his way in the end, and if he doesn't, you will be miserable. And so, the final stage of obedience, we wanna move into is prompt, extreme obedience. Like those words? Prompt, extreme obedience. The Bible says that, "Jesus was obedient, even to the extreme of death, on the cross. He humbled himself, and, God hath highly exalted him". So see, when we're willing to humble ourselves to be obedient, to do whatever God asks us to do, whether we understand it or not, whether we want to or not, then always will come the exaltation. You humble yourself, humble your flesh, "Yes, Lord". In due time, and that's when God knows the time is right, not when you think it's right, or I think it's right, but when he knows it's right.
And I think this learning how to obey God, and to obey him prompt and extremely, I think it is a journey. I believe when we start out, we don't really know all that much about it, we start out probably trying to get God to give us our way, and get us out of trouble. But eventually, God wants us to come to a crossroads, a turning point where we no longer are running to God constantly trying to get him to give us what we want, but we go to him, and say, "What can I do for you? What do you want"? Come on. "What do you want? Your will be done, not mine". And there are people here that are at all different places in that journey, and that's fine. It's meant to be a journey and you have to just enjoy the part of the journey that you're in, and know that if you just keep taking steps of faith that you'll get to where God wants you to be.
Now, who in their right mind would not want power? I mean, I love the word. Power, I like to just say that word, "Power". There's power in the name of Jesus, whoo. "Behold! I have given you power and authority over all the power the enemy possesses: and nothing shall by any means harm you". There's power in prayer, and I want to have that. When I pray, I want things to happen. We all want God to do something in our lives, but there's another side to that, maybe there's something God wants us to do.
"Well, I'm just waiting on God". Well, maybe God's just waiting on you. Did ya ever think of that? I wonder how many things, if we could just write 'em all down and put 'em in a box, I wonder how big the box would have to be. If I would say, "How many things are you aware of, that you know God has told you to do, or not to do, that you still haven't obeyed him"? See, that's kind of like, how many need to forgive somebody? "Ohhh". God has shown us what to do to have a great life, not a problem-free life. But like Paul said, "We can know the resurrection of his power that lifts us out from among the dead, even while we're still in the body".
So, even while we're still here, and we still may be having problems and our circumstances, some way, somehow, we're lifted above it, and we can live a life that just seems like, "How can you do that"? Even though, you're still not having everything perfect in your circumstances. I'm not gonna promise you no trouble. I'm not gonna promise you that. Matter of fact, if you made a firm decision today, "I am gonna really start, I mean, I'm gonna jump it up in my obedience level to God, I'm tired of Messing around". I mean, I'm not gonna tell you that the devil might not say, "Well, we'll see". Whenever you decide to serve God, he doesn't just roll out a red carpet and say, "Oh goody".
And what does the Bible say? It talks about the word being sown into different ground, and it's really talking about different kinds of conditions of the heart, of the listeners. And it says some are good, the seed is sown in the soil, and everything's coming along good, until they have a problem, or until persecution comes, on account of the word, and then they fall by the wayside. Well, you know, there's a lot of people that are willing to follow Jesus until they find out that it's not always gonna be convenient, and it's not always gonna be easy. What would be the sense in us inviting you here, and standing here telling you a bunch of lies, that are gonna send you home excited, but are not gonna work in your life?
There's no sense in that at all. Almost 900 people received Christ last night. Well, you know, I'm not gonna tell you that, man, your problems are over. But I will tell you this, I'll tell you that your worst day with Jesus, the worst day you could possibly have with Jesus walking by your side, is still better than the best day you ever had without him. I remember going to a prison one time to preach, and I preached to the men there, and I told 'em some version of what I'm telling you: "I'm not gonna tell you if you receive Christ that all your problems are over, but I am gonna tell you that you'll never be alone, and you'll never have to try to solve them by yourself".
And little bit later, I was talking to one of the inmates, and he said, "Thank you so much for telling us the truth". He said, "Every evangelist that comes in here tries to tell us that if we receive Christ, all of our problems will be over, and then it just doesn't work, and so, people are just disappointed by that". I'm not gonna tell you that being a Christian is a problem-free life. But I will tell you that it's still the best thing, you could ever do with your life, is love God and serve him with all of your heart. Without obedience, we have no more power than an unbeliever does. The difference in us and unbelievers is not that we go to church on Sunday, or underline in our Bible, but the difference is, is we do what God says to do and they don't.
To hear the word and not to do it, is a waste of time. And I really think we need to get that, ya know? I keep feeling impressed to keep saying that in different ways, because I really do think that it's easy to fall into that religious mind trap thinking that, "Well, I go to church". "Are you a Christian"? "I go to church". Well, I can go sit in my garage and that don't make me a car. Right? We've almost made too much out of, "I go to church", and not nearly enough out of, "I live the life". C'mon.
So, I want power in prayer. I want power in my witness. I want power to stand firm during trials and tribulations. I wanna have the power to be going through hell myself, and still stand up here and minister to you, and you not even know that I've got a problem. And I want the power to bear good fruit in my life. I wanna be nice to people when they haven't been nice to me. I want to be good to people who haven't been good to me. I wanna be good to people on the days when I don't feel good, and I don't feel like being good to anybody. I want to be like Jesus. And I definitely want power and authority over the devil.
I quoted this, while ago, but Philippians 2:8-10 says, "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross"! Now, that's about as far as you can go, wouldn't you say? "Therefore", what is the therefore, there for? Therefore, what he's getting ready to say, is dependent on what he's already said. "Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every other name". Amen.
Power and obedience are tightly linked together. Now, we don't give the car keys and the power to drive to a 12-year-old. We wait until we know that they can have that power, and not hurt themselves. And God's the same way with letting us have and use his power. As I say often, just to be funny, but it's nonetheless true, we have no business trying to take authority over the devil, if we don't even have authority over a sink full of dirty dishes yet. Okay, here's a good one for ya, it's easier to act like a Christian in church than it is at home. Amen? It's no test of your faith when you're around all your Christian friends that you're trying to impress. The test is, is when you face the same people...
John Ortberg just wrote a book and I love the title, it's called, "I'd Like You More If You Were More like Me". I always say when I was in my thirties, and first coming into all this good stuff, and getting this knowledge, I mean, I could play my Christian music during the day, and listen to my teaching cassette tapes back then, and be home by myself all day, and be just as happy and holy... Until the people came home. How many of you are good until the people come home? See, that's why we only grow in community. We only grow by living in community, and being in groups of people, having friends, and working through things. We show our love to Jesus through our obedience.
John 14:15 and 16, "If you love me, keep my commands". The amplified Bible says, "If you love me, you will keep my commands". I think that can be taken two ways, maybe it's a promise, if you really love me enough, it's gonna kinda be an automatic, you will keep my commands. I don't think it's like this thing that needs to frighten us, ya know? "If you really love me, you're gonna keep my commands". And I tell people sometimes, if you're having a hard time being obedient to God, just go spend a little more time with him, just go love on him a little more, let him love on you a little more, and you'll find it gets easier and easier.
C'mon, you know the more you love somebody the easier it is to sacrifice for them, and the more you wanna please 'em. "And I will ask the father, and he will give you another advocate", or comforter or helper, which is the Holy Spirit, "To help you and be with you forever". John 14:15 in the amplified says, "If you really love me, you will keep and obey my commands". Love for Jesus - now, here comes a dirty word - love for Jesus makes us willing to s-u-f-f-e-r. Love for Jesus makes us willing to suffer, if we need to, in order to obey him, just as his love for us, made him willing to suffer in order to be obedient to his father. C'mon. Now ya know, there's obedience to not steal, not lie, not commit adultery, not take the Lord's name in vain. Then there's all this little stuff that we seem to think doesn't matter.
What does the Bible say? If you're faithful in little things, you will be made ruler over much, but if you're not faithful in little things, neither will you be faithful in big things. We need to start with the little stuff. I mean, if you just got saved last night, you really don't need to worry about going to the mission field tomorrow. Come on. You need to just start in your daily life, "God, show me what to do, and give me the grace to do it". How about just being obedient to do something you don't wanna do? Or how about being obedient to not do something, you do wanna do? Maybe you wanna buy something, and you don't have peace about it. Well, that lack of peace is the Holy Spirit's saying, "No".
Now, you're not gonna go to hell if you buy it, but you will have financial trouble. Thank you. Come on, we're all getting tired by now. We're gonna keep each other awake. It's obedience in the little things, I think really, that make the biggest differences, in our lives. You've heard all my silly little stories, and I'm not going to take the time to stand up here and tell 'em again, but I wasn't able to go to Bible college, but I went to the school of the Holy Ghost. And what I mean by that is, is God took me on as a case study, I guess, and he walked with me in my daily life, doing everything from cleaning the house, to goin' to the grocery store with me, and God taught me huge, deeply important, biblical principles, through little, everyday, ordinary things. I mean, big things.
I learned what integrity was, in the grocery store. "Huh"? Put your grocery cart back where it goes. Okay, now, listen, here's the thing, I'm back 40 years ago, believing God to do what I'm doing today. At the time, I was teaching a little Bible study of 25 people, every Tuesday night, in my living room floor. And yes, I started out blowing smoke in everybody's face, wearing short shorts, and didn't realize there was a problem with that. But it wasn't long, and God let me know that I needed to put a few more clothes on, come on, and if you'll excuse me for just a minute, I'm gonna meddle a little bit in your life, and act like your mother, some of you could just sometimes use wearing a few more clothes. Like, maybe, pull them down a little bit here, or pull them up a little bit here.
I mean, honestly, I look at some people I think, "Do you not own a mirror"? Anyway, I'll quit before I get in trouble. That's the way God started dealing with me, "Put that grocery cart back, treat other people the way you would want to be treated, if you owned this store". Well, here's the sad thing, it took me two years, two years! To get to the point where I was consistently obedient to just put my grocery cart back, where God told me to put it. Two years! Oh, I mean we battled it out in the grocery store. Ya know, you go in hungry, and you've only got a certain amount of money, and you start putting all this stuff in your cart, and by the time you get to the stuff you really need, you realize ran out of money four aisles ago.
So then, you start taking out the stuff that you can take out, but instead of going and putting it back where got it, you just cram it all somewhere else, and then God started saying, "Put it back where you got it". C'mon. "Well, nobody else does", c'mon, this, "Everybody does it", excuse has gotta stop, 'cause you're not everybody else, you're the person who says you want to walk in the power of God! You're the person who wants to rebuke the devil and know that he will flee. Well then, start doing the little things. If every Christian would just get out in the world, and live like one, oh, my gosh. I can tell you what, we would not have the problems in this country, that we have.
You say, "Well for crying out loud Joyce, all the political problems are not my fault". I'm just sayin' if we would shine like we're supposed to, there would be so many more people loving God, and serving God, that there wouldn't be any room for all the humanism, and the goofiness, that's going on. Who are you when nobody's looking? This is the big question. Who are you when nobody is looking? Who am I when nobody is looking? I don't wanna just put on a show for my Christian friends, I wanna realize that God sees everything, all the time. There's nothing I do, or think, or say, that he does not see. And that's not meant to scare anybody, God loves you, there's an abundance of forgiveness, there's a lots of mercy, and we all make mistakes, and God works with us until we get to where he wants us to be, but we've gotta keep making progress.
We can't just get stuck somewhere, and think, "Well God's forgiving, and he's loving, and he's merciful", and so, we just don't live our best life. I want you to go home and say, "I heard God speak to me, and I'm not satisfied to live a mediocre life anymore, I want to live my best life, for God". I feel a little excited. How about being obedient to give away something that you wanna keep? How about to forgive somebody you'd like to stay angry at? How about keeping God first in your life? How about let's obey God to not complain, but to give thanks, instead.
Hebrews 5:8-9, "Although he was a son, he learned active, special obedience through what he suffered". It's kind of interesting, Jesus never was disobedient, but he learned the price of obedience, by going through the hard part and suffering. And being obedient to God, will cost you. Salvation is free, but I'm gonna tell ya, the anointing of God is not. If you want to rise above the mediocre crowd, and you want God's power to be on you, which is what his anointing is... I made my mind up a long time ago, I'm gonna love God and I'm gonna serve him, and do my best to be a real Christian, if I never have one friend in my whole life. We worry so much about keeping our friends. Well, everybody likes friends, but I'll tell ya, God can give you one that will stick closer than a brother. Amen?
How many of you have ever compromised your conscience, to stay in favor with a friend? See? We gotta stop that. You gotta be bold enough to say, "No, I'm sorry, but I just don't feel like, that's something that I want to do, or that's not something I feel like God wants me to do". Let's be more concerned about what God thinks, than we do about what people think. Amen? In verse 9, Hebrews 5:9, "And his completed experience making him perfectly equipped, he became the author and the source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey him".
So, here's the thing, Jesus had the experience of obedience, and it caused suffering in his life, but that experience was what gave him the equipment needed to be our Savior. Or let me put it on a different level, the only reason why I have something to say when I get up here, that has something real, and living attached to it, is not because I bought a dollar sermon book at a bookstore, and put together a well-crafted message, it's because I've lived it, and I know that the Word of God works, and I know that you can be delivered from absolutely anything. I know, that I know, that I know. But that knowledge did not come cheap. Did you hear me? That knowledge did not come cheap. Experience is one of most valuable things that you can get. Our obedience is not simply a song we sing, a few scriptures we quote, or nodding our heads during a sermon on obedience. "Amen, Joyce, that's a good word on obedience". It's not just an idea, but it requires taking action whether it's convenient or whether it's not. Amen?
You have no idea what it's cost some of the people that come to minister to you, to be able to say to you, what they're able to say, and it have enough anointing on it for God to use it, to convince you. And I'm not just talking about me, I'm talking about all these men and women of God, that actually carry God's anointing, and can preach a strong enough word to cut through the darkness in your life. How about being interrupted by God? You know, God rarely asks us to do something when it's convenient, or easy, or when we have no other plans. Actually, when he calls, it seems like he doesn't care at all what we're doing. "Well, I had plans today, Lord". Convenient means, suited to personal comfort and ease, suited to your own personal situation.
Good examples in the word. Luke 9:57-62, "As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, 'will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus replied, 'foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the son of man doesn't even have any place to lay his head". "Oh, you mean we're not gonna stay in a five-star hotel"? "What? I didn't know that". "And he turned to another man, and said, 'follow me'. But he replied, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father'". I love this, everybody wanted to go, 'til Jesus said, "Look, I don't even have any decent place to sleep at night".
Now, one after another, you see them making excuses. "He said to another man, 'follow me'. But he said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my dead father'". And I love verse 60, "Jesus said to him, 'let the dead, bury the dead, you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God'". We need to stop Messing around with dead stuff. C'mon, how many things are you dragging around in your life that God got finished with 10 years ago? You know what they say? "If the horse has been dead ten years, it's time to dismount". There are seasons for things. Something that works really well in one season, when God's finished, you might as well get finished, because if you don't, it's gonna be hard work from there on out. Is anybody home in the house today? Yeah, resist the devil and he will flee, no, submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee.
"Still another one said to him, 'i will follow you, Lord: but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family'". There's always something we wanna do first. So, when are you going to start giving financially into the kingdom, what God has told you to give? Don't care for that subject, huh? "Jesus said, 'nobody who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God'". Luke 11:16-21, "Jesus replied: 'a certain man was preparing a great banquet and he invited many guests. And at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell them who had been invited, 'come on, because everything is now ready.' but they all alike began to make excuses". Everybody say, "Make excuses". Wow.
You know, I can hang a sign, and we do, on our hotel door, rooms, "Do not disturb". But when you start wearing one around your life, "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said, 'well, I've just bought a field, and I must go and see to it. Please, excuse me'. And another said, 'I've just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please, excuse me'. Still another said, 'well, I just got married, so I can't come'". I wish you could have seen what my life was like, when God called me to start teaching. I had three kids, and during the process of those first few years, I had another one so, four kids. I didn't even go on television 'til I was 50. And I've been on 26 years.
Please don't tell me, that you can't do anything, because you've got kids. Please don't tell me you can't do anything, because you're too old, or because you're too young. You can do whatever God asked you to do. Anything God asks you to do, you can do it. You think those years were easy? No, they were not easy, I don't even know how to tell you how hard they were. 'cause I had all the issues in my life, from growing up in a dysfunctional family, where I was sexually abused, I mean, I had problems. Not just little ones, big ones. And I'm trying to apply all this stuff to my life, and act like a Christian, go out and teach other people. To be honest, I don't even know why God let me do that, but he did. I don't have a boatload of education, I graduated from high school. I came close to failing English. But I'm preaching in over a hundred languages.
Come on. God is just so funny, I mean if you start really hanging out with God, you are going to have some fun, because you're gonna see him do some stuff that you're just gonna go. My teachers wanted me to apply for a journalism scholarship, because they recognized that I had a gift in writing. Well, I couldn't go to college, because I just had to get away from my dad. The only thing I could think of when I was 17, 18-years-old, was grow up, get out of this house, get somewhere, take care of yourself, where nobody could ever tell you what to do, again. So, no courses in writing, no journalism scholarship, no degree, but I've written a hundred thirty books.
Now, I'm not bragging on me, I'm telling you what God can do. I mean, it's just so ridiculous, that it's funny. I mean, it really is, it's just like you, you just don't even get how ridiculous it is. And talkin' about steps of faith... Lord, have mercy. Everybody wants to be so safe. We wanna make sure we don't make any mistakes. Well, I made my share of mistakes, but praise God, I've gotten to do some pretty awesome things, too. I was teaching my Bible study, and had this big dream in my heart. You know, who really knows? When you have a dream in your heart, you don't really know if you're crazy, or if it's God. You think it's God, you wanna believe it's God. But you know, people say, "How can I know for sure this is God"? Well, you're not, you won't. You just gotta step out and find out. And that's the scary part.
How do you think Abraham felt, when God said, "Leave your mother and your father, and all that you're accustomed to, leave your hometown, walk away from everything and everybody, and go to a place that I will show you, after you've given up everything that you've got". C'mon, does anybody wanna buy into that? Well, I worked a job, and I made good money. I mean, I made real good money for back then, I had a company car, I was in leadership in the company, but between my job and my kids, I had no time to study. I had to get prepared for what God had prepared for me. And I started feeling like God wanted me to quit my job. Well, there was a problem, our bills were more than our income, it was more than Dave's income, without my income. "Well, how are we gonna pay our bills"? God said, "I'll take care of you". Oh, Lord have mercy.
So, he bugged me, and bugged me, and bugged me... How many of ya know what I mean when I say, "God bugs ya, and bugs ya"? Until I finally quit my full-time job, and got a part-time job. Come on. What a message! How many of you are into part-time obedience? I did a little of what God told me to, but I just kept enough of a backup plan, just in case God didn't come through, I still made enough money to pay those bills. Well, guess what happened? I got fired from my part-time job. And I'm not the kind of person that gets fired from a job. I mean, I was a good employee, I always got promoted, went to the top in places. I got fired. I couldn't do anything right at that job. Everything I touched, went wrong.
Well, it didn't take long, and I got the idea, God meant what he said. And I wouldn't even know how to try to tell you how scared I was that first week, I remember walking down the hall in my house and my knees literally were so weak, I felt like I was just gonna fall over, and God said, "You can do this two ways, you can worry about this day and night, or you can trust me to take care of you by miracles". And every month for six years, we only needed $40 extra a month, that was unless we needed clothes, or tires on the car, all that was extra, but every single month for six years, God supernaturally provided that money, that we needed. Now, I tell you what, those were hard years, but that's where I learned about trusting God, and that's why I can stand here and tell you, God is faithful. But you can't be safe all the time, if you wanna walk on water, you gotta at least get out of the boat.
Question of the Day:
Ginger: Joyce, our question today, comes to you from a friend, named Camellia. She says, "I'm a crack addict who believes in God, and is currently in the county jail. I learned about Jesus and received him as my Savior. I still use drugs even though I have health issues. I want to get clean: I've been in for prayer, I read books, and I still have no freedom from addiction. What do I need to do differently"?
Joyce: Well, the first thing she needs to do, is not give up. Sometimes it just takes a while, we need to get to know Jesus in a deeper way. And I think she has to realize that it's not going to be comfortable for a while. I never took drugs, but I did smoke cigarettes for a lot of years, and I know that there's probably no real comparison to the need there, but I remember how uncomfortable I was the first week, and then started getting a little bit easier, and a little bit easier. And so, I think if she believes with God's help she can do it, and continues to take it one day at a time, really, she can't do it without God's help. There's no way she can do it without his help. And just realize that she's not going to be comfortable.
I don't know what it's like to get off drugs, but I've seen things and I know that it probably is very challenging the first few days, but every day that she makes it, she's a day closer to complete freedom. And so, instead of getting in your head when it gets hard, "I can't do this. I can't do this", which is what we normally do, she needs to be saying to herself, "With God's help, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this". And the closer she comes to the Lord, the easier it's going to be, because our strength definitely comes from him, and when she does fail, it's not going to help her to feel condemned and guilty. She just needs to realize that God's mercy is new every day, and just make a decision, let the devil know, "I'm not going to give up until I'm completely free".