Joyce Meyer - Why Is God Making Me Wait?
I want to talk to you tonight about the difference in the gifts and the fruit. I want to talk to you about character development, because I think we have to understand how we have a tendency to look at gifts, compared to how God looks at gifts, and how we need to realize that gifts are something that God gives us, we don't do anything to earn 'em, we don't really have to do anything to develop 'em.
I mean, yes, we need to work with 'em, you know, we need to learn how to use our gifts, but gifts are given. Fruit however, is not given, it's developed. It's given to us in seed form, when Christ comes to live in us, but the only way that we develop the Fruit of the Spirit, is through being put in situations where we need to use them, and then using them. And it's like a muscle that's inactive, it'll become weak and wimpy, but when you begin to use that muscle, every time you use it gets a little bit stronger, a little bit stronger, a little bit stronger, and a little bit stronger.
You pray for patience and what you're gonna get, is a trial. I might as well tell you the truth before we get into this, if you start praying for the Fruit of the Spirit to be developed in your life, you are gonna get some people that are hard to get along with, you're gonna be in some situations that are gonna be hard on your temperament, but you need to be bold enough and brave enough to say, "God, whatever I gotta go through to get to where you want me to be, I wanna go through it, I wanna grow up, I wanna be the person you want me to be". Because here's what's gonna happen if you don't, you're gonna spend your whole life going around and around, and around and around, and around and around, the same stupid mountains, up and down, and up and down, and up and down, feeling bad, wanting to do the right thing, and doing the wrong thing, spending three days feeling guilty. We need to not be afraid to grow. Everybody say, "I'm not afraid to grow".
Now, God gives gifts to men and women, they are abilities. Everything that you can do that you're good at, is a gift that God has given you, and to be honest, I think in the world, we admire people for their gifts, perhaps, a lot more than what we should. What we need to do is, admire the God more, who gave them those gifts. And so, what happens because people want admiration, and they want acceptance, and they want applause, even as Christians, we get overly concerned about our gifts or what we can do, and in the process of that sometimes, we don't get nearly concerned enough about our character.
A lot of people have a gift that will take them somewhere, but they don't have enough character to keep them there, once they get there. That's why we see so many rising stars, their gift takes them to the top of some plateau, and then they will make a total, complete fool out of themselves, fall into sin, do something shameful and terrible, and if they're doing it in Christ's name, it's even worse, and then people get confused and say, "Well, I just don't understand".
That's why many times even though you have a great gift, and many of you do, you have abilities and things that you can do, and you do not understand why God is not using you, you don't understand why the doors are not opening for you, and I tell you something you better do, you better pray that no door opens for you, until God has got your character to the place where you can walk through it with a right attitude. We get in too big of a hurry today to get promotion, and then we have people that have got a lot of gifts, but they don't have anything on the inside. The abilities that God gives us, distinguish us from one another. They don't make us better than one another, but they make us different from one another.
I am a very good communicator, but I'm not a singer. I'm a teacher, but I'm not a musician. God doesn't give each one of us every gift, although he could, if he could give us one gift, he could give us a hundred gifts, but he doesn't let everyone of us do everything, and I wonder why he does that, because he wants us to need each other. And if you can do something that I can't do, but I need what you can do, then that means I'm gonna need you, and what he wants us to realize is that he gives all of us the gifts that he wants us to have. He doesn't want us to be jealous of one another, he doesn't want us to covet what somebody else has, he doesn't want us to spend our life trying to be what somebody else is.
C'mon now. He wants us to get satisfied, content with the gift that he has given us, whether it's a public gift, or a private gift, whether it's a gift that the world claps about, or one that they don't think there's all that much to. And you know, we're all kind of like that to a certain degree, you meet a new person and you say, "Well, what do you do"? And if they say, "Well, ya know, I'm a waitress". Or you know, "I work on the assembly line at the car plant". Or ya know, I'm whatever... You know, you're like, "Oh, that's nice". But if somebody says, "I'm a scientist", or, "I'm a doctor", you're kind of like, "Uhh".
Well, see, the truth is, one of those people is not any more important than another. And one of them is not any better than the other, because the only reason the scientist can be the scientist, is because God has given him the brains to do it. And many times, they get so smart that they can't even glorify the God who gave them the ability to do what they're able to do. One of the worst mistakes that we can make, is to be proud of what we can do. And then, we ramp it up to another level, and we get an attitude about other people who aren't good at what we're good at. "Well, why are you so slow"?
Well, the only reason why you're fast, is because God made you that way. "Well, how could you not understand that"? Well, you wouldn't understand it either, if God didn't enable you to understand it. I want some people tonight to come to the point, where first of all, they totally accept themselves for what they are, learn to appreciate what God has enabled you to do, whether it's cooking, teaching children, being a helper, being an administrator, being somebody who loves to clean houses.
I'm telling you what, I'm glad that I've got somebody that loves to clean my house, because I do not love to clean it, but I do hate dirt. So, I am glad that I have got somebody that loves... I am glad that I've got somebody that knows how to fix my hair. I am glad for the people who invented this makeup that I'm wearing. I am glad, because all I can do is talk. I'll talk to them all day long, if they'll do the stuff that I can't do.
Ginger: Joyce is coming back, stay right there, have no fear, more teaching from Joyce is coming up, and she's going to share what happened during one of the most difficult years of her life. So you won't want to miss that. But before we go there, we want to take a moment to emphasize something that Joyce just said, learning how to accept yourself for who you are. Many of you know, Annie F Downs, she's a best-selling author, she has a very popular podcast. And she will be one of our special guests this year, at our love life women's conferences. Because she has discovered the value of understanding her own personality and other people's personalities, and Joyce specifically wanted to hear more about that at the women's conference. Recently, we had a chance to chat. Let's take a look.
Ginger: Annie, we are so glad to have you with us.
Annie: Oh, thanks Ginger, I am so glad to be here.
Ginger: I'll tell ya, the way this all came about.
Ginger: So, Joyce and I were talking about guests to have at our next women's conference, and she said, "I would love to have someone who can come on and help us understand the importance of knowing more about personality types, and personality styles". Because when Joyce learned that, it really helped her understand herself, and how to deal with other people. And so, when we started talking about that we started asking around, "Who's a good person"? And Annie F. Downs, it just kept coming up.
Annie: Thanks, that's so fun.
Ginger: So, we're thrilled to have you with us, coming up.
Annie: Well, it's really true, right? Studying personalities and studying different strengths, it's first, so that you understand how God made you. Ginger: Right.
Annie: Right, that's where it starts, that's where it started for me, is like now, I better understand why I do what I do, not just understanding what I do. And once you get that man, it just starts setting you free, in so many ways.
Ginger: Now, I wanna ask you about that, because there's a couple different ways to look at it. It could set you free because you understand why God put these things in you, but it could also kind of put you in a box, like this is what my personality type is, this is how I'm supposed to be.
Annie: Totally, right.
Ginger: So, how have you seen it work for you and for other people?
Annie: You know, the box thing to me, Ginger, ends up happening so much when you are looking at personality things, and talking about other people. Of going like, "Oh well, she's this type, or he is this strength", then that is always how they're gonna be. And with myself I can feel it too. You're right, there are times where I can go, "Well, because I've always done this, I'm gonna always do that".
Annie: But if what scripture says is true, that we are a new creation...
Ginger: I'm pretty sure it is.
Annie: And that we are always changing, then to me, it is this opportunity to go, here's some of the reasons of why I do what I do, historically. I say that a lot, I'm like, "Historically, I will run from pain", or, "Historically, you will see me not persevere as long as I wish I would, but God is changing me, and I'm not a quitter anymore".
Annie: "God's changing me and I'm not afraid of what I used to be afraid of". And so, the more you self-identify that you're not in the box, the more other people believe you.
Ginger: Yeah, well, so, like I said, we're so excited to have you come talk more about this. When we all learn about it, I think we see God start to do more in our lives, not less, because this is our personality and this is what I'm trapped in. Instead, it's mixed with, you know, his Holy Spirit, and the Fruit of the Spirit, active in our life, and of course, our personalities, so, we're kind of one whole package.
Annie: And the things we are passionate about...
Ginger: Right. And the experiences...
Annie: And the places we grew up, and the family. I mean, it's just the coolest thing, that there is no one like you, and there is no one like me. Even if you have an identical twin, or even if you have someone who grow up in your house, or even if you have someone that has similar personality traits, they don't share your experiences, or your memories, or what makes you cry. My friend, emily p. Freeman, always says, "Pay attention to what makes you cry, because it's telling you something about yourself". And when all those come together, you are the only you, and we are made in the image of God. And so, I think, "Man, that means there's something about God I learned from Ginger, that I can't learn from anybody else". It just makes you appreciate your people more, and it makes me more able to embrace the things about you that may not be cool, the things about you that other people, like, I love the French horn, that's not always like the coolest instrument...
Ginger: You love the French horn, I've never heard that sentence before.
Annie: Ginger, I love the French horn. It is the most beautiful.
Ginger: Do you play it?
Annie: I did in middle school, but I think I'm picking it up again. It is the most beautiful, consistent...
Ginger: Has a really good sound.
Annie: Yes, and so, as I've dug into it, I've gone, "What is it? Why do I love the French horn"? And as I dig into it, that instrument always comes in when you need something solid, when you need, it's not gonna be flittering...
Ginger: It's stable.
Annie: It's going to be, things are building, but there is stability here, and I was like, "You know what? I have always wanted that". I have always loved the idea that there is stability when things are changing. And so, the more you pay attention to that stuff, you go, "Oh, I'm learning me, I'm learning me and I'm the only one who looks like this". And so, gosh, what a gift that God goes, love others, Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and then love others as you love yourself". Learn to go, "Oh, God made me on purpose for a purpose that really matters on this planet".
Ginger: That means we have to love ourselves in order to be able to love anybody else.
Annie: That's right, you have to at least try. I mean nobody is totally in love with their history, nobody's totally in love with their body, nobody's totally in love with their situation they're in right now, but if we can just try like, "Can I appreciate that God made me different than everybody else today? And if that is true, and if the people I meet today are gonna see God in me in a way that they don't see him in anybody else, then I gotta go some places, and I gotta meet some people because I want them to know God".
Ginger: Now, how has it changed the way that you interact or understand other people, as you've learned more about personality styles?
Annie: First and foremost, it's got to be about you and your relationship with God, it is putting people in a box to go like, "Well, now, that I understand you're this, you're always gonna do this, this and this". And that's just not true.
Ginger: You can't count on that and you don't want to put that on them.
Annie: No, you don't want to put that on them. People should be allowed to be who they are, let them tell you who they are and believe them. Right? So, if someone tells me they're a certain personality type, or have a certain trait, and I haven't seen it, I have to go, "I believe you". I guess so, you say that, "That's not what I've seen, but I believe you". Then you go okay, if they say that's true about them, how can I love them? What does it look like to love them, if they say that's true. I had a friend recently talking to me, we were talking about drive, professionally, and he was saying like, "I'm just not sure I'm as driven as I wanna be". And I was like, "Well, I haven't known you all 35 years of your life, what I've experienced is, that you really did some things that other people don't do, you did some really brave things, but you say that's true of you, I'll believe you, how can I help? How can I love you and be a part of your life and in this with you, as you're trying to become who you want to become"?
Annie: And so, I think it's saying to people, you can experience that of yourself, here's what I've experienced of you, but also, how can I how can I step into this with you, if you want to be different, if you want to change, we don't get to decide how people change, but if they're saying I'd like to know God more, or I'd like to be healthier, body, mind, soul, spirit and we go, "Yeah, I'm right here, can I help? If I can help, I'm here".
Ginger: And exploring how we can do that together, in relationships.
Annie: Because I need that too, right? Don't you Ginger?
Ginger: Absolutely, so much.
Annie: I need the people that go like, "Hey, I've got to go on more walks after work, because I just sit. Will you walk with me"? Or people that I call, my mentor I call and I go, "I've never done today before, but you've done this age before, will you tell me how to do this"? You know, we've got to have the people who hear us say we wanna be different and will step into it with us too.
Ginger: Well, we cannot wait to spend more time with you at Joyce's love life women's conference. We're going to be in Atlanta and Denver...
Annie: Yeah, my hometown!
Ginger: Oh great!
Annie: Yes, all my people, my parents are very excited, as am i. I love getting to do stuff in Atlanta. So, we'll be there and in Denver, yeah.
Ginger: Yeah, so, like we've said, Joyce is just so excited to hear you talking about how learning about personalities, and how it all works together with who God made us, and the Holy Spirit moving in our lives. So, we're expecting some fun, wonderful things with all of our thousands of friends there.
Annie: It's gonna be so fun, I can't wait. Thank you for having me.
Ginger: Well, we had a lot of fun with Annie and I know we're going to have a great time with her at the Women's Conference too, so make sure you register. And remember, God made you unique for a reason, and like Joyce said earlier, if there's anything that needs to change God has a plan to help you with that too, to help you develop those characteristics that you need to be more like Christ. Before the conclusion of Joyce's message today, I want to tell you about a resource that will help you accept yourself, renew your thinking, and give you a better understanding of God's word, all at the same time. How can you beat that? It's the, "Battlefield of the Mind Bible".
Now, this is a Bible that is of course full of amazing things in God's word, and then it's highlighted with Joyce's notes and teaching. So, it's very, very helpful in this area of changing the way you think and focusing on God's word, instead of whatever drops into your mind. You can even choose the Bible color that you want, so you can make it, get one to match every outfit, if you want, but pick this up, because it will be very helpful for you today. Now just like I promised, Joyce is going to share what happened during one of the most difficult years of her life. And it will help you to understand why God may be making you wait for that thing, whatever it is, that you desire.
John 15:2 "Any branch in me", Jesus said, he's the vine, we are the branches. "Any branch in me, that does not bear fruit that stops bearing he cuts away trims, takes away: and he cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit".
So, your pruned if you do, and pruned if you don't, so you might as well, that might be mad when I first realized that, I thought, "Well, okay, if I'm not bearing fruit, and you prune me, I get that but if I'm doing good and you prune me". But see, if God gets somebody he can't work with, then it says, he takes them away and trims them off, but if he gets somebody he can work with, he'll still prune you in your life, but just so you'll bear more, richer and more excellent fruit.
Now, let's talk about pruning. We have a variety of tools, I would recommend that you let God work on you with these. You don't want him to get after you with these babies. Now, this represents the fruit of this Christian, and this is their gifts. "Woo hoo! Look at my gift. Woo hoo! I have a gift, I have a gift, woo hoo, look at my gift, look at my gifts". You ain't got no fruit in there. "Whoo, but I have gifts, I have gifts! Look, my gifts, my gifts, my gifts".
Well, now, here's what God does sometimes. He'll start with trimming. Well, this better work... Ugh... Ha... He starts with trimming us back a little. Alright, now, let me tell you a story. Twenty-seven, twenty-eight-years-ago, I was teaching a home Bible study, and 25 people, every week, come to my house, and I'm telling you what, I so much wanted to run around the world and preach. My gosh, I was so full of this vision, and I just wanted to teach more people, it was just killing me, I wanted to do it so bad. I had gifts. "God, don't you see my gifts"? Whoo! "I can preach better than those preachers on TV, gifts, gifts, gifts".
So, after teaching that Bible study five years, the spirit of the Lord came unto me saying, "I want you to lay this Bible study down, behold, I do a new thing"! Oh, I was so excited, I thought, "Here we go! On my way". Well, for one year God trimmed me back, and sat me on a shelf, he didn't have as much trouble as I am, and I did nothing, for a year. It was the most miserable year of my ministry. I thought I was crazy, God was finished with me, but I can sit here and tell you now, that it was probably the greatest year in my life. You know why? Because I had some character issues that needed to be dealt with, that would have never been dealt with, if I would have been out on the road busy running around using my gifts. Did you hear me?
And one of the things, although it may sound comical, one of the things that I had a problem with was, I compared myself with other people all the time. And God couldn't let me go to a higher level, if I didn't know who I was in him, because the more people you're in front of, the more shots people are gonna take at you, judging you and criticizing you, and have an opinions about you, and I had to know who I was in Christ.
During that year the devil convinced me that I needed to be a regular woman, that I needed to sew and cook, and have a garden and it's too long of a story for me to tell, but, I mean, I got to thinking, I mean the devil's telling me you're crazy, all you wanna do is go around praying for people, and laying hands on the sick, and you know, preaching the Gospel, having these Bible studies, you know, you got a family you need to be a regular mother.
Well, I mean, I took care of my family, but I was not regular, I've never been regular. I'm a good mother, but I'm not maybe like every other mother, you know? And I mean, somebody said to me recently, "Do you like to cook"? I'm like, "No". Well, I might not mind to cook, if I didn't have to clean up the mess, but I wouldn't want to do that, so... And I did all that, I did it for years, and years, and years, but when God calls you to do something, then it was time for me to do another thing, a new thing that God was calling me to do.
So, long story short, I had tried to have a garden I tried to can vegetables, I tried to make my husband's clothes, and when I got done the pocket on the shorts I made him, it was longer than the leg of the shorts, and... I mean, it was a nightmare, it was a huge mess. Ya know, black bugs came in overnight and ate big holes in all my tomatoes, right before I was gonna pick 'em and can 'em, and the girl next door, they didn't bother her tomatoes at all, she had nice beautiful tomatoes. I went to God, "Why did you not protect my tomatoes? The bugs ate my tomatoes, they didn't need her tomatoes, I'm a woman of faith, I prayed over those tomatoes". He said, "I don't have to protect your tomatoes, I never told you to grow 'em".
C'mon now, some of you are trying to do something God hasn't told you to do, and it ain't workin'! Well, I'll tell ya when that year was over, I'll tell ya what I had, I knew that I had a call of God on my life, and I knew that I might be unique, but I wasn't weird. I knew who I was in God, and I was gonna confront the devil, and I was gonna go forward and do everything that God had asked me to do, and I wasn't going to spend my life comparing myself with somebody else. But God had to trim back my gift for a year, to get me to pay more attention to character.
So, let me just say in closing tonight, if you're frustrated about why you're not being used by God, or why you're not advancing at work, or this or that or something else, first of all don't ever compare yourself with somebody else because they've got a gift that you don't have. Find out what you're good at, and be the best you can be at it. Don't care if it's not something the world applauds remember, it's more important for heaven to applaud then for the world to applaud.
And all God wants you to be is, you. He doesn't want you to be somebody else, he wants you to be your beautiful, precious, unique, awesome, amazing, self. And if you try to do something that you're not gifted to do, you will not have joy and peace. Don't live your life to impress people out in the world, live for God. Live for his glory. And know as long as you're doing what he wants you to do, that heaven is applauding. Learn about the gifts of the spirit, develop the gifts of the spirit, pray about the gifts of the spirit, but more than anything that you want, want fruit. Want to be a Christian who bears good fruit.