Joyce Meyer - Walking in Faith So You Can Run Your Race
Well, I've been working on a series starting last night called, "Sit, Stand, Walk, and Run". SIT, enter the rest of God. STAND, strong in faith when you're waiting for your breakthrough, stand strong against the enemy because he hates you and he does not want you to make progress in any area of your life. WALK with God, walk out in the world, the things that you learn in here, in the church. It's so important that we don't just go to church and then GO OUT and act like we've never been there.
There's a wonderful scripture that says, "We are ambassadors for Christ", but I love the Amplified, it says, "We are God's personal representatives". Think about that. You are God's personal representative. And then it goes on to say that God is making his appeal to the world through you. What a responsibility, and what a privilege. And so, the biggest job we have is, after we're born again, is to learn what the Bible says because that's the will of God, that's direction for our life. And then, get out in the world and live it out. Just a bumper sticker and a cross around your neck is not enough. We have to get out in the world and walk it out.
So, this afternoon we're gonna talk about our walk with God. And in particular, we're gonna talk about walking by faith because that's the only way that we can really remain in the rest of God. I don't know if you realize how important the rest of God is. But I can tell you I have been a frustrated Christian, and I have been one that is peaceful, and enjoys my days. And I'll take peace anytime, over frustration and aggravation. Maybe you walked in here today and you're frustrated with yourself. You've tried so hard to be what you think you're supposed to be and you just fail every time.
Well, let me tell you something, today's message is for you. Maybe you're frustrated with your family, maybe you're frustrated with your teenagers, maybe you're frustrated with your finances. God doesn't call us to be frustrated. He calls us to enter his rest. And the only way we can stay in the rest of God, and I'm talking about internally, no matter what kind of storms are going on around us, if we have peace inside then we can still enjoy life. And the only way that we can maintain that rest is through simply believing God. When Mary and Martha came to Jesus about Lazarus, and him being dead, the Bible says that he waited two more days even after he knew he was sick before he went to help him. It actually says, "And he loved Mary and Martha, so he waited two more days".
Sometimes God loves us so much that he won't deliver us exactly when we wanna be because he wants our problem to get bad enough that when we get a breakthrough we are so thankful. Amen? And he said, "Did I not tell you, if you would only believe, you would see the glory of God"? What are believers supposed to do? Believe. We believe what we don't see. That's what faith is. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Once you see, then you don't need faith anymore. Faith means you have it in your heart, before you have it in your circumstance. But it really can be just as good as having it if you really trust and believe God.
Now, under the old covenant, the covenant of law, they had an opportunity to enter the rest of God when they were in the wilderness, but very few, almost none of them did. And the Bible says it was because of their unbelief. So, "There remains still", Hebrews 4 says. Still today, right now, today, if you have never had the blessing of really entering the rest of God, today that promise still is available to you. Those of you, who came in here frustrated, you can leave in the rest of God. And if you can understand, by the power of the spirit, what I'm trying to share today, you can come to a place where you never really have to live frustrated.
Now, we get upset and we get frustrated, but I'll tell you what, we don't have to stay that way because once you realize that you've gotten out of the rest of God, you can get back in just as quick as you got out by simply making a decision: "I am not gonna worry about this, I'm trusting God. I'm not gonna stay mad at you. I'm gonna forgive you and I'm gonna trust God for vindication in my life". C'mon, I wonder how many people in here today are mad at somebody? God is our vindicator.
Oh, my gosh, how many years did I hate my father for abusing me when I was growing up. It didn't do me any good, and it didn't hurt him. Do you know, all the people you're mad at, you being mad at them is not hurting them? They're probably out having a good time and don't even care. You're the one that it's hurting. And so, when God tells us to forgive people, it's a favor for us. You can't live in the rest of God if you're angry. You can't live in the rest of God if you're worried and frustrated all the time, and trying to make things happen that only God can make happen in your life.
C'mon, what's your pet project, right now? Who are you working on? Who do you have on the potter's wheel that would love it if you would let 'em off? Somebody was my project all the time. Most of the time, it was Dave, but... My kids too, I mean, I had kids that I thought would drive me crazy. I mean, I have four grown kids, and they're all involved with us now. My two sons, basically, run the ministry and all the logistics of the ministry. And two of our son-in-laws work for us. And my one daughter that I thought would drive me absolutely nutty when she was growing up, she was so sloppy, and so disorganized, and so messy.
And I'm sure that you've heard this speech, "If you are gonna live in my house"... C'mon, do you give your kids that speech? "If you are gonna live in my house, you are not going to do that". And then they do it anyway, right? And she was just so messy. Well, now, she takes care of me. She helps manage our finances for us, and she helps just, in all kinds of ways. She keeps me organized, and when she was growing up, I'm surprised she could even find herself every morning. And so, all these things that you're frustrated about, if you will just trust God. C'mon, the only way that you can enjoy your life is to trust God.
And let me tell you something, if you trust God, you'll age much slower than you will if you don't. If you don't trust God when you're 40, you're gonna look like your 60. But if you trust God, you can be 70 and look like you're 50. Amen? Dave is gonna be 80 in July, and he looks like he's maybe, 65. He don't worry about nothing. If you like Dave, that's fine. If you don't like Dave, that's fine. He likes himself. Just as happy as he can be. Honestly and truly, the more you worry, the sooner you start to show age on your body and your face. I am praying, this afternoon, that somebody, a bunch of somebodies, will go out of here and you will get this and you will say, "That's it. I am not living my life frustrated, and miserable, and upset anymore. I am going to enter the rest of God".
Hebrews says, "Those who have believed, do enter the rest of God". Under the old covenant, when the high priest would go into the holy of holies, once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people, he had to also, atone for his own sins. And he had little bells and pomegranates sewn on the bottom of the hem of his garment. And there was a purpose in that. Because the covenant, that he lived under, was a covenant of works. And so, the whole time he was in the holy of holies doing all these rituals and things that he did to atone for their sins, you know? Sprinkling blood and doing all these different things, all these special washings. The people outside could hear those bells tinkling on the bottom of his robe. And there was a rope tied to his ankle.
I'm not making this up. This is true. There was a rope tied to his ankle. And the people outside had the other end of the rope, and if the bells stop tinkling they knew he'd made a mistake and had died, and they couldn't go in after him because only the high priest could go in there, and then, only once a year, and they would pull him out. There was no chair in the holy of holies. There was no place to rest under the old covenant because it was all works, works, works, works, works, works. My gosh, what Jesus has done for us? Lord, have mercy. What good news that should have been to the Jews when he said, "It is finished", on that cross. It is done. It is finished.
I said in one of the messages, "Christianity doesn't begin with a do, it begins with a done". We have to know who we are in Christ. Adam's first day on earth was not a day of work, it was a day of rest. He was created on the sixth day, and the seventh day was a day of rest. God blessed the seventh day and he rested on that day. So, I think it's interesting that Adam began in rest, he didn't begin in work. And we need to realize that too. That God didn't call us to work real hard to change ourselves, so we could be real good. He wants us to have relationship with him and then, wanting to do the right thing will come out of the overflow of that relationship with him. It's not gonna come because we try really hard to be good, or try really hard to change ourselves.
Well, Jesus is our high priest, and he doesn't have to atone for his sins because he never sinned. However, he came in the form of a human, so he knows everything that we go through. "We have a high priest", Hebrews 4 says, "That understands our weaknesses and our infirmities because he's been tempted in all points, just like we have yet without sinning". So, he knows every temptation that we go through, he experienced all the same things that we do but yet, he never sinned. So, he made the final sacrifice. And the Bible says that, "When he ascended on high", now, get this, "He sat down".
And I started getting interested in why it says so often in the Bible that he sat down. "To him who is seated on the throne", well, that should have said a lot more to the Jewish people than it even does to us, but they didn't understand. I can explain this to you today and say, "Under that old covenant, there was no chair in the holy of holies. There was no place for them to rest, no way to rest. But now, Jesus sits". When the Bible says, "He sat down", I mean, that should have been like, we should have been doing the hallelujah song, before. "Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, he sat down, it's over, hallelujah, hallelujah, I can enjoy being a Christian".
Now, I'm not a singer so that's why they didn't give me a microphone up here. But the better news, even the better news, is found in Hebrews 2:6, where it says, "And we are seated in Christ, with him, in heavenly places". Do you realize that being in Christ, and everything he got: you get? Now, we can live our lives from a vantage point of being seated in Christ. Which means, we can do everything we do, having entered the rest of God. The rest that God offers us is a supernatural rest. And it's not a rest from work, but a rest in work.
Now, you know, this is my third time to do this since starting at 7 o'clock last night. And so, my body will be tired, but my inner man is renewed because of what's... See, I'm full of life inside. Even though my outer man is getting a little bit tired and I'll be tired by the time I get home. By the time I eat my dinner, I'll be like... But inside, c'mon church, if you got it inside. If you got that life inside. The apostle Paul said, "My outer man perishes day by day, but my inner man is renewed". Amen? I'll be 77 in four months and I just feel so alive inside, amen?
Inside, it's what you got going for you inside. Quit worrying so much about everything that's going on outside: your finances, and your kids, and your neighbors... What do you have going on inside? "Christ is in me, the same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me. I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who strengthens me". But everything has to be done from the standpoint of being seated.
Mike, if you'll come up just real quick? I used to do this myself, but I'm done with this kind of stuff now. Lay down, brother. See what power I have. Alright, every person who comes to Christ, comes in that condition. "Done, I'm done. I can't fix anything in my life. I can't do anything. Jesus, if you can do anything with me, here I am". Well, if we could just stay that way, we'd be better off. I don't mean like, in that condition, but I mean, having that attitude. "God, I can't do it, but if you can, here I am". Now, if you think about a baby, they start that way. And baby Christians start that way. And that is not a problem, but if you've been in the kingdom 30 years and you're still laying down, there's a problem. So, the first thing a child learns how to do is to sit.
So, pastor Mike, would you sit? Alright. Now, aren't babies so proud of themselves when they learn how to sit? I mean it's a big thing. And so, the Christian's first order of business is to learn how to be seated in Christ. Come on, somebody get this today. Don't look at me like... Then, once you learn how to sit, you can stand. So, now, you can stand against the enemy, you can stand strong when you have trials and tribulations, you can stand in faith. But you can't go from laying to standing. It's not possible. You gotta learn first, how to sit. And let's just say that you're walking as a Christian, which, walk a little bit for us. You're walking as a Christian.
Now, let's just say that, boy, you mess up, you sin and you fall down. Okay, now, guess what? He can't get back up unless he goes first to being seated again. C'mon, get this. So, what that means is when you mess up and you sin, before you can get back up and resume your walk with God, you've gotta enter back into the rest of God again. Come on, come. On. Come on. And that means you can't stay mad at yourself all the time because you're not the perfect specimen of Christianity. Okay, you can WALK. Now, RUN your race, brother. Alright.
See, I love that thought that even as you start to walk, as a believer, and you're doing things for God, and you're representing him out in the earth, and you're walking in faith, and you're walking in love, and you're walking as Christ walked, and you're no longer walking as the heathen walk, that you're still gonna make mistakes. And this may not sound like something a preacher should say but, it's okay, because God understands. You weren't sure if you should clap or not when I said it was okay.
See, I'm not telling you to go do dumb stuff on purpose, but I'm saying that when you do make mistakes, all you really have to do is say, "I'm sorry". Admit what you did. "Help me, God". Don't promise God you'll never do it again, because you will do it again. Don't even waste your time with that stuff. "Oh, God, if you'll just forgive me, I promise I'll never do it again". Yes, you will. You just say, "God, please forgive me, and I pray that I'll never do it again, but I probably will. And if I do, thank God, that you love me and you'll stick with me until this is over".
See, God is never gonna give up on you. We are justified in Christ. And you know what that means? We are made just as if we never sinned. C'mon, I'm tired of you being mad at yourself, no more. Give yourself a break. Jesus made the final sacrifice. There's no more sacrifice that's ever needed. No more. He doesn't need your guilt as your way of paying for your sins. Come on, I want somebody to get set free today. If just, one person will get set free today, I can go home happy. But I hope it's more than one.
So, I remember one incident, in particular, I had gone shopping and I had my usual sack of guilt. And I parked way out in the back of the parking lot so I could walk slowly and pathetically to the store. You know, if you're gonna feel bad about yourself, you might as well really beat on yourself. And I heard the Holy Spirit say, "Joyce, how do you plan to get over this sin". Well, I knew the answer. I said, "Oh, I'll just receive the sacrifice that Jesus made when he died for me". And the next thing I heard from the Holy Spirit is, "Uh, and when did you plan to do that"?
How many of you know that Jesus died for your sins? How many of you believe he paid the price for your sins? Alright, so, when are you going to receive it and forgive yourself? C'mon, somebody needs to get free today. Some of you are still carrying stuff around for ten years, you feel bad about stuff that you did ten years ago. It's not helping you and it's not helping God, amen? So, you know what he said to me? "You know, Joyce, if you don't mind, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, would you just go ahead and receive my sacrifice now? Because I have need of you and in that condition you're no good to me".
See, when we're in that, "Ooh, I'm a terrible person. Nobody's as bad as me. Nobody messes up as much as I do. I'm just a mess. I do everything wrong". Until you get rid of that and you start to say, "Look, I do wrong things. I'm sorry for them. I wanna do what's right. But, I know God loves me, and I know that through the blood of Jesus I'm right with him". I'll tell you what, if you wanna make the devil mad, I mean, really mad, you start knowing who you are in Christ. Now, I'm not, in any way, suggesting that we should not have grief over our sins. But, it's one thing to have grief over your sin and to repent and to receive that forgiveness. That's one thing, but living a whole life of grieving because you can't do everything perfect all the time.
Listen, "He who hath begun a good work in you is well able to complete it and bring it to its finish". And the Bible says that he'll be doing it right up until the day that Jesus comes back. So, that's why I know that I'm gonna make mistakes and you're gonna make mistakes. And I don't worry about mine anymore, I honestly, really, truly don't. I almost never feel guilty about anything anymore. And for somebody who suffered with it as much as I did...
Now see, some of you, if you've got a religious streak on you, you may think, "Well, that's pretty haughty to say, 'you never feel guilty'". Well, according to the word, I'm not supposed to. "There's no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus". I'm sorry for my sin. I may grieve over my sin. I may even weep over my sin, but I'm not gonna feel guilty and condemned, and withdraw from God, the very person that I need to press into. You know why? I hate to tell you this, but God's not surprised by your behavior. My Bible says that he knew everything we were going to do before we ever did it. What'd he tell Jeremiah? "Before I formed you in your mother's womb, I knew you". And let me tell you what, when God says, "I knew you". That's not like, he kinda knew your name, he knew you. And I made you my chosen instruments.
With everything that we do wrong, God chooses us and he uses us. And the Bible says, he does it, "To confound those who think they're wise", and usable and really need humility. God actually, uses the trash, what the world would consider trash and throw away as useless, God uses. You just don't understand how ridiculous it is that I'm doing what I'm doing. I mean, abused for 15 years, married the first guy that came along because I thought nobody would ever want me, that was another five years of torment and torture. I would have liked to have gone to college but I couldn't go because I wanted to get out of my father's house. I wanted to get a job and just get out, and be able to take care of myself so nobody could push me around again.
And my teachers recognized that I had a gift for writing and they really wanted me to try to get a journalism scholarship. Well, guess what? I didn't get to go get that, "Education", to write and I've written a hundred and thirty-five books. Guess what? I came close to failing English. I did, I'm serious. I came close to failing English because I didn't care if it was a noun, or a pronoun, or a verb, or an adverb. I just wanted to talk.
And so, now, I get to talk to people all over the world. I didn't take a foreign language, but I speak 132 languages. And I mean, by my messages being translated. They're translated into 100... See, your going, "You do"? Come on. My messages are being translated. What we're doing here today, this will be seen around the world in 132 languages, and so, I'm trying to get you to understand that everything the devil tried to take away from me, God has given me back multiplied many times over, and he will do the same thing for you. Amen? Hallelujah. But I want you to understand that I was going nowhere fast until I got over that condemnation.
Please hear me today. "I can't help the way I feel". Well, that's true, but you can help what you say. And I'll tell you what, I had to say, probably, a million times, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ", and I still say it everyday. "I am the righteousness of God in Christ". And I would even say, "I don't care that I feel guilty, I know that I'm not guilty". Sometimes you gotta talk to your feelings and tell 'em, "You're not gonna rule me. You're not gonna boss me around. I don't live by how I feel. I don't live by what I see. I'm a faith person and I walk according to the Word of God".
So, no matter how you feel, the Bible says, "God loves you". So, God loves you. No matter what you think, the Bible says, "God's got a good plan for your life". So, God has got a good plan for your life. C'mon, bring your mouth into agreement with God, stop agreeing with the devil and you just might see some great things happen in your life. It's so wonderful to do everything from that vantage point of resting in God. But you're not gonna rest in any other area of your life until you learn how to rest in God about you. Yeah, I heard that ouch, back there.
I wonder how many people in here today, don't like yourself. Man, I didn't like my personality, and I thought I was too sassy and brassy. I didn't like my voice. I do too, now, but you know, still, I can call anywhere, and they're gonna say, "Yes, sir". I don't care where I call, they're gonna say, "Yes, sir". And see, when I was insecure about myself then that made me feel bad, but now, I think it's funny. I called a spa one time to get a facial, and the lady said, "Do you have any facial hair"? And I thought, I'm not tracking with her, and I'm thinking, "Well", I'm thinking about this little peach fuzz, you have, you know? And so, I said, "Well, yeah, I guess a little". I said, "I'm not really sure what you're saying". She said, "Well, do you have a beard or a mustache"?
And see, isn't it wonderful when you can laugh about stuff like that, instead of going off and feeling bad and condemned? And I think it's kind of funny that God's given me the voice that I have because a lot of men wouldn't listen to a squeaky woman. I mean, if I was up here and I was just... "Well, bless the Lord. Praise Jesus. Hallelujah".
See, I've got a powerful voice! Well, I mean, I've had some stuff. I mean, we parked in a parking lot one night of a church where I was going to speak in Chicago, and this motorcycle guy came up beside of us on his big, Harley Hog and he had... Ponytail and a beard and got all of his leathers on, and he recognized me, and said, "Hey". He said, "I got a funny story to tell you". He said, "I listened to you for six months before I knew you were a woman". That was when I was on the radio. He said, "I would have never listened to a woman tell me anything, but by the time I figured out you were a woman, my life had changed so much I couldn't deny it".
Let me tell you something. Some of the things that you despise about yourself the most are the things that God wants to use if you'll just let him. Amen? "I don't like my thighs". Well, make peace with your thighs, they're yours. You know, I'm not fighting with myself anymore. I'm happy to have God change anything about me, he wants to change. God knows that. He knows your heart. He knows my heart. He knows I love him. I'd be very happy to do everything perfect and walk just like Jesus did and never make any mistake at all. But you know what? I already know that's not gonna happen because if I was that good, I would be so full of myself that God couldn't use me. God leaves a few weaknesses in us to keep us humble.
And so far, I've not preached one word of my message, but I guess we're doing okay, I don't know. I just want you to put an end to the war that you've had with yourself. And don't think the devil won't try to come back, oh, 'cause he will. But in Christ, in Christ, in Christ, we're everything nothings, everything in Christ, nothing in our self. As long as you remember that, God can do great and mighty things through you. C'mon, I think that, I mean, we're gonna go back and share some more of the word in a minute, but if you need to enter the rest of God concerning yourself, I want you to stand up, I'mma pray for you. Well, see, this is beautiful because it's about 80% of the church. Oh, this is so good, so good.
Father, I pray over all these beautiful people that you sent your son to die for. You've paid the price for them so that they can know who they are in you. We're all a big mess in ourselves, but in you, we can do great things. I rebuke the demon spirit of guilt, and condemnation, and self-hatred, and self-dislike, self-doubt. And I pray that each and every one of these people will walk out of here having entered your rest concerning who they are and where they're at in their walk with you. And that they will enjoy where they're at on the way to where they're going. We go from glory, to glory, to glory, and I pray that they will enjoy the glory they're in, while they're moving on to the next one. I pray a blessing over you, that you will have peace concerning who you are and where you are in your walk with God, in Jesus' name, amen.
Alright, you can be seated. Well, I just feel so good. I had the right message, didn't i? Our walk with God: you sit, you stand, you walk, and then finally, you can run your race. Amen? I'm running my race right now, but I couldn't do that if I didn't know how to be seated, how to be seated in Christ. What does the Bible tell us about our walk? "Walk in faith", 2 Corinthians 5:7, "For we walk by faith we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things, we don't walk by sight or appearance".
I intended to say more about faith, but I don't know if I'm gonna get that far, but... We're to walk in love. And I'll be honest, as far as I'm concerned, those first two things are the most important of all of 'em. I mean, the apostle even said back in one of the epistles that the whole purpose of everything that we're doing here is to get you to walk in faith and stay in love. "'cause faith only works by love", Galatians 5:6 says. No matter how much faith we have if we don't know that God loves us, that faith will never be strong enough to carry us through.
And walking in love with other people is so important. Please forgive people that have hurt you, and be kind to people, be merciful to people, be good to people, believe the best of people, help people that are in need. Spend your life being a blessing rather than spending your life praying to be blessed. Walk as Christ walked. "Walk to please God", 1 Thessalonians 4:1 says. Colossians 3:6 and 7 says, "Don't walk as the heathen do". Maybe we could just stop there for just a second and just say, you know, we're in the world, but we're not supposed to be of it. It's time for us to step up. Come on. It's time for us to choose to be excellent and stop behaving like the rest of the world.
The Bible says, "Come ye out from among them and be separate". Now, that doesn't mean that we have a snooty attitude that we're better than everybody else, or that we won't have anything to do with an unbeliever. We should not be close, intimate friends with unbelievers, but we should befriend them, and we should show them love because if we don't we're not showing them Christ. But we can't become like them. What I always say is, "You can hang out with unbelievers as long as you're affecting them and they're not infecting you". Amen? I mean, if we ignore and avoid all unbelievers and just stay in our little Christian huggie groups then what's gonna happen to the world?
You know, if you work in a place and there's two other Christians and the three of you just hang out together all the time, you're not gonna help any of the rest of 'em, and all they're gonna do is just think, "Yeah, you think you're better than us". And we don't want to come across like that in the world. And so, we need to know how to be in the world, but not of it. Let me just act like your mother for a few minutes. You can't dress like the world dresses.
Can I just be real plain here, for a minute? Ladies, we don't need to see your... I started to say it, but I won't. And your skirt doesn't need to be so short that when you sit down we can see everything under it. And your pants don't need to be so tight that there's no imagination to what's there. Well, I'm sorry, but some people have to be told how to dress. They don't get it. "Well, that's what's in style". No. We're to dress like godly women and that doesn't mean that you can't have any color or anything pretty. You can be fashionable and not be a temptation to all the other men around you. Come on, somebody needs to say it.