Joyce Meyer - When Is Your Mind Normal? (Think Like God Thinks)
Last night, we just tried to lay a foundation about how Satan starts so early in our life trying to build strongholds in our mind, which means that he lies to us in areas and entrenches himself in our thinking, or entrenches his lies and ideas into our thinking so we live our lives believing lies which then cause us to behave in wrong ways. So he does it to everybody and then we all get out there and try to get along together and it just becomes a real huge mess. The only hope for us is to have our minds renewed by the Word of God, learn how to think the way that God wants us to think, learn how to say what God wants us to say so we can be what God wants us to be, do what God wants us to do and have what God wants us to have.
Everybody would say, "Yes, I want to have what God wants me to have". Well, you gotta backtrack about several steps and start back over here with learning to think the way that God thinks. I guess a lot of people, like me, for a lot of years, I thought my thoughts didn't really matter, didn't know I could do anything about them, just whatever fell in my head was what I thought about. If I woke up in the morning, the thought came to me, "I'm depressed", then I would just go around and be depressed all day, didn't even try to overcome it, didn't think I could cast it down.
And what a glorious day it was for me when I learned the truths that I'm trying to share with you that I actually did not have to meditate and think on everything that fell in my head, that I could cast that out and choose something else that would help me actually enjoy my day and live a good life. Now, in the beginning, it's a little bit difficult because we haven't practiced doing it. We've been rather passive and empty headed and just kind of wait around and see what's gonna fall into our head, but we're learning that now we can be aggressive and take the leadership role in doing our own thinking.
Ephesians 4:22 through 24, we're gonna take a look at this. "Strip yourselves of your former nature put off and discard your old unrenewed self which characterized your previous manner of life and became corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion". So the first instruction from the apostle Paul to the Ephesians was put off the old man. We know that the Bible says that if any man be in Christ, he's a new creature, old things pass away and all things become brand new. However, there's a cooperation that we have to give working with the Holy Spirit that although I now am a new creature, I need to put off that old nature.
The next verse says, "And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude", and the next verse, "And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, Godlike in true righteousness and holiness". So we see that we need to put off the old man, put on the new man, stop living the way we used to live, start living the way God wants us to live and the bridge to get from one to the other is be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind. Where the mind goes, the man follows. It's impossible to have a positive life and at the same time, have a negative mind. Can anybody say, "Amen"? That's just not gonna work, is it?
Well, today what I want to teach you is, when is your mind normal? What is really normal for a believer? You see, what's normal for the world is almost always not normal for us as far as looking at it in God's economy. You know, there's a world economy, but there's God's economy. There's the way the world lives, but then there's a way that we are supposed to live. You know, the world worries, but we get to pray so we don't want to pray and worry because then we're still back in both of those worlds, so we have to learn, when is it normal? It's not normal to worry for a Christian.
When I say today, it's not normal to worry, most of you would think, "Well, yeah, it's really normal to worry". Well, it shouldn't be for you. For you that should just be like, "Well, that don't feel right. That don't feel good. That doesn't fit at all". Have any of you ever put on something to wear and found that you had a few more pounds on you today than you had the last time you wore it? And it was just really, really, really tight? And you tried to wear it anyway and it just made you miserable all day. Anybody ever had that experience? Okay. Well, that's kind of the way it is when we try to wear things or let our mind be in conditions that don't fit us as Christians anymore.
You see, there are things, when you become a believer, that just doesn't look right on you anymore. It just doesn't fit with you anymore. Maybe an unbeliever could have that attitude and wear that attitude and talk like that, but it's not for you anymore. It's not right for you. Well, it's kind of interesting because as you grow spiritually, you begin to know that so you put off those attitudes, you put off those thoughts. And as I have matured in years also, one of the things that I will not do anymore is wear something that's uncomfortable. I cannot stand it, not in the physical or in the spirit.
So when is your mind normal? How should you be thinking as a believer? Well, first of all, I think that believers are supposed to have a made-up mind. We need to know how to know what we want to do, make our minds up that we're gonna do it and not change it every few seconds. Colossians 3:2, "Set your mind and keep it set on things that are above, not on things upon the earth. For you are dead, and your real life is hidden with God in Christ". Set your minds and keep them set. Set your minds and keep them set. Set your minds and keep them set. Not set your mind and change it, set your mind and change it, set your mind and change it. You can make your mind up that you're gonna clean your house up today and don't let anything change it.
When somebody calls and says, "Let's go shopping", you can say, "No, I've got my mind made up. I'm cleaning up my house today". Somebody calls and says, "Come on, I'll take ya out for lunch". "Nope, I've got my mind made up, I'm gonna get my house cleaned up today". The only way that we can ever accomplish what we really want to accomplish in life, the only way that we can be true to our true selves and follow our true heart desires is if we set our mind in the direction that we want to end up in. Where do you want to end up in life? Set your mind on that and stop changing it every time you turn around. It's amazing the victory that you can have and the things that you can do if you set your mind. And you can learn to do it or God wouldn't tell you to do it.
People ask me lots of interesting questions but one I get asked is, "Well, how do you feel about all the travel you have to do to do what you're doing"? And I say, "I don't know, I don't think about it". I couldn't tell you how I feel about it. It would be dangerous for me to think how I feel about it because if I did, pretty soon I might not want to do it anymore. So I don't think about it. Why? Because I've already got my mind set that I'm gonna do whatever God wants me to do as long as I'm breathing. And I don't think about what it costs me or, you know, I have to be very careful if I get into thinking how hard it is, which once in a while I'll go there if I'm really tired.
So I've learned a few things over the years and one of the things is, is you've gotta set your mind and just don't even fiddle around with stuff. I decided almost 6 years ago, that I needed to start working out, something I'd never done in my whole life, didn't want to. Didn't think I had time to. Didn't care about being sore. Didn't want to do any of it. My husband has worked out for over 50 years and that's one of the reasons why he looks so fantastic. Well, I did not work out. And one day I looked at myself in the mirror and kind of everything that used to be up here had gone somewhere else.
And I actually really, for me I can tell you, I felt like that I just had a real revelation from God that, "If you want to be strong for the last third of your journey and if you want to finish what I've called you to do, then this is something you have to do. You have to do it". Thank you. But even more than it being about looking better, it's about being healthy. And, you know, we have all these joints and things because we're supposed to move. We're not supposed to just live on the couch or sit in a chair or sit in front of a computer, we're supposed to move.
So I encourage you to just be as active as you can in worship 'cause for some of you, that's all the motion you get. But anyway, here's the point, I'll have people tell me, "I hate to exercise. Can't stand going to the gym. Can't stand it, hate it, hate it". You know what? I think I like it. I'm not sure that I do. I don't ask myself, I'm just going. I've made my mind up, I'm going. I go Monday, Wednesday, Friday, when I'm in town. If I've got a conference, I go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Well, at first my mind said, "You can't go 3 days in row". And then I thought, "Well, why can't I go 3 days in a row"? I do other things 3 days in a row. I'll survive working out 3 days in a row.
It's amazing the things that your mind tells you that will keep you from doing the things that God wants you to do. So I'm just telling ya, make your mind up what you want to do and stop thinking it to death. The first kind of mind that's normal for the believer to have is a made-up mind. We need to have our minds completely renewed. Now, in Philippians chapter 2, verse 5, very interesting scripture, it says that, "We are to let the same attitude and purpose and humble mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus". 1 Corinthians 2:16 says we have the mind of Christ, that we do hold his thoughts, intents and purposes. Well, what does it mean to have the mind of Christ? It means when you're born again, you also get a new spiritual mind, but you keep your old fleshly mind.
Romans 8:5 says, "If you set your mind on the things of the flesh, you'll pursue the things of the flesh. If you set your mind on the things of the spirit, you'll pursue the things of the spirit". And then it says, "The mind of the flesh is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit". Think about that. What is the mind of the flesh? It's when I get off into reasoning and I'm looking at things the way the world looks at them and I'm not allowing any input from the Holy Spirit. You got that so far? The mind of the flesh, sense and reason, without the Holy Spirit. You can't live off the top of your head. You can't live just according to what you think. You have to go deeper than that and learn how to sense and discern what God is saying in situations. "But the mind of the spirit", Romans 8:6 says, "is life and peace, both now and forever".
So we have that mind in us, but it has to be developed. As long as we let the mind of the flesh stay stronger than the mind of the spirit, we're really not gonna change in our experience. The thing that I want for people is I want them to enjoy the life that Jesus died to give them. I'm finally doing that, but I wasted so many years of my Christian life not enjoying my salvation or enjoying God or enjoying myself or anything else because the devil was still ruling me because I didn't understand that a lot of what I was thinking was not in line with the Word of God. Amen?
Now, let me just say this to you, I'm not here teaching mind control to try to just teach people to think positively and speak positively without teaching them the blood of Christ, the cross of Christ, salvation through Christ... Anybody can just decide to think positive or speak positive and yeah, you will get a few results, but I'm not talking about getting a few results from some worldly principle. I'm talking about living the life that Jesus died for you to live. And not only that, anything that the devil comes up with, he only got it because it was God's idea first. And so God's the one who teaches us to think positive and talk positive and because Christians were lazy about doing it, the devil stole it. So now he turns it into some weird, wacky, occult, new-age, goofy thing that leaves God out of everything, but we're not gonna let the world have what God gave us first. Amen?
"Let the same mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: let him be your example in humility". Can we talk just for maybe three minutes about humility? A humble mind. Do you know that you cannot grow and I cannot grow in the word? I cannot even receive the word. You cannot receive the message that I'm sharing with you today if you don't approach it with a humble mind. You have to approach every church service you go to like, "Man, I need this. Oh, I need this. I need to hang on to every word. I need this".
So if you sit down and hear what somebody's gonna speak on and you think, "Oh, I wish so and so was here today because they really need this"... Or have you ever been disappointed when a speaker told you what they were gonna speak on because you thought you already knew all about that one? I have. "Oh, not, you know, I know that". Well, not anymore. I need it all. I need everything. I need to be reminded every time I can be reminded. I need you to tell me over and over and over again. Only a humble mind can be taught anything. Only a person with a humble mind can receive correction. We have to want to grow. We have to want to learn. Romans 12:3 says, "Don't think more highly of yourself than you ought to. Don't have an exaggerated opinion of your own importance".
Now I'm sure that's none of you, but maybe somebody watching by TV today, maybe you have a little problem with this and so we'll just kind of talk to you for a minute 'cause I know none of these people have a problem with that. We all just have this beautiful, humble mind. What's the first thing that happens when we don't have a humble mind and we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to? We start to look down on other people. We start to have a lot of judgmental and critical thoughts, which we're gonna talk about in detail later. A humble mind is not a mind who thinks lowly of itself. God's not asking you to have a bad opinion of yourself. He doesn't want you to have a bad opinion of yourself. He wants you to value yourself. He wants you to see your gifts and your talents, your abilities. He wants you to love yourself in a balanced way, but he doesn't want us to think that we're better than anybody else. We're not better than anybody else.
So you might be more highly educated than someone else, but that doesn't make you better than them. You might be able to learn faster than somebody else, but that doesn't make you better than them. I might be a better communicator than somebody else, but that doesn't make me better than them. Someone maybe, when you get even into the realms of like, so you have a hundred artists, well, maybe one's better than another. That doesn't make them better than each other in God's eyes. I love the scripture in Colossians that says, "In Christ, all distinctions vanish". Don't you like that? No more male nor female. No more Jew nor Greek. I'll add to it a little. No more rich nor poor. No more doctor and ditch digger. We're all one in Christ. Amen? All one in Christ.
1 Peter 5:6 is "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you". A person with a humble mind can wait on God's timing. A person with a humble mind doesn't have to say, "Well, God, I don't understand why you're not doing this. I'm ready for this. I need this. I want this". They can say, "Well, God, I've put my request before you and I believe that you're gonna bring it at just the right time in my life. I trust your timing in my life".
So we want to start by having a humble mind. But now we need to move on to some other things. Chapter 9 in this book, "Battlefield Of The Mind" deals with wandering wondering thoughts. Our minds wandering around all over the place is one of the biggest problems that we deal with today. The world that we live in is absolutely filled with distractions. It's amazing how our minds have such a difficult time sticking with what we're doing.
Now, this is why Satan works so hard to bring distraction. And let me just put in a little plug for church services. The pastors will love me for doing this, I know. This is why we should never get up and move around in a church service unless we absolutely have an emergency. And I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings when I say this, but honestly, to do it if you don't have a real dire need is really just downright selfish. And you probably don't realize that but here's what happens. I can tell ya what happens 'cause I watch it.
Sister brown in the middle of row 14 decides that she needs a drink of water. So she gets up, "Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me". Everybody from 15 back watches her go. Then they watch her come back. Then they watch her go back in the row. And here the pastor is, or if it's happening at one of my conferences, I'm up here. I'm pouring my heart out to people. I'm trying to change their lives with a word. I've spent hours and hours studying and getting ready and now everybody from row 14 back have left, and gone to get a drink of water with sister brown. They have now admired her hat, they have not liked her outfit. They have sized her up one side and down the other. They have all wondered where in the world she's going and what she's doing.
We live in an age of distraction. Riding down the highway is like taking a drive in an encyclopedia. You have any idea how many advertisements are stuck in our face in a 5-minute drive? We can't enjoy the scenery anymore because everywhere we look, there's another thing. Another thing being advertised. I remember when television was so simple. The first show I ever watched was "Howdy Doody". It shows you I was around when televisions first came out. And you had one little short maybe, I don't know, 30-second ad in the middle of the show and that was it. Now it's like you just get interested it's like...
Honestly and truly the world is not gonna change, so we better change. And one of my goals, and I've been working on it for a while 'cause I have an issue in this area too. I got a very busy mind. I got a lot on my plate, got a lot going on, and I find it challenging to keep my mind on what I'm doing, but I've really been working with God on that for a long while and I'm still working on it because we get ourselves in a lot of trouble and we miss a lot of beautiful things that God has for us by simply not keeping our mind on what we're doing. Do you have any idea how much more you'll get out of this today if you can really lock in and absorb every single word that's being said?
About 6 weeks ago, I tripped up a set of steps that happened to be stone and I cut my arm up, still got some scars here because of that, hit my knee and also fractured my big toe. Now, I went through a lot of pain, lot of time, had to go to the foot doctor, had to do this, had to do that all because while I was going up the steps, I wasn't at the steps, I was already out in the kitchen doing what I was going to do when I got there. My family has to really watch me because I'm usually like one step ahead of where I'm at.
And the other day, I was driving into our subdivision, somebody else was driving, I was riding in the backseat into the subdivision and I started thinking about what I was gonna do when I got home, and I actually got hold of the door handle and started to get out of the car when we were still driving down the street. So a lot of accidents are caused by not keeping your mind on what you're doing. So let's start praying that God will really help us learn how to focus more deeply and better because we really need to learn how to enjoy what God is giving us to enjoy. We need to be able to focus. We don't comprehend things if we don't focus.
A wandering mind that wanders all over the place, can't keep its mind on anything, is not God. Ecclesiastes 5:1 says, "Keep your footing by giving your mind to what you're doing". Now, the word "Wander" means to move about aimlessly, to roam, to amble, to meander, to go in an indirect route, or to set no pace or to be unclear. And to be honest, when we let our minds just wander all over the place, we actually disable our own mind, because God wants our mind to aid us in everything else that we do. I've noticed that if I keep my mind on what I'm doing, even when I'm writing, my handwriting improves. But if I'm writing and I'm thinking about something else, my handwriting starts to get real sloppy.
So the way God has created us is he wants us to focus and pay attention. Well, in order to do this, we have to slow down, and most all of you would say, "I'm too busy. The pace of life is too fast", but you know what? We don't need to let life run us. We need to learn how to manage and run our own lives and stop letting life run us. If you're too busy, cut some things out of your schedule. If you're moving too fast, slow down. Well, that may mean you're not gonna get everything done that you want to do. Whatever you do, you need to enjoy it, and you can't enjoy it if you don't have your mind on it. We live in an age of distraction.
Mark chapter 4, verses 18 and 19, then we're gonna look at another verse, verse 24, which is very good. It's about the parable of the sower. Verse 18 says, "And the ones sown among the thorns are the others who hear the Word of God: then the cares and anxieties of the world, the distractions of the age, the pleasure and the delight and the false glamour and the deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the word, and it becomes fruitless".
So any time that you try to spend time with God, you're gonna have distractions. Anybody ever noticed all the stuff that goes wrong when you're trying to just spend a little time with God? Wonder what kind of things you guys had to battle through to even make it here today or last night? You gotta be pretty determined. You gotta set your mind and keep it set, because we have to understand, we have an enemy. He does not want us to learn the Word of God, and even if you make it to church, he doesn't want you to pay any attention to anything that you hear. He doesn't care much if your body's there, as long as you're not there, amen? So while I'm preaching today, do not go get a hamburger. Do not go get a Starbucks coffee. Do not leave, because I am working too hard to help you for you to go somewhere else.
Now, let's look at verse 24. "And he said to them, be careful what you're hearing. The measure", I love this. "The measure of thought and study that you give to the truth that you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you again". So in other words, just to hear it once, it's gonna help us, but it's not gonna help us like it would if we meditate on it over and over and over. You can sit and meditate. You can sit and close your eyes and think about the Word of God, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ. God's got an awesome future planned for me. Something good is gonna happen to me today. I am born again. God loves me unconditionally".
And then if you really want to get some benefit out of it, you can start all over at the top. "I am the righteousness of God in Christ. God loves me". I mean, you could sit there and you could just think about that one thing for 5 minutes, "I am right with God. Right with God. Right, I'm right, I'm right, I'm right with God. I'm right with God". And then all of a sudden, here'll come an arrow, "Well, yeah, you do a lot of stuff wrong, too". "I'm not thinking right now. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I am the righteousness of God in Christ".
Now, every time you do that, it's like getting the groove a little bit deeper and a little bit deeper and a little bit deeper. But I can honestly tell you, Christians are afraid, many Christians, not all, but many are afraid of the word "Meditate". I mean, when I was in the church that I went to for a lot of years, where I learned a good foundation about salvation, but I wasn't really having any victory in my life, I mean, if I heard the word "Meditate", I thought right away it was a cult. We need to teach people how to do this stuff. You can renew your mind by thinking on the same thing over and over and over, and if you think what God thinks, you're gonna have what God wants you to have. Come on, now. Somebody give God praise.
"Looking away from all that will distract unto Jesus". Look away from distractions. And let me just throw this out, only take me a second to do it. One of the things the devil uses to distract you from God more than anything else is pounding your mind with accusations about everything that's wrong with you. Every time the devil reminds you of something that's wrong with you, you need to look to the cross and say, "I'm so grateful that Jesus paid for that already, and that I'm forgiven and made new". Let me tell you something. The Gospel message is the best news in the whole earth. There's no news that's as good a news as the news that we've got.
Now, the next thing we'll talk about is chapter 10 in the book, and it's about reasoning, wondering. We're talking about the wandering, wondering mind. And the reason why it's important to talk about reasoning is 2 Corinthians 10 says, "To cast down imaginations, reasonings, and theories and every high thing that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God". So we need to be careful about excessive reasoning. Why? Because it leads to confusion. It also leads us, in many instances, away from any kind of discernment and we end up disobeying God. If you're too heady, or what I lovingly call a fat-head, just lovingly call a fat-head, then that means that you just live out of your mind and don't bother to check anything with the Holy Ghost.
Now, we're not called to never think about anything. It's good to think about things, but I have a rule for my life that I'll share with you. I can think about anything. I can ponder something. I can question something. I can try to figure something out until I get confused, and the minute I get confused, that's my sign that I've gone too far, and that's where I stop, because God is not the author of confusion. I have a problem in my life, "Why did this happen? I don't understand why this happened. Why did this happen to me? Why did this have to happen now? I prayed, on and on and on".
The minute I start to go down, feel confused, I'm like, "Wait a minute. I don't have to try to figure that out. God knows why. I don't need to know why. All I need to know is him". You don't need to know why, as long as you know the one who knows why, amen? How many of you love to try to figure things out? Well, you know what? You're gonna waste a lot of time in your life being confused. Many things about God are a mystery, and a mystery is something that we can't figure out. When you're watching a mystery, if it's a good mystery, you have to wait 'til the end of the show. God has a lot of mysteries, and we gotta wait 'til the end of the show to see what's really happening.
There are many things that I understand now that I did not understand while I was going through them, and I wasted so much time trying to figure things out, and all it did was distract me from God. You are not smart enough to run your life, so just give up trying to figure it out. I was addicted to reasoning. You can give it up. Now, we got a few things up here today to help me with my message. So I'm gonna tell you a story that's actually in the book right here. It's called, "The Red Dress Story". Maybe you've heard it, maybe you haven't, but we're gonna tell it again.
I bought this dress probably 27 years ago, and it was new. I thought it was so pretty. I actually liked it so much that I bought a size too big for me, because they didn't have my size. Bought some red and silver earrings to go with it. Took it home under the plastic bag, hung it in my closet, just admired it every time I went in there. "That's such a pretty red dress", but just never really felt like it was the right day to wear it. Well, one day I was in my closet praying for a lady who was a volunteer in one of the weekly meetings that I had in St. Louis back then. Her name was Ruth Ann. I said, "Oh, Lord, Ruth Ann is such a blessing. What could I do to bless Ruth Ann"? Well, immediately my eyes fell on the red dress. And I thought, "I can't give her that dress. It's new".
Now, here's the way this works. I knew here, without words, "The still small voice is often without words". It just comes as a knowing. "How can I bless Ruth Ann"? Well, you see, the truth was, I didn't want to give my dress away, so the devil helped me. He rushed right in to help me. "You can't give that dress away. That's new". Well, whoever says you can't give away something new? You see, back then, I was still, like, not a really good giver. I was a little giver, but not a good giver, and I would give something away if I was done with it, but certainly not if I still wanted it, which I've now come to learn is not even giving. God finally told me, "Why don't you just stop acting like you're giving and you're generous when you send all that stuff off to the poor, thank them for taking it off our hands because you don't want it anymore anyway"?
You really get into giving when you start getting rid of stuff you like and want. Whoo-hoo, come on, stick with me. Don't go anywhere. Stay here. So it amazes me how through reasoning, because I reasoned out that God could not be asking me to give that new dress away, and then I thought about what I paid for it, and then I even thought about the red and silver earrings that I bought that matched it. So I'm telling you, it probably didn't take more than 30 seconds, and I heard from God, talked myself out of it, and even went so far as to think, "You know, that's just the devil trying to get everything I enjoy".
So I took a word from God, turned it into a threat from the devil, and disobeyed God, all through reasoning. I don't think we have any idea how God wants to be involved in our everyday life, how he wants to lead us and guide us, and how exciting and vibrant our life could be if we really would be led by the Holy Spirit and get out of our stinking heads. Stop trying to figure everything out. So a couple weeks went by. I never thought anymore about the red dress. Couple weeks went by and I made a mistake. I started praying for Ruth Ann again in the same closet.
Well, see, it was actually God putting Ruth Ann on my heart. Wasn't even me coming up with it. And he did it when I was in the closet, 'cause there was something in the closet that he wanted me to use to bless her with. It was, you know, little walk-in closet I was in. I got dressed in there every morning. Going to that same meeting again. "Oh, God, bless Ruth Ann, she's been such, how can I bless Ruth Ann"? Dumb question. Right again. Well, now I knew I'd been had. By then, I knew, "Okay, this must just really be God". I even said to the Lord, you know how we like to converse with God. I said, "Ugh... I haven't even worn it yet". And then the thing that I thought was, "You know what? I didn't even buy it for me. I bought her size, not mine". It was never mine to start with, amen? And that was why I couldn't wear it.
Do you know, when God has, and I've learned this. When God tells me to give something away and I keep it, I can't enjoy it after that. There's no anointing on it for me. After God once tells me to give it and I try to keep it, it's gonna become a source of condemnation to me every time I see it. So yes, I eventually gave Ruth Ann the dress. And years later, Ruth Ann came to work on our staff, and she wore the red dress, and you know, the red dress became such a story in our ministry that we now have it in the props archives at the office.
In James 1, it says that "We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves through reasoning that is contrary to the truth". It's a big problem when we say, "Well, I know I should do that, but... I know I shouldn't do that, but"... Let's just take it, something as simple as, "Well, I know I shouldn't eat this, but"... I know. You don't want me to go there, but I'm going there anyway. "I know I shouldn't drink six bottles of pop every day, but... I know I should exercise, but... I know I should go to bed, I really need to sleep, but"... You know what we're actually doing? We're saying, "I know what God is telling me, but here's my reason for not doing it". Amen?
And then we end up over here, "I don't know what is wrong with me. Man, I feel so bad. God, I need a miracle. I need somebody to come and pray for me. I just don't understand why I feel so bad". Well, it really ain't all that hard to figure out if you just start listening to God. I can't even tell you how much better I feel than I used to, because I go to bed at night now. I cut a bunch of stuff out of my schedule. I learned how to say no. I want to help people, but I don't want 'em to drive me crazy. I'd like to have a mind left. I don't want all of you to be healthy and whole and up and running and I'm off somewhere half-dead because I didn't know how to say no to anybody.
It's amazing the few adjustments you can make, if you just listen to the Holy Spirit, that will bring so many great benefits in your life. Gotta move on to the next point. Don't live in confusion. It's not normal for a believer. One of the examples I have in this book regards my youngest son, Dan, who's now gonna be 33 in December, and oh, my gosh. I wasted so much time when my youngest son was a little boy, wondering if he was gonna survive. He hated school. He didn't like any of it. I mean, I so rejoiced when that boy got out of high school, and college was not even anything we would have dared to talk about, because he just did not like school. He didn't like any of it. He had a hard time learning the conventional way.
Well, guess what? I wasted all that time, because right now, today he's the CEO of Joyce Meyer Ministries. So you can save yourself a lot of time by not worrying about your kids and just say, "God, I don't know what your plan is, but I trust you got one". I mean, you know, I had one daughter. I thought, "How is this kid gonna leave home and survive? I mean, she can't even find her shoes in the morning. What is she gonna do without me"? And now you want to know the funny thing? She's the one out of my four kids who runs all my errands and takes care of me and comes and packs me for these trips to make sure that I get out of town with all my ducks in a row. So the one who couldn't take care of herself now takes care of me. Come on, there's hope for your kids. Don't waste your time trying to figure it all out all the time.
Now, an anxious and a worried mind is not normal. Do you know what is normal for a believer? Peace. Oh, that's our normal atmosphere. That is the atmosphere of heaven. That's the atmosphere that we are supposed to live in. The spiritual atmosphere is "The peace that passes understanding". Why are we gonna pray if we're gonna just keep worrying? It's just silly. It's just wasted effort. If you're gonna worry, don't pray. When I try to teach on not worrying, I finally got to the point where I thought, "You know, Lord, this is just useless for me to teach on not worrying because people are gonna worry anyway".
I heard all the messages on not worrying and I worried anyway. So I finally just kind of got down with God and studying and I said, "When are people gonna stop worrying"? And here's what I've learned. I can stand here and tell you 'til I'm blue in the face not to worry, but you know what? You're gonna worry until you finally realize that it's useless. It doesn't help your problem. Doesn't solve your problem. All it is, is us saying, "I think, if I think about this long enough and worry about it long enough, I can figure something out". That's not gonna work.
Sometimes I bring a rocking chair. I didn't bring that this weekend. Worry is like rocking in a rocking chair all day. It keeps you busy, but gets you nowhere. At the end of the day, you'll still be in the exact same spot, just going back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth. And I would say that worry is a pretty huge problem for a large majority of people. It is. Do I ever worry? Yeah, there are some times when I do, but I tell you, nothing like what I used to.
My goodness, God has brought me a long way. I'm not where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I'm making progress. And you can get to the point where you don't worry. All you have to do when you're worried is just think about something else. Go get your mind on something else. Get your mind on something good, and just say out loud, "This is not gonna help me. It's not gonna do me any good. It's useless. It's a waste of time".
How many of you believe that you're more valuable to God than a bird? You believe that, you're more valuable to God than a bird? Well, we know what Matthew 6 says, "Look at the birds. They don't worry. They're not frustrated. They're not concerned about anything, and yet God keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than a bird"? Why waste your time worrying about something that's going on in your life today, because tomorrow you're gonna have something new that you can think about if you want to? So let's pray and let's really believe when we pray that God hears us, and that's one of the things that has really helped me. I really have come to the point where I truly believe when I pray that God hears me and that he will do what needs to be done about it in his timing. And if it's not my timing, I'm gonna have to be happy with it anyway, because my upset is not gonna make God hurry.