Joyce Meyer - Be Patient With Yourself
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life", and the subject that I want to talk to you about today is one that I think will really help you enjoy your life more. I'm gonna talk to you today about being patient with yourself. Good already, already makes me feel like I can relax, be patient with yourself.
You know, the Bible says that we are to work out our salvation, it doesn't say we're to work for our salvation, because salvation is a free gift given to us by the grace of God, that is received by us through faith. We can't save ourselves. We can't do anything to be good enough to deserve or earn what Jesus did for us, it's a gift. We receive it by faith. But once we have that salvation, once God has given us everything that we need, he's put it on the inside of us, then the Bible says that we are to work it out. Work out your salvation, not in your own strength for it is God who is all the while working inside of you.
So it's really talking about spiritual maturity or growing up. Just like our children grow up, we all were a child at one time, but we had to grow up so we grow and mature spiritually. Philippians 2:12-13, "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling". You see, God wants what's in us to be worked out into our soul and then seen through our bodies, so people can see the image of Christ shining through us. The Bible tells us in Romans eight, I believe it is, that we are destined to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. That image has been captured on the inside of us, but now it has to be brought to fullness or to fruition, so people can see Jesus working through us.
We are to be Christ-like in our character. If we don't grow spiritually then no matter what Jesus died for us to have we're never going to have it or really enjoy it. I like what I read in the book that I'm reading by Billy Graham recently, he said, "We have been sanctified", which means made holy and perfected, "We are being sanctified, and we will be perfectly sanctified, which means glorified, when Christ comes to bring us to our heavenly home". So I love that, we have it spiritually, but this sanctification, or holiness or spiritual maturity, is something that the Holy Spirit then works, not only in us, but through us and out of us and it happens in degrees and stages, and it just takes time. And so, you're gonna enjoy your life a lot more if you learn to be patient with yourself while you're growing, the Bible says from glory, to glory, to glory.
So, I always encourage people, you're in a glory right now, but it may not be the same glory that somebody else you know is in. They could be behind you in their spiritual growth, they could be ahead of you in their spiritual growth, but we don't need to worry about where other people are, we only need to let God deal with us and please get this, be patient with yourself. You are not gonna enjoy your journey with God... Yes, I said it's a journey. You know how little kids are, you get in the car to take them on a long trip, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet"? And we're kind of the same way with God. We always want things to go faster than what they do. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, not in your own strength, for it is God who is all the while at work in you".
So, what we're to do is cooperate with the work that the Holy Spirit is trying to do in us, and the Bible uses the word "Yield" quite a bit, we are to yield. You know, when you're driving and you see a yield sign it means that you have to yield to other traffic that's going to be crossing your path. Well, we need to always yield to the Holy Spirit any time he crosses our path and wants us to do something we don't want to do or to stop doing something that's wrong that we want to continue doing. Being obedient to God sounds hard sometimes but it is the best thing that we can possibly do, because that's when full joy comes.
Now, the Bible says in Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect". Well, that scripture used to really put pressure on me because I would try so hard to do everything right and yet it just never really worked out that I was doing everything right and I'm sure you had the same experience. When we fall in love with Jesus we want to do things right and sometimes it seems like the more we try to do what's right, the more we end up doing what's wrong and I did not understand what was wrong.
Well, for one thing I was trying to do it by myself instead of asking God to help me. But I'm so thankful for the Amplified translation of Matthew 5:48, because here's what it means to be perfect: "You, therefore, must be perfect", and here it comes, "Growing into complete maturity of Godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity, even as your father in heaven is perfect". So be ye perfect, keep growing in God, keep cooperating with the Holy Spirit and little by little, from glory to glory, there will be changes that the Holy Spirit will make in you, and each one of those changes will help you be more in tune, more conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
Now, I like to use this example sometimes, and this is a pathetic example, but we're gonna say that this mold represents Jesus. We are to be molded into the image of Christ. Well, the Word of God says that "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away and all things become brand-new". So, I like to say that we're like new spiritual clay. In other words, all the old things have passed away and God's got a brand-new canvas to start with and he does a perfect work on the inside of us. As a believer in God, you have all the Fruit of the Spirit in you, you have been made right with God through Christ, you've got a perfect heart toward God, but your behavior may not be perfect yet.
So, therefore, this work of the Holy Spirit has to be done in you. Some of it is not real comfortable, matter of fact, I would say a lot of it is not comfortable and how uncomfortable it is depends really on how stubborn we are, how fast we yield. So, we're gonna say this is us, this new spiritual clay and there is a molding process. Remember, it says that we're destined to be molded into the image of Jesus Christ. Now, if this clay had feelings, I'm sure, right now, it would be saying, "That doesn't feel very good, stop it, stop it, stop it". But God can't stop, he has to continue doing the work, so we can become what he wants us to be.
So, let's just say now, I'm still not quite the right shape, I gotta keep at this just a little bit, about to get there. Okay, now, wow, all right. Now, I can be molded into the image of Jesus. But what's gonna happen here? Well, I'm gonna find that there's too much of me to the fit into the image of Christ. So, some things are going to have to go. Maybe, I talk too much about things I shouldn't be talkin' about. So, God has to deal with me and that part of me has to go. Maybe my thoughts are not what they should be and it's hurting me more than I could ever imagine, so God begins to deal with me about my thoughts and that has to go. Or, maybe, I'm full of self-pity and I just waste days sitting around feeling sorry for myself, and so, that's the next thing God deals with me about.
You know, God doesn't deal with us about everything all at once, he deals with us as the timimg is right and he just keeps it up, and keeps it up, and keeps it up until eventually, well, there we are. You know what? It takes a lifetime to get it perfected. But we have nothing better to do than to work with God, cooperating with the Holy Spirit to be all that God wants us to be. Doesn't that sound good right now? How many of you want to be all that God wants you to be and you're ready to take up your cross and follow him? To take up your cross doesn't mean that you're gonna have all kinds of horrible, tragic things happen in your life. I believe that taking up the cross is being willing to live an unselfish life that's not centered around us, but is centered around the will of God.
Don't be stubborn: yield. Be clay that's soft and moldable. You're a new creature. I had the team here get me new clay because I didn't want to start with some old, hard, dried up clay. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. He's new spiritual clay. All that he needs, he has. He just needs to let the Holy Spirit work with him and get rid of things that are only going to hurt him, but he doesn't yet know that that's all they're going to do. Now, you know, I've gotta polaroid camera, here. So, I'm sure you know how these things work. Let's just say I'mma take a picture of amanda over here. She's over there behind the camera, you can't see her, but I can see her. So I'm going to... Now, I have captured her image, but this is gonna take about 10 minutes of being exposed to the light before I can see this image.
Well, the image of Christ has been captured on the inside of you, but it's gonna take more than 10 minutes, it's gonna take years for that full image of Christ to be seen through you. Matter of fact, if I just stood here for 10 minutes and watched this gradually, very gradually I'd start to see something. And at first, I would say, "What is that? That doesn't look like it's going to be anything". But ultimately, I'm gonna have a picture of amanda and when it comes through, I'll show it to you.
Now, here's a regular camera, like, I guess a lot of people still use these, but people used to use these, and I did something to it, it's making a noise here. So this kind of camera, you're not going to get as fast of a result as we did with that polaroid camera. That's more of a new design, but the older cameras you took your picture, the shutter opens long enough to let the light in. When the light comes into your life, you get that glimpse, that image of what you can be in Christ, but then this film has to go through even a longer process and it has to be taken into a dark room.
Isn't that interesting that the picture fully develops in a dark room, before anybody can actually see what it is? Well, some of you may not like this, but that darkroom represents some of the difficult things that we go through that we probably don't understand and don't like and don't want, that even confuse us and we just don't get it, but it's in those more difficult times that we really grow in our walk with God. You know, patience, the Greek dictionary says, is a Fruit of the Spirit that grows only under trial. How can you learn to be patient if you don't have anything to be patient about? Most people have no interest at all in praying for patience because they know what's gonna happen when they do, they're gonna have trouble.
And I understand that, I prayed for years and years and years for God to make me patient and I felt like nothing at all was happening. Well, what was happening? I was growing in patience. And you know, there's so many stories in the Bible about people who went through difficult times and they came out on the other side very, very victorious. James 1:3 says, "Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience". Well, I've very often said, "They brought a lot of stuff out of me before we ever got around to patience".
You know, you never really know the real you until you watch how you react and respond in difficulty. That's where you can really see the character of a person, when they don't get their way or when something unjust happens to them, and God asked them to walk in love toward the person that treated them unjustly. I don't know what you might be going through right now, there's a pretty good chance that many of you, maybe even most of you, are going through some kind of difficulty in your life even right now. And I want to encourage you during this time, not when it's over and your problems are all fixed, but during this time to let people see Christ shining through you. Every time that you're in a dark place something wonderful happens if you don't give up your faith.
In Daniel it said, there were three men Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they were friends of Daniel, who were thrown into the furnace of affliction or the fiery furnace because they refused to bow down and worship the king. They were determined to worship God and God alone. And because of that there was a furious command given to throw them into the furnace. Well, they made a right decision and the king got so mad he said, "Turn that furnace up seven times hotter than it normally is".
Now, you know what? It's really challenging when you do the right thing and it seems that you get a totally wrong result. Perhaps, maybe, you just first start giving of your finances to the work of the Lord, and it looks to you like all of a sudden you're having nothing but one financial problem after another. Well, that can be a test to see if you're giving just to get something else or if you're giving because you really love God and just want to see his Gospel preached. So, if you stick with it and you keep sowing and giving what God tells you to give you will reap in due time, if you don't faint and quit and give up.
You know, we didn't get in the trouble that we find ourselves in or have our lives messed up the way they are, with one mistake and we're not gonna get out of trouble through one right choice. We have to continue in the Word of God and we have to keep doing what's right, and keep doing what's right, and keep doing what's right, and eventually, wow! All of a sudden, we're not the person that we used to be. We've learned how to behave the way that Jesus behaves. Well, as we read these scriptures, it says, "So these men wearing their robes, were bound and thrown into the fiery furnace".
Now, I want you to get that they were bound when they went into the furnace. "And these three men, firmly tied, fell into the furnace. Then the king leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisors, 'weren't there three men that we tied and threw into the fire'? And they said, 'certainly your majesty'. And he said, 'well look! I see four men loose'"! I love that, they went in bound, they came out loosed and you know that's the way it is with our problems. We can go in with some kind of bondage in our life and it may have even been that very bondage that caused the problem in our life.
God's been dealing with us and dealing with us, but we have not yielded, we have not submitted, we have not obeyed, and so, this trial comes along and maybe it's just the enemy trying to destroy us and God permits it because he knows that he's gonna work something good out of it that's gonna make you a better person and help you be more spiritually mature. They went in bound but they came out loosed! And guess what the king saw, "We put three men in there, but now I see four men in there and one of them looks like a son of the Gods".
You know what? You're never gonna be alone in the dark places of your life, Jesus is always gonna be right there with you, whether you you feel like he is or he isn't. And for those of you that are struggling, right now, even as you watch me, you may have tears streaming down your face, but let me tell you that Jesus is with you right now and he has a plan to bring good out of this situation that you're going through. I really want you to get ahold of that today, this is going to end well, I can't tell you when, but I know if you don't give up, if you keep believing, God will keep working.
Now, Lamentations 3:6 says, "You made me to dwell in darkness like those long dead". Psalm 94:12-13, says, "Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom you discipline and instruct, o Lord, and teach out of your law", now listen to this, "That you may give him the power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity". I love that, might as well say that he's saying, "You're gonna go through things you don't like, and go through things you don't like, and go through things you don't like, until you learn how to be calm during those times". See, God wants us to be so spiritually mature that we don't behave any different when were in times of trial, than we do when everything is going wonderful in our life. That's called stability.
Jesus didn't get upset in the storm, he stayed peaceful. The disciples got upset, they still had some growing to do. And I love this scripture, Isaiah 45:3, "I will give you the treasures of darkness"... Isn't that beautiful? That just makes me feel so good. You say, "Joyce what in the world does that mean"? Well, it means that even in these dark and difficult places in our life, there are treasures in there that we're gonna come out with, and you will come out. What you're going through right now is not the end, it may be the very beginning of something more wonderful than what you can even imagine. And I know when you're hurting you may think, "Lady you are crazy. There's no way that anything good can be worked out of this".
Well, I share on a regular basis, as part of my testimony, that I was sexually abused by my father, abandoned to the abuse, by my mother who knew what was happening and didn't do anything about it, abused sexually by several other family members because there was a spirit of incest in my father's bloodline. And at the time, I thought I would never have a decent life, I couldn't think of anything worse than what I was going through, and I prayed and I asked God for deliverance, he didn't deliver me, but he did get me through it.
And you know what? I have such a wonderful life now, and God has used the things that happened to me to help literally, millions of people all over the world. Whether you've gone through something like that or whether you're hurting in some other way, pain is pain, but I'm living proof and many of you are too, that God can take anything bad that happens in your life and he can turn it around for good. Let your mess become your message. Let your mess become your miracle.
Matthew 10:27, "What you tell in the dark, you will speak in the daylight". And you know what? That's exactly what I'm doing today. What I learned in the dark times of my life, I am now speaking in the daylight. And I believe that what I'm saying today is helping people all over the earth. This message is going out by television in over a hundred languages, how wonderful is that? I only speak English but through technology and through translators, we can get this to people in all kinds of languages. And you know what? No matter where you live in the earth, we all have the same kinds of problems. They may not be exactly the same, but pain is pain, and we all go through dark times and we all need to know that we're gonna come out on the other side much better than what we were when we went in. And you need to be patient in the process of change that God is working in you because being impatient is only going to make it worse.
Well, do we have a picture of Amanda yet? Yep, there she is just as sure as I'm standing here, there's Amanda. Well, we still gotta take the film out of this and take it to the darkroom and let it develop in there. I hope you're seeing my analogies here of what God is trying to teach us today. You know what? God loves you so much and he's never gonna let anything happen in your life that's not gonna work out for your good if you continue to trust him. Now, I've written a new devotional that I'm very proud of and I just really think it's gonna be a blessing to you, it's called "Quiet times with God".
One of the greatest ways to grow spiritually is to have regular quiet times with God. You know, I'm glad that you listened to my message today, I hope you took a few notes, but it's gonna help you so much more if you'll take this information, now in prayer, take it to God and do some further study yourself. We also want to offer you today, "My Prayer Journal". It's not my prayer journal, but it's called, "My prayer journal", which means, if you have it, it's your prayer journal and in these quiet times with God, you can write down things that God shows you. Don't miss out on this opportunity. Thank you for being with me today, I love you, and I really pray that the word that I've spoken today will be a great blessing in your life. God bless you.
Thank you for joining me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". You know, if you watched the program yesterday, I started doing a teaching about being patient with yourself during spiritual growth. That God does a great work on the inside of us, when we're born-again. "If any man be in Christ, he's a new creature: old things pass away: all things become new". I said we become like new spiritual clay, but there's a work that has to be done to get the good things in us, worked out through our soul, and even seen through our bodies. Because no matter how much good stuff I have on the inside of me, if the world can't see it, it's not going to help them.
So, our behavior, I want everybody to get that, our behavior is very important. It's wonderful to say you have a good heart or my heart was right, and that's great, not putting that down at all. But we need to move beyond just having a right heart to also having right behavior. And that is a process. It's going to take time. And while you're growing, you can enjoy where you're at, on the way to where you're going. You need to celebrate the progress you've made and not just always focus on how far you have to go. Jesus said, when he left the earth, that he would send the Holy Spirit and he said, "You'll be better off if I go away because if I don't go away, I can't send the Holy Spirit".
Well, let me ask you, how can we possibly be better off without Jesus? Well, he was in one human body and could only be one place, at one time, working with one person. But the Holy Spirit is a spirit and he can be living in each one of us and working with each one of us, all at the same time. I'm just gonna to have big faith today, and say I believe there's at least a million people watching the tv program today. And you know, what? All of you are in a little different place spiritually.
Some of you have not even accepted Christ as your Savior yet. Some of you are like little, baby Christians, you were just recently born-again. Some of you've been walking with God for many, many, many years and you are perhaps, very spiritually mature, but there's people all along the path in different circumstances. And you know what? You're all gonna hear what I say, but you may hear it differently depending on where you're at, in the Lord. And one of the things that I wanna tell you right off the bat, is that there are no overnight successes. Everybody wants to start something and be a success and have it great and wonderful all at once.
You know, we're so interested, today, in instant everything. You can get instant pudding, instant film development, instant coffee, and just instant anything. But you cannot get instant spiritual maturity. Please hear that. You can microwave stuff today, you can zap it. What used to maybe take hours to cook in the oven, can be cooked in a short period of time, in a microwave. But there is no microwave spiritual maturity. We have to go through, to get through. Deuteronomy 7:22 says that, "God delivers us from our enemies little by little". Whoo! Don't you... I just don't like that word, "Little". I much prefer the word, "Big". I'd rather go from big to bigger, and from great to greater. But this says that we're gonna defeat our enemies little by little.
And interestingly enough, the scripture in Deuteronomy 7:22 says, "The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, otherwise the beasts of the field will multiply around you". Now, if I look at that spiritually, and see what kinda lesson I'm supposed to get spiritually, I believe that what God wants us to understand is that if we had quick deliverance from all of our problems, all at once, we would be so proud. And you know what happens when you're proud? You begin to take the credit that belongs only to God for yourself. And honestly, when you're delivered from something quickly, you do not understand why, perhaps, it takes somebody else such a long time to do what you did quickly. This is just an example.
My husband and I both smoked cigarettes when we first started our journey with God. Well, I don't believe there's gonna be a smoking section in heaven. Neither do I think that it's gonna send a person to hell, but it's just not a good thing. It's not a healthy thing. And it's usually not, even really, a good witness. Well, I had always said, "I just know, I could never quit smoking. I can never quit smoking. If I ever quit smoking, I'd gain weight". Well, I had already talked myself into a hole before I ever started trying to dig my way out of it. Dave, on the other hand, said, "Lord, I'm not even gonna try to quit until you take the desire away from me".
You know what? Dave quit smoking the next day and never had a problem with it after that. But, oh, no! Not me, I suffered. I had a hard time. I'd quit and start, and quit and start. Well, you know what? I didn't understand why Dave got it so easy and it was so hard for me. But then, God began to reveal to me that many times, he had to allow me to go through things, so I would understand what the people that I was gonna teach, were going through. So, I get it, if you come to me and say, "I'm having a hard time getting over this", or, "I'm having a hard time giving this up, or giving that up".
So, God wanted to use me in one way and Dave in another way, so he could deal with Dave in a different way than he could deal with me. You know what? God has an individual plan for you, and don't look at how he deals with somebody else and have a bad attitude because he's dealing with you differently than he is with them. And if something happened for you, really fast, don't be judgmental and critical toward people that don't get it quite as fast as you did. God has to deliver us little by little so we don't get into pride.
Transformation takes time. The word transformation in the Greek is the same, it's a word metamorphoo, from which, we get our word metamorphosis. And that's what we talk about, when we talk about a caterpillar, a worm, a lowly worm crawling around on the ground becomes a beautiful, amazing, one-of-a-kind butterfly. I don't think there could be any better analogy of what happens to the person who comes to Christ, as a lowly worm, with nothing but sin, and eventually, they're turned into the image of Jesus Christ.
Well, you know, it's interesting about this metamorphosis because this worm that's crawling around on the ground, when it comes time for this change to take place, and maybe some of you, you're like, "I know I need, I know I just need change. I don't even know what it is that I need". Well, maybe, you need to surrender your life to Christ. Or maybe you have surrendered your life to Christ, but there's a lot of things in your life that you have not surrendered yet. You've taken him as your Savior, but haven't made him your Lord. There's a lot of areas in you that he can't fill because they're still full of you.
So, I believe that everybody watching today, hopefully is gonna be shown something by God that will help them grow spiritually, in some area in your life. The caterpillar ultimately, when it knows that it's time for this change, crawls up a tree and gets on a branch. I've heard it said, usually the backside of the branch, and they spin a cocoon around themselves, attaching themselves to the branch, and then, it appears, if you're watching it, nothing. Nothing happens. Do you feel like that right now? Like, "Man, nothing is happening in my life. I've prayed, I've crawled up on my branch, I'm waiting for God to do something, and nothing is happening".
But you know, if you could see inside that cocoon, you could see that a lot is happening. God's got something prepared for you, but now he has to prepare you for what he has prepared. Maybe God has some great thing for you to do in life, but you're not ready quite yet. What he has for you is prepared, but you're not prepared. Invite God, to do in your life, what he wants to do and ask him everyday to cooperate with him rather than fighting with him. "Oh God, help me. Help me cooperate with the work that you wanna do in me". I've even prayed things like, "God, if you have to, tie me to your altar, so I can't get away from you no matter how bad I wanna run from what you're doing in my life".
And it's said that, that worm completely turns into liquid, which is kind of indicative of what has to happen to us, sometimes. We just have to, just turn into just like... "Whatever you want, God". And then, this butterfly begins to develop. Well, I heard a story about a man who saw this butterfly struggling in the cocoon trying to get out. If you watch it all the way through the process, you can see the struggle as it tries to break through the cocoon. And he helped the butterfly, thought he was, by opening a cocoon before it was ready - c'mon, there's a message here, I want you to get this. And you know what? The butterfly died.
Don't try to rush what God's doing. Let it take all the time it needs to take and be patient. Just enjoy where you're at, on the way to where you're going. And on those days when you get very discouraged, remind yourself that even though you don't see it, you don't see any sign of it at all, God is doing a work in you. Philippians 1:6 says that, "He that hath begun a good work in you is well able to bring it to its finish".
You know, there's a story in the Bible about transformation. We call it the story of the prodigal son. But let's take a look at this story today. "Jesus said, 'there was a man who had two sons'", Luke 15 beginning in verse 11, "'and the younger one said to his father, "Father, give me my share of the estate". So, the father divided the property between his two sons'". Now, the very fact that the boy asked for his share of the estate before it was time, shows spiritual immaturity. In those days, to ask your father for your inheritance while he was still alive was equivalent to saying, "I wish you were dead". We get in such a big hurry about getting things that we're not ready to have yet.
So many of us think we're ready for promotion, we're ready for this, we're ready for a ministry, we're ready, we're ready. Well, you know what? You're ready when God says you're ready. And when he says you're ready, when he sees you're ready, he will open the right doors for you at the right time. And you'll be able to be a true success, not somebody who has a false start and ends up getting disqualified. "'not long after that, the younger son got together all that he had, and he set off for a distant country and there he squandered his wealth in wild living'". Well, that proves where he was at spiritually, doesn't it? "'after he had spent everything, there was a severe famine that came on the whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him in the field to feed pigs'". My, my... And he was so hungry, it said, "'he longed to fill his stomach with the same thing the pigs were eating'".
My, my, my. Here we go from this young boy living on a wonderful estate with his father who loved him very much, and I'm sure, there was great joy, and he had a great life. But because he wanted what he shouldn't have had before he should have had it, now we find him being willing to eat with pigs. When he came to his senses, and thank God we can always come to our senses, isn't that good? Maybe somebody, right now, is gonna come to their senses and say, "What am I doing"? Maybe you're one of the ones that's doing something that's similar to eating with the pigs. And it said, "'when he came to his senses, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare and here I am starving to death! I will go back to my father"'".
Isn't that good news that you can always go back to God? He's waiting for you. He wants you back. If you've backslidden or fallen away from him, if once you were serving God and then you chose a life of sin again, the devil will try to tell you that God will never have you back, but he is a liar and God is waiting for you to come home. "'he said, "I will say, 'father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. And I'm no longer worthy to be called your son: just make me like one of your hired servants'"'".
He left in pride and he came back in humility. That's what a trip that ends up the way his did, wanting to eat with the pigs, will do to you. That's what time in a dark place will do for you. The Bible talks about, "I will give you the treasures of darkness". You know, this boy was in a very dark place. But it had a great outcome because he went in, in pride and he came out with humility. Humility is a beautiful thing. "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that in due time, he may exalt you". C'mon, somebody needs to hear that again. "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that in due time, he may exalt you". Stop trying to make something happen yourself and be willing to pray about it and wait on God's perfect timing in your life. "'So, he got up and he went to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him: and he ran to his son'".
Now, the thing that's so amazing about this, is in this culture, old men did not run. It was considered like, just an improper thing to do. But the father got so excited, he didn't care what anybody thought, he ran to his son. And you know what? If you're even thinking about turning in God's direction today, he is so excited that he's already waiting for you with open arms. He's running toward you, and all you have to do is take a step in the right direction. There's a phone number on your screen, and if you want to have a relationship with God, through Christ, you're ready to receive Christ as your Savior, we'd like you to call that number and somebody will pray with you and you can invite Jesus Christ into your life to be your Lord, and your Savior.
Come on, God's arms are open, he's waiting for you to come back to him. "'father, I've sinned against heaven and against you, I'm no longer worthy to be called your son'. And the father, long way off, saw the boy and was running toward him. The son said, 'father, I've sinned against heaven and against you. I'm no longer worthy to be called your son'. But the father said to his servants, 'quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fatted calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate'". You know what? I can guarantee you that this boy, when he came back, was still far from perfect. But he'd made a little bit of progress, and God said, "Let's have a party and let's celebrate".
Well, you know what? I really believe strongly in celebrating your progress instead of being depressed and discouraged about how far you have to go. Well, there was another brother there, he's called, "The elder brother". That pretty much tells us he was older than the younger boy and obviously, should have had more wisdom. Do you realize that the more years you live, the more wisdom you should have? Well, he heard the sound of the music and he got all upset. "What does this mean"? And so, the servants told him, "Your brother's come back. Your father's having a big party. He's killed the fatted calf, blah, blah, blah".
And boy, the elder brother got mad. You know, he's like that old, sour, religious person who wants everybody to earn and deserve everything. And he was mad because he didn't think the brother deserved a party. You know what? God will do things for you that you don't deserve. When you deserve punishment, he'll give you mercy if you're willing to ask for it. So, the father begged him to come into the party, but it said, "He would not go in". You know what? Some of you, because of wrong attitudes, there's a party going on that God's invited you to, but you're staying on the outside saying, "I won't go in", 'cause maybe there's somebody in the party that you don't think deserves to be there.
Don't be so quick to judge other people. When God is blessing someone and you don't think they deserve it. You have no idea what's going on in that person's life, and you need to be willing to accept what God is doing, not what you think he should do. And then, you know, he started complaining to his father, "I've done this, and I've done that, and you know, this son of yours wasted all your money with loose women and blah, blah, blah, and you never gave me a party". I love this. "He said, 'my son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and he is alive again'".
Wow. Don't miss out on what God has for you because you've got some sour, stiff attitude. Maybe a little resentful because things haven't gone the way you wanted them to in your life and then you see somebody else come along and it seems, to you, like things are really easy for them and they were hard for you. You know, many times, it's hard on older siblings when there's a "Baby" of the family, who seems to have everything so easy, and things were harder on them growing up. We went through some of that and I'm sure many of you have too. Don't be like that. Be glad for people that don't have to go through what you went through. And be happy for the blessings that God is giving them, in their life.
The Bible says that we have to continue. If you ever want to get to the end of where God's trying to take you, in the realm of spiritual maturity, if you ever wanna be what God really wants you to be and have what he wants you to have, then you have to continue. You continue in the Word of God. You continue spending time with God. You continue in prayer. You continue doing what's right instead of doing what's wrong. Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not become weary in well doing: for in due time, you shall reap, if you faint not". John 8:31 and 32, "If you continue in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free".
I can tell you, flipping my program on, every now and then, and watching it, you may enjoy it and it's there for you, you watch it anytime you want to, and I believe it will help you. But if there's any way you can, the way you're gonna get the most help is if you can watch it every day, every single day. And reading your Bible, once in awhile, whenever you're desperate, well, that's good, but you won't have as many desperate times if you'll stay in the Word of God on a regular basis. And another thing the Bible says that we're to continue in, is to continue in the love of God. In other words, all the time, remember that God loves you.
Well, you know what? If you're going to grow in God, you may have to rearrange your priorities. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these other things will be added unto you". Rearrange things in your life so you have lots of God time. Lots of time to study the word, and time to pray and spend with God, and time to do things for other people. God's got a wonderful future planned for you, and he wants you to be fully formed into the image of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is doing a work in you and you need to be patient and let him do it.
Today, we're offering you a devotional, "Quiet times with God", and a prayer journal, where during your quiet times with God you can write your prayers down, and then, there's even a place for you to go back when God answered those prayers and write that down. We want you to have the best life that you can possibly have. And don't forget, if you need a relationship with Jesus or you've been like that prodigal, and you've been far away and you're ready to come back home, call that number on your screen and talk to one of our operators and let them answer any questions you have, and let them pray with you so you can begin your wonderful journey with God. Thank you so much for being with us today. We love you, love you, love you, and we want the very best for you. God bless you.