Joyce Meyer - Developing Discipline
Welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life". Thank you for joining me today. I'm gonna talk about everybody's favorite subject today: discipline and self-control. Now, see, aren't you excited? Now, don't you turn your television off. You need to listen to this, even if you're a very disciplined person. We always need to be refreshed in things that we already perhaps, are doing good at. Tools for gaining control, you know, we have self control. So, one of the first things that you wanna do is stop saying, "I just don't have any self-control," or, "I'm just not disciplined".
Self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. And the Bible says, we have Jesus, we have his spirit, so therefore, the Fruit of the Spirit is also in us. But it comes in seed form and it must be exercised in order to develop it. Like, patience, for example, is a Fruit of the Spirit and if you study that word in the original language, it says that it's a fruit that only grows under trial. Well, I don't like that definition, but it stands to reason, that I'm never going to learn patience if I don't have to have things in my life to be patient about.
Just this morning, Dave and I had an incident... Do you ever have an "incident" with person you're married to? And he doesn't hear very well, anymore. Of course, he says I don't hear well either, which I have a little problem, he has a bigger problem. So, he says, "Huh, huh"? And I get so tired of hearing, "Huh"? And I was asking him this morning, "What's the weather gonna be today"? And I said it loud to start with because I know that he doesn't always hear me. And I said, "What's the weather gonna be today"? He said, "Huh"? I said, "What's the weather gonna be today"? And he said, "Huh"? And I said, "What's the weather gonna be today"!? And so, he said, "Well, you're not being very nice". I said, "Don't worry, I'm teaching on developing discipline and self-control, today. So, maybe, by the time I get home tonight, I'll be behaving better".
So, even if you don't need this, I do, and I'll teach it to myself. Proverbs 16:32, "Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is greater than he who takes a city". So, God's giving us the job... Now, he never gives us a job without helping us do it. But he gives us the job of ruling over our own emotions, and thoughts, and the words that we speak. We need discipline and self-control if we're ever going to be who we say that we want to be. And Hebrews 12:11 says, "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant", can somebody say, "Amen"? "But later". "Later... It yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it".
Well, we need to care more about later on, than what we do because later on always comes. Eventually, we're going to get there. And I say, "In life, there are investors and there are gamblers". Gamblers are those who try to do the wrong thing hoping they'll get by with it and still get a right result. Doesn't work. Investors are people who do the right thing now, even though it hurts, because they want to get a right result later on in life.
You know, let's take people saving money. Well, sure, it would be more fun to spend all your money right now than to save part of it. But then, later on, when there's an emergency that you weren't expecting, or something happens at your job and you get laid off or furloughed for a while, or when retirement time comes, you know, we can look at other people who have done what's right earlier in their life and now they're comfortable and say, "Well, it must be nice for you to have all that money". Well, people don't just have right things happen, just because. There's always cause and effect. And if we do the right thing, the thing that God tells us to do, we will end up with the result that he tells us that we'll have. But we have to make that investment now, even though it's difficult, doesn't feel good right now, but later on.
And I wanna ask you to become, if you're not already, become a person who doesn't just live for the right now, and how you feel right now, and what feels good right now, but live for later on because it's always going to come. You know, I believe that there's a lot of people who want the blessings and advantages in life, but they don't want to do the work or put out the effort required. I like to say, "People who want the perks without the works".
Now, we need to avoid works of the flesh, which is our energy trying to make something happen that only God can make happen, but we do need to do the works of God. Even Jesus said, "I came to work the works of God". So, there are things that God gives us to do. In his word, it's full of, "Do this, don't do this. Do this, don't do this. If you do this, this'll happen. If you do this, this'll happen". And we have a guideline. We're not living a guessing game in life. We have a guideline. And the Word of God covers really, every area of our life. If it doesn't cover it specifically, we have the spirit of the word and we have the character of God to go by. And we just know that there's certain things that God would have us do and certain things that he would not want us to do. But nobody can expect to consistently do wrong things and end up with a right result.
Let's just say, for example, you don't take care of yourself. You eat bad. You eat junk all the time. I don't know, maybe, you smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, and you're excessive in drinking alcohol, and you don't get enough sleep, and you work way too hard. Well, later on, something's gonna happen in your body that you're not gonna like. My husband has worked out for 60 years. He's 80-years-old now, and he has worked out, he's exercised for 60 years. Well, he looks amazing for his age and he feels amazing. Well, there's always people that say, "Well, man, I wish I looked like you". Well, he didn't get that way by wishing. He got it by doing the right thing, when many days it was difficult to do.
And so, let's don't live our lives with regrets, "Well, I regret I didn't do this. I regret I didn't do that". Be led by the Holy Spirit and discipline yourself to do what you know God wants you to do, even though you don't feel like it, and even though it's hard. Everything in life is not meant to be easy. Sometimes we need the struggle in order to grow and be spiritually mature. God wants us to have an abundant life, forgiveness of sins and freedom from guilt. He wants us to have grace, favor, mercy, joy, peace, and righteousness. Just think about the kind of life that God wants you to have: strength, ability, might, power, and authority over the enemy, health and prosperity, good relationships.
Well, you know, let's just take relationships for an example, if you wanna have good relationships, then you have to discipline yourself to treat people good now. You can't always get your way in everything and have any kind of a good relationship with people. There's no relationship that's healthy if it's all one-sided where one person does all the giving and the other person does all the taking. If we wanna have good relationships we have to talk to people properly. We can't just tell them all the time, everything we think's wrong with them. We need to pray and say things to them that build them up, and encourage them, and make them stronger.
You can have good relationships, but you have to invest in that relationship in order to have that. God wants us to enjoy his presence. He wants us to know him and the power of his resurrection. The promises in the Bible are never-ending. Matter of fact, there's over five thousand of them depending on which resource you use to check. I mean, I've seen everything from 5,000 to 10,000, to even more. Let's just say that there's an abundance of promises in the Word of God. But God always gives us a part to play because we're partners with God. Now, salvation is a free gift. But we still have to decide to live for God. We have to decide to be repentant, and to let God change us. Your life is not gonna change, if you're not willing to change.
And I think a lot of people just wanna pray some kind of a sinner's prayer and think that's magically gonna change their whole life. Well, it's not. The thing that's gonna change yourself is learning the word, disciplining yourself to study the word on a regular basis, and then disciplining yourself to do what the word says.
Now, I know that discipline is not everybody's favorite subject. It's like one of those, what I call an, "Ouch, hallelujah". When I'm telling you these things, it's like an ouchie, but if you do it and you live by it, later on, you'll be saying, "Hallelujah. I'm so glad that I did that". Are you a disciplined person? I believe that you are, but you may not have practiced it enough for it to actually, be working in your life. People often want the blessings without the work. They fail to receive and become jealous of what other people have. Wow.
Are you jealous of anybody? And what are you jealous of? "Well, I'm jealous of that woman's figure. She just looks so good. And I'm so overweight, and so out of shape". Well, maybe, you eat everything you want and that other person disciplines themselves, and they eat healthy foods. "Well, I wish I had the money that you have. I'm jealous of the money that you have". Well, yeah, sometimes people just inherit money. But even then, they have to take care of it. It's kinda foolish to be jealous of what somebody has if we don't wanna do what they did to get it.
You know, I have people sometimes, that are critical of me or judgmental of me, that's just part of what's gonna happen if you're in the public eye. But I've had to learn that people that are jealous of me, are jealous because they would like to have a ministry like mine or a life like mine, but they don't wanna do what I did to get it. You know, I had a lot of really hard, hard years before I got to the place where I could be on television and have the privilege to speak to people all over the world.
I was just talking to somebody this morning, about how hard Dave and I worked in the early years of this ministry. I mean, I can remember coming home from ministry trips and just being so tired, I just felt like I would never, ever feel good again. So, we did the work and now, we're enjoying the perks. God wants to do great things in your life, but are you willing to do the part that he gives you to do? I know there are people that need to hear this today.
If I were to ask, right now, do you know of anything in your life... You have any area in your life where you're being disobedient to God, you know that you're doing something you shouldn't be doing and you keep doing it anyway? Well, then, in love, I just need to tell you that you're sowing a seed and you're not gonna like the harvest when it comes up. But thankfully, you can change it, and you can change it, right now. You can repent. And repentance doesn't mean just to be sorry, repentance means to turn around and go in a completely different direction. You can make a decision that will start a wonderful change in your life today, if you'll do it.
"Well, Joyce, I'm just not a disciplined person". Well, you have self-control. Maybe you haven't exercised it, but you have self-control. In Psalm, 106, verses 12-16, there's a great example of this jealousy thing. And I'm actually, gonna read you the last verse, first. It says, "When men in the camp were jealous of Moses and Aaron, the holy ones of the Lord". Listen to this, Psalm 106:12: "Then they believed God's words: and they sang his praise. But they soon forgot his works: and did not wait for his counsel". The Israelites, when they were taken out of slavery in Egypt, they were excited and they were praising God, "Ooh, this is a great day". But while they were going through the hard times, they forgot all the good things that God had done for them, and they only thought about what they were going through, right now.
Well, that's kind of the way it is with discipline, you know? We can see that if we discipline ourselves in this, or that, or some other thing, that there's a blessing attached to that, but the Bible tells us that, "No discipline for the present seems joyous, but later on it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it". So, it may not feel good now, but there's a blessing attached to it, if you will do what God wants you to do at this point in your life. Don't forget the good things that God has done for you. Even when you're going through difficult times, remember all the good things that God has done.
"They did not wait for his counsel". Don't be so impatient, but wait until you know that God is showing you what you should do, and then do that. "But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and they put God to the test in the desert". They wanted things and they wanted them so bad, because they wanted what Moses and Aaron had, perhaps it was their relationship with God, or the leadership they had, or the authority that they had, and they became jealous of them. But listen, "God gave them what they wanted, but he sent a wasting disease among them".
You know, sometimes God will give us what we want just to prove to us that we're not ready to handle it yet. You know, I wanted my ministry to grow for a long time while it was still little. I mean, I was teaching 25 people in my living room every Tuesday evening. I wasn't getting paid for that. I'd quit a full-time job to go into ministry, and I didn't, you know, I had a dream and a vision, but that's all I had. Well, you know, it's challenging to hold on to things like that, when you don't see anything in the natural. But I kept doing it, and kept doing it, and kept doing it, and kept doing it, and little by little things grew.
When it was time for me to leave that Bible study situation, I ended up going to work at a church, and they asked me to lead a women's meeting there and that became quite large. Well, then, God asked me to leave there and go north, south, east, and west. And so, it comes in stages and degrees, but nobody is going to just have a dream from God about doing something with their life, and the next morning, fall out of bed and be doing it. God shows us the end from the beginning sometimes, and we don't realize that we still have to go through the middle.
Think about that. There's a beginning of everything, and there's an end, but there's a middle. Let's just say, you need to lose 50 pounds. Well, it's not really that hard to begin. Anybody can go on a diet Sunday night after dinner. But what happens when about Tuesday at noon comes and you're extremely hungry? Well, that's when this discipline has to come in, and you have to be willing to suffer some, realizing that if you keep doing what's right that you are gonna get a result little by little.
Now, I know some people have physical things wrong with them, they may have medical things that are going on that prevents them from being able to lose weight. But I'm talking about just normal situations where people have not taken care of themselves. You can apply this same thing financially. How many people are head-over-heels in debt and they're crying out to God for a financial miracle? Well, ask God for a miracle and he may give you a job. Or ask him for a miracle and he may give you a second job for a period of time. Ask God for a miracle and he may show you ten things that you don't need to spend money on, anymore. Anytime we pray, God hears us and he answers our prayer, but he doesn't always just do it in some miraculous way.
Many, many times, God will show us something that we need to do or stop doing, if we wanna have the result that we say that we want. You know, you can say, "Well, I'm trusting God and I'm praying about this". Well, let me ask you a question. Are you mad at anybody? Uh-oh. You might think, "Well, Joyce, it's enough to talk about self control, now, do we have to talk about unforgiveness too"? Yes, because you know what? I believe that there are literally, millions of prayers that go unanswered simply because people hold unforgiveness in their heart at the same time that they're praying and asking God to do something great in their life.
Mark 11:24 and 25, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours". I love the translation that says, "Believe that you have received it and you will get it". Well, it doesn't tell you how long it's gonna be before you get it. We sometimes have to stand in faith for a long time, and not quit and give up, and that requires discipline. And eventually, we get. You know, God called me to do what I'm doing 45 years ago, but I didn't start doing it the next day. I put five years into these little Bible studies. I put another five years working for somebody else.
I always tell people, "You're not fit to be in authority, if you don't know how to come under authority". And those five years that I worked for somebody else, I didn't always like what they asked me to do. I didn't always feel like, that I got the appreciation or the pay that I should have. And maybe, all that was God too, because he wanted me to go through things where I needed to learn to have a good attitude in the midst of them, even though I wasn't getting what I wanted. And maybe, he wanted just to prove in my life that I wasn't just ministering because of how much money I was making but that I was doing it because of my love for him and my obedience to him.
So, I was praying all this time for bigger things, but they were on their way, but I had to wait for them. And one of the things I had to learn was what the Bible says next: "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone". You know what? In God's economy, you don't even get to be mad at the government. We have to forgive anything that we have against anyone, we need to turn it over to God and trust him to be our vindicator. I believe that more ground is gained in the lives of believers through unforgiveness, than any other area that the enemy uses against us.
Don't be touchy. Don't get your feelings hurt so easy. And be quick to forgive. Study this area until you know how dangerous it is for you to be full of bitterness and resentment. God doesn't tell us to forgive people as a favor to them, he tells us that because it's good for us. As a matter of fact, one of the things that I've learned in my life that makes obeying God so much easier, is that everything he tells me to do or shows me to do, is always gonna be for my good. God doesn't tell us to do hard things just because he likes to sit back and watch us do hard things. But he knows that if we do that, if we sow that seed then this is going to happen later on, and we are gonna like that.
Surely, God is showing you at least one area in your life where you can apply this. "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your father who is in heaven may forgive you, your failings and your shortcomings". James 2:14-20, I'm not gonna be able to share it all, for a lack of time, but it says, "What good is it, brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have any works? Can faith alone save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'go in peace, be warm, be filled,' without giving him the things he needs, what good is that"?
Well, how many times, does somebody tell you about a need they have and you say, "I'll pray for you". Well, that's a good thing. But you know what God told me one time? He said, "Stop asking me to do things that you could easily do yourself and just don't wanna do it". Ew-ouch. That was an ouch that would turn into a hallelujah later on in life, if I would do what God asked me to do. We need to always be willing to give, always be willing to serve, always be willing to obey. So, if this has brought an area in your life to your mind, and you know it's an area that you need to start using discipline and self-control, discipline yourself to not put it off any longer, but start today.
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". I'm so glad that you're with me because I am talking about one of your very favorite subjects today and that is discipline and self-control. I know that you just, right now, said, "Oh, I'm so glad that, that's what Joyce is teaching on today". Don't turn your TV off because I said I'm teaching on discipline. We all need to hear good messages on discipline.
Somebody said to me this morning, they were talking about the chips that you're served when you go to a Mexican restaurant, and they said, "I cannot eat one and stop. I have to just keep eating and keep eating". Well, that's really not true, because we can do whatever we want to do, if we want to, in a strong enough way. So, here's a story that I happen to have that I think makes the point in a cute kinda way. This one's called, "The ice cream story". Do you like ice cream? Well, good. I got your attention.
You're a person who likes ice cream. You may say, "I don't like ice cream, Joyce, I love ice cream. That's my weakness, I cannot say, 'no,' to ice cream". Well, I say, "Yes, you can". And you say, "Oh, no, I can't. I love it too much". You know, when we get ourselves convinced that we cannot do something, we have failed before we ever begin. The Bible teaches us, "As a man thinks in his heart so is he". I like to say, "Where the mind goes, the man follows". We think things, "I can't do this," and then we say that, "I can't do this," or we think, "I don't have any discipline," or, "I can't control myself". We tell other people, "I can't control myself," and the more you think it and say it, the more you're going to do it because thoughts turn into words and words turn into actions.
Well, I'm gonna prove to you that you can say, "No," to ice cream. "Imagine yourself inside the largest ice cream parlor in the world. They have every conceivable flavor that you could ever imagine, more than your greatest fantasy. The clerk behind the counter asks you, 'what would you like? Name it and I'll make it for you.' you tell him and he makes the largest, creamiest, ice cream delight that you have ever seen. He hands it to you along with a large spoon. Now, here's my question: can you put down that ice cream? 'oh, no, I cannot.' okay, let's add something to the story. As you're about to keep a spoonful into your mouth, can't you just taste it right now? You hear a click, you feel a cold metal object touching your head. Out of the corner of your left eye, you catch a glimpse of a large, hairy hand holding a gun to your temple. A deep voice swears, 'if you eat that ice cream, I will blow your head off.' now, let me ask you again, can you put that ice cream down"?
Well, of course, you can. If the consequences of doing something are bad enough, we can always not do it. So, a lot of this thing with discipline is desire, because I really believe that if we really want to do something, we find a way to do it. I always use the excuse about exercising that I just didn't have time. And I was convinced, I did not have time. I thought with all my traveling and I'm coming and going so much, how could I ever start an exercise program or have a trainer because I'd never be able to be consistent? And finally, God put on my heart, "You need to just do what you can do and don't worry about what you can't do".
Now, think about that. Something is always better than nothing. Did you get that? Something is always better than nothing. I mean, if I exercise five minutes, it's better than doing nothing. And so, I finally, started on that premise of, anything that I do is better than doing nothing. Well, I liked it so much that pretty soon, I was wanting to do it more and more, and I ended up... You know what I liked? I didn't like the exercise but I like the results. First time I was able to get a smaller pair of pants, I was hooked on exercise. Because I wanted to look good more than I wanted to not exercise. I didn't really wanna exercise. But if we don't wanna do this thing, but we wanna do this thing more than we don't wanna do this thing, then we'll do this thing in order to get this thing.
There's always an investment or a seed that we must sow to get the result that we want to have. Well, now, it's been 15 years and I'm still exercising three days a week with a trainer. And as far as I'm concerned, right now, unless I became totally incapable, which I don't plan on doing, I will be exercising the rest of my life. I've even been talking to my trainer about, "Now, when I'm 90, can I still do this"? I don't plan to stop because I reach a certain age or whatever. I'm going to do what I can do. And I already, can't do what I did 15 years ago. I've had to lower some of my weights and change some of my exercises, but I'm doing what I can do because doing something is always better than doing nothing.
I hope you get that. I think that's one of the important points of today. You can do whatever you really want to do. You know, victory in your life or in my life, demands self-control. What did the apostle Paul have to say about discipline and self-control? He knew that he had to discipline himself in order to properly teach other people. You know, when God called me to teach, he didn't just call me to have the privilege of standing up in front of a lot of people and teaching the word, I also had to discipline myself in a different way if I was going to do that. It's no good to teach somebody else not to do something, if I'm doing it myself.
Matter of fact, that's what a hypocrite is. And there's nothing that people disrespect more than somebody who is hypocritical, who tells you, "Don't do this," while you do it yourself. In 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, Paul said, "Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. And they do it to receive a wreath, a perishable wreath, but we do it to receive an imperishable".
Now, just think about the discipline and self-control that a runner has to exercise throughout his life, or somebody who does gymnastics, the things that they can get their body to do is just amazing. But if you see a movie about the life story of somebody like that, you'll also, see that when they were seven and eight years old, they were in the gym practicing while other people were out playing and having a good time. And it's a choice. I'm not saying it's wrong to choose to play and have a good time. But somewhere along your life if you want to really do anything that amounts to anything with your life, you'll have to choose to discipline yourself in some area in order to get that thing that you want.
I mentioned in our teaching yesterday that some people are gamblers and some are investors. Some people do the wrong thing, or they don't do anything, hoping that they'll be the one that will be blessed anyway, and get a good result. Well, it just won't happen. But then there are those investors, who do the right thing now, even though it's hard, they give up something now in order for what they'll gain later on. Paul wrote to the Hebrews, and in Hebrews 12:11, it says, "No discipline for the present seems joyous but later on it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those that have been trained by it". Do you care about later on?
Just think, an athlete does all that to have a trophy they can sit on their mantel or put in a trophy case. Or perhaps, some do it to win some money. But if we do the right thing now, we are gaining something that's gonna last throughout eternity. So, how much more should we want to discipline ourselves than those who are doing it for some kind of a secular reason? So, Paul said, "I do not run aimlessly: I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and I keep it under control". Well, some translations say, "I buffet my body and keep it under control". A lot of Christians read that wrong. We think it says, "I buffet my body". That's not what it says. "I buffet my body means, I discipline it. I don't let my body rule me, but I rule over it".
Your body is your servant and you shouldn't let it control you and tell you what to do. "I discipline myself. I keep my body under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified". You know, it's very important to me, and I hope it's important to you, that as a Christian, that I'm a good example out in the world. I don't wanna just have a fish bumper sticker on my car, or wear a cross necklace across my neck, or carry my Bible to work and sit in the corner and read it at lunch hour just to impress everybody else.
I want to show the fruit of being a Christian. And we all have the Fruit of the Spirit in us. If you have Jesus, you have the Fruit of the Spirit in you, but it comes in seed form, or in a baby stage. And we have to exercise that fruit in order for it to become larger, and larger, and larger. I tell a story about how after I started exercising, about 15 years ago, I was sitting in a boat one day and I had my legs propped up, so my legs were kinda like this. And so, I felt an itch and so I reached back there to scratch and I felt a lump. And I thought, "Oh, my gosh, I've gotta tumor. What is that"? And then I felt my other leg and I had one there, too.
And then, all of a sudden, I realized it was a muscle. It was the benefit of me working out and I didn't even know what it was, because before, I had not had any. I had the ability in there, you have the ability to create muscle, but you have to use that muscle for it to get stronger, and stronger, and stronger. Well, it's the same way with the Fruit of the Spirit. The more kindness you show people, the more kindness you'll be able to show people. The more patient you are, the more you practice patience when you're in impatient circumstances, the easier it will become for you to be patient. Or for me, I'm not just preaching to you, this is for me, too.
Paul said, "I don't want to preach to others and then be disqualified myself because I'm not doing what I told them to do". For him to succeed in what he was called to do, he had to use self-control. A lot of people, when they ask God to call them to do something special, they don't realize that there will be a price to pay. You know, salvation is free, but the anointing on our lives requires that we live a certain kind of life. And the anointing may not be a word that we hear a lot about these days, but I was taught a lot about the anointing and how important the anointing of God is. And kings and prophets were anointed in the Old Testament. They were called to do something and oil was poured on their head as a sign of anointing.
Well, today, the Holy Spirit, and oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is poured out on us, enabling us to do great things for God. But if we want to have that outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the more we live the lifestyle that God wants us to live, the more we're gonna have God's presence and power in our lives. You know, we like to think that everything's free, that God just gives us favor, and he blesses us, and he does, and we say, "Well, salvation's free," well, it is free to us, but it cost Him. There really is, when you get right down to it, nothing free. There's things that are free to me, or we can offer you a free book, but even if we offer you a free book, the partners that support our ministry have helped to pay for that book that you get free.
So, somewhere along the line, a seed of obedience always has to be sown in order for you or somebody else to get a blessing. You know, the pharisees were phonies. And more than anybody, Jesus, I mean, he had some harsh words to say to the pharisees, the hypocrites, the phonies. If you ever wanna really read a chapter that shows you what he thinks about people that are phony just read Matthew 23. Part of it says, "So do and observe what they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but they do not practice".
Do you tell your children not to lie? Have you ever punished your child for telling a lie? And then, had the phone ring and when you could tell who was on the other end of the line, it was somebody you didn't wanna talk to. Have you ever told your child, "Tell 'em, 'mom's not home'"? Well, you've just undid what you tried to do by telling them the right thing to do. I love what Francis of Assisi said. He said, "Preach at all times and when necessary use words". In other words, we need to let our lives preach the message of salvation for us. We need to let people see the life that God can give us if we follow his ways, and that's going to take discipline and self-control.
I discipline myself to get up every day and spend time with God because I know that there's no way that I'm gonna get out in the world and behave properly, if I don't spend that time with God. I need it. I don't do it as a law or some legalistic thing that I think I have to fulfill in order for God not to be mad at me. I'm not helping God when I spend time with him and study. I'm helping myself. It benefits me, the more I know about the word. And so, let's learn and be willing to do the things that are gonna give us benefits later on, and not just waste our, right now, "Hoping and wishing" that we'll end up with a blessing. He said, "These people tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing move them with even one finger".
How disciplined are you? Do you take care of what God has given you: your home, your car, other possessions? You know, to be honest, and I don't mean to be rude, but you can get in a person's car and tell what kind of discipline they have. If it's full of trash and it's dirty and not being taken care of, you can be pretty much assured there's gonna be other areas of their life where they're not taking care of things either. You say, "Well, I'm too busy to get my car washed". Well, go through one of these quickie car washes and, God's provided ways for us to do anything if we really want to.
How about your health? You know, your health is a gift from God. Are you taking care of it? I can promise you, if you don't, the day will come when you're gonna regret that you didn't do what you should have done back here. You know, I'll be honest with you. I worked way too hard in my beginning years of the ministry. I mean, I can remember when I did 36 full conferences every year, that's three a month, and those were two-day conferences. And back then, I would do four and five sessions in each conference, and I didn't have anybody that helped me, I did everything. I did the exhortations. The only thing I didn't do was lead the worship. People would have left if I would have done that.
And I worked really, really, really hard. And on top of that, I took all kinds of speaking engagements. I ran the office, did all the logistical stuff. Now, we had a few people that worked for us, but I didn't know how to really delegate and trust other people do things. So, I thought I had to keep my finger in everything if it was gonna go right. And eventually, yes, I made myself sick. And I can say, "Well, it's the devil. It's the devil," all I want to, but I opened the door by not taking better care of myself when I should have.
So, I'm begging you today, take care of yourself. Get the proper amount of sleep. Drink water instead of six cans of soda pop everyday. Don't have your schedule so full that you're stressed out all the time. And yes, that will require discipline. If you're tired all the time, then start looking at your life and see what you can do to get some things out of your schedule that will leave you time to rest. To be honest, I'm a person of action. I'd much rather be doing something than doing nothing. But I'm also, 77-years-old now, and I want to continue to be able to do this until the last day that Jesus leaves me here on this earth.
And so, like, this week, I was here, in the studio, yesterday. I'm back again, today. Tomorrow morning, I have one appointment that's about an hour and a half, and then, I know that I need to rest, the rest of the day because I have something to do on Thursday and Friday. Well, sure, I'd rather plan to go out to lunch with a friend or go shopping, but I've learned the hard way. Please, hear what I said. I've learned the hard way. Have any of you learned the hard way? You know, people always wanna know how you learn to do things and you learn by experience. We learn by doing the wrong thing and see what happens, and then, we learn to do the right thing. God never tells us to do anything unless it's gonna be the best thing for us.
Are you saving money for emergencies or for retirement? Do you overeat or eat way too much junk food? Do you give generously toward the preaching of the Gospel? And do you help people? When's the last time you did something for somebody else? These are all things, you know, the Bible tells us not to be selfish and self-centered, but that requires discipline, because you know what? Myself, apart from God, I want what I want. And I don't always feel like giving my money away or feel like doing things for other people. I've got a plan and I wanna stick to my plan. But I need to always be open to helping and serving other people. I love what the apostle Paul said. I don't know if I can find it here, real quick or not, but Paul said that, "He made himself a servant to everyone". I love that. It wouldn't have been his choice, but he made himself a servant to all people.
Now, you know, I know that there's a lot of things that maybe, you would have liked to heard me preach on today, other than discipline and self-control, but I can't think of too many things that would do you as much good as this will, if you actually, listen to it. The Bible says that, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love, and a calm, and a disciplined spirit of self-control," that's Amplified translation.
Acts 24:25, Paul was teaching Felix about righteousness, self-control, and judgment. And the Bible says, "And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control in the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, 'go away for the present, and when I get an opportunity, I'll call for you then.'" I love that. "Oh, Paul, no, I'm not really ready for that teaching. I don't mind if you teach me how much God wants to bless me, but I'm not ready for this self-control stuff". You know what? I hope and pray that you were glad when you heard me say today, that I was gonna teach on discipline and self-control, because that means that you are a mature Christian, who's ready to do what's right, even if it's not easy to do it.
Galatians 6:9 says that we are to always do what's right. "Don't be weary in well-doing, but continue to sow good seeds and in due time you will reap a harvest," due time, well, what is due time? It's whenever God thinks the time is right. We often think that we're ready for things, but we usually think we're ready a long time before we're actually ready, and thankfully, God doesn't give us more than what we can handle. Just a loving encouragement: if there areas in your life that you know, right now, that you're letting go and you should be disciplining yourself in that area, God will help you, he never tells us to do something and doesn't help us, I'm asking you to make a change starting today so you can enjoy the life that Jesus wants to give you.
Now, today, we're offering you some more help, three CDs on "Developing," and you do develop it, "Discipline and Self-Control". Three CDs, that's three hours of teaching, and a book that I've written called, "The mind connection". Your mind is connected to everything else that happens in your life. And this is something, if you begin to think about discipline in a different way, it will help you be able to discipline yourself. So, please, get these resources. We work on them very hard, put them together for you, so you can live a good life. We love you. We care about you. God loves you, and he's got a good plan for your life. Thank you for being with us today.