Joyce Meyer - Calm Down and Cheer Up - Part 3
Well, I'm so glad that you're with me today because I have some things to share with you that I believe we're gonna make your life better. I started a series two days ago, called, "Calm down and cheer up". And the first two days we really talked about the calming down part. Today, I wanna talk to you about what I'm gonna call the duty of joy. And that may sound strange, "Well, why would joy be a duty"? Well, it is a privilege and it's a blessing. But I believe it's a duty from the standpoint of our witness to the world.
You know, if we're sorrowful, and sad, and discouraged, and downtrodden all the time, that's not gonna say much about what having a relationship with Jesus does for you. And the Bible says that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. And so, we need to live lives that are a witness to other people that are lost. And if you're joyful around people, if you're calm when you should be upset, and you're joyful, and joy can be anything from extreme hilarity to a calm delight.
When I talk about being joyful, that doesn't mean that you have to be on the ceiling all the time, laughing your head off, if it can be anything from extreme hilarity to just this delightful, peaceful calm that we've been talking about the last couple of days. But joy is so important. And it took me so long to understand that it was God's will for me to enjoy my life. All I did was look at the, I was legalistic, I looked at what all I should be doing and was always concerned that maybe I wasn't pleasing God, and did so many things out of obligation that I really did not enjoy the life that Jesus died to give me.
And I've learned a lot about the importance of joy. But when you hear me say the duty of joy, I want you to understand that it's not like a legalistic duty. But anybody who wants to be used by God, to be an example to other people, if you wanna be used by God to draw people to Christ, then put a smile on your face and learn how to have consistent joy in your life. Joy that is not determined based on what your circumstances are. Proverbs 15:13: "A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken". You know, joy makes you strong, and a broken heart, a depressed heart, discourage it makes you weak. That's not the way God wants us to live.
Psalm 5:11: "But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in you rejoice: let them ever sing and shout for joy, because you make a covering over them and defend them: let those also who love your name be joyful in you and be in high spirits". I don't know, it sounds to me like we're supposed to be happy people. I think one of the things we could do is just start by practicing smiling, on a regular basis.
So many people today have a scowl on their face, and they're all deep about everything, and you know, all anybody wants to talk about is all the problems in the world. And yes, there are problems in the world, but let me tell you, God is still on the throne and Jesus is alive and well. And in him, we always have hope, and we can always expect all things to work together for good, if we trust him and love him. Psalm 32:11 says, "Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you [uncompromisingly] righteous [who are upright and in right standing with him]: shout for joy, all you upright in heart".
Now, you know, I could go on and on with scriptures like that just over, and over, and over, but let it just be established that God wants us to be happy. I said, God wants you to be happy, but you have to take responsibility to be happy. And the way to do that is to stop worrying about everything all the time, and being anxious, and wrought up, having such a busy, packed schedule that you're stressed out all the time. You gotta leave room for some joy in your life. John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to kill, to steal and destroy. But Jesus said, 'I came that they might have and enjoy their life, and have it in abundance (to the full, until it overflows)'". And I think, when you get right down to it, the bottom line and what everybody wants is just to be happy. We just wanna be happy.
Now, you know, if you have known sin in your life, that you're allowing and not dealing with, it will block your joy. David, great man that he was, in the Bible says he was a man after God's own heart, he did commit a terrible sin. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed because she got pregnant, and they didn't want the husband to find out. But, even worse than what he did, was the fact that he tried to ignore the sin for over a year and never repented. But listen to what Psalm 32:5 says, can't read my own writing, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long," wow.
We can repent and be forgiven for any sin. God loves us. He knows we have weaknesses. The Holy Spirit's in our life to convict us of sin and to deal with us. And he doesn't condemn us, but he convicts us. He lets us know the areas that we're doing wrong in, and all we need to do is admit them, repent, which doesn't mean just to be sorry, it means to be willing to turn and go in a brand-new direction. It means to walk away from your sin and walk toward God and his will. And if you try to hide sin, it's gonna steal your joy. But if you bring things out in the open, the truth will set you free and your joy will return. David prayed a powerful prayer when he prayed for forgiveness. I think it's in Psalm 51, and it's really worth reading and looking at.
Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. And again: I say rejoice". Well, that may not sound like much unless you realize where Paul was when he wrote that. He was actually in jail. And I can tell you, the jails that he was in, was not like the jails we have today. I actually, had the privilege of standing in the same jail cell where Paul was when he wrote this. And I can tell you, it was about the size of a very small powder room. And it had concrete walls and a dirt floor, and a window may be about like that, with bars on it. No heat, no air conditioning, it was a horrible place.
Matter of fact, historians tell us that the town sewer system ran right through that area. So, I guess it didn't smell very pretty either. And no telling what was going on in his cell, or around it, but yet, he said "Rejoice in the Lord. And again: I say rejoice". You know why? Joy gives you strength. Sadness drains your strength, but joy actually gives you strength, and the devil wants you to be weak. When the enemy comes against you, he's not trying to steal your stuff, he's trying to steal your joy. There are countless scriptures in the Word of God that tell us that we are to rejoice in the Lord.
Well, what about the problem of sorrow? You know, in Nehemiah 8:10, they had rebuilt the wall around their city and that was a big thing to rejoice about. And as part of that, the people stood and the Word of God was read to them, pretty much, all day. And the people began to weep because when they heard the word, they were convicted of sin in their lives. Well, see, I remember when I first started going to church on a regular basis and hearing really good preaching that I could understand, there was never a message that I heard, that I didn't need. But I didn't understand this thing about the difference between conviction and condemnation.
And so, I would leave feeling worse than I did when I came in. Because I felt like every message just showed me something else that was wrong with me, and I didn't know how to rejoice in that. But you see, I've learned now, that when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, wow, I appreciate it. I thank him for it, because I can't do anything about something, I'm not aware of. The truth will set you free. "'if you continue in my word,'" Jesus said, "'you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,'" John 8:31 and 32. "'if you're truly my disciples and you continue in my word: you will know the truth and the truth will make you free'".
Facing the truth, about ourselves, is one of the boldest, and bravest, and most courageous things that we can never do. To be able say, "Yes, this is a problem in my life. I admit it. I'm sorry. I repent. And God, I need your help. I wanna change, but I won't be able to change if you don't help me. I need you to help me". So, Nehemiah, as the people began to weep as they heard the word, he said, "'don't be sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength'". Well, you know, we may be sorry about different things for a season. We grieve over different things for a season, but the Bible says, "Weeping endures for a night, but joy cometh in the morning".
Naturally, when you lose a loved one, or you lose a job, or you lose money you've worked hard to save: loss makes us sad, and there is a proper time for grieving, but we have to be careful that we don't let a spirit of grief attach itself to us. I mean, we all know people that perhaps, lost their retirement and their job, and 20 years later, they're still bitter. Well, that's not helping them get back what they lost. But if they would do things God's way, he can, not only restore what they lost, but give them more besides. In the Bible, in the Old Testament when a loved one died, according to the law, they were given 30 days to mourn, and then they had to move on.
Now, I'm not suggesting if you've lost someone that you love that after 30 days, you gotta get all happy again. But I think that the point is made is that there's a time for mourning and weeping, but then, eventually, we do have to make a decision that we're going to press on. Can I tell you something? If you're here on the earth, there's a reason for you being here. Don't ever let the devil convince you that you have no purpose and you're useless. You have a purpose. You just need to find out what it is. And you might say, "Well, I'm trying but I don't know what God wants me to do". Well, you know, one of the things I suggest, if you really don't know what God wants you to do, just start trying to do a few things and you'll find out pretty quick what works for you, where you fit, and where you don't.
I wanted to serve God so bad when I first got really serious in my relationship with God. And he touched my life, and I wanted to serve him so bad, but I didn't know what specifically, I was supposed to do. And so, I just took any opportunity that came along. I did street witnessing. I worked in the nursery. I cleaned my pastor's house. I did all kinds of things that wasn't "The call" on my life. And eventually, I found out where I fit exactly. Let me read this to you again: Psalm 30 verse 5. "Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning".
Well, you know, joy comes, but we have to accept it and go along with it. Well, there's plenty to be sorry аbout: our sins, other people's sins and the mistakes that they make. We hate it, when somebody we love, is just doing things that we know are gonna cause them grief in their life. Personal need, and you can have all these going on at one time. I mean, we can have, not one problem, but five or six or seven problems all at one time. But listen to this, Habakkuk 3:17 and 18: "Though the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vine, though the olive crop falls and the fields produce no food", now, of course, these are things that were important to them. We're not worried about the olive fields now and the things they were, but you get the point. "Though there's no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior".
You know when nothing else is going right in your life, you can rejoice that you're born again. You can rejoice that you already know where you're gonna spend eternity. There's always something to be happy about. There's always something to be thankful for, and gratitude always turns into joy. When people persecute us, it makes us sad. But Matthew 5:9-16, says, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". I know when God called me into ministry, I had so many people come against me, and turn their back on me, and tell me I was crazy, and I didn't have the right education, the right personality, I was a woman: there were so many things wrong with me, suddenly, because I felt like God wanted to use me, and I was willing to take a step of faith and find out. And it was hard for me.
I can tell you: I did not rejoice in being persecuted. But I look back now, and I can see what this scripture's trying to tell us. Jesus was persecuted. And if we get to share in his sufferings, that's something to rejoice about. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven". I said, in the beginning, that joy is a duty. And I don't want that to sound like something legalistic. But I think it's our duty because, as I said earlier, we are called to be a witness to the rest of the world. I think that any person, any Christian, who's here on this earth, if God didn't have a purpose for us after we were born again, he would just bring us home to be with him in heaven. But we have a purpose. And you know, you may be the only Jesus that anybody ever sees.
Now, I'm not saying you're Jesus, but I'm talking about, if you don't let him work through you and shine through you, people want to see Jesus, they want to believe that God is real. But they need to see us being stable, and calm, and happy, and patient, and kind, and giving. The Fruit of the Spirit is so, so important. And we all have it in us. But it comes in seed form. And for any seed to grow, you have to water it and care for it. Let those seeds of patience, that are in you, grow up into a huge, giant tree that everybody can see. Let the seeds of joy, that are in you, be shown through your life. The Bible says we're gonna have fiery trials. Oops, I'd rather not talk about that.
1 Peter 4:12 and 13 says, "Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you". Wow. The Amplified Bible says, "To test your quality". "As though something strange and unusual were happening to you". He's like, "When you have trouble in your life, don't be surprised. Don't think, 'well, why is this happening to me'"? Well, it happened to Jesus, and the servant is not above his master. "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ".
Now, there are many things that he suffered for us that we will never have to suffer. We don't have to pay for our own sins, he paid for them. He purchased our entrance into heaven. He took the punishment for our sins upon himself. Some things that we'll never have to go through because he did. But there are other things that we will have to deal with, in life, because if you're in the world stuff happens. I mean, just, all the time. And I think we can all recognize that the longer we live on the earth, I mean, in my lifetime: I can't hardly believe how things have changed.
You know, when I was a teenager the world was a pretty nice place. And it's getting pretty rough out in the world, today. And that means that we have to tighten the belt of truth, hang on to the Word of God, like never before, know who we are in Christ, stand firm in him, and don't let these fiery ordeals and tests take us out. Pass your test. Be strong in the Lord, stay calm, and be happy. Don't you know that it just makes the devil so mad, if he's trying to get you upset and you just stay happy? Hebrews 12:2 says, "Fix our eyes on Jesus". Well, one of our problems is, is when we have a problem, we stare at our problem too much.
Come on, you know when you have problems, you wanna talk to somebody about it. So, we talk about it, and think about it, and think about it, and talk about it, and talk about it, and talk about it, and think about it, and think about it. And the more we do, the more upset we get, and the less joy we have. We may be temporarily sorrowful. But we can be eternally joyful. I'm not suggesting that you'll never get upset about anything, or never have a tough day. I'm not suggesting that you go around hilariously laughing all the time. But I am suggesting that as long as you have hope in Christ, you can have joy in your life.
Yes, there's a lot of terrible things going on in the world today, and I don't know how they're gonna turn out. But I do know the one who does know, and I know that we, as believers in him, are safe and secure in his hands. God will take care of you. Somebody needs to hear that desperately today. God will take care of you. He's promised to never leave us nor forsake us. The Bible teaches us to be joyful over many things. Let me suggest a few. How 'bout, I am so thankful for what I know? For all the years that I have studied the Word of God and what I know, and I've got so much to learn, but what I know about God and his character, and it enables me to recognize, "Well, that's not God because that's not the way God would behave," or, "Yes, that's God. That's his character".
I rejoice in my salvation. I'm so glad that I'm born again. And I have the assurance of knowing that when my life here, on this earth, is over that I'm gonna spend eternity with God in a place where there's no tears, and no crying, and no sadness, and no sorrow, and nobody's gonna hate anybody else. Everybody's gonna be happy and get along, I look forward to that. But we need to rejoice in those things. We need to think about those things more than we think about our problems. In Luke 10:20, Jesus told the disciples, "'don't rejoice that evil spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in the lamb's book of life'". Hallelujah! Rejoice in God's never-ending, unconditional love for you. Rejoice that God's mercy is new every day.
Isn't that wonderful? Every day, God will give you mercy for the mistakes of yesterday. Rejoice that your sins are continually washed away in the blood of Jesus. That you're a new creature in Christ, that you've been made the righteousness of God, in him. There are so many wonderful things to rejoice about, and we need to get about doing it. There's not gonna be any sorrow in heaven. Revelation 21:4, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. And there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away". That's where we're headed. We can cheer up now because we know what the future is, we've read the end of the book.
Now, we're offering you the teachings that I did this week, it'll be three teachings. Just what you heard, right here, but maybe you need to get it because you need to hear it again, or maybe, somebody else you know, needs to hear it. It's called, "Calm Down and Cheer Up", three teachings on CD and a book that I wrote called, "Your Battles Belong to the Lord". It's a good book and I can say that, even if I did right it, and I'm not bragging on me, but I'm bragging on the Lord. Call us or connect with us online, and get these resources right away, and begin to rejoice in the Lord like never before. God bless you. Thank you for spending your time with me, today.