Joyce Meyer - The Test of Confidence - Part 1
How many of you know that we go through testing times in our life? And I said last night if we get wise we'll start to pass our tests the first time we take 'em. Because with God nobody ever flunks out, you just get to keep taking the test over, and over, and over until you finally pass it. Last night, we talked about the tests we go through while learning how to trust God.
This morning, I want to talk to you about the things that we go through while we are becoming secure and confident in Christ, rather than in ourselves or in other people. Do you know how miserable it is to be an insecure person with no confidence. I mean, literally, I was thinking about it and I look back at the way that I used to be, say like, when I first started preaching. You know, if I would get done doing a session and I didn't have 20 people rush to me and tell me how wonderful it was, I'd go home and fall apart.
You know, we shouldn't have to look to other people to tell us that we're okay all the time. If you need 20 compliments a day to get through the day without feeling bad about yourself then God is gonna have to let you go through some things so you can finally learn who you are in him. And yes, we all want to be liked, there'd be something wrong with us if we didn't want to be liked. But, the fear of man can keep you from your destiny. Satan will use people to rule you, manipulate you, and control you, and make you absolutely miserable if you don't stand up for yourself and realize that you don't have to be like everybody else to be okay. Amen?
We're all very different. God has created us very different. And, I don't think God can do very much with us until we know who we are in him. A lot of people really want to be used by God, but you have to know who you are in Christ because if you think you get attacked now, while you're wanting to do something for Christ, just wait till you actually, start doing something and see what you get. And that's exactly why God has to get us to a certain level of maturity before he can promote us to new levels because on every new level, there's a new devil. Amen?
And so, man, when I first started preaching I didn't even know how insecure I was. It's amazing how we look for that nod of approval from everybody. "Do my clothes look okay"? "Do you like my haircut"? "Am I okay"? You know, "Is everybody happy with me"? And it just, I want to impress on you how miserable that makes you. But, boy, when you come to the point where you don't feel the need to impress anybody, then you're finally free. I mean, you can probably tell I'm pretty comfortable up here. I don't, you know, I don't feel like that I'm one person over there and then I get up and I have to become this other person to impress you. I'm just the same here as I am when I go home. And, it's because I don't feel any tension doing what I'm doing because first of all, if I make a mistake, that's not the end of the world. I'll just make a joke out of it and we'll go on.
And, if you don't like me, that's your problem, that's between you and God, you know, it's not... I can't make you like me, I can only be who I am. And when, you can go out in the world every day and you're not trying to impress people, but you really just want to serve them, you want to help them, you want to make their life better, you want to serve God then you're free from all that bondage of having to get approval from people everywhere you look. And, I really want you to, I hope you already have that freedom, but if you don't, I really want you to find some freedom in Christ today, to know how precious you are, and how valuable you are, and how special you are, and to not have to compare yourself with other people, and compete with other people, but just to be comfortable in your own skin and be who you are. Come on, give God a praise.
When my ministry started, I taught some home Bible studies for about five years. Had this meeting in my home every Tuesday night, and about 25 or 30 people came, and that was where I kinda started learning how to do what I'm doing. God only let me affect about 25 people because I still had way too many problems in my life to be affecting too many more than that. And, while I was trying to teach them, God was teaching me. So, I had it in my heart to do great things, bigger things. And, I really believed that, that was God's will for me. But, I couldn't understand why he kept holding me back or not opening the right doors. And, so often, we're not being promoted in our life not because we don't have the skills to do the job, but it's because we don't have the character to do the job.
And, we have, you know, we have this, "endangered animal," list, but I think we need to put out a new list called, "the endangered character," list. Amen? I mean, like this afternoon, I'm gonna talk about faithfulness, and boy, where has that gone to? You know, who can you find any more that you can trust to keep your secrets? Or even to show up on time when you've got an appointment with 'em. It's just like, I mean, the world has just gone wacky, it's like... As Christians, we have to get those things back, and we have to model that in front of other people. Listen, you're only gonna be here a short time. And let me tell you somethin'. You may be sitting here, you may be 20 years old and you think, "Oh, I got forever".
Well, you know what? I'm standing here and I'm 75 years old, and I don't have forever. Amen? Most of my life, I've already lived. And, I can tell you when you get a little bit further along in life, you're gonna realize that a lot of the stuff that you put all your time into is nothing but a waste of time because you're not gonna take it with you. And, that's absolutely true. We brought nothing in, and we're taking nothing out. And, if you want to get a good lesson just go find a junkyard and sit there for a while and think about how many people lost their families over what's now laying in that junk pile, had no relationship with God because they were so busy trying to get things, and all those things someday are gonna pass away. And, instead of spending our time trying to get everything we think we want, we need to spend our time trying to be what we believe God wants us to be, and for each one of us, in our own way, to serve God.
Let me tell you something. Most of the ministry that's needed is out in the streets where you guys are at. And really, you come in to places like this, that you might be trained up, so you can go out and do the work of the ministry. Not so you can come and gawk at us while we preach, and then go home, and just stay the same. Everyone of you represents God. If anybody knows you're a Christian, they're looking at you to see what God's like. And, I'll tell you what. We need to step up our game. Because instead of running away from the church, I want people to start running in. Well, I taught that home Bible study for five years, and then eventually, we added another one and it was two Bible studies, and then I clearly felt like I heard God say, "I want you to stop doing this Bible study. Behold, I do a new thing". Well, I thought, "Here we go. Off and rolling now, here I come world".
Well, for the next year, I did absolutely nothing in ministry. Don't you just love it when God just kinda sets you up on a shelf, and you just do not understand at all what's going on? And, a lot of times whatever you're going through in life, right now, you don't understand it, but you probably will understand it, later. And so, that was such a hard year for me, and I did not understand. "Did I hear from God? Didn't I hear from God? Do I have a call on my life? Don't I have a call on my life"? And you know, I would look at people preaching on tv and think, "Well, I can preach better than they can". Well, that was one of the reasons that I had a problem. Come on, don't tell me you don't sit out there sometimes and think, "Well, I should be up there singing, I can sing circles around that person". Amen?
And so, it's not what all we can do that gets God excited, it's our attitude, and having the right heart motive. God can do more with somebody with less talent and a sweeter heart than somebody that's gotta wicked heart and can do just about anything. So, God is always looking at our heart, not just our natural talent. That's why anybody can be used by God, anybody. He recycles trash. He knew how to do it a long time before we started figuring out how to do it. Amen? God takes what the world would throw away and he turns it into something amazing. So anyway, during that year, and I don't have time to tell you all the stories because it would take the whole morning but you know, God teaches us deep spiritual lessons through everyday practical things.
And so, during that year, somehow or another, the devil got me convinced that all this ministry stuff was just my imagination, and this was what I heard, "You need to settle down and be a regular woman". And, our idea of what that is, probably is all pretty much the same, you know. My neighbor had a garden, and she made her family's clothes, and she did all this painting, and all this stuff, and I couldn't do none of that, didn't want to do any of it, hated all of it, you know. I just wanted to run the world and tell people what to do, and you know. Get everybody to love God, you know.
And so, for a year, I tried to be the regular woman. And, I tried to make my family some clothes, and you know. We had a garden and before the tomatoes were coming in and I went out to look at 'em one morning, and they were full of black holes, some bugs had eaten 'em up. And, I didn't understand because my neighbor next door had great tomatoes and mine were all, had holes in 'em. And, I went to God crabbing, you know. Here, I'd been praying over my tomatoes and I don't, you know, I don't understand. I'm sure she's not nearly as spiritual about her tomatoes and hers are okay and mine are ruined. And God said, "I have no obligation to protect your tomatoes. I never told you to grow tomatoes".
And you know, maybe some of the things that you're trying to do for wrong reasons, they're not working out, and you just don't understand why God's not blessing your efforts, well, maybe you're trying to do something for a wrong reason or you're trying to do something that God... It's not what God wants you to do. Maybe, you know, just maybe. Probably not, but just maybe. You know, we need to learn to recognize what God's anointed and what he hasn't. And, if you just keep pushin', and pushin', and tryin' to make somethin' happen, and tryin' to make somethin' happen and it should become obvious to us a lot quicker than it does that God is just not opening the door that we're trying to push it open. And, that's what wears us out. I have never been a regular woman. I will not ever be a regular woman. And whatever that is, it's not for me. Amen? I have no interest in being normal or regular. I want to just be as far out there as I can get and do things that nobody's ever done. Amen?
Joyce Meyer: Well, you know, it's not always easy working through insecurities, but it is possible. And when we come to confidently know who we are, in Christ, it's amazing the things that we can do for him, and it's also, amazing how our joy increases. Today, we have your questions on confidence, and I pray that my answers will encourage you to persevere through whatever test you may be facing. And Ginger, of course, is here with me. Good morning, Ginger.
Ginger: Good morning, Joyce. Thank you for letting us ask you some important questions today. Talking about dealing with confidence, so important, and especially where we find it. So, these questions will be very helpful. This is from chantel, "I'm a single parent with consistent financial issues and have resulted in long-term consequences. Plus not being able to meet basic daily needs and being in survival mode on a long-term basis has truly left me with self-esteem issues. How do I remain confident, encouraged, and overcome these feelings of inadequacy"?
Joyce Meyer: Well, I guess, I'd have to know whether she's depending on herself to do all this or if she's depending on God to show her.
Ginger: That's a lot of pressure on a single parent.
Joyce Meyer: Yeah, it is. I'm sure it's very, very, very difficult and especially, if maybe, you know, she mentioned that there's been some long-term consequences. I don't know? Maybe she made some, not so wise decisions over a period of time, and she's still dealing with some of that. And I'm sure she feels alone a lot. Which you know, I don't have any easy answer to this question except to say, to you know, continue knowing, which I don't think she does know that God loves her and that he has promised that he will never leave her without the help that she needs. Now, she may feel like, "But he is leaving me without the help that I need," but it could be a test that she's going through that if she just stands firm and holds steady, you know, we went through a period of time in our life, in the beginning of when I started in ministry, where I really felt like I was supposed to quit my job and study and try to prepare for this big dream I had, which for all I knew, could have just been a fantasy. But it meant that our bills were gonna exceed our income, and I was very frightened. And I took that step, and God was faithful every month. He met our needs, but we really didn't have anything extra. And so, it was like every month was a stretch of faith and a test of faith. And I did not really understand it. And Dave and I've been tithers since we got married. He'd been taught to do that. And I was so tempted to, you know, change our giving so we'd have more money and things like that. But we remained faithful, and I didn't understand it then, but I look back now and I can understand that God was teaching me to trust him for really little things compared to what we need now on a weekly basis to pay the bills for the ministry. I mean, you're not on television around the world free. It's very, very costly. And so, I just wanna encourage her that God loves her, and for her not to try to do this on her own, but to cry out to him for creative ways to make more money, or a better employment, there's answers for her, but only God can give them to her. All I know is, she can't give up. And keep her confidence in Christ, not in her own ability.
Ginger: Yeah. Oh, I think of how much God loves those single parents out there, who are doing their very best. And his love for all of us is so overwhelming and so, yes, coming back to where that confidence comes from. This next question is similar in that it comes from a situation in their life that they're having a hard time feeling confident. This is from susan, in Colorado. She says, "For medical reasons, I was not able to have children. My husband and I decided to adopt but at the last minute the birth mother decided to keep the baby. As a result, I struggle with feelings of inferiority compared to other women because I have no children. How do I come to terms with these feelings"?
Joyce Meyer: Well, the answer to that and so many other questions like that is you have to learn who you are, in Christ. And when you're in Christ, you're equal to anything and everything because you're worth and value is not in being married or single, it's not in having children, or not having children, it's not in your address, or the label, you know, whether you can buy expensive clothes, or you have to buy less expensive clothes. Our worth and value is in who we are, in Christ. "Put no confidence in the flesh," the Bible says, "But only in Christ Jesus". And these things must be studied and studied. You know, just because I teach these on tv doesn't necessarily mean that just hearing one sermon or what we have to say here, today, about this is gonna fix it for 'em. It's something that they have to then, study themselves, and sometimes, over, and over, and over, and over. You have to be determined that if anybody can have what Jesus offers us, then I can have it. Because the promises of God are for, "Whosoever will". You can't be a person who gives up easy. You have to be somebody that just digs in with God and says, "I'm gonna learn this and I'm not gonna give up until I have learned it". I mean, why would you be any less valuable if you had kids or you didn't have kids? You know, that's something that the devil lies to us about, and we have to know that he's a liar. That would be no different than me saying, "Well, gee, you know, you're 5 foot 5, and I'm only 4'11" so, you're worth more than me because I'm shorter than you are". You know, it's like, we have different circumstances in life. And one of the things that steals our confidence is in trying to figure everything out.
Ginger: Oh, that's really true.
Joyce Meyer: You know, the more you try to figure everything out, the harder it's gonna be for you to accept it and go on. And you know, if they really wanna adopt a child, you don't have to stop at one thing that didn't work out. I mean, there's too many children in the world that need good homes. You gotta be persistent and press in.
Ginger: Yeah, it seems like there are so many of those situations that pound at our confidence. And God is saying, "I'm here through all of those. I love you as you are. I created you in a wonderful way," no matter what all those things are. But it takes a lot of study, it takes a lot of time.
Joyce Meyer: It does. It takes, you know, I always say, you know, you can't just go to one week of classes and be a doctor.
Ginger: That's a great example.
Joyce Meyer: You know, I wouldn't wanna go to a doctor that you know, that just said, "Well, I've been studying for a week, I'm a doctor now". I mean, I want somebody that's got 8, 12 years of education under their belt and I prefer them to even have some experience after that. And I've, you know, of course, got 45 years of studying the Word of God under my belt now, and so sure, it's easier for me to have confidence now than it was in the beginning. And I can remember when I was doing speaking engagements or speaking at a conference, and if anybody in the room would get up and leave, I was just sure it was because they didn't like me or didn't like my message and, you know, it was something wrong with me. And it was all because I did not have confidence of who I was, in Christ. And I wasn't confident that yes, the message that I was speaking was the one that he had put on my heart and it was right. And so, the enemy can really torment you, until you learn who you are, in Christ. So, your worth and value is not in anything other than the fact that Jesus died for you, and he would have died for you if you woulda been the only person on earth. The suffering that he went through is something that we cannot even imagine. And he did it so that we might be justified and made right with God, through his sacrifice.
Ginger: Well, here's a really good question from Mary, in Colorado. "How do I be a good friend to a very insecure person? I have a friend who has some abuse in her past and she's not dealt with it. She has a good heart for God, but some days, I think she would try his patience". Because it's not always easy to be friends with someone who's very insecure, or even to work with someone who is.
Joyce Meyer: It's actually, a lot of hard work, to be honest. It's just like, I mean, I had somebody just recently, in a marriage situation, tell me I'm just absolutely worn out from trying to keep this person, I'm married to, propped up all the time because of their insecurities. And the only thing that she can do is be honest with her friend, and tell her, you know, "I am your friend. I want to be friends with you. But it's not my job to keep you feeling good about yourself all the time". You know, you have to do your part. You have to dig in and study. And maybe, she can even offer to do Bible studies, I won't even say one, but Bible studies with her, or recommend you know, resources that are gonna help her in that area. I had all these problems, and I mean, I studied, I read books. I studied more. I read books. I listened to sermons. I went to conferences. I went to meetings. I studied some more. And little by little, didn't happen all at once, but little by little, I became more and more free in areas. And you know, a lot of people I know don't even understand that phrase knowing who you are, in Christ. But there's a difference in who I am, in Christ, and what I do. And the more you know that God loves you, and that you've been made right with him, and the less condemnation you have in your life, and wasting time feeling guilty all the time about stuff that you've already been forgiven for: the quicker you're going to have the kind of life that Jesus died to give you.
Ginger: And as a friend, it's a matter of sharing that with them, supporting them, loving them, but you can't be that person to prop them up all the time. They have to eventually, discover that for it to be a revelation in their own life.
Joyce Meyer: And if they won't, eventually it could end the relationship, and that's not the person's fault who's trying to be the friend. Everybody has a part to play in every situation and every relationship. And, you know, like with God, we're partners with God, and we can't do his part and he won't do our part. And it's the same way in any other relationship, you know, if it's a one-sided relationship then it's really an unhealthy relationship. And you wanna help people, but they have to be willing to help themselves too.
Ginger: Well, thank you, Joyce, very much.
Joyce Meyer: Thank you.
Well, today, we're offering you the help that we've been talking about, that some of you may need. It's a book called, "The Confident Woman". And always tease the men and say, "If you want the book just put a piece of tape over the 'wo' and it'll become, "The confident man". We're also, offering you, "The confident woman journal". And I just saw this, they brought it to me, and I'll tell you, this thing is so pretty. My gosh, it's pretty. It's white and it's got colorful letters on it. And we like to offer these journals because while you're reading this book on, "The confident woman," and I think I also, have a devotional on, "The confident woman," you know, go at it. Make it like a college course. Don't just think you can read a little article on confidence and all of a sudden, bang, you're gonna be confident. You know, if the enemy has had you in his clutches for a long time, and you've got deep roots of insecurity, it's gonna take a while for you to deal with this thing with God. But you can be confident, and do all the things that God wants you to do, and you can enjoy yourself. So, get these resources, and if you don't need them, why don't you get 'em for somebody that you know that does and make them a gift that will be life-changing for them? Thank you for being with us today. And thank you, Ginger, for being here to ask me the questions. We love you. Have a great rest of your day.