Joyce Meyer - The Test of Confidence - Part 2
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So, "Jesus full of the Holy Spirit", I'm in Luke 4. We're gonna read one through thirteen and see if you can hang on for 13 verses without gettin' lost. "And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the spirit into the wilderness". Why can we not see that? Every testy thing that comes along, it may be the devil who's provoking it but sometimes, God doesn't lead us away from it, he leads us into it because he intends to take what Satan means for harm and use it for our good. I don't know about you, but to me, that is one of the most amazing principles that God can take something that seems so bad and actually, turn it around to where it turns out to be one of the best things that ever happened to you in your life.
How many of you've experienced that in your life? See, all of us. Isn't that amazing? God's word works. Where, "For 40 days, he was tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry". Now, you know, Satan will wait sometimes until you're in a state of weakness. You're either really tired, or your really weary, or your life has gotten so out of balance, you've just worked until you feel like you just can't work anymore, or you're sick, or something and then he'll start with his lies. And, "The devil said to him", and I love this, "'if you are the Son of God'", the first thing he attacked was his, "Who".
How many times do you think the devil said to me while I was trying to start this ministry, "Who do you think you are"? I mean, "Just who do you think you are"? I mean, I had a 12th grade education. I wasn't dumb, but I wasn't like, super, super smart. But, you know what I do have? I've got a lot of common sense. And it's amazing how far you can get with just common sense, you know? And, not only that, I don't know any other way to say it other than, I just had a lot of guts. I was just like, bold enough to say, "Okay, let's see what happens". And see, you've got to be willing to fail to ever find out if you can succeed. Did you hear me? Let me say it again. You have to be willing to fail to ever find out if you can succeed. But, people that are insecure are so afraid of failure that most of the time they just stay in this same safe zone that is so boring that it drives them absolutely mad. "But, nobody thinks I'm wrong".
Let me tell you somethin'. Somebody's gonna think somethin' all the time, so, you might as well give 'em somethin' to think about. "'If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread'. And Jesus answered, 'it is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone"'". We have the word so we can speak the word when the devil is attacking us. Learn to talk back to the devil because he certainly talks to you enough. "And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, 'to you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I will give it to whomever I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours'. And Jesus answered him, 'it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shalt you serve"'. And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on a pinnacle of the temple and said to him", same lie again, "'if you are the Son of God'".
"Who do you think you are? Come on, prove it". He had no need to try to prove anything. You know why? Because he knew who he was. So, many of the things that you see Jesus do, like, not trying to defend himself to his attackers, they would accuse him of stuff and he'd just stand there. And, you'd think sometimes, "Why didn't you defend yourself? Why don't you tell 'em who you are"? He didn't have any need to do that because he knew who he was. Do you realize how much changes when you know who you are. When you know who you are, then you don't have to try to prove to everybody else who you are.
Come on, is anybody getting this? And, I'll tell you who you are. You are an imperfect, messed-up, beautiful, amazing, child of God who Jesus died for. You are the righteousness of God in Christ, set apart and made holy by the blood of Jesus Christ. You are gifted and talented and God has a great future planned for you. And don't you let the devil steal it. Amen? That's who you are. And, when the devil says, "Who do you think you are"? You need to answer him back and say, "I am a child of God. I've been bought and paid for with the blood of Christ. Get out of my way". "'if you are the Son of God'". "Who do you think you are"? "'for it is written, "He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you," and, "On their hands they shall bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone". And Jesus said to him, 'it is said, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test"'". And, the next verse says, "And the devil went away, after he had ended every temptation," now read this, "He departed from him until a more opportune time".
So, can we get this, this morning and believe it? "The devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking whom he may devour". It doesn't have to be you. If you know who you are in Christ, it doesn't have to be you. Amen? And even knowing who you are in Christ, and knowing that you're forgiven, and knowing that God knows your heart, you don't even have to waste one more hour of your life in guilt and condemnation. Did you hear me? You do not have to waste anymore of your time in guilt and condemnation. You know why? If you're sorry for your sins, that sin has already been paid for, the forgiveness is already there, you need to receive it. God knew everything wrong that you would ever do before you did it, and he loved you before you ever even cared anything about him. So, we don't have anything to prove. We will be tested until we are secure in Christ, in Christ alone.
Now, Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing". And, I was thinking about that today and I thought, "You know what? Let's talk about that for a minute". "Apart from me you can do nothing". Well, obviously, people that are unbelievers do some pretty amazing things. I mean, they have big careers. They invent things. They become world-famous. But, here's what I believe. I don't believe that any person can do anything apart from Christ and actually be fulfilled and happy. But see, in Christ, if you know who you are, you can be happy and satisfied on the platform if that's what God anoints you for, or cleaning the toilet in the basement. Oh, now, you didn't like that.
You know pastor Mike, who's helping me up here. He's a rare guy. I mean, he could come up here and run this whole service and preach a good sermon, but if I said to him, "Hey, Mike, the toilet downstairs is stopped up. Would you mind to go down and take care of that"? He'd say, "It's my pleasure," and off he'd go. And, see, when you know who you are in Christ, then you don't have to be doing something that, "The world," thinks is big to feel important because here's the thing, if it's what God gave you to do, then it's just as important as anything that he's given anybody else to do. Come on. Stop trying to impress people with what you do, and what you wear, and what you own, and who you know. Yeah. I feel like jumping out in the middle of the crowd today in just shakin' some people.
Oh my gosh, if you knew what I've gone through to get the knowledge that I have that I'm trying to pass on to you. I just feel like sometimes I'd like to just unzip people and cram 'em full what I know now and zip you back up and send you out. I mean, I love, love, love, love, love to see people get saved. Last night, 525 people gave their life to the Lord. But, get this, I want you to enjoy the journey. I don't want everybody to just be miserable and try to make it to heaven. I want us to enjoy every single day that Jesus died to give us, and that is impossible if you don't enjoy yourself. And the only way you can enjoy yourself is if you learn that you're okay, that doesn't mean you never do anything wrong, but it does mean that you don't have to be like somebody else and that you are not defined by the job that you do, but by who you belong to.
I'll tell you what, I admire my husband for somethin' he did years ago, at the time it made me mad. But now, I look back and see how smart he was. He worked in the engineering field, and he was what they called, "A job captain". And, no, you weren't a job captain, right? No, he wasn't a job captain, but he did the work of one. And so, they offered him a promotion to become a job captain which meant that he would have to do a lot of travel, he'd have a lot more responsibility, and he really wouldn't make that much more money, and he turned it down. Well, I was all ambitious and gung-ho back then, and you know. And, I thought, "Well, what's the matter with you? You don't want to be promoted? You don't want to go up in the world? You just don't care..."
Well, see, he didn't need to be that to feel that he was important because he already knew who he was in Christ and he already knew deep down that he wasn't going to be in the engineering field all of his life. He didn't know exactly when this other thing that we were believing for would happen but Dave has always been so happy because he is so secure. And, people are always curious about how this thing works between me and him and you know... What it must be like for him, and it's a very short and an easy story. When God first called me to do this, Dave was not thrilled about it. And, he said to God, "Well, why her? Usually the man does that". Which was correct. Usually the man did do that. We were gonna have a role reversal.
And God spoke to him and told him, "If you do what I've given you to do, you'll always be happy. And if you let her do what I've given her to do, then you can both always be happy" or some version of that. I know I didn't tell it right. Don't worry, soon as the meeting's over, Dave will tell me every story that I didn't tell right. He's big on details, I just want to get my point across. And, man, what kind of an amazing man do you have to be to let your wife do what I'm doing? And, people ask me "does Dave go to all the meetings"? Maybe, there's been three times that he hasn't been right where he's at, right now, in all these years. Just because somebody's not on a platform doesn't mean they're not doing anything. And it would be amazing how many awesome stories we would hear if everybody could just get confident enough to just do what they're supposed to do and not feel like they have to be in competition with somebody else. Amen?
Dave had to go through a few things that were not easy for him, but he let me be who God wanted me to be. And, you know, when you know who you are in Christ, you're gonna be able to let other people be who they are in Christ. If you don't know who you are, then you will automatically try to hold other people back so they don't end up looking better than you. Philippians 3:3, "For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh". None of our security can come from what we are in the flesh: who we know, what we wear, not even what we look like.
And, the Bible says that God shakes us in our life, in Hebrews 12:27, "This phrase, 'yet once more,' indicates the removal of things that are shaken in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain". Wow. Some of you are in a shaking time in your life, right now. You know, God's just shaking off all the stuff you don't need any way. You know, in John 15, it says, "If you don't bear fruit, I'll prune you. And if you bear fruit, I will prune you so you bear more excellent fruit". And so, I got it early, you're pruned if you do, and pruned if you don't, so... You might as well just say, "Okay, God, have your way. Do what you want to do".
Now, you know what pruning is? You prune off branches, off of a tree or a bush that are going in a wrong direction, or that are dead. You know how much dead stuff we drag around with us? Just stuff that's just not doing us one bit of good at all. God got done with it 10 years ago and you're still draggin' it around with you, although, it's not anointed and not doing you any good anymore, you hate it, you don't even want to do it, you don't even know why you're doing it. It just zaps you of all your energy. Well, God prunes those things off. Well, if you just think about if you were a tree and a gardener got after you with a pair of pruning shears and you could feel anything, it wouldn't feel very good.
That's why sometimes when God is dealing with us, it may not feel good to us. But, he's getting rid of things in our life that are actually, not good for us and they're hurting us, but we're so accustomed to them that we won't let them go unless God comes and just takes 'em away and there's nothing we can do about it. Come on. Satan's a liar. And the majority of his lies are about us personally. "God is not pleased with you". "God's mad at you". "No matter what you do, it's not good enough". "You're a failure". "You're unloved". "You can't hear from God". "You'll never succeed at anything". "You're ugly". "You're stupid". "You're not gifted". "You're not talented". "You're too thin". "You're too fat". "You got big feet".
It's amazing how he's always telling us we're either too much of something, or not enough of something. We're never just okay. So, stop listening to him and listen to God. Satan compares us with other people. "Look at them, why can't you be like that"? Oh my gosh, if you're a parent do not ever, ever compare one of your kids to the other one. That is one of the worst things in the world that you can do to a child.
You say, "Well, why doesn't God just make the devil leave us alone"? Well, he doesn't because he wants us to learn to toughen up a little bit. He wants us to have some tenacity, and he wants us to know who we are in him, and that we do actually, in fact, have authority over the devil. And, he cannot rule our lives if we don't let him. But, we have to know the word and we have to not be sleepy Christians who aren't paying attention to what's going on.
Recognize when the devil is lying to you and just tell him, "You're a liar and I'm not gonna listen to you. I know who I am in Christ". As long as God sovereignly delivers us from every rough place, we have never won any kind of a personal victory. A great example is a baby eaglet still in the shell. When an eagle is in the shell and hasn't been born yet, it's got a little tooth on the end of its beak. And, it uses that tooth to break out of the shell. And, it's hard work. I've never personally seen it, but I read stories about it, how it's almost painful to watch one of those baby eaglets trying to get out of that shell because they just have to peck, peck, peck. I mean, just keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it. But, what we don't know, is God arranges it that way on purpose because before they're ever born they're already developing tenacity.
You know, eagles are majestic birds, majestic. And, the one thing that I like about an eagle is they don't normally fly in flocks they fly alone. Come on, maybe two or three people got what I was tryin' to say. If you're gonna be an eagle for God, sometimes you're gonna have to fly alone. Amen? You can't flap around with everybody else in the flock. You gotta soar above things. See, when we're baby Christians, we want somebody else to do all of our prayin', find all of our scriptures, you know, hold our hand, you know, help us.
"I'm down". "I'm discouraged". "I'm this, I'm that, I'm something else". And, God provides that support system when you're first trying to get rooted and grounded in him. But, one day, he's gonna come and knock all those supports out from under you. And, you're gonna have to be able to believe for yourself, and stand up to the enemy for yourself, and know who you are, and get busy, instead of needing help all your life, get busy helping somebody else. Help somebody else. Do something for somebody else. Don't just come to church to get, get, get. Don't just come to church to just get, get, get, get, get. Volunteer, serve, put some time in, sacrifice a little bit. Insecure people don't know how to serve.
In Luke, 22:24-27, "A dispute arose among the disciples, as to which of them was the greatest". Don't you just love these guys? Imagine if we just had lunch together this afternoon and just sat around arguing about which one of us was the greatest. "He said to them, 'the kings of the gentiles exercise Lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves'". Good, I got one person, way over there, that likes this. "'For who is greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves'"?
Now, listen to this. "'It is not the one who reclines, but I am among you as one who serves'". Here, we have God coming down here, to this ball of pain in a human form, taking our sins upon himself, the most powerful person ever, and he came as a servant. See, we think being in charge is powerful, but it's really when you know who you are enough to be a servant. And I'm not saying that everybody needs to wash the toilet. Obviously, there's people who need to be here. But there's always going to be leadership, and levels of leadership, and people that are anointed to follow, and people that are anointed to lead, and that's just God's way. But don't ever think that your part is unimportant.