Joyce Meyer - Dealing with Offense - Part 3
Welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life". Do you know that Jesus wants you to enjoy every single day of your life? John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to kill steal and destroy". The devil does not have a good plan for you. But Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life and have it in abundance (to the full, until it overflows)". And so, I always try to teach things on the program that I believe will help you have that good life that Jesus died for you to have. And the last two days, I've been talking about offense: not being offended at people, not being offended by the truth, letting the Holy Spirit deal with us and show us the things that need to change in our lives, and being glad when he does.
And today I wanna talk to you about not being offended by trouble. Trials can make us better or they can make us bitter. I'm sure you've heard that statement, but don't let it just kinda go over your head and pay no attention to it, really think about it. Every time that you have a difficult situation in your life, if you can, by the grace of God, keep a godly attitude it can make you stronger and better, or you can be offended by it and it can make you bitter and resentful. You know, life happens to all of us, and our plans don't always work out, people don't always do what we want 'em to. And there are bad things that happen to good people that we can't find any reason or answer for.
I was just reminded yesterday in a book that I'm reading, that Job had all these questions about why these terrible things happened to him because he was such a righteous guy, other than the fact that he had some self-righteousness that needed to be dealt with. Certainly, in no way would it appear that Job deserved what he got. And he kept asking God, "Why? Why"? And you know, the interesting thing is, is God never did answer him. He never did tell him why. But he did tell him who he was, and how great he was, and he confronted Job about, "Who do you think you are, questioning me"?
And so, we can ask, "Why," things happen to us that we don't feel like we deserve. God's not insecure, he's not offended by our questions, but he doesn't always answer us. I would say more often than not we don't know why. We do live life forward, but we understand it backward. And what I mean by that is: we're going through things and we don't understand, we don't understand, we don't understand. But then very often later on in life, you can look back and you can say, "Oh, now I see why that was necessary". Because it actually did work something in you that ultimately made your life better. The parable of the sower talks about those who have no real root in themselves and they are offended when trouble comes.
See, God really wants us to be stable. He wants us to believe he's good when circumstances are good, and he wants us to believe he's good when circumstances aren't good. We need to believe the same thing about God all the time, we don't change our beliefs about God based on what our circumstances are. God is always good, he's always faithful. Sometimes it doesn't appear to us that way, but that doesn't mean that it isn't that way. Isaiah said, "Sometimes we look like sheep being led to the slaughter". Paul said that in Romans, "We look like sheep being led to the slaughter". Yet, right in the midst of all these things, "We are more than conquerors". I love that.
Sometimes it looks like other people lookin' on or even if you look at what's happening in your life, you feel like a sheep being led to the slaughter. But right in the middle of that you're more than a conqueror, because you've already read the end of the book and you know that God has written your name in his book of life and he's preparing a place for you. And all you have to do is persevere, and stand firm, until the end. Don't ask so many questions, that you get yourself confused about who God is and the fact that he loves you.
Mark 4:14-17, in the Amplified Bible says, "The sower sows the word. And the ones along the path are those who have the word sown [in their hearts], and when they hear, Satan comes at once and [by force] takes away the message which is sown in them". You know, even today you're watching the program and I believe that this subject about being offended is a very important one, and being offended by trouble. I think there are people watching right now that it would be a very hard thing for you to admit, and maybe you've never even admitted it to yourself. But truth be known, you're just a little bit angry at God, because your life hasn't turned out the way that you thought it would. Or maybe you're just a little bit miffed at God, because you seem to have had more trouble in your life than other people that you know.
Well, you know, God is not the person to get mad at, because he's the only one to help you. And so no matter what happens, you don't ever wanna blame it on God or get mad at God, because when you're having trouble, is when you need him more than any other time in your life. So, this message is important, but don't be too shocked if Satan does something when the program's over, to kinda derail you and keep you from really gettin' anything out of it. Because the way you can get the best out of this teaching I'm doing today is by meditating on it, thinking about it, and seeing how it applies to your own life.
Let's just don't listen to the teaching of God's word abstractly like it applies to nothing. But let's every time we hear the word, let's ask, "How does this apply to my life? Is there something, is there a personal take away for me in this, something specifically that you want me to hear or to get out of this"? "And in the same way there are ones sown on stony ground those who, when they hear, at once receive and accept and welcome the word with joy: but they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while: but when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, they immediately are offended". There's that offense again. They, "(become displeased, indignant.)" "Well, why did this happen to me"?
You know, it's interesting that somebody else can have trouble and we don't question why it happened to them. Well, when we have trouble it's like, "Well, why should this happen to me"? Maybe we think a little more highly of ourselves then we ought too? I don't know, I mean, if everybody else can have trouble and they're supposed to keep a smile on their face and a good attitude, then why can't I expect or why shouldn't I expect the same thing out of myself? "They immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away".
You see, the thing about offense is, it causes us to stumble in our walk with God. In other words, the minute that I become offended, and I harbor offense in my heart, until that's taken care of, I can't grow in my walk with God. And usually, I'll start losing ground, I won't even hold the ground that I have. Offense, I mean I could teach on this for weeks, because the Bible has so much to say about not taking offense. I mean, it's bad enough to be offended at people, but it's really bad to be offended at God. And you know this is the testimony of multitudes of people, they've started out in a walk with God, and they were doing okay as long as God was blessing them, and everything was going their way. But as soon as something happened they didn't like and God didn't take it away right away, they were ready to jump ship.
Resentment makes us bitter. And you know bitter people are not pleasant to be around. Resentment is an inner attitude that basically says, "I am offended that this happened to me. How could this happen to me"? And then we have to be careful that we don't get into this, "Well, I've done this and I've done that, and I've done this and I've done that. I've gone to church for forty years. I've done everything right. And you know, I've done everything the way it was supposed to be done. And now look what happens, here's what my reward is for doing everything right". Well, all you have to do is look at Jesus, he never did anything wrong, never. And yet he took the punishment for our sins upon himself, for one reason, and one reason only, because it was the will of God that he do so.
God had a higher purpose in mind. And we don't understand everything that happens to us, and I'm certainly not saying that bad things come from God, because I believe that God is good, and he brings good gifts. But when things do happen, for whatever reason, just because of sin in the world or the devil's attacking us, or whatever, there is one thing that God wants us to do and that is to remain stable, and continue to be faithful to him, and to continue believing that he's good, and continue walking in love and being good to other people. Who do people get offended at? Well, sometimes when people have trouble, they get mad at the devil. Well, that's not such a bad thing, but even then how do you get the devil back? If you're mad at the devil, how do you get him back? Well, the Bible says we overcome evil with good.
So really, the more the devil throws at you, the more you should walk in love with other people. You only, "Overcome evil with good," Romans 12:21. If you're going through trouble right now, be as good as you can possibly be to as many people as you possibly can. Encourage people, compliment them, edify them, help them, increase your giving. Do anything except what the devil wants you to do, which is become bitter and resentful and offended, because you're going through a difficult time in your life. Sometimes we get offended at God, because he isn't giving us a soft, cushy life. Sometimes we get offended at other people because we're having all this trouble and they're blessed, and so we just get mad at 'em because they're blessed. But it's something that we really need to be aware of.
Sometimes we're offended just because life hasn't turned out the way we wanted it to. But honestly, a right attitude makes such a big difference, because your life can be better. Actually, if you will continue to love God and want his will, the Bible promises us in Romans 8, and I've seen it over and over and over in my life, and I'm sure you've seen it in yours. "That all things work together for good". They may not all be good, but, "All things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to his purpose". Wow, what an opportunity! God can do all things. All things are possible with God. And he can take something that looks so bad, that is bad, that is an attack from Satan, that is not fair, that is unjust, and he can make it work out for your good.
I've seen it over and over in my life, and I've seen it in the lives of other people too. So, I have that opportunity, I'm hurting, things didn't go my way, this is not fair, I've always tried to do the right thing and look at what's happened to me. So I'm gonna get bitter and resentful and have a bad attitude. And I can just stumble in my walk with God and perhaps even fall away and backslide. Or I can say, "I'm gonna keep a good attitude because my problem doesn't change the fact that God is good. And I can watch him work good out of it and give me a double blessing for my former trouble". Yes, Job had a very rough time, but at the end he ended up with twice as much as he had before. God says, "He'll give us a two-fold recompense," for our former trouble, if we maintain and keep a good attitude. Yes, our trials can make us better.
1 Peter 5:8 says, "The devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking whom he may devour". And I as I've often said, "It doesn't have to be you". But then listen to what verses 9 and 10 say, "Withstand the devil, be firm in faith [against his onset", I love that. I love what the Amplified says, don't even entertain the lies of Satan, the minute he comes against you resist him immediately. "Stand firm against his onset, rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world".
So, I'm not the only one, you're not the only one. We all go through different things in our life. You may not go through the same thing that somebody else went through. Or they may not go through the same thing that you went through, but life has a tendency to kind of pinch all of us from time to time. But there's so many good things too. Let's don't just think about the trouble. Let's think about the good things, all the great things that God does for us. That's why I advocate keeping a book of remembrance or a gratitude journal of all the good things that God does for you. Because then when you're having one of those trouble days, or trouble seasons, sometimes we feel like it's not a day but it's a year of trouble, then we can get out that gratitude journal and remember, "Oh God, I remember when you did this, and I remember when you did that, and I remember when you did this," and boy, that makes us feel so much better.
And then it says verse 10 says, "And after you suffered a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts all blessing and favor], who has called you to his [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you".
Now, I don't have time to go into a long theological debate about this scripture, but obviously, if God could deliver me now, why couldn't he deliver me two weeks ago, or two years ago, or whatever? I don't know. That's one of those "Whys," I don't know. All I know and I believe this with all my heart, you can never appreciate the good times, if you never have any hard times. Did you hear what I said? You can never appreciate the good times, if you've never had any hard times. You know, I kinda take the electric power comin' into my house for granted. It's just always there, I flip a switch, I've got lights. I turn this on, it comes on. It's all pretty easy, I have it all the time. Well, the other night our power went out for two hours, and boy, was I glad when the power came back on.
So, here something that I didn't even really think that much about, I lost it for two hours and boy, was I glad when it came back on. Well, that's the kind of the way we are you know, as human beings. Seems like we pretty easily lose the ability to be thankful for things if we never, ever, ever have to do without 'em. If you have a week of cloudy days, you love the first sunny day that comes, but you can have a month of sunshine and just not think too much about it. You know, God knows what he's doin', and we need to do things his way and not expect him to do things our way. I wrote this down and I don't know what you'll think about it, but, "Maybe faith is not faith at all, until it's all you're holding on to".
Some people say, "Well I'm at the end of my rope". Well, you know what they say, "Tie a knot at the end of your rope and hang on anyway". Yes, sometimes you gotta dig down deep. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it's hard. But don't ever give up on God because he is good. And God will bring you through and he will give you victory. And when we're born-again, Peter says, "We're born again to an ever-living hope". Trials purify us and they reveal our true motives.
In Deuteronomy 8, we see the story of the Israelites being led through the wilderness for 40 years. And actually, it was an 11-day journey, straight across that desert, but they wandered around out there 40 years. And it was really all because they just had a bad attitude. And they didn't have a lot of extra, but God met their needs. He said, "Your shoes didn't wear out, clothes didn't get old, they didn't get any new ones, but what they had lasted 'em". And God just did so many things for them. But he said, "I led you all this way in the wilderness, these 40 years to humble you, to test you, to prove you, to see if you would keep my commandments or not". Wow.
Well, sometimes maybe God just doesn't deliver us from a situation for a little while, even though he could, maybe he just waits a little while because it's just a test of faith. Peter said, "Don't be surprised when these fiery trials come to test your faith". They purify our faith. When trials and tests come into our life and we see how we respond, that's when we really know what we believe. Do I really believe that God loves me unconditionally? Do I really believe that he can never stop loving me, not even for one moment? Well, you know, if it looks like he doesn't love me, that's when it's tested. Don't ever say, "God, don't you love me"? No matter how deep your problem is, say, "God, I know you love me. I don't understand what's going on in my life, but I know you love me. I don't understand this God, but I trust you".
That's what trust is for. Trust is for those times when we don't understand, and there doesn't seem to be any answer to what's going on in our lives. Whatever you're going through right now, I just wanna give you a promise from the Word of God. "This too will end, you will come out on the other side, and you will have victory, and you will be a stronger and a better person, if you don't give up on God". God wants us to be stable. Ephesians 6:13 says, "Having done all [the crisis demands], stand [firmly in your place]". Sometimes that's all we can do is just stand, but it's not just standing there, "Well"... To wait on God means, to expect that something good is gonna happen at any moment. Live with expectation. Maybe you've had your problem for a year and a half. But you know what? You could go to sleep tonight and wake up without it tomorrow. Think about that, don't just think about how long you've had the problem.
You know, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were three friends of Daniel and wow, they said something I think we really have to hear today. King Nebuchadnezzar had built a statue of himself, and he commanded that, "Everybody bow down to this statue and worship it". And he said, "When you hear the music playing, if you don't bow down, you're gonna be put into the fiery furnace". And "Shadrach, and Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, 'king Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from your majesty's hand. But'", and oh, I love this, "'but, even if he does not deliver us, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your Gods or worship the image of gold that you have set up'".
Wow, well I'm just gonna clap myself right here in the studio by myself. Wow! God can deliver us, if that's what he wants to do. But know this, even if he doesn't, we're not gonna bow down and worship you. And that's the kind of determination we have. "I don't understand what's going on? This hurts, it doesn't seem fair, but I'm gonna continue to worship God. I'm gonna continue to praise God. I know that he's good. And my circumstances don't change God. God can change my circumstances, but my circumstances do not change God".
Psalm 94:12 and 13, in the Amplified Bible, I love this, "Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom you discipline and instruct, o, Lord, and teach out of your law", now, listen to this, "That you may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked". What is this sayin'? We're gonna just keep going through stuff, and keep going through stuff, and keep going through stuff, till we learn how to stay calm in the days of adversity. We don't have to get upset every time I circumstances go haywire. Just take a few breaths, and pray about it, see what God wants you to do.
Paul told Timothy, "As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship". He told him, "You're gonna have things to go through, and when you do be calm, cool, and steady". "Do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry". In other words, when you go through things, don't stop doing what you should be doing, keep being faithful to what God has asked you to do, stand firm, and you will see God's deliverance in your life. This whole thing about offense, I think is very important. Don't be offended at God, don't be offended at people, don't offend yourself by sinning against your own conscience.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful things that exist. And when you forgive somebody else, you do yourself a favor. Today, we're offering you the book that I've written, "Do Yourself a Favor... Forgive", and I'm asking you to get this book. We're offering it to you for your gift to the ministry of any amount and we will use that money to help keep these TV programs on. And most importantly we'll use it to help hurting people who don't know what we know. I want to thank you so much for being with us today. And I do pray sincerely, that you have received something from this today that will make your life better. Stand strong, we're in it together. God bless you.