Joyce Meyer - Galatians, Part 1
Well, hello and welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life". Before we begin today's teaching, this is the 70th observance for the National Day of Prayer. And what a blessing it is to have the liberty to pray in this country. So, we're going to pray together for the nation.
Father, we come to you in Jesus' name, and we thank you for the privilege of being able to pray. And I pray not only for our nation, but for all of the leaders, I pray for wisdom. I pray for understanding. I pray that we would have unity in our nation, Lord. That we would come together as one people and always do your will and your will alone. There are many things, Lord, that need to be taken care of in our nation and we trust you to take care of them. Show us what our part is and what we need to do. We ask these things in Jesus' name, amen.
I mean, I'd have my little teaching cassettes back in the early days and my music. And, I'd play my music and be home all day by myself and quote the scripture and just, oh, I felt so, holy. And then when the kids would come home from school, start makin' noise, dropping things, making messes, I mean, I was like a Jekyll-and-Hyde. I mean, I would go from being so holy to being so unholy. It wasn't even funny. And so, people are a test for us. People are who we get to practice our spirituality on. Amen? What you learn in church on Sunday morning, you get to practice on people at work on Monday morning. And Sunday, maybe the people on each side of you, are just as holy as you are, or at least they're acting that way 'cause they're in church. But, when you go to work on Monday, you're going to run into a different kind of people.
So, what we learn on Sunday, we have to put into practice on Monday. Amen? Alright. And therein lies part of the problem with the church. Is we go to church and we agree with everything, but somehow or another, we can't seem to get it out of the pew into society. And that's where it's needed. We don't all need to just go to our little church social clubs and be spiritual with each other. We need to get out in the world where it's rough, and where people aren't treating us right, and where people aren't acting right, and that's where we need to show them Jesus. Because, to be honest, you might be all of Jesus that any of them are ever going to see.
I want you to think about that. We actually, as believers, have a huge responsibility. And don't think that the only people that God's using are the few people on the platform. Because, really, he's using you all a lot more than he's using all of us. My job is to train up the saints that they might go out and do the work of the ministry. It's not just about you coming here and watching me work. Or turning the tv on every morning and watching me work. Every time you listen to me, I'm teaching you how to work. How to go out and live it in front of people. And I'm encouraging you that if you will do that, God will always, always, always take care of you. Did you hear me?
If you will focus and let your primary goal be learning how to really walk in love, what that means, and I'm not talkin' about the human kinda love. I'm talking about the God kind of love. If we can get out in the world and show people the kind of love that God shows us, God will always take care of you and meet every need that you have. An even though you may get treated unfairly at some time and you might have to go through some things, God will always vindicate you. He will always bring justice in your life. He will always make wrong things right. And the Bible actually says that God will give us double blessings for our former trouble. He is a God of justice.
How many of you have ever been mistreated? Well, you know my story. I was abused by my dad and I went through a rough time for a long time, but I'm here to tell you that God has blessed me double and triple for what I went through when I was growin' up. And, I'm not sure that I would take it back even if I could, because I don't know that my life would be as great as it is now if I wouldn't have gone through it. So, maybe you could stop feeling sorry for yourself because of everything you've gone through, and say, "Wow, I'm excited about the double blessing that I'm going to get because God's gonna reward me". Amen?
How many of you could use a little, just a little sermon this afternoon on how to treat people better? Anybody? Not everybody. Well, I guess some of you are gonna be bored then, 'cause that's what we're going to talk about. All right, Galatians six, first five verses. "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual", and of course, that's us. Right? We're the spiritual ones. "Should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. And keep watch on yourself, lest you too should be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ". And the new law that he's talking about is the law of love, the law of liberty, which is the law of love. We no longer have to be concerned with all the Old Testament laws, and rules, and regulations.
Now, Jesus said I'm giving you one new commandment, one thing to do, learn how to love people the way that I love you. By this love, shall all men know that you are my disciples. "If anybody thinks he's something, when he's nothing, he deceives himself". What causes us to mistreat people? Thinking we're better than they are. Can't say some of this too fast because it needs a little time to... Come on, we're gonna soak in the word. "We're right, of course, they're wrong. Our idea is better, we're smarter. We know what we're doing. They don't. And my goodness when they do things wrong, we would never", come on, don't play dumb, "Well, I would never do that". "Can you believe, did you hear"? "Let me tell you what I heard that so", "I would never", "I can't, can you believe that they did that"?
And you know what? The truth is, is we judge other people, Romans 2:1 says, "We judge other people for the same things that we do". Why would we do that? Because we make excuses for ourselves. But, for other people there is no excuse for you to behave that way. "There is no excuse for you to talk to me that way". "There is no excuse for you to act that way". But somehow, when it's us, there's always a reason. "Well, I had a bad day at work". "Well, if you had to drive in all that traffic comin' home, you'd come home grouchy too". "Well, I don't feel good".
Well, you know, not feeling good is not an excuse to mistreat people. Having a rough day at the office is not an excuse to mistreat people. Actually, when we're not feeling so hot ourselves, it's a test to see if we'll go ahead and be faithful to what we know God wants us to do. One of the things that I didn't get around to talkin' about much in this teaching is, Paul had some kind of a pretty serious problem with his eyes. And, nobody knows exactly what it was, but it sounds like that, that there was maybe like, some kind of an infection even running from his eyes because he said it was very unpleasant even to look at. And it was hard for him to write.
And so, one of the things that he says toward the end of this, that I don't know that I'll get around to getting in too much, is he said, "I want you to notice with what large letters I'm writing this". A lot of times he used a scribe. But, he wrote this letter, Galatians, himself because he wanted them to know, even though it was very difficult for him to write, how important it was to him that they know the difference between being legalistic and being led by the Holy Spirit. That they knew the difference between works of the flesh and grace, because it was two totally different ways to live.
If you live according to works of the flesh, trying to make everything happen yourself. Trying to change yourself. Trying to change your kids. Trying to change your circumstances. Life is just miserable. How many of you know that? How many of you have tried until you've completely worn yourself out, and you're ready to let it go and give it to God, because if he can't do it, it's for sure, you can't do it. Amen? So, Paul had found a new freedom because he had been a legalist to the max. I mean, he was a pharisee of pharisees. He knew the law. He kept the law. He was persecuting Christians. And now, he meets Christ on the road to Damascus and this amazing grace is poured into his life. He sees how good God is. And he learns that he can only be saved by grace, not by law.
And, it was so amazing to him that he wanted everybody else to know it. How many of you know when something wonderful happens to you, you really want the people you love to know that, and to know that too? Well, for me, you know, although we have a lot of people born again through our ministry and that is very important to me. We'll always place that as a priority. I am not called as an evangelist. I'm called actually, to the body of Christ, to help them grow up and mature so they can have what Jesus died for them to have. Because, you see, I was a legalistic Christian for a long, long time. Who loved God, went to church, was a tither, did church work but I was a nightmare at home because I did not know how to be set free from all the junk in my past.
And so, I was dysfunctional in every way that you could be dysfunctional and I was absolutely miserable. Well, it's one thing to be a miserable sinner, but we should definitely not be miserable saints. How many of you agree, when you're born again something should happen and you should be a little bit happier than you were before? And I know that I can say, how many of you are here, and you're doing it all, you're going to church, you're doing what you're told to do but you still feel like something's missing? And I know a lot of hands would go up. Well, that's what I would say to God, "Something is not right. Something is missing". I didn't know what it was but I knew that I wasn't supposed to be living the way that I was.
And I'm telling you what, when God touched me back in 1976 and I started really gettin' a hunger for the word, and not just reading a chapter a day just to get my check Mark in my Bible but really studying the word and learning what Jesus had done for me and how to apply it in my life, I got a burning desire to teach people the truth because I knew it would set 'em free. And I will do it as long as I have breath left to do it, because I know that Jesus paid a price, not just so we could go to heaven, but so we could enjoy our life while we're here. Amen? We're supposed to be the happy group. Amen? And if we can't be happy, I don't know who possibly could.
So, Paul, even though had this eye disease, he labored. He said, "I labored under the point of weariness bringing you this message, and I want you to see with what large letters I'm writing this because it's how important is to me". People that are mature in Christ, don't stay home and not keep their word and be faithful to what they're called to do, just because they feel a little bit puny. I've been havin' to ice my back all weekend because I've got a little issue with my back. But, I don't care if I have to stand up here with an ice bag on it the whole time I preach. I'm going to show up and do what God has called me to do... And I am encouraging you to do the same thing. Don't think that just because you have a bad day at work that, that gives you a license to run around for the next 24 hours and mistreat people. I'm giving it a good try, sister.
Am I not right? Don't we make excuses for our bad behavior? But, for other people there is no excuse. Okay, so having said that, let us move on. As a matter of fact, let's just start over. Verse one, I think we need to hear it again. "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he's something, when he's nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each one will have to bear his own load".
I love what the Amplified Bible says there, it says, "Each one will have to bear his own load of oppressive faults". So, in other words, he's saying, "Okay, now listen. You're going to be dealing with people that you're going to see them do things that are wrong. And now if you're really spiritual, this is how I want you to handle it. I don't want you to judge 'em. I don't want you to criticize 'em. I don't want you to shut 'em out of your life. I want you to help restore them. And do it in a spirit of gentleness. Keeping an eye on yourself. Because if you judge other people you may end up doing the same thing yourself. Something you never thought you would do".
How many of you would rather God not show you every weakness you have? Amen? Well, just judge other people a whole lot and he will respond by showing you a few things that are wrong with you, which might get you to zip your mouth about some of the other people. Our level of spiritual maturity is revealed in how we treat people. One of the most important things to God is how we treat people. And I don't want you to fail to understand what I just said. One of the most important things to God, what really shows our level of spiritual maturity is how we treat people. And especially, how we treat people that haven't treated us so great. And we better just soak in that for a minute.
Well, no, they don't deserve for you to treat them good. But do I have to open up the scriptures where Jesus says, "Forgive your enemies, bless those who abuse you and misuse you"? "Well, it's just not fair. It's just not right". But he says do it because that shows that you're like me. That shows that you're like your father who is in heaven. And, I think most of you know my story, so I'll give it to you in a little nutshell. I wanted nothing to do with my father for years, I hated him. And I prayed the "Official I forgive you, prayer". But I still didn't want anything to do with him. Stayed away from him as much as I possibly could. Went around a little bit at Christmas and on holidays.
And one morning I was prayin' and asking God what he wanted me to do... You gotta be so careful when you start asking God that kind of stuff. I mean, it sounds spiritual, but you may not like what he says. And remember what I said earlier? If you're not going to listen to everything that God says, he may end up saying nothing to you. We don't have selective hearing. And so, my parents were getting older, and they weren't well, and they lived in a little town about 250 miles from my city, which is St. Louis. Didn't have good doctors there and I felt like God put it on my heart to bring them to St. Louis. Buy them a house. Take care of them until they died. I said, "That is the devil. I rebuke you Satan, in Jesus name". You know why? Because, I could not believe that God would ask me to do that. I just couldn't believe that he would ask me to do that.
But, you know, God doesn't change his mind. And so, next time I tried to pray, the same thing. Next time I tried to pray, the same thing. Well, Dave and I didn't have a lot of money and to go buy somebody else a house was gonna pretty much put us back to where we started years before. And so, I finally took it to Dave, being sure that he'd tell me no. And he said, "Well, you better do what God told you to". So, I tried buying 'em a cheap house and that didn't work, had to buy 'em a nice house. And anyway, long story, short, and it is a long story so I won't go into the whole thing. You know, my dad didn't even seem to be that appreciative, or you know. My mom kinda acted like, "Well, you know, I'm your mother, you should take care of me".
You know, there was really no reason for me to do anything for either one of them because they had never done anything for me, except hurt me. But, as a Christian, you don't get to be like everybody else. Are you out there? Come on, the minute you put that fish on your car or hang that cross around your neck, you're making a declaration. "Look at me. I'm not like everybody else in the world. I'm loving, and kind, and good to people, and you know", well, anyway, long story, short, it turned out to be the doorway to my dad's salvation. So, he's in heaven now. I thought I was... See, my dad knew there was no reason at all for me to do anything for him. And he even told Dave one time, he said, "Most men would a killed me and all you ever did was show me love".
I'm tellin ya, you have an opportunity to see people restored, especially people that have hurt you. Now, I'm not suggesting you let somebody abusive back into your life to abuse you. But, you are required by scripture to pray for them, and to bless and not curse them. And at the very minor level, what that means is to not talk bad about them. Do you know how hard it is when somebody has hurt you and you hear somebody else talkin' about what a great person they are, to just keep your mouth shut, and not say, "Well, let me tell you a few things"? It's hard. Be gentle, patient, and understanding with those who sin, have faults, or make mistakes. Help restore people rather than merely criticizing them. How do we see love? Is it just a message? Is it a book we write? Is it a theory? Is it a word we throw around?
We love people, and we love ice cream. You know, we love baseball. The love that God's talkin' about, the agape of God, to love people the way God loves people, is a totally different kind of thing. And, it's not based on how they treat us or what they do, it's based on something much greater than that. One of the hardest things in the world to do is to treat people good that have not been treating you good. And I know there's a balance. Like I said, I'm not talking about lettin' people abuse you, or walk all over you, or misuse you. But, I mean, I don't care what somebody has done to you, you should pray for them, and pray for God to bless them. And I mean, I was honest with God. I said, "I don't want 'em to be blessed. Why should I pray for 'em to be blessed? I don't want 'em to be blessed".
But here's what the Lord showed me. When we pray for God to bless people, the first thing he blesses them with is truth. So, when you pray for people to be blessed, one of the first things they're gonna get is conviction. See, maybe you've been trying to convict them of how bad they act, and they can't receive it from you at all, so the best thing to do is stop trying to do it by works of the flesh and turn 'em over to God. Come on. "The Bible says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God". Amen? And so, you stop saying bad things about 'em, you stop tellin' everybody what they've done to you. And you work with God to see restoration in their life and to know that really, if we all got what we deserve, we'd all be in big trouble. And so, let's sow good seed so we can reap a good harvest.