Joyce Meyer - How to Live a Godly Life - Part 1
I wanna to talk to you about "How To Be Godly In An Ungodly World". The line is getting very blurry between who is a believer, and who isn't. Amen? And what I mean by that is, you know, just because somebody's got a bumper sticker on their car, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're walking with God the way that they should, or that they're not compromising in their life behind the scenes. And I really believe that if we're gonna put bumper stickers on our car, and hanging Christian Jewelry around our neck, and carry Bibles, and do things that make us look like we're Christians, then I think we oughta live the life. Otherwise, I think we need to just take 'em off. And, it's actually getting extremely concerning.
The Bible says that in the last days, which I don't know how much longer it's gonna be before Jesus is gonna come back. But one thing's for sure, a lot of the signs that the Bible talks about are definitely being fulfilled today. And so, we have to realize that if God chose us to live in this time frame... Now hear me, you're not just kinda born accidentally and put into some time frame, somewhere in the world. You—your, God put you in a place, in a time frame, for a reason. And if you're here in this time frame, at this time, in world history, then you've got a job to do. It's not all up to the people standing up here. Matter of fact, most of the people who need help, are not gonna come in here. They're gonna be out there where you're at.
And so, our job is to train you up, that you might go out and do the work of the ministry. I'm gonna say that again. The five-fold ministry is called to train you up, that you might go out and do the work of the ministry. And this is not a time to just come to church and admire the person on the platform. This is a time to get everything you possibly can, and make sure that you're ready to take what you hear and go out in the world and use it. Amen?
In Matthew 24, there's signs of the end times. And one of the things it says is that deception is going to be great. Matter fact, it's gonna be so great that "If God did not shorten the days for the sake of the very elect, that no man could stand the deception that's coming on the world". Do you pray on even a semi-regular basis that God will protect you from deception, that you will not be deceived? Do you pray that? If you don't pray that I wanna encourage you to pray that every day. Because to think that you can't be deceived is deception itself. Amen? I wanna tell you a couple stories that will hopefully get my point across.
I know a man whose wife decided that she wants a divorce. And so, he knows another man who was getting a divorce. And this man has an apartment, and he had a lease on the apartment. But he didn't really want to keep the apartment because even though he's still married to his wife, he's living with his girlfriend. So, he wanted to sublease his apartment. You're laughing and you haven't even heard the crazy part yet? But it's good to hear somebody laugh, thank you. And so he suggested to my friend that they fast one day a week for one of the Fruit of the Spirit. You're not getting it. He's married. He's living with his girlfriend. And he thinks they should fast one day a week, for the Fruit of the Spirit. I'm like, "Have you lost your mind"? God says he wants obedience and not sacrifice. Amen?
And I do think a lot of times people don't do what God tells them to do. But then they'll do some other "Religious work," to try to make up for the thing that God told 'em to do that they didn't do. Isaiah talked about this in Isaiah 58. The people said, "Why have we fasted, and you haven't seen it? Why have you not noticed our fasting"? And God comes back and says, "Well, on the day of your fasting you do as you please. You mistreat your workers. You quarrel and you have strife. And you mistreat one another". So he's basically saying there that if your behavior is going to be ungodly, then forget the fasting.
Now, I'm not talking to any of you, this is just for your pathetically, compromising friends. Not for you. But just in case you would get tempted, I really want everybody to take this to heart tonight. Because there is such a pull out in the world, to pull people into that gray area. That blurry area. I don't think anybody should ever have to ask us if we're a Christian. I think they should not be around us, more than five or ten minutes and they'll know. And not because we're preaching to 'em. And not because we've got on a certain kind of Jewelry. Or we've got a bumper sticker on our car but there should be something about us, which of course is Jesus and the Holy Spirit on our lives, that comes through our behavior.
There's nothing more important than how we behave. It's more important than how often you go to church. It's more important than how often you fast. It's more important than how much of the Bible you've got underlined. Come on, we get our Bibles out and I've been using this one a couple of years, so it's really marked up good. Stars and underlines and yellow and pink, and oh my goodness. And we can look at that sometimes and think we are so spiritual. Or sometimes the pastor says, "Open to such and such". And boy, if we've got that underlined. Come on, you know, that there's a little puff in the flesh. It's like, and we kinda scoot it over a little bit and hope the person next to us sees how much we know.
But you know what? We don't know anything unless we're doing it. We don't know anything unless we're doing it. And I'd like to even add, it's not even are we doing it in front of our Christian friends at church on Sunday? You could probably cross that one off too. It's, are we doing it behind closed doors at home? Come on. See, I learned a long time ago that God sees everything I do, and the thing that is very important to me, is that I live my life before God. And that I want my reputation with him to be good, and that my reputation with him is much more important than my reputation with people. See, sometimes we can do what's right if the right person is watching us that we want to impress. But what do we do when nobody is watching? Hmm... Well, anyway.
Another story, a girl called our offices, this has probably been a year ago. Sweet, sweet, sounded like a young girl. She maybe hadn't even been saved that long. And at least, I hope she hadn't been, because that would make it even worse. And I'm kinda hopin' that she didn't even go to a church, 'cuz if she did it had to be a really bad one. She said, "Some of my Christian friends, my Christian friends are doing things that are against the law, they're breaking the law, but they're really being blessed, and so, they said that God's grace is covering 'em". Telling the honest truth. "Is that true"? She wanted us to tell her if that was true. I mean, now, why would you even need to make that phone call? Like I said, I'm believin' she was maybe only saved a week and wasn't in a church yet.
But you know what? If people don't get this kind of stuff from the pulpits, where in the world are they gonna get it? They're not gonna get it on television, they're not gonna get it on the internet. They're not gonna get it on the news. They can't be guaranteed they're gonna get it from their Christian friends. And I love to encourage people and tell you how much God loves you and how he wants to prosper you. But Paul told Timothy to, "Urge, encourage, warn and rebuke with his teaching". Not just encourage. But to also warn and rebuke. So, you know, I would've rather come here tonight and just taught some funny message. I got some really funny stuff. I mean, I coulda had everybody just rolling in the aisles. But I knew that this was what God wanted me to bring to you tonight, because I really want to keep you out of trouble in the future, and trouble is coming. It took the devil three chapters in Genesis to deceive Eve.
So, I wonder after all these years he's had to work, what kind of deception is going on today? The devil is alive and well on planet earth. Revelation 12:9, "The great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him". And so, he's here. But we have authority over him. But it's not gonna do any good to try to cast out devils, if you don't even have authority over a sink full of dirty dishes yet. You say, "Huh"? If you're not even taking care of what belongs to you, and your whole life behind closed doors at home is a mess, your finances are a mess, your car is a mess, everything's a mess: it starts at home. It starts with the basic foundation, with getting along with the people in your house. I can't fight with Dave all day and then come up here and preach. Well, I could but it wouldn't be very anointed. Deception means to believe a lie.
If you look it up in the Vines Greek dictionary, it means, "To cheat, deceive, beguile, that which gives a false impression whether by appearance, statement or influence. It's crafty, it's bait, it's a snare. It's a wandering from the right path". It's when we believe that good is evil and evil is good, that right is wrong and wrong is right. And boy, we got some of that goin' on in the world. Amen? You know, we don't even really like to call sin, "Sin". We call it "Our problem, our mistake, our addiction, our bondage, our weakness". And sometimes even, "Our disease". But we don't like to say we sinned. But that's what God calls it. "Oh, did you hear so and so fell into adultery"? You don't fall into adultery. I mean, it's not like you're just walkin' along and oops, you fall into adultery, I mean there had to be a lot of other stuff that went on before that, and it starts with little stuff. And people that are wise, people who have prayed, "God, please don't let me get deceived".
I mean, you know the instant that the devil's trying to start somethin'. I had a man at our church one time, a good friend of Dave's. He said to me one night in the back of the church. He said, "I just wish my wife was as pretty as you are". I went straight and told my husband, and if he would've ever said anything like that to me again, Dave woulda went and talked to him. But that's how stuff gets started. Now, like I said, I know this is not for you, so don't get mad at me, I know it's not for you. Isaiah 5:20, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil: who put darkness for light, and light for darkness: who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter"! I'm not real sure what "Woe" is, but I know I don't want any of it. Society today is lacking in integrity. Matter fact, you can ask a lot of young people, "What is integrity? What's the definition"? They don't even know. They don't even know what it is. Integrity means you say what you're gonna do and you do what you said. It means that you're honest.
How many of you have had the wonderful experience of having a repairman scheduled? See, you already know where I'm goin'. You took off work to be there for the appointment. He's supposed to be there at one o'clock, he doesn't come. He doesn't call. "Oh, I'm sorry, I just got busy". That kind of stuff goes on all the time. We're at a point in our society, where it's very difficult to really depend on people's word. But listen, we have to set the example. That's what I'm saying. We have a job to do. Tonight, I'm calling every one of you into ministry. I mean, into full-time ministry. And I'm charging you with the job of going out in the world and being salt and light. Salt means you got some flavor to your life. There's something there that somebody wants. "I wanna be like that. That person's got something I want". If you tell somebody you're gonna call them back, call them back. "Oh, I'll call you sometime and we'll have lunch". You don't even like 'em. You don't intend to have lunch with 'em. It was just something to say, "Oh, I'll call you sometime and we'll have lunch".
I usually come here once a year, so I can say whatever I want to. Do you know how many Christians are mad at somebody else? More than are not. And you may have come here tonight with somebody you're mad at. And yet we know full well what the Bible says about forgiveness. Unforgiveness is the biggest door that we give the devil, open door. He gains more ground through unforgiveness than through anything else. We have to become experts at forgiving and not being easily offended and touchy. And there's so much of that out in the world. "Well, what you said wasn't politically correct and it offended me". Well, the Bible says, "Don't take offense". It's not just a matter of, "You offended me," the Bible says, "Don't take offense". Just because somebody tries to give you some, doesn't mean you have to take it, amen?
Oh, get so good at forgiving that you make the devil so mad, he can hardly stand it. God is long-suffering and merciful. He patiently tries to draw people out of sin into his forgiveness and holiness. But, the day will come when he will not merely put up with what is taking place in the world, and God will deal with this mess. And we wanna make sure that we are on the right side of it. The side of fighting against it and being an example. I'll tell you what, you can preach a sermon and not open your mouth. And you don't have to act weird like you live on some planet called "Christian planet". You don't have to be hyper-religious: you can be in the world and not be worldly. You can be friendly with unbelievers to a certain point, we can't all stay away from all the unbelievers, otherwise nobody's ever gonna get brought into the kingdom. But you do have to make sure that you're influencing them and they're not infecting you.