Joyce Meyer - How to Live a Godly Life - Part 4
Well, thank you for joining me today on "Enjoying Everyday Life," where I share the Word of God and I believe it has the power in it to change your life. Right now, we're talking about "How To Be Godly In An Ungodly World," because we, as Christians, as children of God, live in a world that is becoming more and more ungodly all the time. The moral values that we were accustomed to seeing are on a downhill slide. And to be honest, the line between who is a believer in Christ and who isn't is becoming more and more blurred. So, we need to be very careful, as believers in Christ, that we behave the way that we ought to according to the Word of God. It's not good enough just to say you go to church. We need to have certain behavior that people can recognize, as behavior that would be Christ-like.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are God's ambassadors and that he is making his appeal to the world through us. I love that. Wow. To me, that's just such a powerful statement. Every one of us are in ministry. We're living in the last days, or very close to the last days, because we can read the Bible and see the signs of end times. Matthew 24 is a chapter that, if you're not familiar with, it would be good to read. It talks about different signs of the end times. And there's wars and rumors of wars, and earthquakes, and famines in diverse places, and the love of the great body will go cold and people will be easily offended and on and on. But one of the things that it says is a sign of the end time, is that deception will become greater. It actually, says in one place that if God did not shorten the days for the sake of the very elect, so if he didn't shorten the days for even the strongest, most committed Christian, no man would be able to stand the deception that is coming on the world.
So, if you think that you cannot be deceived then that is deception in itself. Do you ever pray that God will protect you from deception, or that you will recognize when Satan is trying to deceive you, that you will recognize when Satan is lying to you? That's something I think we need to make a regular prayer in our life. "God, please help me not to be deceived. Help me recognize when Satan is trying to tempt me to compromise and go in a wrong direction". And so, we started just a little bit yesterday, talking about compromise, and how even Jesus was tempted to compromise. The devil said to him, during a 40-day period when he was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, one of the temptations Satan said, "If you'll bow down and worship me, just once, I'll give you all the kingdoms of the world and all the things that are in them".
And of course, Jesus resisted that temptation. And he said, "It is written, 'you shall serve the Lord, God, and him only, shall you serve'". And we need to know the word, and when the devil lies to us, we need to be also ready to say, "It is written". Gotta be careful about the "Just once" lie or, "It's just a little bit," lie. The word compromise means to go just a little bit below what you know to be right. You know, sometimes, we act like we're dumb and we don't really know. But we know. You know. You can tell inside, when something is not right. At least, most of you can. If you have no knowledge of the Word of God, it may be harder for you. But the more you understand of God's word, the more that word will rise up and convict you when you try to do something that you shouldn't be doing. Compromise means to know what is right to do, but not to do it. Well, James talked about that. James 4:17, it says, "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin".
So, there are sins of commission, sins that we commit. But then, there are also sins of omission like, things that... God doesn't just tell us in his word, things not to do. He also, tells us things to do. Like, for example, the Bible says, help the poor. Well, if I know somebody that's in need, and I have the means to be able to help them, and I just don't wanna do it because I'm selfish, then that's sin. And a lot of times, I don't think we think enough about the sins of omission. It's not just are you doing a lot of the wrong thing, but are you doing enough of the right thing? I don't believe you can be a Christian, and not want to help people. But Satan will try to tempt you not to do it. He'll tell you, "They don't deserve your help". Well, we don't deserve God's help either, but he helps us.
Compromising to settle differences in relationships is not always a bad thing. Unless doing so causes us to sin. Then we have to take a stand for what is right. And you have to stand up for what's right. Because if you stand for nothing, you'll fall for everything, or anything. So, let's just use a made-up example. Let's say, a woman really wants her husband to go to church with her, but he just won't. And he finally says, "Well, okay, I'll go to church with you on Sunday, if you'll go out on Friday night and get drunk with me". Well, obviously, she can't make that kind of compromise. She has to say, "No, I'm not gonna do that". Why? Because that's wrong, according to the Word of God. But let's just take another way that it might work. Let's just say that he says, "Well, you want me to go to church with you, but you won't ever go fishing with me". And she says, "Well, you always go on Sunday and I go to church on Sunday". And he says, "Well, Sunday's the only day I'm off. That's the only time that I can go". Now, a good compromise, might be for her to say, "Well, I'll miss church this Sunday to go fishing with you, if you'll go to the Wednesday night church service with me".
Now, you see, that would be a good compromise, 'cuz there's no law that says you have to go to church every Sunday. We wanna do that. We wanna be regular. We wanna be committed. But in this particular instance, it might be better. He might end up giving his life to Christ, if she would be willing to be, a little bit more like, "Well, okay". You know? And so, maybe he says, "Okay, you go fishing with me Sunday, I'll go to church with you on Wednesday night". Well, what if he hears something on Wednesday night, that causes him to give his life to Christ? We need to be led by the spirit in these things. Compromise usually means that you get a little bit of what you want, and the other party gets a little bit of what they want. But nobody gets everything they want. However, we can't compromise with the devil. We can't give him a little bit of what he wants. And then give God a little bit of what he wants.
We have to always put God first. Always put God first. Always obey, God, and you can't compromise and do that. Jesus told the disciples that "A little leaven leavens the whole lump". So, really, what he was saying was a little compromise can ruin the whole deal. I'm not, you know, some great chef or cook, but I know if I had a little piece of dough up here, and I put leaven in it, covered it up. I think it has to be covered up with a cloth in the dark, I could leave it like that, come back tomorrow, and that little thing would be now, a big thing. So, that's what he's trying to say. Just a little bit of leaven can leaven the whole lump. Now, in this particular instance, he was talking about legalism versus grace, because he was dealing with Israelites, who had been under the law. Now, Jesus has come. He's paid for sin. Died on the cross. Rose from the dead. And Paul is teaching people about grace. But some of the Christians, the Jews who had become Christians, they were having a hard time letting go of all that legalism.
So, Satan would constantly try to tempt them to compromise and add a little bit of legalism to a little bit of grace and hope that worked. Jesus wanted his disciples to beware of these little bits of things that we think don't make any difference. Anytime, we're making progress, Satan will tempt us to compromise. Do you know that? He'll always try to derail you. He'll always try to get you to lose your focus. You can just count on it. When you're making progress in your walk with God, the enemy will attack you in some way.
You know,I'm writing a book right now called "How To Love People That Are Hard To Love". Well, you know, I'm writing on not being selfish. And guess what? I got tested big time. Right in the middle of me, writing on love and forgiving people, Dave and I had an argument, and we rarely ever argue anymore. You know, after 54 years, you give up the arguing, because you've already done all that, been there, done that. Don't wanna do that anymore. But we had probably, one of the worst arguments we've had in a long time. And I'm going, "What is going on"? Well, "Duh, Joyce, you're writing a book on loving people that are hard to love". Well, that particular day, as kind, and wonderful, and good, as Dave is, it was a little bit harder for me to love him that day. I don't know why we're so shocked when we try to do something good.
The Bible says, Paul said, "When I try to do good, evil always comes". And that's the way it's always gonna be. Don't be surprised if you plan to go to church on Sunday, you're trying to be real regular now and going to church, I mean, something's going to happen every week that's gonna try to keep you home. You try to pray in the morning, on a regular basis, and I can tell you what, that phone's gonna ring, everybody's gonna have an emergency, your kids are gonna need something that they usually don't need. You're gonna have to be really determined and really committed in order to follow through, with what you really think God wants you to do.
You know, there was a time when Peter was compromising, the apostle, Peter. And Paul confronted him. Galatians 2:11-14 it says "When Cephas", which meant Peter, "Came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before 'certain' men", you know we're like that sometimes. We'll act one way with "Certain" people. And another way with other people. "For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the gentiles". See, now, Jesus and said, "There's no more Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free: but we're all one in Christ". Prior to Christ, under the old covenant, the Jews would have absolutely nothing to do with gentiles. They were like, "No, no, you don't do anything with gentiles". Especially, "Don't eat with them, you have nothing to do with them".
Well, now, that's all over. We're living under the new covenant, Jesus fulfilled, the law. Not living under the law anymore. Now, we're leaving led by the Holy Spirit. I love it. Still gonna live holy lives, but we're not gonna do it by following a bunch of rules and regulations we're gonna follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, and he's gonna lead us in the right way to live. So, before certain people came, Peter would eat with the gentiles. But when these certain people arrived, "He began to draw back and separate himself from the gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group".
See, everything under the old covenant was about circumcision. Males had to be circumcised when they were eight days old. And boy, if you've never been circumcised then you were out. You were the wrong kind of Jew. So, even under the new covenant, there were certain Jewish people who had become Christians that were trying to say, "Yes, yes, we believe in salvation by grace, but you still need to be circumcised," which was not the case. And so, Peter had been living fully according to the new covenant, but when certain people, I guess people that he wanted to be in favor with, came along, they believed in this thing about still being circumcised. And so, he joined them in their hypocrisy. Even to the point that Barnabas was led away.
I want you to understand that, you have influence. I have influence. You know, if I start doing a little bit of this wrong and a little bit of that wrong, other people who like me and respect me, could look at me and think, "Well, if that's okay for Joyce, then I guess it's okay for me". You have influence, and you need to represent Christ in the right way. You're an ambassador for God. And what you do matters, how you behave matters. I hope this is helping somebody. So, Paul said, "When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, 'you're a Jew, yet you live like a gentle, not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force gentiles to follow Jewish customs'"? But see, he only behaved that way in front of certain people. Hmm...
Well, you know, perhaps we should confront each other a little bit more in love. Do it in a kind humble way. I mean, let's just even say that you know a Christian that does nothing but murmur and grumble all the time. They're not thankful, they're not grateful, they complain about their job, they complain about their neighbors. They're always murmuring and grumbling. Well, you know, it wouldn't be wrong for you, in a loving way, to say, "You know, you probably, don't even realize you're doing this. You know, you've fallen into a habit, but, you know, you just complain a lot". And you know, the Bible says that when we complain, we open up the door for the devil. That we shouldn't give him that kind of open door in our life. You know, sometimes, we need to be confronted.
Part of the argument, I told you, Dave and I had, was he confronted me about some stuff. Well, I didn't like it, and I thought he was a little bit too rough. But praise God, we believe in forgiveness. So, of course, I forgave him. And after having my feelings hurt for a couple of days, then I got around to asking God if he was right. You know, sometimes, when people confront us about something, we need to not just get aggravated at them, we need to ask God were they right? Because, sometimes... Matter of fact, a lot of times, God uses people to confront other people about their sin. These people were compromising on the principle of faith, in Christ, rather than the works of the law.
You know, today, there's a lot of compromise. Politicians compromise in order to get votes. Even if it means they don't do what they promise to people they would do who voted for 'em in the last election. You know, when you vote for somebody, you need to hold them accountable to do what they said they would do. And if they don't do what they said they would do, then the next time you should not vote for them again. Christians, sometimes, compromise their moral standard at work in order to get promoted on their job. Hmm... The boss wants you to do something that isn't right, you don't want to do it. You know it's wrong, but you know that if you don't do it, you won't probably get promoted.
Well, you know, true promotion comes from God, it doesn't come from man. What kind of compromises, moral compromises do people make, to be famous and to have money. Sometimes, Christians compromise to avoid being rejected by their peers. It's challenging for young people. You know, they say, "They," whoever they are. You know, the experts, the people that know everything. They say, we've heard that 70% of Christian young people, who go into college, or that of all the Christian young people that go into college, 70% lose her faith while they're in there. That's terrible. And you know why a lot of that is? They wanna be part of the group. It's human nature to want to be accepted. And especially, at that age, you want to be accepted. So many of them begin to compromise, just a little. You know, it's just a little. And then, one leads to another, another leads to another.
I was teaching somewhere, the other day, and I said, "You know, we hear the statement: 'well, he fell into adultery'". Well, you know what? You don't fall into adultery. You walk into it. And it's a little this, a little that, a little flirting. A little talking about how unhappy you are with your marriage at home. A little bit of the wrong kind of comfort coming from a person, you've got no business getting comfort from. And then it's a lunch, and then it's something else. We don't fall into these things. We don't just, all of a sudden, we're not just walking along and all of a sudden, we just fall into this. We need to be aware of the little compromises, because "It's the little foxes that spoil the vine".
You know, Paul said, in Galatians 1:10, that if he would have been trying to have the approval of people that he would never have become an apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I wonder how many people missed the calling on their life because they choose to be popular with people, rather than to follow God. I had to stand firm in the beginning of when God called me into ministry. It was hard. It was painful. It hurt. I was lonely. But oh, I'm so glad that I didn't compromise, and do what the people wanted, because if I would have, I wouldn't be standing here today.
Saul was a king, who lost his opportunity to be king, partially, because he didn't want to lose the people. God, or Samuel told him not to make the evening sacrifices till he came. But it started getting late in the evening, and Samuel hadn't showed up yet. And the Bible says that "The people began to scatter. So, Saul went ahead and did what he was told not to do". You know, greed can also cause compromise. Wanting something at any cost. You know, lust is not just about sex. You can lust after a new house. You can lust after a new car. You can get to wanting something so bad you can lust after a position at work. You can start wanting something so bad, you'll do anything to get it. And boy, when you want something too much, then the devil can offer it to you with a compromise, like he did to Jesus. "If you'll bow down and worship me, just once, I'll give you all these kingdoms and everything the world has to offer".
Well, you know what? I like nice things like anybody else does, but I don't want 'em without God. Because no matter how many nice things you have, if you don't have God in your life, and you're not gonna have any peace, you're not gonna have any joy. You know, there's no point in being jealous of unbelievers that have more than you do, because they may have more things, but they don't really have more than you do, because they don't have God. And if you have God in your life, if you have Jesus in your life, then you have everything that you need. Greed will cause us to compromise.
We often pay a high price for a cheap thrill. And finally, let me say today, that laziness will cause you to compromise. Just being lazy: not doing the right thing because you don't feel like doing it. You don't feel like putting forth that effort, so you just don't do it. "Well, I know I should do this but, I know I shouldn't do this but". There was a time in our society when people did what was right because they believed it was their duty. They didn't do it because they felt like it or didn't feel like it. They just did it because it was the right thing to do. And I really want to see all of us come up higher, myself included.
I'm always inviting God to deal with me. To chastise me and to convince me to come up higher. So, today, we're offering you the full series, "How To Be Godly In An Ungodly World". And I'll say the same thing that I said yesterday. The only people that are gonna buy this are people that are really serious about living the way God wants them to live. This is not something that somebody's gonna buy if you just wanna go to church and just have a little bit of insurance that you're not gonna go to hell. This is for people that want to be a good ambassador of Jesus Christ. So, I'm challenging you to get this. And along with it, we're gonna send, "Closer To God Each Day," a devotion for every day on how to be closer to God. And I believe that, that's something that you want. Now, thank you for being with me today. I appreciate your time, and I hope you'll join me again tomorrow, when I bring the final message to this series. Thank you.