Joyce Meyer - How to Live a Godly Life - Part 5
Well, thank you for joining me today on "Enjoying Everyday Life" where I teach the Word of God, every day, and I really pray that I'm led by the Holy Spirit in what you need to hear. And also, the good news is, is I get to hear myself, so I learn and grow at the same time you are. I've been doing some teaching on "How To Be Godly In An Ungodly World". It's a series that I thought 12 years ago, but I really felt like I needed to get it out and dust it off and preach it again because we are definitely living in the midst of more and more ungodliness all the time. And yet, we, as believers in Christ, as children of God, are called to be in the world but not of it. Jesus didn't want to take us out of the world. He wanted us to be here and represent him. He said, we are salt and light.
You know, the only thing that gets rid of darkness is light, and salt gives flavor to food. So, if you're the salt of the earth, that means that people should look at you, and say, "Man, you give flavor everything. The way you live your life just makes everything better". We're ambassadors of God. He's making his appeal to the world through us. So, we finished up yesterday, talking about compromise, and how we have to be so careful about compromise because it's one of the signs of the end times. Satan works incessantly trying to get us to compromise. And today, I wanna talk to you about pursuing holiness. Wonder how long it's been since you've heard a good sermon on holiness. I hope it hasn't been too long. Because I hope your pastors and teachers are teaching you what Jesus said about living a holy life. Not legalistic, but holiness. We are made holy by the blood of Jesus. So, every child of God is holy.
You say, "Well, wait a minute. I know a lot of Christians that sure don't act holy". Well, you see, you are a spirit, you have a soul, you live in a body. And there's a lot of great things that you have in your spirit that nobody can see yet through your body because you're not surrendering your soul to Jesus. There's Christian Christians and carnal Christians are people that they do believe in Christ, they've accepted him as the only sacrifice for their sin, but they're still living in and walking according to the flesh. And, to be honest, that's how we all start out. But we're not supposed to stay where we started out. God will meet you where you're at, but he loves you too much to leave you where he found you. And we're not gonna get in trouble, when Jesus comes back, if we're not perfected, yet. Matter of fact, none of us will be, but God does expect us to be making progress.
Look at your life, and ask yourself, have a meeting with yourself, and ask yourself: "Am I making progress"? You know, I don't believe that anybody can be truly born again, and see no change whatsoever in their behavior. My father did not receive Christ until he was 83, sadly. I'm glad he received him before he died, because he died when he was 86. But he was one of the meanest people you would ever want to meet, and had an absolutely filthy mouth. I mean, he just every kind of bad cuss word that anybody could use, I grew up hearing it. And I hate bad language. I just hate it. And you know, after he received Christ as his Savior, I don't think I ever heard the man use a curse word after that. Wow. I saw a change. Now, he didn't have much time to grow as a Christian, but he became much sweeter, much kinder, more thankful. I think if, you say you're a Christian and you turned your life over to God, and there's no change, then, something's wrong. Maybe you need to go back to first base and have a chat with God, about some things.
Well, when Jesus comes to live in us, through the Holy Spirit, he brings everything with him. Like, you have the Fruit of the Spirit in you. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, all those things are in you, in your spirit. They're in there in little seed-like form. And if you water them with the Word of God, let the sun of righteousness shine on you, spend time with God, water the seed with the water of the word, they'll grow. And pretty soon, your mind will be renewed. You're gonna want, what God wants. Your will be changed, and you won't be living by how you feel, you'll be living according to the Word of God. So, as soon as, that soulish part of you: your mind, your will, and your emotions, begins to come under the leadership of of your spirit, then people can begin to see Jesus shine through your body. And that's what they need. You know, we can say, "My heart's right," till the cows come home. But people can't see your heart. God can. But people can't. They can only see your behavior.
And a couple days ago, we talked about how important it is to have godly behavior. So, we're gonna talk about holiness. Hebrews 10 verse 10: "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all". Now, he said, "We have been made holy". Well, if you have been then you are. Three verses down in verse 14, it says something that could be confusing if you don't really understand how this works. "For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy". So, in verse 10 it says, "You have been made holy". Now, verse 14 says, "You are being made holy". Well, this is exactly what I'm talking about, about what you have in your spirit. The Holy Spirit is called the Holy Spirit because he's holy. And so, when the Holy Spirit comes to live in you, he brings holiness with him. So, you're holy. In your spirit, you've been made holy. But yet, at the same time you are being made holy through the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in you. It's called sanctification. We are sanctified by the spirit, which means, made holy.
You see, God has given us righteousness through faith. It's been imputed to us, given to us, but yet, we don't do everything right. But, we do things a little more right all the time. I'm certainly behaving better than I was five years ago. My gosh, if I look back 40 years, whew, I'm like a totally different person, wouldn't even recognize myself. Sometimes you're growing in such little increments that you don't notice it. But if you look back at how you were, I always say, "Well, I'm not where I need to be, but thank God, I'm not where I used to be. I'm on my way". Amen. And I hope you can all say the same thing. So, we are made holy to be obedient to Jesus Christ. God would never expect you to be holy, if he had not given you holiness. He would never expect you to act right, if he hadn't given you righteousness. Jesus said, "My peace, I leave with you".
So, we have peace. It's one of the Fruit of the Spirit. God would never require you to walk in peace, in the world, if you didn't have any peace in you. You can't give away what you don't have. Oh, I wish everybody understood this. Because, so often, we go to church and we hear, "You needed to do this, you should do that, you shouldn't do that". And then we go home, and we try. But if you don't really know who you are in Christ, that has to be the foundation of everything. "Who I am in Christ? What has Jesus done on the inside of me"? And when I begin to believe that I have those things, that God says I have, even if I'm not acting like it yet, but I begin to believe it, then I will produce what I believe. You become what you believe.
1 Peter 1:2 says, "You have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and you've been sprinkled with his blood: grace and peace be yours in abundance". So, God has predetermined that he wants us to live holy lives. Now, that doesn't mean that it's just gonna happen, but that's his will for us. And he doesn't expect us to do it by our self. He gave us his Holy Spirit to come and live with us, to never leave us, nor forsake us. And he is our teacher, he teaches us truth. He is our strengthener. He is our helper. He convicts us of sin and convinces us of righteousness. My goodness, what a wonderful ministry the Holy Spirit has in our lives. We should be so thankful for the Holy Spirit. God never asks us to do something without giving us what we need to do it.
1 Peter, 1:14-16, "As obedient children, don't conform to the evil desires you had when you were living in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all that you do: for it is written: 'be holy, for I am holy'". Now, you know, that scripture used to just scare me because I'd say, like, it's going, "Be holy". And I knew that I was lacking in so many areas of my life. But the Amplified Bible, which amplifies some of the original language, says in parentheses after, "Be holy for I am holy," it says, that it's, "Growing in spiritual maturity". So, we're made holy, but Philippians 2:14 says, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". Well, the Bible already, says that were saved by grace not by works. So, it doesn't say, "Work for your salvation". It says, "Work out your salvation". Same thing I started talking about. You've got it in you. You do, you've got it, you have got it, but maybe, the world's not seeing it yet. I always say, "When you're born again, if you're bald, you don't grow hair on your head".
You know, when you're born again, if you're overweight, you don't suddenly lose 50 pounds, and all of a sudden, overnight, you're the perfect weight for you. God's there to help us, he's not there to do everything for us. So, you set your goal to live a holy life because that's what God wants you to do. Now, listen to this. "Pursue holiness", uh-oh. Pursue means to chase after, go after, with all you've got. "Pursue holiness without which no one will ever see the Lord". Oh, my goodness. Uh-oh. That's Hebrews 12:14, it says, "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy: without holiness no one will see the Lord". I was thinking, this morning, why are peace and holiness put there, together? "Make every effort to live in peace, and pursue holiness". You know why I think peace needs to be there? Because if we're all upset, all the time, and stirred up, and in a turmoil, and frustrated, we can't hear from God. I'm not gonna have any sensitivity in my spirit, to know when the Holy Spirit's convicting me, "No, Joyce, don't do that," or, "Yes, Joyce, you should do this".
So, if we wanna hear from God, it's very important that we learn how to live in peace. That's one of the reasons why the Bible tells us not to stay angry. Don't let the sun go down on your anger, and forgive people quickly, and fully, and completely, like God forgives us. Don't be easily offended. We don't need to be upset about all this stuff. Because the more upset you are, the less you're gonna be able to be led by the Holy Spirit. Please understand that. You cannot hear from God, if you're in a turmoil all the time. And we need to be able to hear from God. I was watching a movie the other night. It had a Christian basis to it. And I like what this girl said. Somebody was saying to her, "Well, how do you know what's right or wrong"? She said, "Well, if it's right, everything is quiet inside. If it's wrong, I have all these flutters".
And I thought that was a cute way of putting it. It's like, our conscience is a function of our spirit. And your conscience, you'll have peace if what you're doing is right, and if it's not right, then you won't have peace. And boy, we need to pay attention to that. "Making every effort," there's an effort to being a victorious Christian. "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy: without this holiness no one will ever see the Lord". Now, let me clarify something, before somebody gets upset. This doesn't say that "If you haven't arrived at holiness, you won't see the Lord". It says, "If you're not pursuing holiness, you won't see the Lord". And if you love Jesus, nobody should have to beat you over the head with that sermon. It should be something like, "Oh, my gosh, I'm so glad I heard that. I want to be obedient to Christ. I love him". Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey me".
But sometimes, people just don't know how to do it. And that's my job, as a teacher, is explaining some of these things to you, like I'm trying to do today. That you've got it in you, now, you work with the Holy Spirit to work, what's in you, out of you, so you're behaving properly, and that behavior can become a witness, to people in the world, and you can be a salty Christian, making them thirsty for what you have. I love it. I just absolutely love it. But what about salvation by grace, and not by works? Well, the book of Romans states that, "No man can be made righteous or right with God by works, but only by faith in Christ". So, what about that? Well, grace, justifies the sinner, but it never justifies sin. And that's where a lot of people, get all messed up about grace. They think that they can live any way they want to, and God's grace will cover them. No, no, no. Grace justifies the sinner, but it does not justify sin. We're made right with God, by the grace of God, we're saved by the grace of God, but then, we still work with the Holy Spirit to make an effort, by the grace that he continues to give us, to live the kind of life that says to people, "I am a child of God".
I don't wanna need a bumper sticker for somebody to know that I'm a Christian. I want them to be able to know that I'm a Christian, by the way I treat them, and by the way that I behave. And we don't always behave perfectly, but boy, if you mistreat somebody, as soon as you get convicted by the Holy Spirit that you did, you should go right back and say, "You know what? I was wrong in the way I acted. Would you please forgive me"? I don't think the world expects us to be perfect, but they do expect us to be real, and genuine, and honest. Paul said, "I don't take the grace of God in vain". We need the grace of God to help us in all these areas of life.
Now, you know, this is really very simple. "Faith without works is dead". I have faith that Jesus bore my sin. I believe that Jesus took all my sin. He absorbed all of our sin. He took it to the cross, and he killed the power of sin over you there, on the cross. He fulfilled the law. He was buried, and three days later, he rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God. Fifty days later, on the day of Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit and people were filled with, and baptized with the Holy Spirit. And a new power came into them. When you have the Holy Spirit in your life, you have the power to live the life of a believer. Wow. Maybe you can tell, I'm just a little bit excited today. James talked about this thing about, faith versus works. That's why, I say, if you have real faith, there has to be works. You can't just have real faith and not change.
Now, you know, before I started learning the Word of God, to be honest, I could mistreat people and not even know it. But I can't do that now, because I've learned so much of the word and I have the Holy Spirit in me that I know. Doesn't take very long, I know if my behavior's not right. James 2:14-20 says, "What good is it, brothers and sisters, if you claim to have faith but you have no deeds? Can faith alone, save you? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. And you say to them, 'well, go in peace: stay warm and well-fed'. But you do nothing about their physical needs, what good is it"? You know, we do this a lot. Somebody'll tell us they have a need, and we'll say, "Well, I'll pray for you". Well, God put on my heart, a few years back, he said, "Quit asking me to do things that you can do yourself and just don't want to".
Maybe, somebody, says to you, "You know, I'm really in trouble. I wasn't able to pay my rent this month because my child got sick, and", you know? Genuine, real need there. Galatians 6 says, "When opportunity comes to you, do good, especially to those of the household of faith". So, you say, "Well, I'll pray for you". So, you pray for God to give 'em the money to pay their rent. But you've got the money in the bank, you could pay their rent. Ew, now, don't turn the tv off. Well, sometimes, we're greedy, we're selfish. We don't wanna do it. We'd like for God to do it, but we don't wanna do it. In the same way, faith, by itself, if not accompanied by action is dead. Galatians 5:6 says, "Faith worketh by love". Love is what gives faith power. Knowing that God loves you, and letting that love flow through you to other people.
Now, somebody'll say, "Well, you have faith, and I have deeds. You show me your faith without deeds, and I'll show you my faith by my deeds". See, I can tell people, "I'm a Christian, I'm a Christian, I'm a Christian". But, you know, if you are a Christian, you'll produce Christian fruit, and really, you won't have to tell anybody. You know, an orange tree, or a peach tree, or whatever, doesn't shout, "I'm a peach tree, I'm a peach tree". I know it's a peach tree, it's got peaches. I know what a banana tree is because it has bananas. And if you have godly, Christian fruit, people will know that you're a child of God because of your behavior. Faith without works is dead. "You foolish person," he says, "Do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless"?
Now, the Bible tells us to stay away from works of the flesh, which is our energy trying to do God's job. But there's a difference in works of the flesh and the work of God. Jesus said, "I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do". And I love that. I want to finish the work that God gave me to do, but I don't want to live my life by my energy trying to do what only God can do. William law, who's already been dead for quite a while. He wrote some powerful stuff on holiness. "A serious call to a devout and a holy life," William law said, "Assurance to us, that he will be merciful to our unavoidable weaknesses and infirmities, that is to such failings, as are the effects of ignorance, or surprise. Yet, we have no reason to expect the same mercy toward those sins, which we have lived in, through a lack of intention to avoid them". Boy, I like that. He said, "Look, if you're ignorant, you don't know any better, God's gonna give you. But if you know better and just keep doing it anyway, now, that's a different story".
Well, you know, I'm almost out of time for today. So, I wanna let you know that we're offering you the entire album that this teaching came from. It's called, "How To Be Godly In An Ungodly World," four teachings on CD, and a book, a devotional, "Closer To God Each Day". Get these resources for yourself. These are for the serious Christian, the person who's really ready to grow up in God and get out there and represent Jesus, in a way that's gonna make other people hungry, for what you have. Don't delay. Be obedient to God. If you feel that God's wanting you to get these resources then give us a call, or get online, and order them right away. God bless you. Thank you for being with me today. Love you, love you, love you. Have a good day.