Joyce Meyer - Anger Management - Part 2
You know, this whole thing, we can see it get started in the book of Genesis when Cain killed Abel. And matter of fact, I want us to go look at it. It's in Genesis chapter 4. Abel's offering was acceptable to God, but Cain's was not. And I won't get into a teaching on all that. Cain tried to give something that was the work of his own hands, and so he wasn't really being obedient to God. And verse 5 says, "But for Cain and his offering he had no respect or regard". God said, "I had no respect for his offering". "So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed," which we might also add that a lot of these bad moods that people have is also the result of anger of some kind. "And the Lord said to Cain, 'why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected'"?
Now, I love this. "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door, it's desire is for you". And I like this too, "You," I drew a circle around it, "Must master it". So, don't blame somebody else. If you're not doing what's right, he's saying to him, then you can find forgiveness, things can be straightened out, but you have to face it. Just don't go around angry because your life is not turning out the way you want it to when you didn't do what you should have done to have gotten the right results. Now seriously, think about it. How many people in the world are bitter and angry about their circumstance? "Well, it would be nice if I would have been born with a golden spoon in my mouth like you were". People are angry and jealous of people who have more than they do, but they don't want to do what they did to get it, and that doesn't make any sense. Please, whether you're in this building or watching by TV, don't spend your life angry and bitter and indignant because you're not doing what you should do to get the circumstances that you'd like to have.
One of the big problems we have in our society today is this attitude that everybody owes me something. And nobody owes me or you anything. God sets before every person life and death. Choose life, that you and your descendants may live. And whatever you sow, that and that only is what you will reap. We could have about a month together probably to do this justice. And so, you know what happened? Cain did not control his anger. He got more angry, and more angry, and he ended up rising up and killing his brother. There's buried anger, where we stuff it inside of us, we deny it, especially as a Christian because we don't think we're supposed to be angry, even though we are, so the last thing we want to admit is that we are angry. And so, we put a smile on our face, and we pretend like everything is okay. And you heard me talk last night about how Dave and I would fight all the way to church, and then the first person we saw that was another Christian going to the church, we would just immediately like, "Oh, praise the Lord, thank you," you know.
How many of you have a church face? Come on, come on. We don't want anybody in the church to know that we got a problem. Only truth makes us free. Nothing but the truth makes us free. John 8:31 and 32, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free". But the truth has to be received and accepted. And I've been saying for years it's not me knowing what Dave is doing wrong that's going to set me free. It's me receiving truth from God for myself. And so, as you listen to these teachings tonight and tomorrow, or you watch them on television for the next few days, or if you're listening by CD or watching by DVD, we all have an opportunity to learn something about ourselves, and to pray and get with the Holy Spirit, and ask God to make some positive, healthy changes in our life.
How many of you would just as soon not spend one more day of your life angry and upset over something that happened 20, 30 years ago that you can't do anything about? Or, for that matter, something that happened this morning that you might as well get over because you're probably going to get over it in 2 or 3 days from now anyway. That was something the Lord taught me. I would get mad about things and, you know, stay mad for 2 or 3 days, and then I'd finally decide to get over it. And one time, he was dealing with me and he said, "Why don't you just go ahead and make that decision to get over that right now, and then you don't have to waste the next 3 days because you're going to get over it anyway"? Am I not telling the truth? And so, if I can get over it in 3 days, why can't I just decide... Everybody say "Decide". Say "Decide", that's a good word. You say, "But I feel"! Well, now you see, right there is where the problem is. I tell you what you do with those feelings. Tell God how you feel, just like the Psalmist David did. If you want to, write a nasty letter to somebody, but then tear it up before you give it to them. Get it out of your system, vent, tell God, "This is the way I feel, God. But because of your grace, and your mercy, and the power of the Holy Spirit in my life, I don't have to act on foolish, ridiculous feelings that are going to cause problems in my life and end up hurting me".
There's a lot of confusion over the emotion of anger. The world is not confused about it. They think it's the way to handle everything. But a lot of Christians are confused because they really feel like that as a godly individual, they should never have anger. Interestingly enough, the Bible says, "Be angry and sin not". So, how can I be angry and sin not? The way to be angry and sin not is to feel the anger, but not act on it. Instead, turn the problem, the situation, or the person over to God, and let him be your vindicator. And I'm sure there's some people in here tonight that you desperately need to do that. You look sweet, but surely I've got some angry people here. There must be some people here tonight who wandered in the door that have got some stuff going on inside you that is hurting you and hurting the people around you. See, when you're angry, you take it out on somebody. It comes out of you. Here's a good thing to do. Any time that we have any kind of an ungodly behavior, stop and ask God, "Where is that coming from"?
Ginger: Today, we have a candid conversation that is a wonderful compilation of some of the best things that Joyce has learned. And I love having this conversation. I think a lot of people will love listening in on this. Just with your spiritual experience, the top five things that you feel you have learned that have really helped you in this life, and this walk with Christ.
Joyce: Right. Well, there's a lot of things, certainly, more than five.
Ginger: I've got her teaching notes, so I've got a little, very helpful sheet here, with scriptures, and everything that goes along with it. But this is beautiful, it's seeking God's presence, first of all, rather than his presents, or what he can give to you. Just being with him.
Joyce: I think that we all start out in our walk with God because we need something.
Joyce: And we want God to do things for us. We want him to solve our problems, we want him to change our life. We want him to bring into our life, whoever we're gonna marry, or we want a better job, or something. And God lets that go, you know, for a long period of time. Because he wants to establish that he loves you, and he wants to take care of you, and that he is your father, and cares about your needs. But there comes a point, we reach the same point, with our own children, where you don't want your children just to always come to you because they want something. You want them to come because they just want to see you...
Joyce: Because they love you. And I came to a point, in my walk with God, where I came across, I'm sure I was led to, Psalm 27:4: "One thing have I asked of the Lord". Well, believe me, at that point, I was asking for a whole lot more than one thing. "One thing have I asked of the Lord and that will I seek after, that I might dwell in your presence and behold your beauty all the days of my life". And so, that was when God started teaching me and telling me, "I want you to seek me. Seek my presence, P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E, not my presents, P-R-E-S-E-N-T-S". And actually, God deals with everybody differently, but in my case, I felt like that the Lord challenged me, not to ask him for any "Thing," until he gave me permission to do so, again. To only ask for more of him. And so...
Ginger: How long did you do that? Do you remember?
Joyce: It was, it was quite a few months. I think it was about six months.
Joyce: And every time i, you know, we're in such a habit of asking God for things. And so, but when I would start to do that, it would almost like, stick my throat, and then, I'd have to say, "Never mind, God. I just need more of you". And to be honest, no matter how many things God gives us, they do not have the ability to keep us happy. Things have no ability to keep you happy. They can give you a little jolt of fun, for a little bit. But how long, after you get something new, does it take before...
Ginger: Oh, yeah. Not long at all.
Joyce: It's not that interesting anymore? So, there's so many people that are discontented and unhappy, and I think it's because we seek the wrong things. The Bible says, in Matthew 6:33: "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and his right way of being and doing, and then all of these other things will be added unto you".
Ginger: That's what I love. Because seeing the importance of this, when we really seek after knowing God, and spending intimate time with him, those other things that are also important, I mean, we're not always just talking about frivolous things. You know, we're talking about healing in our life. Or we're talking about something about a loved one, really important things. But even those things don't compare to knowing who God is and having that relationship as a child and a father.
Joyce: "Seek first the kingdom and the other things will be added". If you keep God first, then really, he wants you to have an abundance of everything that you need. And God even likes to give you things that you want, that you don't need, just like, we are with our children. I mean, I love to give my kids, hear one of 'em say, "I'd like to have this," and go get it for 'em. Well, God's the same way. And you know, he says, "If you delight yourself in me", in Psalm 37, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart". Well, I mean, I've had that happen in my life. I know you've had that happen. And it's just so important that people don't just seek God for what he can do for them, but for who he is. And so, that was really like, when I received Jesus, as my Savior, that was, of course, major. And when I received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, that was like a life-changer. But then, I would say the next really great spiritual breakthrough that I had, was when I learned to seek God, for who he was, not just for what he could do for me. And I do think that a lot of people, they don't have bad hearts, but they don't even realize that they just go to God when they need something. And he wants us to come to him because we love him. We love him for who he is, not just what he does for us.
Ginger: Yeah. So, that's the pinnacle. That's where you begin.
Joyce: That was one of the very important things. And then, another really, really, really important thing for me was, really learning how important it is that we completely forgive people that have offended or hurt us. And for me, I guess, it started with my parents, who had abused me. My dad sexually abused me, and my mother knew he was doing it, and didn't do anything about it. So, she abandoned me. She wasn't a bad person. She was just full of fear. She just was afraid of my dad, and she was afraid to confront it. And that doesn't make it right, but that's why she did it. And I had kinda sorta forgiven them, but not really.
Ginger: Kinda sorta. We've all been there.
Joyce: It's kinda like the, "I prayed the Christian prayer of, I forgive you". But I didn't really wanna be around them. My attitude about 'em was bad. It just, it wasn't good. And then, I reached a point in my life, where they were getting older, and had more needs, and didn't have money. And I really didn't mind giving 'em money, I just didn't want to have to deal with 'em. And God asked me to bring them close to where I lived and take care of them, or see that they were taken care of, until they died. I mean, I honestly, remember initially, I thought it was the devil, and I said, "There is no way God would ask me to do this. This is the devil". But it kept coming up, kept coming up. And you know, a lot of people wanna know how to hear from God, and there's a lot of different ways, but one of the things is, is if something just keeps coming to you, and keeps coming to you. And so, I ended up doing that. And it was expensive, and it was not easy.
Ginger: A sacrifice.
Joyce: Yeah, it was hard.
Ginger: Forgiveness is a sacrifice.
Joyce: But, I mean, really living it out.
Joyce: You know, because the Bible says that you forgive, you pray for your enemies, and you bless those who have hurt you. And so, it's not just saying, "I forgive you," but praying. And you know, it's really hard to stay mad at somebody that you're praying for. And so, you know, we think, "Well, don't wanna pray for you to be blessed. I don't want you to be blessed". But it's not like if you pray for somebody be blessed, God's gonna give 'em a new car. One of the first things, he's probably gonna bless them with is some truth about their behavior. And so, we pray for our enemies be blessed, and we let God decide how the blessing goes. And then, "To bless and not curse them". And that actually, means to speak well of instead of speaking evil of. But bless also, to me, means to meet needs. And they had a lot of needs, they didn't have any money, they had poor health. They needed somebody to get their groceries. They needed somebody cut their grass. They needed somebody to clean their house. And so, they were very needy. And I also, had a brother, who is no longer with us. I believe he's in heaven, but he had always had a drug and alcohol problem. And he had received the Lord, and he got his life straightened out for a while, but he ended up going right back into the same thing, all the time. And so, I took care of him. I had a widowed aunt, who had no children, had to take care of her. And so, to be honest, I just felt like my family was such a mess and I just got really tired of just being the only adult, in the whole family, and having the responsibility of taking care of all these people, all the time. But I had to learn to do it with a good attitude. I'm not gonna say that I enjoyed it, but I don't imagine Jesus enjoyed going to the cross. And I can say that I do believe that, that was probably the single, most powerful thing, I ever did that really did damage to the kingdom of darkness, and released the fullness of what God had for me, in the ministry. And it concerns me, Ginger, because there's so many people that are mad at somebody. I mean, anywhere you go, anywhere, I go and preach, and I ask how many of you are mad at somebody, right now. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen less than seventy or eighty percent of the hands, go up. And so, it's no wonder that the church is not making much of an impression on the world. And so, I would just say to anybody, watching today, study it and study it, and study it, and pray about it. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you. And I mean, get really, really, really good at forgiving, like, do it quick.
Ginger: It is a hard thing. And it's one of those really key factors, like you said, in moving forward and not being held back in where we were. The third point that you say is, "The importance of generosity".
Joyce: Right. I think that, to me, generosity is, well, for me, it's about the only way I can stay happy. You know, because if I'm not doing things for other people, I'm tempted to have myself on my mind all the time. And...
Ginger: Aren't we all. It's just how we're made.
Joyce: Yeah, and you just can't be happy and selfish at the same time. And there is a spirit of greed. The Bible talks a lot about, beware of greed. And greed is just always crying out, "More, more, more". It's never satisfied. And, to me, the best way to fight greed, and to keep it out of your life, is to be generous.
Ginger: Yeah, you talk about Isaiah 41, verses 1-3: "Blessed is he who considers the weak and the poor: and the Lord will deliver him in the time of evil and trouble". And it just goes on to talk about what generosity does. Not just for those people that we are generous to, but for ourselves, as well.
Joyce: I think there's even one translation that says, "When you're good to the poor, God will raise you up, when you're on your sick bed".
Ginger: Yeah, wow. Yeah, "Sustain, refresh, and strengthen on his bed of languishing". Wow, yeah.
Joyce: So, I mean, there's a lot of blessings attached to generosity, but you can't give to get, you know. You give because it's what God says to do, and it's what he's done for you. And then, there's just the natural result is God will give to you, and take care of you, and meet your needs. But, to be honest, helping people and being generous is just downright fun.
Ginger: It is. It's the best.
Joyce: And I mean, I know, maybe that may sound crazy to people, but I love to hear somebody say that they like to have something, and then, surprise them with it. It just makes me happy.
Ginger: Yeah. Happy enough that you list it as one of the top five lessons that you've learned, so that says a lot.
Joyce: To me, it's major. Because you overcome evil with good. And so, even, when you're having personal problems, to be honest, that's one of the best times to do something for somebody else.
Ginger: Yeah. Well, this next one, if you've listened to Joyce at all, you know how important this is to her, and to all of us, the importance of your thoughts.
Joyce: "Battlefield of the mind". When God taught me about that, I had no idea that I could do my own thinking. I just thought that... I never really thought about it. Whatever fell in my head, that's what I thought. And I didn't have any idea that I could kick out one thought and choose another one. And the Bible tells us to, "Cast those wrong thoughts out". And that means to pitch or to throw. And it says, "Tear down mental strongholds," and not let those things control us. And it's just so liberating for people to realize, "Oh, you mean, I don't have to sit around all day, and think about how much I hate that person"? No, you can meditate on the good things about them, and you can, you know, one of the things that I find helpful, if I'm having a hard time with my thoughts, and it kind of takes into the next thing that I said, which was about our words and what we say. And so, you can't think one thing and say something else. So, I find if I'm having a hard time like, "Well, they did this and they did that, and they did this," to just say, "God loves this person. And I make mistakes just like everybody else does. And what they did to me may not have been right, but I have the choice to think good things". You know, people do talk to themselves. So, they really might as well say something that's gonna help themselves.
Ginger: That's very true.
Joyce: And I believe in talking to myself. I always say, I have to have meetings with myself all the time. It's like, "Listen, Joyce, get your attitude straightened out". And of course, there's so much that you can say about any one of these.
Ginger: Yeah, oh, yeah. And so many great scriptures around all of them. "Life and death are in the power of tongue". And just so many things that are points in your life, that you've learned, because you were digging into God's word.
Joyce: And just think about that. "The power of life and death is in your tongue. And the words that you speak, you'll have to eat them". Yeah, so that phrase, "You're gonna eat those words", it actually, originated from the Bible. And the truth is, is the words that we speak, come back to us. And you can actually, to me, like speaking the right words go into the spiritual realm and they pull out the blessings of God. And it's biblical. In Romans 4, it says, "We serve a God who calls things that be not as if they already existed". So, it's not a, "Name it, claim it," Gospel, as people like to say. You know, like, before I ever had one opportunity to speak the word in public, I would walk around my house, and say, "I'm a teacher and a preacher of the Word of God. I go all over the world and teach the word. I have speaking engagements all the time," and none of that was a reality in my life. But it was something in the spiritual realm that God had for me. And what we say, does matter. A lot of people are cursing their own life because they keep saying, "I'm stupid. I'm dumb. I can't do anything right. I'm bad. I'm ugly. I can't lose weight. I can't do this. I can't do that". And you need to be saying the exact opposite. Say what you want, not what you have.
Ginger: Right, right. And especially, those things that God promises us in his word. "I am loved, I am valued". Yeah, exactly. Okay, so, those top five again, so good: seeking God's presence, the power of forgiveness, the importance of generosity, the importance of our thoughts, and the importance of our words.
Joyce: I'm sure everybody watching, today, maybe at least one thing on that list is something they need. And if you're anything like I was, you might need all five.
Ginger: But start by focusing on one. That's a great idea.
Joyce: That's right.
Ginger: Thank you, Joyce, we appreciate it.
Joyce: You're welcome.