My last post revealed two types of people to avoid dating. But sometimes God puts those people in your life and won’t let you run from them. This morning, Joel Osteen explained why during a sermon titled “Don’t Fight It.”
“We all face situations that we don’t like,” he said. “Somebody’s not treating us right. … We’re single and still haven’t met anyone. It’s easy to live uptight, all wrought up on the inside. We don’t understand why it’s taking so long, why this person hasn’t changed, why our prayers haven’t been answered. We end up frustrated, fighting against everything that we don’t like. But here’s the key: just because it’s uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not where we’re supposed to be. God uses difficulties to do a work in us. We grow in the tough times. That’s when our character is being developed. God will not allow a difficulty unless he has a divine purpose for it. If we’re going to reach our highest potential, we have to make up our mind, ‘I’m not going to live frustrated because I’m uncomfortable. I’m not going to be upset because things aren’t happening on my timetable. I’m not going to fight against everything that I don’t like.’ Our attitude should be, ‘God, I trust you. You’re in complete control. I may not like this situation, but you wouldn’t have me here unless I needed it. So I’m going to keep a good attitude and be my best right where I am.’ …
“In the scripture, it says that God didn’t lead the Israelites the shortest route to the promised land. He took them the long way on purpose because they were not prepared for war. God knew that if he would’ve taken them in too quickly, they would’ve been easily defeated. Their enemies were much bigger, much more experienced. I’m sure they prayed many times, ‘God, we’re uncomfortable out here in the desert. We’re hot. We’re tired. Let us go in sooner.’ But God didn’t answer that prayer. Not because God was trying to make their life miserable, but God knew what was up in front of them. He had to toughen them up and get them prepared so they could step into the fullness of their destiny.
“In the same way, God has already laid out the plan for your life. He knows exactly what you need, when you need it, who you need. He knows the battles you’re going to face, the dreams you’re going to accomplish. He’s got it all figured out. That’s why we cannot pray away every uncomfortable situation. ‘God, this person at work — they’re gettin’ on my nerves. You’ve gotta get him out of my life.’ No, God will use that person like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off of you. Even if you were to pray them away, God would send you two more people just like them.
“I’ve learned this: God is more interested in changing us than he is in changing our circumstances. … Paul prayed in Colossians 3 that the people would have the strength to endure whatever came their way. He didn’t pray that God would deliver them instantly, remove the difficulty. He prayed that they would have the strength to go through it with a good attitude. …
“Think about David. He was chosen to be king, anointed by God to be the next leader of Israel. [You’d think] surely God would answer all of his prayers. Surely God would make his life comfortable. [But] no. David had to go through this same process. For many years, King Saul made David’s life miserable. David had done Saul nothing but good. He would play music when Saul wasn’t feeling well. [He] treated him with respect. But in return, Saul tried to kill David, chased him through the mountainside. I can hear David praying, ‘God, you’ve got to get this man out of my life. God, you know I haven’t done anything wrong.’ Isn’t it interesting [that] God didn’t remove Saul? He didn’t answer that prayer. Here David was doing the right thing. It was an unfair situation, but God knew what he was doing. He was getting David prepared. The longer you do the right thing when the wrong thing is happening, the longer you keep a good attitude in an unfair situation, the higher God is going to take you. Don’t be discouraged by it.
“‘Joel, I’ve been doing the right thing in this marriage for years. I’m not seeing any results.’ … You’re right where David was. Keep being faithful. Keep doing the right thing. God is getting you prepared for something amazing. Your future is so big [that] God has to get your spiritual muscles, your character, your maturity to match the level that God is about to thrust you to. Now, don’t fight it. Just keep being your best. God is closely watching you. He sees every time you make a sacrifice, every time you overlook a wrong, every time you take the high road, every time you help someone in need. That doesn’t go unnoticed. God is keeping the records, [and] he’s saying, ‘Payday is coming. The breakthrough is coming. The reward is coming. The new level is coming.’ Just like David, you’re going to take your throne and become everything God has created you to be.
“[N]aturally, [we] all like things easier. We’d love for God to remove the difficult people, eliminate the hardships, answer our prayers the first time we prayed. But that’s not always what’s best. Have a new perspective. Those difficulties aren’t happening to you, they’re happening for you. The people that are hard to get along with, if you’ll have the right attitude, take the high road, be kind, ignore their negative comments … they’re polishing you. They’re refining you. They’re making you shine. … They’re doing you a favor. Without that sandpaper, you would stay rough. …
“Embrace where you are, even when it’s uncomfortable, even when you don’t like it. Stay in peace. Keep a good attitude. When you do that, God is using it to your advantage. You’re growing. You’re developing character. It’s positioning you for the amazing future God has in store.”
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