Sometimes the best way to overcome the temptation to give up is to say to yourself: “Oh, no you don’t! Stop your whining and straighten up right this minute!” Over the years, when I have felt like giving up and had no one to encourage me, I’ve said to myself: “Joyce, you can make it! It may be hard, but you can make it and don’t you dare think you can’t!”
At one point in my life, I went through a 10-year period of suffering from various physical problems. Ten years! I had lots of symptoms, some of which involved low blood sugar, but most of which were rooted in stress caused from working too hard. I was also going through the “change of life”—hormone changes caused migraine headaches, and at one point in 1989, I even had breast cancer and needed surgery.
I can’t count the number of times during those 10 years I walked onto a platform to preach thinking, I wonder if I can stand here long enough to preach my message. I prayed fervently for God to heal me. He did not take away my problems completely, but He did give me strength to do what I needed to do in spite of them—every single time.
But I didn’t want the strength to press through; I wanted the problems gone. Trying to keep myself going through those years was really hard, but I was determined not to be defeated and not to give up. I realize now that my faith became strong during those years and I gained a genuine compassion for the sick.
I thank God for giving me a solution to my problems after 10 years. Now I’m doing great, and it’s wonderful to do what I do and feel good. But many times I had to say, “I would rather do my job and feel good, but hear this devil: I will do it, whether I feel good or not.”
While I was suffering, I had to speak words of determination out loud: “Doing this is hard, but I am going to fulfill God’s call on my life no matter how I feel. I’ll do everything God wants me to do and be all He wants me to be.” Each time I made a decision like this, the devil was losing and God was winning.
The primary reason I was so determined to obey God’s will whether I felt good or not was because I love God. I also knew I would be miserable if I tried to do anything less than everything He called me to do. You may not always want to make the effort to be determined, but I guarantee that you do not want to risk being outside God’s will simply because you will not commit to doing everything required to obey it.
Remember, the definition of “determine” carries the idea of settling a dispute. This is important because if you are going to commit to anything, you will have to settle the never-ending dispute between your flesh and your spirit.
Galatians 5:17 says, “For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other]” (The Amplified Bible). This verse is basically telling us the flesh and spirit never get along; they’re always fighting.
I’m convinced we miss many blessings in our lives because we try to understand so much instead of simply allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us. But we must be determined to settle the dispute between the flesh and the spirit and obey God. And no matter what, we must never give up!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 80 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, The Love Revolution (Hachette). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide.