Michael Youssef - It Is Supernatural - Part 5
Be careful of confusing those who have the spirit of control with those who are diligent workers. We often confuse the two because there's a world of difference with someone who is actually a control freak and someone who has just been diligent and conscientious and lives up to their responsibility and they're faithful in their life and in their service. So I'm hoping by the end of this message that you will get those two unconfused. I want to explain the difference between the two, the difference between diligence and controlling.
Living up to your responsibility means that you are diligent, that you redeem the time, that you are faithful in meeting your obligations; and that cuts across the board, whether as a parent, or whether it is in ministry, or it's in your profession, or it's just being a faithful husband and wife. All of our responsibilities in life, we are to be diligent, to be thoughtful, to be hardworking, and to be responsible. That's very different, very different from being controlling. Controlling often comes from a severe case of insecurity, which comes out of anxiety. Controlling is out of a desire to take credit for everything. Controlling comes out of being more concerned about image and reputation than with reality.
Furthermore, controlling people work overtime to manipulate others, and to manipulate situations, and to manipulate circumstances to make them go their way. Controlling people often try to engineer situations to their advantage. Controlling people convince themselves that the world is going to fall apart without them. They think that the world is going to fall apart if they're not in charge and without them nothing worthwhile is going to happen, that without them even God cannot accomplish much. Oh, they don't verbalize it that way. They're not going to come out and say it bluntly as I'm saying it. No. But their actions portray their attitude. Anyone who struggle to defeat that spirit in our lives know what I'm talking about. All of us to a various degree have that spirit in us. Self-awareness is the key. It really is.
You probably ask, "Why is this so important in the life of sanctification and the process of sanctification that every one of us must walk through? Why is this so important when we desire to live with and in the power of the supernatural? Why? What does being a control freak to do with faith living"? Oh, a great deal as I'm going to show you in a minute. A great deal. This is very important and so sensitive that I want you to really hear me right. Do not misunderstand me. Because the controlling spirit, first of all, it's not from God, but it is faith number one enemy, faith number one enemy. A controlling spirit is the biggest hindrance to the supernatural work of God in your life, in your home, in your community, in your church. A controlling spirit can overwhelm faith every time, every time unless it's dealt with. A controlling spirit leaves no room for God, no room for faith to operate.
Now, those of you who have been hearing me for a long time, you know my own definition of ego, right? Edging God out. You want to say it with me? Edging God out. That's my definition, and I'm sticking to it. Now, I want you to turn with me to the Book of 2 Kings chapter 4, beginning at verse 38. In fact, it's a very short passage. Verses 38 to 41. Here is an example of how the controlling spirit brought about an intrusion upon God's supernatural provision. Think about this, and I hope that you'll reflect on it even after the service. As often the case, that intrusion upon God's supernatural work always brings misery, always brings pain and even death.
Here's an example of how a controlling spirit tries to improve on God's plan and God's purpose and how that improvement can have a deadly prospect. Here's an example of how a controlling spirit can hurt not only the individual himself or herself, but also a family, a community, and even God's work. As I've been doing throughout this series of messages, I want to reiterate this historic incident in a story form, in a narrative form so that our young people, everybody can follow. Okay, here we go. First of all, there was a famine. Can you say that with me? There was... Don't miss that. The land of Israel often suffered from famine because they were totally dependent on rain. And if the rain doesn't come, famine sets in. And you think of the sovereignty of God. He gave them Canaan. It was so that they may be totally, thoroughly dependent on him to send the rain.
There was a Bible college in Gilgal; a seminary. That seminary was established by Elisha's predecessor, the prophet Elijah. And they were going through a stressful time. As I said, times of famine are very stressful. The prophet Elisha, who succeeded Elijah as president of the seminary, was on the road preaching and maybe raising money like most seminary president do. They go on the road, raise money for the school. They're raising money for... whatever he was doing, he was away from college. He comes home to Gilgal, back to the college, back to the seminary to check on the students, and he found them at that moment going through a very stressful time.
So he steps out in faith and tells his assistant Gehazi, remember him? Actually, next message you're going to see Gehazi in 4D. Not 3D, 4D. I'm going to show you. So he tells his assistant, he said, "Find out a big pot and prepare a big nice stew enough for all the students so they can eat". Now, those of you who are bright, which is all of you, you're listening to me and you're saying, "Time out, Michael. Time out. Just wait a minute. You have just said..." Or the Word of God actually said it. I didn't. There was a famine. There was a what? "Well, how in the world would Elisha says to Gehazi, to his assistant, 'Go and get the biggest pot and prepare a stew, and it's enough for all the seminarians to eat.' How in the world is this happening"?
Well, the answer is, do you remember the title of this series of messages? What is it? Come on, let's say it together. Now you got it. God makes a provision for his faithful ones in tough times. God always, always refreshes his righteous ones in the times of suffering. He might not remove the suffering, but he will refresh you in the middle of the suffering. God will always prove his sufficiency to his faithful children in times of need. God will always honor those who honor him. God will always be a light to his faithful ones in the midst of their darkness. God will always bring water out of the rock to his faithful children. God will always multiply and increase the very little that you have for those who trust him. But this is not only my testimony. It's a testimony to many people here in this room.
Please don't ever forget what I'm going to tell you. I can tell you on the authority of God's Word that God has been, is, and always will be in the miracle business. God never gets out of the miracle business. Even in the midst of calamities, even in the midst of natural disaster, even in the midst of judgment, even in the midst of stressful times, God always will move on behalf of his faithful children. Oh, his timing may, actually I can say probably with confidence always differ from mine and I'm sure it differs from yours, but he will always come through. Psalm says the Lord will give favor and honor. No good thing will he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
Now, you notice he didn't say those whose walk is perfect 'cause that disqualifies all of us. He said blameless. Blameless doesn't mean perfect, blameless means that you're walking humbly before God. Blameless means that you're trusting in God with your whole heart. It means that you are faithful, believing in God and in God's promises. In the midst of famine, God supernaturally provided for the seminary students. Elisha said to his assistant, "Go and get the biggest pot and make a delicious stew". This is where the story should have ended. This is where this incident should have come to an end and now we should be reading that these company of prophets, these seminarians were eating, and praising God, and rejoicing, and saying, "Thank you, Lord".
This is where it should have finished. This is where it should have finished. They're eating and praising God for his supernatural intervention. Oh, but no. No, no, no, no, no. Verse 39. A control freak... well, that's a Youssef translation. A big ego would not be satisfied with God's provision. He had to improve on God's provision. He has to intrude on God's provision. He has to modify the miracle. He had to get the credit for only God should have taken all of the credit without exception. I want you to imagine with me. Just imagine with me. Here's that pot of stew, and I'm going to make some of you hungry. He's smelling this thing cooking, and in the midst of famine this just smelled fantastic. And the Bible said one of them... can you say, "One of them"? There's always one of them.
Verse 39, "One of them..." Glory to God. A lot of conviction all over this room. I can feel it. One of them went out and he found some sort of wild berries. So he gathered and he puts it in the lap of his, stuff it. The more the merrier. The more the merrier. And he comes in, goes into that pot of stew. It absolutely smelled fantastic, and he dumps it in there. "God can't do the miracle without me". Come on. He probably said to himself, "How can you call that a stew without my additional ingredients? I'm the one who's going to make the difference. God might have provided, oh, but not without my help".
So he brings his goodies and he tosses them in the pot. Remember, I told you that if you don't have a sense of humor, if you really can't laugh, you're missing out on a great theology of the Bible. I laughed all week long about this. It may be tragic, and it is tragic, but I laughed. I laughed so much. Every time I thought of the text, I laughed. Do you know why I laughed? Because that was me. That was old me. Because that would have been me without the work of the Holy Spirit in me. But this guy, he just couldn't stand God doing something without his help. He could not stand that he should be just a recipient and not the provider. He couldn't stand being the child. He want to be the father. He couldn't stand being the servant. He want to be the master. He couldn't stand being the guest. He want to be the host. He saw he wanted to improve on God's provision and he want to get some credit.
Unbeknown to him, what he did is that he poisoned the pot. He poisoned the pot. He wanted to add to God's provision and what he added was death. What he added to God's miracle was a disaster. He just couldn't understand that God could accomplish anything by himself. So what happened? His controlling spirit neutralized the miracles, neutralized the miracle. You see, our God wants you and you and you and me to give him room to work. God wants you to only meet the conditions of the promises and he will do the rest. God wants you to trust him and to trust him with all of your heart. By the way, you see this throughout the Scripture.
You see it throughout the Scripture and the Scripture warning and warning and warning and warning and warning, and Paul said these things in the Scripture are warning to us. Cain wanted to worship God his way, not God's way. In a fit of jealousy he killed Abel. He poisoned the pot. The sons of Aaron, you remember the brother of Moses, the first high priest of Israel, the Levite high priest, the sons of Aaron brought about a strange fire instead of waiting for the heavenly fire to consume the sacrifice, and they brought death and disaster on the Israelite community. They poisoned the pot.
You see it throughout the Scripture. Eli the high priest in the time of Samuel, you remember his sons were worshiping God their own way. They were actually rebellious, but they were trying to steal the sacrifice and God brought defeat upon Israel. They poisoned the pot. King Saul wanted to sacrifice to God his way and he brought disaster upon Israel. He poisoned the pot. In the Book of Acts, Ananias and Sapphira conspired to lie to the Holy Spirit and take matters into their own hands and they brought their own death. They poisoned the pot. Anytime any of us try to get in God's way, we poison the pot.
The times that I ran ahead of the Lord and did not wait in prayer and fasting, until I got my marching orders from him, every time, not just some of the time, despite of the ruling, overruling grace of God, but every time I've done that I made a mess of things. But here's the good news. Here's the great news. In fact, here is the most fantastic news of all. And if you heard everything I said and you miss this one, you have missed everything. Here is the great news. Verse 41, "Elisha said, 'Bring me some wheat flour.'" And he took the wheat flour and he threw it in the pot, and he neutralized the poison. You say, "What is this all about"?
Listen carefully. In the Scripture, flour is a type of Christ and his resurrection power. Our Lord resurrection power was a result of the wheat, the grain of wheat, himself, was grinded and crushed on the cross of Calvary. Remember, Jesus said in the Gospel of John unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will not produce harvest. He's speaking of himself. Jesus was speaking about his cross. Jesus was speaking about his redemptive death upon the cross.
The resurrected Jesus is the flour that remove death from the pot of our life. Jesus is the flour that brought life out of death. Jesus is the flour who put an end to man's effort of salvation. Jesus is the flour that put an end to man's desire to be saved by his good works. Jesus is the flour that ended the power of the ceremonial law. Jesus is the flour that raised us from the death of spiritual death. Jesus is the flour that saved us from a disaster and a disaster of tempting for self-salvation. He's the flour. We give him glory. Give him glory. Give him glory. Give him glory.
And that is why only the resurrected Jesus can deliver you and you and you and me from the controlling spirit, and that is why only the resurrected Jesus has the power to nullify the power of self that sometimes try to reign supreme. Will you let that wheat flour, the resurrected Jesus, come into the pot of your life now at this very moment and resurrect your life from whatever you are and wherever you are? God knows where you are, and God wants to minister to you today. And as we go to prayer, tell the Lord, "Please give me that flour of the resurrected Jesus," so that he may neutralize the poison and whatever poison that it might be in the pot of your life and my life.