Steven Furtick - Compliments Won't Last Forever
This is an excerpt from: The Paradox Of Progress
One thing you need to know is that a lot of the changes that will happen in your life that are the most important are the ones that you won't get any compliments about. Because I've noticed this, once you get really consistent at something, people stop complimenting you about it. Am I right? The best way to get compliments is to only do the right thing occasionally. The best way to get compliments if that's your goal is to be a crappy dad who only comes around on Christmas and only shows up to give the kids what they want and never disciplines them and only shows up to break the rhythm that's trying to be established.
If you're gonna be the kind of dad that's actually handling some of the disciplinary issues or the kind of mom that's actually parenting rather than trying to win a popularity contest with your teenager, you will not receive as many compliments. And people are crazy. People celebrate all the wrong stuff. If you get in shape, watch this, here's the one thing I have. I compliment people who stay in shape. Right? 'Cause usually what you have to do to get a compliment on physical fitness is lose a bunch of weight and I just think that's wrong.
So I don't go up to people and be like, "You look like you've been losing weight". Because first of all, that might sound like an insult to them so it's awkward to say. But secondly, I walk up to people and I be like, "You still look good". I do. I believe in complimenting consistency. You know, like thanks for being on time. Like you parted the Red Sea. That ain't a miracle. But what happens is when you get really good at something, people take you for granted. When you are consistent, you stop getting compliments. So if people have stopped complimenting you, that is the highest compliment. It means you are so consistent that you have a basis or a foundation and you can then be set free from the need to be impressive.
And that's what Paul was. He said, "I gave up what was impressive to people to pursue what was important to me". I feel the Holy Ghost telling 50 people delete Instagram before you take another note on my sermon. And give up what is impressive for a month for something more important. I feel the Spirit of God saying some of y'all spend too much money on clothes and you are so behind on your school loans and if you keep trying to impress people, you are going to impress people right into your own depression trying to climb out of a pit of what people see. Y'all don't like the preacher today, but he's on point. He heard from God.
And Paul said, "All that I thought was gain and what I thought was important, I found out that it's the interior state". He said, "I wanna righteousness that comes from God through faith. I wanna be more focused on the invisible stuff". So I'll take you to Palm Sunday since it's Palm Sunday right now. And since Jesus came into Jerusalem and He's entering not a Bethphage or Bethany. Bethany's two miles away. That's where He stayed at night. But He's setting up for the crucifixion, for the scene where He will pay the price for our sins. Where He will die like a criminal even though He reigns like a King. It's a paradox. And what He says in Luke 19, I wish I had time to preach that passage to you.
Can we look at it for one moment together? And I promise I will go fast. But Jesus is getting ready to go into the city. And he stops short of the city. He's on the Mount of Olives. You remember that's where Gethsemane is. That's where He will be pressed. That's where His capillaries will burst so that He sweats like drops of great blood, but all of that is still in front of Him. And His ministry has been exploding. And when He gets to the place where He's about to make His entry, He makes preparations. And the Bible says in Luke 19:28, "After He had taught them..." A certain teaching about the Kingdom of God and how it doesn't come all at once, but it comes in stages and it takes patience to see the reign of God come in your life. And don't expect progress to come all at once. And don't expect proof to accompany every step that you take in faith.
"And after He had taught that, He told them something as they approached Jerusalem," 29, please. Verse 30, He said, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you'll find a colt tied there, which no one has even ridden. Untie it and bring it here". Okay. So Jesus is giving them an instruction that sounds illegal. I'm gonna need you to go get me a little baby horse. I'm gonna take my horse down Old Town Road. I'm gonna ride. And He said, "As you are untying it, if they ask you why," tell them 'kurios', "the Lord, needs it". "Tell the owner that the Lord needs it". "Tell the one who is stewarding it that the One who made it needs it".
I think one of the disciples even though the disciples aren't named, it just says there were two of them, had to be Peter. Because Peter knew what it was like to have Jesus get in something that you own. That's how Peter's whole ministry started. Jesus just got in his boat and said, "Push me out, I've gotta preach". And so now Jesus, watch this paradox, who created the world needs something in the world He created. To even say that the Lord needs something is a paradox. It's a crazy situation to be in. But He doesn't just need any kind of horse. Not a regal horse. Not the kind of horse that a human king would ride in on. Remember, Jesus is fully God and fully man. It's a paradox. It shouldn't make sense, but it does. He's perfect and divine, but He's able to be touched by the feelings of our infirmity.
So He says, "Get a colt that has never been ridden. I'm gonna ride into the city like a humble king, not like the hype beast. Like a humble king. I'm gonna ride into the city. I'm not gonna walk because I'm a King, but I'm gonna ride on something that looks common. I'm gonna ride on something that is set aside for a special service. I'm gonna ride on something that was tied up until now". But I wonder if God brought somebody to church today because He wants to untie you and set you free from ways of being and thinking and dreaming and believing to serve the purpose he created you for. Anyway, it was kinda cool to me that the King rode in on a lowly colt. That someone so important rode in on something that wasn't impressive.
Some of the changes God wants to make in your life will not be the ones that people will tell you good job about. And the temptation is for us to make progress in the areas that get noticed because it feeds our ego. On social media, they call it vanity metrics. It's where Facebook wants you to buy more ads for your business so they tell you how many people that you're reaching, but you're not really reaching them, it's just growing through the feed. What you really gotta figure out is engagement. How deep is the connection? And people celebrate all the wrong stuff. Am I right? Am I right? Am I right, Jonsal? When you all went to the Grammy's, everybody was texting you. And it's cool to go to the Grammy's. But the Grammy's wasn't the most important thing Elevation Worship did last year, it was that consistent ministry week in, week out just showing up.
Look, I go and I travel to churches all over the world and I'm privileged to do it, but the first thing I do when I take the pulpit if the people are like, "Yea". You know, "We got a guest speaker. We love you, Pastor Steve". You know, because when, you know, when you come to town when people aren't used to seeing you and they don't know you that well, they're excited, the first thing I do is say, "Let's thank God for your pastor. Let's thank God for the people who every single week in this church, the staff members, the volunteers, the people who are in the parking lot, the people who are standing out in the rain to welcome you in, let's appreciate what's truly important, not just what's impressive".
Now Paul said, "I had all of this impressive residue of my religious accomplishments, but in order to pursue what was important and to seek first the Kingdom, I had to stop trying so dadgum hard..." That's what Paul said in Greek. "So dadgum hard, it was garbage, it was scubula, it was trash, it's trash compared to the treasure of knowing who I am in Christ and being connected to my source and walking in my purpose for a purpose with a purpose in the presence of God". Paul said, "I was circumcised..." That's outward. "I'm from Benjamin..." That's genetic. All of that, you can have all of that. I wanna fix my insides. I want a righteousness that comes from God. I want peace when I lay down on my pillow to know that this day I serve something bigger than me even if it hurt.