Steven Furtick - For Those Tempted To Quit
This is an excerpt from: Too Grown To Give Up.
I am preaching this message to somebody today who is tempted to quit on something God called you to do. I understand how people love to take a sermon and put their initials on it for whatever they want it to mean. Trust me. I've seen it happen over and over and over again. So, you haven't smoked in three weeks, but then I preached on "Don't quit," and you go get a pack right after I preach because the pastor said, "Don't quit". I know how y'all are. Y'all are real shifty sometimes with these Scriptures, real slippery sometimes with these Scriptures, real manipulative sometimes with these Scriptures. But please, let us reason together at the mercy seat. I'm talking about quitting on what God called you to do.
The picture is of a man God called to deliver a nation, but he was almost killed before he even had the opportunity to be called. This helps me understand why some of the people who have the most significant purpose to accomplish for the kingdom of God go through the heaviest attacks at the formative stages of their lives. So, his parents had the faith. It says they had faith. I'm concerned in the church that we have confused childlike faith, which is what Jesus told us to have, with childish faith. These Hebrew believers… Remember, they were just babies. They were still being weaned off the sacrificial system that Moses instituted.
In Moses' sacrificial system… You may know a little bit about this. I'm not going to go into great depth about it. Their sin was atoned for by the blood of bulls and goats. Their sin was atoned for by the offering that was made by the high priest who had to do it every year. The theme of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus Christ is superior to the Mosaic covenant, to the Mosaic commandments, to the Mosaic customs. So, we're looking at a group of believers who are learning a brand-new way to do things. In their embrace of Jesus Christ… In order to walk in this new way of life Christ offers, it involves a letting go of what they have known. Now that they have a new identity… See, they're transitioning their identity from being justified by the law, which doesn't work… You can't even keep the speed limit.
Please don't look at me like you can keep the law. "Be holy as he is holy". The law was just designed to bring us to the place where we would know our need for grace and receive it, so that you would quit trying to keep the commandments in your own strength so you could receive the grace of God through the person of Jesus Christ. This is the gospel, and it still works today. You can be forgiven of your sin without a bull, without a goat, without a turtledove. I don't need another high priest. I don't need somebody to change their mind about me. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. You can be forgiven right now. Not seven steps, not three classes, not ten years of sobriety, but right now he can save you. Right now! Yet they are being tempted, as God is birthing the church into the world, to return to the thing they were set free from.
Okay. We talked about hidden significance. Let's talk about conflicted identities. It's when you're not used to the new way of doing things enough, so you return to what you knew, because what is new in that moment is costing you. The example of Moses is a perfect illustration of maturing enough… Can I preach about maturity? It seems like every sermon people want to click on these days is miracles, but what about maturity? What about maturity to know what to do with a miracle when God gives it to you so you don't mismanage it? In Hebrews 11, there is a picture of a prophet. Moses was a prophet. He's not your typical prophet. In fact, I thought the writer of Hebrews was pretty nice to Moses when he explained his story. I want to show you that now. There's a lesson even in this.
You know, all I'm deciding to do is figure out what not to tell you today, because there's so much good stuff in this. So, let me give you a contrast. This will be good. Verse 27: "By faith Moses, when he had grown up…" I read you this, but I'm reading it again for a reason. "…refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward". This is a description, or a picture, of maturity.
In Acts, chapter 7, it tells us that Moses was 40 years old when he made the decision to be identified with God's children, not the Egyptians who were oppressing them. Now, there's a lot of great stuff in the backstory that I won't make time to get into the message today about how his parents floated him down the Nile River in a basket. The same Nile River he would turn into blood 80 years later he floated on to survive when he was a baby. I thought about preaching "Faith to Float," because sometimes you feel like you're floating between two things, waiting to see what it's going to be. I thought about preaching that, but I have discipline, and I'm only going to preach one message today.
This message is about how, one day, Moses makes a decision to be identified not with the Egyptian who raised him but with the parents who birthed him. This is not primarily a racial text. This is not primarily a nationalistic text. Conclusions could be drawn in those directions. But what's really happening here is about Moses choosing what he will be defined by. I want you to realize in your life today you have a decision about what you will be defined by. Even though his early life was defined by an assassination attempt, even through the trauma of floating through a basket… Some of us end up in therapy because our Pampers were slightly too tight. This man was floating down a river in a basket coated with tar. Even though his life began with trauma, he made a decision in this moment that "I will not be defined by something I have become bigger than".
This is where the significance of the text is in the detail. It says, "When he grew up…" I wonder, are there some things God is waiting for us to outgrow that we are praying for him to remove? The challenge of Moses' life is in order to become what he really was, he had to outgrow everything he had ever known. Do you see it in the text? He was raised as an Egyptian, but he was born as a Hebrew, yet there came a moment of decision. "I will not be defined by my environment. I will not be limited by my experience. I will not be affiliated with the events that brought me to this point". There is something God is calling you to outgrow in this moment, and I wonder what it is. Until you grow past the point of needing God to change things…
Some of us have to outgrow the need for everybody to like us or validate us in order to see what God has really put in us. He chose to be mistreated. He chose to be lonely. He chose to be a weirdo. He chose the uncomfortable space of growth. You know what? Growth is chosen. Not change. Change will slap you right in the back of your head. Change will kick you in the shin. But growth is chosen. In the moment, he has a decision to make, and so do you, and so did the Hebrew Christians. Do we outgrow what we've known so we can become who we really are?