Steven Furtick - Comparison Will Destroy You
So, be careful what you copy from the culture around you that keeps you from discovering the kingdom within you. We copy culture around us, and we don't realize we're copying crazy. I know this, because when I tell people I don't watch the news very much, they look at me like I'm irresponsible. Just because people want to make money off a 24/7 news cycle doesn't mean I have to submit my mind to the stress it causes me. I don't have to. "Well, then you won't be informed". Yeah, but I also won't be insane. They call it breaking news because it's breaking your brain. Breaking news: you can't put out a bird feeder. Did y'all see that? It was breaking news on my screen. The birds are dying now, and we have to take our bird feeders down. Well, maybe we do, but that's not breaking news about a birdbath. That's not a pandemic about… Did you see this? It's crazy! But we copy crazy.
So, a question I've been thinking about… Is the way of life I am choosing producing the outcome I desire? We need more leaders in the world today, fewer opinions. We need more leaders, fewer influencers. Oh yeah. This is the part of my sermon where I am a crotchety old man telling you that what you are seeing on your Reels is not real. This is the God's honest truth. The writer of Hebrews said, "Imitate their faith," but we live in a time where we are imitating their fake. So, consider the outcome. I wonder what happened five minutes after they took that picture. I wonder what happened five minutes after they posted that. I mean, just five minutes. Not five years. Let's talk about five minutes after.
One day in church I was so sick of preachers always trying to be perfect. "My family and I wake up every morning, quote Ephesians, pray, and sing the Beatitudes". I said, "Let me show you what this family is really like," and I showed one of our Christmas videos. It was so beautiful. "Welcome to Elevation. 'Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'" Then I showed the outtakes. Holly Furtick was one step short of having to be bleeped. What she was saying to those kids in those outtakes… Watch this. Outcome, outtakes. Nobody is showing you their outtakes. I have to get this across. I don't care if I have to say it every week. I'll be up here 75 years old, dragging my right leg behind me, talking about… What you're copying is cropped. It is only showing you so much.
We crop and copy. You know how you crop a picture? You know how when that person in your life is no longer in your life and you crop them out of the picture? We do that when we're comparing ourselves to other people because we're copying something that's cropped. They're showing you what they want you to see. Now you are copying a picture, a form, a shadow, a cropped picture. You see what they did, and you go, "Well, I'm not doing that. I'm not as good as them. I haven't accomplished anything like them". Here's what I noticed: some of the people we want to be like are burning out. Influencers who we see on social media… After we have bought all their makeup product and all their diet product and all of their fitness stuff, then we see their post about "Y'all, I just wanted to come on here today. People have been asking".
That's how every influencer post I've ever seen starts, and I'm not even on social media that much, but I have that one memorized. "I just wanted to come on here, y'all. People have been asking". Nobody has been asking you. Two people asked you. But now they're on a confession. Here's what's crazy. I've been copying somebody who comes on and tells me, "I'm actually depressed". I've been copying you? "I actually feel like I'm losing my mind. I can't eat. I can't sleep". I was so busy envying your bag I didn't realize that at the bottom of it is a bottle of pills you can't function without. Be careful what you copy from another person's life because you don't know what it cost them.
We'd rather go find somebody who hasn't even lived long enough that we can even know if they make it through their 20s. Do they even live to be 30? And we will copy that. I'm just stirred up about it, because I am watching us copy the world and slap a Christian vocabulary on it, and there are no different values in the house of God than there are in the world. It's not about the external stuff. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the kingdom within you and the culture around you.
Our distinction and what makes us different is not that we look weird but that we refuse to conform to crazy. Be careful what you copy from a culture that has lost its ever-loving mind and is controlled by the Prince of the Power of the Air. Do y'all believe in the Devil? If you don't believe in the Devil after the last two years… Be careful what you copy. Be careful who you envy. Some of us envy people who are secretly miserable, but you don't know that.
I am not consulting with my Enemy for my life strategy. I'm not going to copy it. I'm not going to take these thoughts and just think them, because I know where they lead. Even recently, the Lord began to deal with me. He said, "I want you to stop indulging your insecurities". He said, "It gives you self-pity, and you use that to sedate the pain of pressure". I wrote all this down as fast as I could so I could remember what I was hearing from God's voice. "What it costs you is much greater than what it offers you".
I wanted to tell you one more thing God told Joshua. Be careful what you copy in your heart, for it will set the direction of your life. Did you hear what he told Joshua? He said, "Meditate on this book of the law Moses gave you. Don't be like Moses. You're different than Moses. But I want you to take the same word of God that was given to him…" What a brilliant thought, that what I copy in my heart… He said, "I want you to meditate on what I spoke over you so you can lead these people where I called you to go".
Do you see how meditation sets direction? A lot of us with what we do with different things we've thought about ourselves, said about ourselves, agreed with about ourselves, condemnation the Enemy has put on us… We do a copy and paste. We take something like "I'm unworthy," we take something like "I'm not good enough. I'll never be…" Then I copy and paste it. I almost did an illustration where I wanted to show you what would happen to the screen if you copied and pasted that over and over again. It would fill up. "I'm unworthy". And you know what? Apart from the grace of God, we are. Do you know how they say sometimes on a walkie-talkie "Copy that"?
What God wants you to do is start meditating on his words, not the ones somebody else spoke, and copy it in your heart. He said, "I'm going to give you a new covenant. It's a better covenant, and it's not written on tablets of stone, because those break. I'm going to put it on your heart, and I'm going to give you a heart of flesh". I want you to take your Bible, and I want you to take what God has spoken over your life, and I want you to copy that. I want you to find out what he called you, what he gifted you to do, what he put the seed of potential in for you and copy that. Don't get so caught up in trying to copy something you're not that you never find out who you are. You will have to be strong and courageous because you live in a culture that copies crazy. It'll take faith, and it'll take focus, but if God said you are his child, copy that.
I am not copying the world anymore. I did it. It's exhausting. It's depleting. It's depressing. I'm not doing it anymore. I'm not going to measure myself how I'm told I'm supposed to measure myself anymore. I did it. I barely lived through it. I'm not going to copy the way the world spends time anymore, where the proof that you are significant is that you are so busy you have no time or margin to consider anything God might invite you to do. So now we're just all running around.
I asked one guy, "When do you take your day off"? He said, "Well, I don't take a day off. The Devil never takes a day off". In my mind I'm like, "Are you copying the Devil or God, because God took a day off"? It's in our rhythms. It's in our rest. It's in what we receive and what we release. The Lord wants you to release some things that were spoken over you by those wrong voices so you can receive something better and copy that. Just get it on your mind all week long and copy that…the Word of God that was spoken over you.