Steven Furtick - Growing Pains
There is a sense in which all of us, I think, could be a little bit more content. No matter our battles, we have a lot of blessings. Paul said, "I've learned the secret of being content in any and every circumstance, whether I have a little or a lot. I've learned how to be content," yet the same guy who said that also said, "I press toward the mark for the prize". What I'm trying to discern in this text and in my life is the balance between contentment and complacency. Because on one hand, I want to say, "Really? You're cramped? Really? Your ancestors had to put up with Pharaoh's whip, and you can't deal with close quarters? Really"? But on the other hand, I get it because when Moses assigned the land, there were only 32,000 of them.
Now, there are 52,000. They've outgrown the space that was assigned to them. I want to speak to you about growing pains. I feel the spirit of Kirk Cameron coming upon me. I want to speak about growing pains. There aren't many preachers who can put a Drake reference and a Kirk Cameron reference in the same sermon from the book of Joshua in an obscure passage in the seventeenth chapter. Break out. That's what was happening. As their blessing was breaking out, their world was closing in. God will often use discomfort to move you into your destiny. It's possible that the people of Joseph were not griping as much as they were growing. This shoe doesn't fit anymore. As one church growth expert said, "The shoe should never tell the foot how big it can get".
They've come to a point. Maybe you've been at this point. Maybe this is why you've been restless. Maybe this is why you've been tossing and turning. Maybe this is why, while you appreciate your life, you sense that there might be something more, and there has to be something more. Where you started is not where you want to stay. Perhaps you have outgrown yesterday's blessing. Can I preach about this? You come to a point sometimes where what was handed down to you can't hold you anymore, and it's time to believe God for something more. Do I have anybody in the church today who is believing God for something more in your life? In other words, I don't want to settle where I started. I want God to use me more. I want God to speak to me in deeper ways. I don't want to live off of the same five Bible verses that I knew when I was 12. I want God to speak to me in hidden places. I want greater insight. I want greater effectiveness. I want a greater sense of purpose.
If you're with me, shout, "More". Shout it again. Say, "More". God is not intimidated by your requests for more. "Now unto him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine…" If God didn't want to give you more, he would have killed you and taken you home already. Shout, "More". I'm sorry I holler when I preach to y'all. I should keep a very steady tone and stay down here in a conversational manner, but when I think about what God has in front of us, and when I consider the promise that it's always more than what's behind me, I feel like it's time for somebody to break out of tight spaces and break out of straightjackets and break out of confinement. Shout, "More". They say to Joshua what we say to God. "You should have given us more land".
Observe the text. I want to teach it correctly because it says, "Why have you given us only one allotment"? Allotment. "What you have allotted to me doesn't feel like a lot because I feel like I was meant for more. I want some more". I like Joshua because he does not rebuke them for their ambition, but he reminds them of their possession. He says, "Okay. If it's like that, if you want more… I just saw you on your feet. You were standing up and screaming about it (at some campuses). I see you asking me. I see you asking me for more opportunities. I see you asking me for more. Okay. All right. Well, if you want more…"
Touch somebody and say, "If you want more…" "If you are so numerous, and if the place where you are set up is too small for you, and if you're breaking out…" Because there will come a time in your life (I have to stay on this point for a minute) when the people you were positioned with yesterday and the mentalities they represent will not be an adequate support system for where God is taking you. What's happening is as you're growing into your inheritance, you're growing out of your past. When you start outgrowing it, you have to shed some stuff. You have to shed some ways of thinking.
Paul said, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child. I thought like a child. I understood like a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things because I'm growing into it". Touch somebody and say, "I'm too grown". God wants to wake you up to realize that there are some things you are too grown for. They are not you anymore. "I'm too grown to be bitter. I'm too grown to be negative. I'm too grown to be cynical. I'm too grown to be lazy. I'm too grown to hang around people who aren't believing for everything. I'm outgrowing it. I'm too grown. I can't stay here".
Now, do not pervert my message and leave your husband over what I just preached. If I were irresponsible, I would stop the message right here and give you a license to leave whatever you think is limiting you, but what Joshua does is he does something very wise, very astute. It shows his experience. It shows his enlightenment. He points out the limiting factors. When the people approach Joshua, they mention these Canaanites, more specifically, the Rephaites who are larger in appearance than the Israelites but not greater in power. I just said a whole lot. I don't think you caught it. They were larger in appearance, but they were not greater in power. What I said about the Raphaites I'm also saying about whatever stands against you today. It may be larger in appearance, but it is not… Not if you have the Spirit of God, which is a deposit.
Ephesians 1:13-14, guaranteeing our inheritance, reminding us of our possession. The unlimited Spirit of God lives on the inside of me. "But there are Canaanites in the forest. There are walkers in the forest. Help me, Daryl. There are walkers". We would push out more. "It's a lot, Joshua. It's a lot against us. It's a lot. I mean, for real limitation". He said in verse 15, "'If you are so numerous, and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, if you're beginning to sense that there is more for your life than you are currently experiencing, go up into the forest, because that's within your property line too". But see, you haven't been able to see the full lot. You've been missing the forest (you're reading my mind) through the trees.
I can tell you've been listening to me preach for years when you can call me out like that. You're missing the lot for the little, and you assume that all there is to you is what you can see. You are limiting yourself based on what your dad accomplished. Part of what your dad accomplished was so that his ceiling could become your floor. Jesus said, "If I go to the Father, greater works will you do in my name". I need to slow down. I need to slow down. He said, "Clear it".
This is strange to me. They're complaining about enemies, but Joshua doesn't tell them to defeat their enemies. He tells them to clear their land. "Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours. Clear it". See, there are two parts of your property. There's the part you're living on, and there's the part that's wooded, and you haven't ever gone into that part because you're scared of what's in there, but the moment you become more convinced about what's in you than you are afraid of what's against you, you're about to push the limits of what's possible for your life. I don't know how you can sit down when I'm preaching like this. I feel like God is coming through with a chainsaw today and clearing out limitations.