Steven Furtick - Keep It Shut
This is an excerpt from: It's Your Door
These thoughts of insecurity, these pangs of worry, these problems that go on in your head… They are not going to stop. Okay? They will daily, sometimes in certain seasons, sometimes in your high moments, sometimes in your low moments… What I'm basically trying to say is the Enemy is going to attack you at all times. You're not going to make it through the season. "I'm just going through an attack right now". Well, I knew that, because you're breathing. Do you know how I knew you were under attack? You are above ground. We are not at your funeral.
So, I assume the attack, but the question is: what are you doing about the attack to make sure you don't have to fight the Devil hand to hand? It's harder to fight him once you let him right there in your living room. It's harder to fight him once you let him so close. I'm telling you, the Devil is a grappler. What he wants is to get you by your throat. What he wants is to get you in isolation. What he wants is to get you saying, "Well, I just do church online now. I don't go anymore. I stopped going in the pandemic. I really don't pay attention while he's on there because there are 50 things going on, but I don't come anymore". Everybody who came to church physically, clap. I am applauding you for being here. Can I come down here? I want to make sure. I don't want to scare you all.
Can I come over here? Y'all aren't used to seeing me this close. I look shorter like this, don't I? I look bigger on the screen, that's for sure. I'm going to these doors real quick. Come with me, you mighty man of God. I need Hanani and Hananiah. Yeah, this is going to be good. I got the right guys. Do you think I got the right guys? You got me? If they mess this illustration up, I'll come back for you. Put up Nehemiah 7:1-3, because this is what we have to do. The Bible says, "Guard your heart. Everything you do flows from it". "Above all else guard your heart". Above all else. So, here's a door. We'll just use it to illustrate. Hanani and Hananiah. Nehemiah said, "Look". I don't know why I picked the door farthest away for us to come all the way up to. That's just the one I picked. That was kind of dumb, but here we are.
How are y'all doing? Did I come to the right side of the church? How are your doors? Has the Devil been knocking at your door, trying to discourage you, trying to tell you you're crap? But he says it stronger than that. If I said what he really said in church, you would turn it off. "Come on. Meet with us on the plains of Ono, so I can keep you from doing what you're going to do; so I can keep you from raising your daughter," because you keep thinking you can't. That's an invitation from the Enemy. You have the wall built, but I just have to wonder about your doors. The Lord has been speaking to me about my doors. He said, "It's your doors. That's the issue". Nehemiah said, "I have the gatekeepers, the musicians, and the Levites". Are you a singer? Okay. That's good. That's self-awareness. He knows his doors. He's like, "Nuh-uh. This door right here… You don't want to hear me sing".
I'll tell you one thing, though. The Levites… "Enter his gates with thanksgiving, enter his courts with praise". This is a unique move, because the Levites were supposed to sing in front of the temple, but drastic times call for drastic measures. Nehemiah knows, "We're very vulnerable right now". So, the Levites, who led the praise service, who led the people in praise… He moved them out to the gates of the city to set a tone, that we need God's help, that we need God's glory, that we need God's protection. We need God's wisdom. We need God's perspective. So, he moves the Levites out. He's like, "I know y'all normally sing at the temple, but for now, I need y'all at the gate".
You have to set praise at the gate in your life sometimes. To just get up and almost… If you even have to fake it, fake it. Sometimes driving to church… It's really early when I get here, and I won't feel my sermon, but I'll just start driving down the road like I do. I'm thinking about my sermon. I'm not feeling it. I'll just start going, "Woo! Woo! Woo"! My car is not self-driving, so I'm taking my hands off the wheel every time I clap, so I have to be careful, start slapping my leg or something. I have to put the Levites, or the praise, at the gate. I can't get here and wait to see how y'all feel to see how I'm going to preach and do my job. I have to put praise at the gate. "Enter his gates…" Do you see what I'm saying? But these guys weren't Levites. These were guards. And he didn't just put them at the gate; he gave instructions.
Look at verse 2. It's so powerful. Wow! I never saw Nehemiah 7 before. "I put Hanani and Hananiah…" Because he had integrity and feared God. Verse 3 says, "I told them, 'The gates are not to be opened until the sun is hot.'" That's unorthodox, because you're supposed to open the gates when the sun comes up. He said, "We're under attack right now, so I need you to keep the gates shut until we have full light and until everybody is wide awake, because I know where we're vulnerable. I can't just open the gates right now, because the enemies are threatened because we're making progress".
Hear me. Your Enemy is threatened because you're making progress. That's what the attack is about. That's what it has been about. "Oh, the Devil is just picking on me". No, he's not just picking on you. He has actually studied you. He is more aware of you than you are aware of you…your proclivities, your patterns, your past. He knows all of that because he is after your purpose. If the wall isn't built, he doesn't come to wage war. That's what it has been about. Listen to me. That's what this is about. That's what the attack is about. So, Nehemiah is like, "Okay. This is an unusual time. We're going to do an unusual thing. Keep these gates shut until the sun is hot". He's basically saying, "Until noon, keep the gates shut. Keep them shut a little while longer".
Let me ask you something. In this season of your life, where you've been struggling with depression… Some of you have been having panic attacks. Some of you have been having waves of anxiety. I mean, who doesn't? Some of you have been having suicidal thoughts. Some of you are not suicidal, but it's just hard to explain. It's like a low-flying, low-grade sense that you can't get any victory and sustain it. I want to tell you something you can do. Keep the doors shut while it's dark. Put a time frame on it. I don't care…seven days. "I'm not looking at anything on social media until I read a Scripture". All the applause just stopped. Y'all act like I told you to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. You act like I told you to die on the cross. I'm not talking about a crown of thorns; I'm talking about keeping the gates shut until you have light. That's why you have to start your day with God. That's your door. I don't care.
How many of y'all wake up at crazy times of the night thinking crazy thoughts? Put a sermon on your phone, and put it in your ear until you go back to sleep. Keep the doors closed in the dark. That's not the time for you to be alone. You don't even have to. I will preach to you. I will do pillow talk with you through the phone, through the app, on YouTube. I'll talk you through it. Or another preacher you like better who doesn't scream so much. But keep the doors shut when it's dark. You need light to fight the Enemy. Holly, do you hear me down there, baby? I'm telling them it's the door. Your thoughts are the door. Your eyes are the door. Your ears are the door. Dude, I do not just let anybody talk to me about anything. I don't rebuke them, but I pivot. People always want to come up to me and talk about other churches and other ministers and how this person fell and that and the other. I'm like, "Hold up, man".
Look at Nehemiah 7:3. This is me. He said, "Put some of them on the posts…" Look at the end of the verse. "…and some near their own houses". That's my verse. I have to guard my own house. I have to guard my own heart. I'm not letting that door come in. You know, the door to feeling really horrible about yourself is through judging others, because now you're going to become a victim of your own judgments. Can y'all handle a little bit more? I mean, here's the door if you have to go, if you just have to go. You have to go through Hananiah and Hanani, but you… I think we should put some real bodyguards at the doors for people who leave in the invitation of my sermon. I mean, some real bodyguards who are barely saved.
Think about this door. This may not be the best door to do it, but I'll ask you a question. Is this door closed? Is it open? Hanani… He said it's cracked, and cracked isn't closed. For the season you're in right now… I'm not telling you to go home and only watch Disney movies. That's not what I'm preaching about today. I'm saying for some of the attacks you've been under, the ones that really matter because they concern your purpose… He said make sure not only that they don't open the doors until it's noon, so we can fight in the light, not in the darkness… Because the Enemy wants to fight you in the darkness. He wants to fight you alone. He wants to fight you in ignorance. He wants to fight you in despair.
Look at verse 3. It also says before the guards go off duty… "Fellows, before you go off duty, have them shut the doors and bar them". To bar them means put your hand on it and make sure it's shut. God is going to put some of you in a season of "Shut up". I probably shouldn't say that, but I was reading Joshua 6:1 when they went in the walls of Jericho, and look at what Joshua 6:1 said in the King James English. "Now [the city of] Jericho was straitly shut up…" "Come on, Pastor. That's not what it means. It means nobody was coming and going". I know, but look at verse 10, what Joshua told them to do while they marched around those walls. "And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout".
I'm concerned if you just say what you feel in this season, you are going to speak yourself right into Satan's attack. I'm in a season of "Shut up," because what God has for me is too great. Right? He brought me to Jericho. This is the first city in the Promised Land. God said, "I need you to just take a sabbatical right now from other people's opinions". That's your door. You can't stop them from posting. You can't stop them from talking. You can't stop them from hating. You can't stop them from disliking. You can't stop them from being idiots. But it's your door that lets their voice in. Even if they talk around you, it doesn't have to get in you. Come on. You know I'm preaching the truth. This is why you're quiet. Okay. Let's do it. Don't shout. Just everybody, close your door.
Do you know how many times I had to do this this week while the Holy Spirit was giving me this message? I mean, I started to complain. And I'm just letting it out. Right? No. You're letting it in, because your words have power. You keep describing the same problem. "These stupid walls of Jericho. Oh, this stupid situation. Oh, this inflation. Oh, these gas prices". That's a good icebreaker for, like, three weeks, but come on. Is that all we're ever going to talk to each other about, is what's wrong? Maybe God wants to put you in a season of "Shut up" so he can bring you into a season of shouting.