Steven Furtick - Insecurity And Insufficiency Are Not Your Identity
This is an excerpt from: What God Left Out: Flatbread Faith
God is doing something in this text that I wonder if he has been doing it in your life, my life, this church, this ministry. Rather than God demonstrating his power through what he adds, he gives his people a lesson in leaving it out. He said, "Get up in a hurry out of Egypt," and they didn't even have time to let the bread rise. That's what the yeast does. It makes the bread rise. Before the bread could even rise, they had to get out. They didn't even have time to prepare for a global pandemic…I mean, for the exodus. Sometimes my mind goes back and forth like a duet on TikTok or something. It's going back and forth. I want you to ask a question today: "What is God leaving out in my life right now to lead me to where he called me all along"?
I want to do it under a couple of different headings. I want to talk about it from disappointments, I want to talk about it through deficiency, and then I want to talk about it through deletions. They left Egypt with bread with no yeast, and they went into a place where they had no knowledge of how to survive. Remember? They went into the wilderness. God gave them manna. All of that is awesome. When I read the Bible sometimes, I think the more important things we learn are in the spaces where nothing is written. I want to give you a few examples of that. In your life, a lot of times, it will not be the obvious things that will leave the greatest clues to what God has called you to do.
One example of that I thought of was when God told Moses his name, he said, "I Am". I figured out over time that God didn't get tongue-tied about what came next. He wanted to leave it open. We want to limit God. We want a picture of God we can hang in our kitchen. We want a picture of Jesus that looks just like somebody with our same last name. But when God left that blank, he wanted you to know he will not be confined to something you can call him with human language or a picture your eyes can perceive. Let me show you this in the New Testament. Acts, chapter 1, is kind of like Exodus 12, because it's a picture of a nation in transition. It's the same thing in Acts 1. It's the same thing in the New Testament.
Jesus is leaving, the Holy Spirit is coming, and life is happening in that transition. Life happens in the transitions. Life happens in the car. Life happens on the way to stuff. Life happens with something that came up on your caller ID and you don't even know what number that was. Life happens good and bad in places you didn't know to look. This is a parallel God gave me. They were coming out of Egypt. God was bringing his church out of a religious system in Acts, chapter 1.
So, they're standing there talking to Jesus, who they've walked with in Acts 1. Look at verse 6: "They gathered around and asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?'" But God was not going to restore what they had before. He was going to replace it with something much better. God is not going to restore the earlier version of your life. God is not going to make things back like they were. He doesn't do that. That's not his thing. I'm not saying Jesus was ADD or anything like that, but he couldn't do the same miracle the same way twice. He's spitting and touching and speaking. It's not going to be like it was.
Now, when they asked him this, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel"? I want you to notice what he said back to them. "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority". He reveals his power not by the details he puts in but by the details he left out. He could have told them the answer to that. Do you think he didn't know, that he didn't have a plan for it? Do you think God is like, "Oh, I didn't see this thing happening over there in China. This is a real game changer. What are we going to do, Gabriel? Hey, Michael, get your war clothes on. I really got caught off guard. It's an ambush". No, no, no. That blank space right there is the place where we learn to believe.
See, if we know something, we don't have the opportunity to believe it. I don't have to believe what I know. I have to believe what God spoke. God is often revealed by what he leaves out more than what he puts in. When they talk about Abraham in the Bible, he's known as the father of faith, the father of many nations. It gives this little reductionist verse, revisionist history. It says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness".
For someone who has been studying the Bible, like I have these 20 and some years, he did a lot more than believe God. He lied about who his wife was. He had sex with Hagar, who was supposed to be cleaning the house. He did a lot more than… Y'all don't like the real Bible, do you? Oh, you like that airbrushed… You want me to leave the stuff out that you don't like about your Bible heroes. No. Here's the thing about it. All that was left out when Paul wrote Romans, and I was going, "Why? Why did God leave that out"? I figured out that Abraham's life was not defined by his failures…not by God. It was defined by his faith. Are you getting it?
So, when Paul gets ready to describe Abraham, he doesn't mention the things we might mention. "Oh, then they went bankrupt, and they're kind of this over there". He mentions none of that. He said he believed God. That's what counts. That's what matters. That's what will be said after the fact, even with the ups and downs. Leave it out. Last week, I was preaching about the Prodigal Son, and I was mad at the dad in the story because the younger one took his money and wasted it. Let's go to that passage. Luke 15. I love the Word of God. My hardest part isn't finding out something to preach; my hardest part is figuring out what to leave out, because this thing is so good to me.
I told Abbey last night… She came in. She said, "You got your sermon ready"? I said, "No. I've got three". She said, "You'll find one verse to bring them all together. You always do". She was a prophet. I didn't know what it had to do with yeast and bread and the Prodigal Son. I'm like, "I guess they both have food in them, but what else"? Watch this. Luke 15. The younger brother goes out, and he's doing his younger brother stuff. He's out there spending everything he had, trying to be independent from the father. "I want my freedom". It's not really free. When the Devil tempts you, he leaves a lot of stuff out about what it's going to cost you. You think God is the only one who leaves stuff out? The Devil has the same strategy. He will tell you all about the feeling. I have to go back real quick. When they were saying, "We wish we were back in Egypt…"
Remember from last week? They said, "We had fish in Egypt". You also had an unreasonable quota of bricks you had to make with not enough straw. You left that out. There's a way our memory gets selective. "Oh, the good old days". You remember how the fish tasted, but you forgot how the Pharaoh treated you. You're leaving something out. You're leaving the wrong stuff out. So, the younger brother is like, "O God, I'm hungry. I remember my father. We used to eat around there. We ate good around there. I'm going back to my father. I'm not going to beg like this anymore". You get there. Right? You're like, "I'm going to do this different. I'm going to set some priorities. I'm sick of this. I don't want to live this way".
When we say, "Go back to your father," what does that mean? I don't want that to be abstract for you. It means going back to who you truly are, being known by your identity, not seeking after it by trying to add status and stuff and layers and personas and busyness and think that's somehow going to fulfill your life. It's not. You gain the world and lose your soul. That's what it meant when he came to his senses and came back to his father. He had a speech ready. He wrote a whole speech. "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants". Luke 15:20: "So he got up and went to his father". Watch what happened. "While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son…"
Can you believe this undignified decision of a great, wealthy man who has hired servants to run toward his son who wasted his money? I see the son getting his speech ready, because he didn't expect to see his father until he rounded the corner, but before he could get all of these things out of his mouth…"I'm not worthy. Make me a servant. I'm so horrible…" Before he could get to any of that, the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet". "Wait. I have a speech to give you where I'm going to list all of the bad things I did". I hear God saying, "Leave that out. That's not what this moment is about. That's not why I'm convicting you: so I can just crush you under the weight of bad decisions".
I know you have a lot of those thoughts too, but if I'm hearing God right, he's saying, "Leave that out". "I don't know you by those things you identify yourself by. Leave that out". Stop introducing yourself to the next season of your life with the résumé of your regrets from the last one. Leave that out. You know when you go in your mind and you're like, "I think God is calling me to…but…" Leave that out. Go back to the first thing you said, make a little sandwich with the last thing God has said, and leave out whatever you put in between, because that's the space for you to believe. "I thought you were going to talk about disappointment". I am talking about disappointment. The father had every right to be disappointed in the son, but he left that out.
I wonder why we are so quick to put stuff back on people that God is leaving out. God doesn't talk to them like that. God doesn't see them like that. God doesn't judge them like that. And we do? Leave it out. Next time this week you get a little something in you that feels real good… You're going to say something bad about somebody. You know, "Oh, well, they're good, but do you know what I heard"? Leave it out. I hope y'all make a meme out of me. "Leave it out". Put your little speech up. Put your little self-righteous thing… We don't know what to leave out. God is trying to send us the Holy Spirit, but we need too many details. Because we will not leave the details in the hands of God, we cannot receive what he has given us for this moment.