Steven Furtick - God, What Do You See In Me?
This is an excerpt from: The God Nod
I feel like I'm always wrestling with this question. It's, "God, what do you see in me"? I want you to put that question in the chat or in your phone or right there on your notebook. "God, what do you see in me"? Before I came out to preach, my oldest son said, "I like your jacket". He liked what he saw on me. But that's a jacket. "God, what do you see in me"? That's the first thing people notice: what's on you. "Oh, you got a haircut. Oh, you lost seven pounds". They don't know, "Oh, you gained bitterness". "So, God, what do you see in me"? That's a great prayer. "God, what do you see in me? I know what my family says about me. I know what I see in me, but what do you see in me? God, what do you see in me"? I think in a good marriage both people feel a little lucky that the other one chose them. I can't give you a Bible verse for this, but I think in a good marriage, a healthy marriage, as the years go on, you feel a little bit like, "Wow! I can't believe I get to be married to you".
I certainly feel that way about Holly. I'm not just saying it for points. We don't do this whole dysfunctional marriage thing where we run a sitcom in our house and just put each other down all the time. Y'all can do that if you want. "Oh, culturally, that's normal". I don't care what's culturally normal. I want to be spiritually whole. So, yeah, we fight, and, yeah, we kind of… You know what? We don't fight as much as they did on all of the shows I watch…The King of Queens, and all of these shows where they're just fighting all the time. That's not how we view marriage. One thing I've said to Holly before is, "What did you see in me"? She won't tell y'all this, but they were lined up to date her when she came to North Greenville College. It was a Christian school. She had the whole book of Philippians memorized, and she's beautiful.
So everybody wanted to talk to Holly. And she had this little exclusivity clause, because she was dating Jesus for a year, which (a little sidenote) only made her more attractive, because men love a chase. So, now I have to wait through this year with Jesus, and it just made it that much more appealing and alluring. (I promise you this all goes together. Some of you, it's your first time here. You're like, "He needs medication". No, I promise you, this is all part of my message.) There's a little part of me that says… But you know what? She has said the same thing to me before. She's like, "Why did you choose me to marry"? I don't know if you can relate to this. I just knew. She's like, "I wasn't a great girlfriend". She was still learning how to relate in that way and dating Jesus and all this stuff. She goes, "It must have been something you saw in me". I'm like, "I mean, it's easy to see if you want to know the truth of how I feel about your appearance," but it was really deeper than that.
Of course, I couldn't see all the support she would bring and the love she would bring at this moment. I don't share this for an ooey-gooey thing, but we're coming up on 20 years of marriage this June. I don't know where we're going to celebrate, but it's going to be expensive, and we're going there a long time. We are leaving our kids and turning off our phones and praying for the best when we go. So, I'm drawn to this passage because I realize that at this moment in time, Peter has no idea what he's getting into by saying "Yes" to a simple instruction from Jesus. Much like you didn't know when you said "Yes" to go to lunch with me at Golden Corral that I would pop the question and say, "Will you start a church with me"? Even when I said, "Will you start a church with me?" you did not know we would be attacked like we were attacked in 2013, but you also didn't know we would be in Singapore and Sidney and all over the world, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Ballantyne and Roanoke and Melbourne, Florida. "God, what do you see in me"?
If you haven't studied the Bible a whole lot, you may be confused, because I've been talking about Peter, but when I read the Scripture, we're reading about Simon. It says in verse 3, "He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon…" Jesus does this cool thing. He changes the name of his chief apostle. But that hasn't happened yet. At this point in the story, he's still Simon. He's called Simon. The name (from Simeon) means he heard. Yet in all of the passage, it's very interesting, because Jesus and Simon, who would later be known as Peter, are communicating without saying a whole lot of words. They each only say a sentence, but their lives are completely altered. This lets me know we're studying the interaction between two men, because men typically… I don't mean to be stereotypical, but typically, men can communicate without saying anything…prefer to communicate without saying anything.
Buck used to come over and lift weights with me. It would be an hour and a half. We would have lifted a cumulative 2,000 pounds and not said a word to one another. What an awesome gift we have as men. Would you agree? Women have other gifts. When women greet each other… I noticed the other day women use vowel sounds. They're like, "Heeeyyy, how are yooooou"? It's friendly. It's warm. Men… I love this about us. We can nod at you and know all we need to know about you from how you nod back or if you don't. If you don't nod back, you might want to fight. Men, am I right? And all nods are not created equal. There are different kinds of nods. Much like in Spanish there's formal and informal… There's a formal nod. That's this. There's an informal nod when you nod up.
When I started noticing this was in COVID when they made it illegal for us to touch each other for a year. You don't want to walk through life not communicating with people, and waving is kind of goofy. "Hey"! So, it's a thing, like, "I don't want to touch you, because that's uncomfortable". Then they put a mask on us, and people are saying, "You know, you can still smile with your eyes". I still haven't learned how to smile with my eyes. My eyes do not naturally smile. I can murder you with my eyes. I know how to do that.
So, what I started noticing during COVID was I had to regain the power of the nod, just to let people know… A man can walk by you and nod, and so much can be loaded in that nod. This is kind of "What's up"? or it can mean, "You want some"? It can mean a lot of things if you nod up. But just this can mean, "I see you, my brother. I see you. It is not easy to be a man in this day and age, but you carry it well, my brother. Carry on, soldier. Carry on, my wayward son". All that from a nod.
What got me about the text and the reason I went back to it… We focus so much on the speaking part in this passage. Every time I've ever preached it… "Because you say so, I will let down the net" or "Peter said to Jesus" or "Jesus said to Peter". All that is great, and if anybody knows how to talk, it's Simon Peter. He's always talking in the Bible. "Never, Lord. This will never happen to you. If all deny you, I won't deny you. I'll stand with you until the death, Lord". Peter is always talking. But in this passage, let me point out a few things God is communicating in the nonverbals. In verse 1 it says, "Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee…" The Lake of Gennesaret, Chinnereth. The literal name means harp, like the instrument, because it was shaped kind of like that. That's what the literal name Chinnereth means.
That is appropriate, because Jesus is standing by the sea, which will be the scene of the greatest demonstrations of his power in Scripture. It wasn't just a body of water. It was, for him, a classroom of faith. He had an advantage over me in preaching. First, he's Jesus. Second, he had nature as a backdrop to illustrate and to validate his words. When I teach you about a storm, you have a padded chair in an air-conditioned room, climate controlled to (we keep it cold here) 59 degrees. (We do that to keep y'all awake.) I think the fact Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee that's shaped like a harp is an indication that this body of water would be an instrument in the hands of the master teacher to give the lessons his disciples would need after he had left them in the body to carry on with the task of spreading the gospel. It's much more effective to teach about how to change a flat tire if you have one right now. It's much more effective to teach about how to survive a storm if you're going through one right now.
So, when Jesus taught his disciples about faith, it was not a doctrinal seminar. It was not "Fear is false evidence appearing real," or whatever the acronym is. Have you heard these things before? It wasn't cute. It was a matter of life and death. So, when they learned the lesson of faith, it was against the backdrop of their greatest fear. He was standing by the lake. Peter didn't know what would happen on that lake. Peter didn't know one day he'd be walking on that water coming to Jesus. He certainly didn't know when he stepped out of the boat to walk on the water that five seconds later he'd be gasping for breath.
"Save me, Lord"! But Jesus knew that at that moment. It is called the foreknowledge of God or, if you like, predestination. It means Jesus saw Peter walking on the water before he ever even got into Peter's boat. It means Jesus knew he would help Peter up before Peter ever started to sink. It means Jesus knew what would happen to you in your childhood before he called you into this season of your own parenting. It means Jesus knew you would be at church today, because somebody dragged you, so he could get you this word that he needs you to hear. He knew! God knows. We say that almost like a cussword.
"God knows". "Oh, God knows when the kids are going to be back in school full time. God knows when the alpha/beta/gamma/delta variants are all going to pass through and we can all go back. God knows who's going to be in the White House". God knows what's going to happen on the sea. One time, he sent the disciples ahead of him into a storm and stayed back and prayed. I said, he sent them into a storm. I said, he sent them into a storm! "Oh, well, maybe he didn't know it was going to… Maybe he didn't check the weather before he sent them out". His word is the weather forecast. Ask Elijah. Elijah said, "It's not going to rain until I say so from the word of God that comes from my mouth".
If Elijah, the prophet, had that kind of power over nature, what kind of power does Jesus have over the situations of your life? He's God. He's sovereign. He's the Bread of Life. He's the solid rock, and he's the living water. Oh yeah. The solid rock. We sing about, "On Christ the solid rock I stand". Absolutely. He's a firm foundation. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. God doesn't change like the shadows change. God doesn't change like your best friend changes. God doesn't change like your hair color changes. God doesn't change like cultural climates change, but the same God who could be called the solid rock is also the living water. He was standing by the sea because he wanted to teach you that real faith not only has to be solid; it has to be fluid.