Steven Furtick - When It's Okay To Quit
This is an excerpt from: Permission To Quit
If God called you, you don't get to quit, but if it is keeping you from being what God called you… As of this moment… I'm not talking about last week. I'm not talking about in three years when it gets easier. I'm not talking about when we see about this recession. I'm not talking about anything that's going to happen, anything that did happen, but right now, anything that is keeping you from being what God has called you to be you have permission to quit. Like the neighbor who told y'all, "Y'all can't fish in this pond. Don't you see the thing? No fishing allowed". But the other neighbor also is on the pond. He said, "Tell those boys they can fish anytime in my pond. It's my pond too. They can fish there". So you can fish there because somebody who owned property gave you permission.
Now, if the first man said, "You can't fish here," he was right, because it's not your property, but when somebody who does own property adjacent to the pond gives you permission… This is why all of our attempts to change in our human strength are short-lived. We keep trying to do it in a place where we don't own property. See, until I come to Christ and really receive his power in my life and his Spirit in my mortal body, I can't do it, because I don't own that spot. I keep trying to step up to it, and I fall short from it, and then I'm stuck in it, but God says, "Wait a minute. I have a piece of property". Are you ready for this?
"When I went up a hill called Calvary, and when I established the real estate of salvation in your heart… When I said, 'This is my throne inside of you…' You need to understand that not only did I come to give you my presence. I came to give you permission. What you couldn't do in the law, what you couldn't do in yourself, what you couldn't do in your past, what you couldn't do under the guardian and tutelage of the law of Moses…" God said, "I'll do it for you. You can lift your hands in here because I give you permission to praise me. I give you permission to come boldly before the throne". Do you feel that? God says, "You can fish here. You can worship here. You can try again here. You can forgive here. You can move forward with your life here because I own this spot".
You have permission to quit, yet the sad reality of the message I'm preaching today is that most of us are more loyal to our old self than we are excited about our true self. We really are. We still want to play Nintendo, Sega Genesis. The Lord has an Xbox 12, and I'm like, "I don't know how to work the controls. I'm going to play this Nintendo". The question I really came up here to ask you… I want you to talk about it to somebody today before the day is over. Are you more committed to your limits than you are to your potential? Are you more loyal or committed to your limits than you are to your potential?
Based on the way a lot of us speak and what shows up in our language, because our language will always be a great lie detector to see things we still say and how it affects the way we think, and it leaks out in our language… The moment we begin to basically defend the way we've always been… Not acknowledge it. I think that's awesome. "Here's where I am. Here's what it is. Here's what I did. Here's what I learned". There's a lot of healing in that, because as I mentioned, when the bone is broken, if it grows back calloused, then that's going to be worse in the end. So, I am not talking about the fact that you don't acknowledge it, but a lot of us go far beyond acknowledging. We actually become advocates of our own weaknesses.
I don't mean facing the fact that at 5'4" and 47 years old you're probably not going to play in the NBA. I think that is a wonderful limitation for you to embrace in your life. I think your family will be happy and you will put food on the table by acknowledging certain limitations. That's why I didn't get on Mait's back when he came up here. I thought, "Oh no. I forgot he was hurt". Now, somebody over there was sending you up like a lamb to the slaughter, trying to get you re-injured, but I'm your pastor. I care about you. I realized in that moment, "Oh, no, no, no. This is not wise". That's good. Every time I preach about permission to quit, somebody goes and gets a divorce. I'm telling you, if God told you to march around the walls and not say a word, you have to walk around the walls again.
If God told you to go check again, and there's a cloud up there, and you can't see it, you have to keep looking for it. That is not the advocation of a lack of persistence. What I think happens to us is when it sounds really good, "Get rid of the old self," it's much harder than it sounds, because the old self really helped me through a lot. My anger has been a good friend to me in certain situations, so to abandon my anger and choose in moments to be a peacemaker… "It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday". Let me see if I get a copyright strike. "And I'll take with me…" I know all of the parts of that song. I know the feeling. I know the sentiment. I have stuff in my closet I sing that to. "It's so hard…" Three holes in the sweatshirt. "…to say goodbye". It's so comfortable. I don't know why we shout so much as we do over "Say goodbye to the old self".
Do you know how painful that is to make a break with a way of life? In many ways, it feels like a betrayal of yourself to change. Now you're surrounded by a bunch of dummies and blowhards who say, "Do you! Your husband doesn't have to know. Do you". Do you have any idea who you could become if you would make the decision in this moment to receive the permission of the Holy Ghost who lives inside of you who was sent to help you and enable you to get up from what you've been staring at? I read a quote that gripped me. The lady's name was Phipps. I don't know anything about this lady, but she said something so powerful. She said, "If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them". I'm going to send Phipps an offering once I find out who she is. She's right.
If you argue for your limitations… "I just have a temper". Then you get to continue to burn through perfectly good relationships and keep the people in your life from loving you like they could because you have a temper. "Oh man, I just can't. Money is tight. I can't be generous". Well, the world of the generous gets larger and larger. The world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. You are shrinking yourself with every limitation you defend. Should I do a few more examples? All right. Let me see what I can think of. I didn't plan this part out. "I'm not a vocal person, so I'm not going to speak up about this. I'm not going to say anything about this". So now you're just going to suffer in silence until you eventually explode, and it's going to be way worse than if you'd learned how to say, "Hey, I need help".
I love it when we get creative about defending our deficiencies. If you would reinvest the creativity you put into defending what you can't do… If you would reinvest that, you could be the next Walt Disney as creative as you are. You invent limitations that aren't even there, limitations that might be, limitations that could possibly, who might not possibly like you. "Well, I would go, but, you know, there's probably going to be already somebody there". It hasn't even happened yet! We used to tell my oldest son Elijah all the time something that everybody told me. They'd go, "You ought to be a lawyer one day as much as you love to argue".
I have a lot of friends in the church now who are lawyers, and they don't stand in court and argue all day long, so I now know that was a flawed philosophy that if you like to argue, you should be a lawyer. But you know what? When it comes to the limitations in your life, some of you ought to be a lawyer. Not only will you argue with people when they try to tell you you can do better. Not only will you argue with the evidence in your life that you can overcome and keep on going back. You will argue with almighty God about who you are. He will send signs and signals to you that there is more in you, and he will show you things you can do, and you get up in the face of God, talking about, "Well, I can't, and I didn't, and they didn't". You are a defense attorney for your limitations.
If you argue for those limitations, you get to live in them. See y'all next week. Or… I'm going to finish the quote. I don't know what Phipps said next, but I know what I want to say next from the Bible. Are you ready? The first part was Phipps. The next part is Furtick. Part one: If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them. But if you agree with God about your potential, you get to outgrow them. If you get with God and say, "I see what the situation is trying to say about me. I see what my past has been so far. I know the patterns of my past suggest I will never be more than this. I know that last January I was sitting in church feeling ambitious too. I know this has happened so many times in my life that I feel like I'm a slave to it, but now I am making a decision in this moment to take off everything God did not put on me, to strip it away".
Now, I'm not going to just get to do this once. I'm not just going to get to do this one time. "Okay, God. The old self is gone". No. Paul says every day you wake up, every time you feel it come back, every time that limitation squeezes you… You know the limitation I'm talking about. You know the thing you think, "I can't help it. I just always do it. I'm always going to do it. I can't be that kind of person". When that comes, instead of arguing with God who says, "I've given you my grace, my power; it's more than enough," try just agreeing with him. "All right. Maybe you think I do have what it takes, and that's why you put me in this situation".
Or be like the spies in the book of Numbers. "We can't go in. We're too small. We're like grasshoppers. They're bigger than us". Guess what they got. They had a grasshopper self-image, and they lived in a grasshopper situation for 40 years. If you argue with your limitations and challenge them, you get to see what God can do, but if you argue for your limitations… Do you do this? Do you ever do this? Do you defend what you cannot become before a God who has said you already are that?