Steven Furtick - When God Goes In
Let's go. I want to tell you right now that God is able to do immeasurably more than you ask, think or imagine, according to his power. Somebody shout, "His power". That's what I want to preach about today, I want to preach about his power. The title of this message, are you ready? "When God Goes In". Here he comes, a Waymaker, a Miracle Worker, here he comes in.
Thank you, Lord, for your Spirit. Thank you for your anointing to break chains and liberate those who are captive, to raise up those who are broken, to heal those who are hurting, to save those who are lost, to free those who are addicted. That anointing is in this house right now, and we release you to do what you want to do. Mighty God, miracle worker, have your way in this place. You are more than able. In Jesus' name, amen.
Come here. I'll start my sermon this way. I'll just go right in. Are y'all ready to go right in? Let's go right in. This is one of my favorite songwriting partners in the world, Chandler Moore. We have an enterprise called Moore Furtick Enterprises. I kissed his sweaty cheek because he has brought so many wonderful gifts to my life and to our church. We have a long story. You could go back and watch me telling those stories. They're all online. One thing that makes us good songwriting partners is that we both respect one another's strengths, and we have different strengths. I've never met anybody more intuitive than Chandler. So what I do to get him to sing… Now hold on. Let me tell you what I do, a little trick, in case you ever want to write a song with Chandler. Get him to think you're done writing the song, and then he'll do something more amazing than he did while you were writing the song, and then take that and write the song around that. A little trick, a songwriting trick.
One of the things that makes us good in collaboration, I think, is that he is very strong where I'm not as strong, and I'm very cool to be vulnerable in a way to say, "Hey, that's better". Or he might say to me, "Oh, that's better". That's very important in a creative partnership. You are in a partnership with God to bring about his purpose on the earth. Even if you're a single mom, you're in a partnership with God raising your child. You're not alone. Just like Chandler has strengths that I don't… The thing about God and you and what makes you and God good partners is that he's really good at what you're not good at, and that's a lot of stuff. I've been checking on y'all. That's a lot of things he can do that you can't do.
So, today I want to preach about that, and I want to share continuing… We've been preaching off the song we wrote, "More Than Able". It's out now. You can go download it. How many of you have already been riding around singing it with the windows down? It has been warm Charlotte weather. I'm scared people are hearing you sing that thing loud, and I'm scared you can't sing, and I'm scared you're scaring them. You ride around, and you start thinking you sound like Chandler. "Who am I to deny…"? You sound just like him. But I've been preaching off a thought in that song that says, "There's so much more to the story".
I'm believing that in faith for everybody who might have been tempted to give up in the last few years or even in the last few weeks or the last few days. I met a lady this weekend. She said, "I was sitting in the hospital parking lot, trying to decide whether I needed to check myself in". She was standing there with her son. She said, "I was trying to decide whether to check myself into the hospital, because lately I feel like I'm going crazy. I've made an appointment to see about that". But she said, "I was sitting in the parking lot listening to your sermons all day. I sat there for two hours. When I finished, I said, 'God, I need another sign that it's going to be all right.'"
Then she saw me in the thing. I was like, "I think this counts as a sign. Don't you"? I don't believe God has to bring me or any other individual in your life to give you a sign that he's with you. The fact that you've survived all you've survived and that he brought you to this point and you still have breath in your lungs… He's not done with you yet. So let's go. I'm going to give one Scripture while you're standing. I'll let you sit down in just a moment, but I want to share one Scripture from Judges 6:14. Then out of this verse, this will be a two-week sermon. How many of you will commit to come back next week? If I can get 50 percent of you to say you'll come back next week, I won't have to keep you here until 3:00 p.m.
Raise your hand if you commit to come back next week. That's good. Then we'll be at Easter. We have to come on Easter. Even if we don't come any other time, we have to come to Easter. You go to double hell if you don't come on Easter. You know I'm teasing. Judges 6:14 says something very powerful, and it's going to get more and more powerful as I preach it today, and then as I preach it again next week. It's just going to build momentum in your spirit, and you're going to see a breakthrough on Easter Sunday. That's going to start right now. Judges 6:14: "The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?'"
When God Goes In. Father, have your way. In Jesus' name, amen. Touch somebody and say, "He's coming in". Let the way maker through. He's coming in. He's coming into your home, to your heart, to your brokenness, to your questions, to your weeping. Right now, just make that confession online in the chat. Say, "He's coming in". Come through, Lord. Do what you want to do. When you think about the Bible, I want you to think about all of the strange elevations in the Bible. This church is not the first strange elevation in history. I know we're a little weird. I know it's a little different. How many of you, the first time you came here we scared you a little bit? Just raise your hand. Even like, "They're too happy. This can't be real. This feels cultic". Why? "Because everybody seems really into it".
Oh, yeah. God forgive we be into Jesus and his kingdom. That would be weird. It makes much more sense to feel like a funeral when God is alive. I digress. My point is not that. My point is not about our church being strange, although we are proudly strange and getting stranger every day. We haven't even gotten weird yet. Let me tell you how weird it's going to get. We're going to release a whole album on May 19, Holly's birthday. It's called Can You Imagine? On that night that we release those songs, we're going to record eight more. I'm announcing it now. That's weird, but that's what we're going to do, because we have to get the Word of God out into as many hearts as we can. If God gives it, we can't be stingy. We have to give it and release it so we can receive it and repeat it and do it again.
So that's how weird we are. And we're weird in other ways too. We're not divided in ways that some churches are divided. We don't have black songs and white songs. We just have songs, songs about God. We don't do ministry to rich people or poor people. We just do ministry. Everybody needs Jesus. One thing that encourages me in my study of God's Word is all of the people God raised who, from a human perspective, wouldn't have been recognized as likely candidates to be vessels for the purpose of God. Clap on that if you're an unlikely candidate too. Yeah, that's good. I called it a strange elevation because definitely, if you want to see that, look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:24. Check this out. "…but to those whom God has called…"
Touch your neighbor and say, "That's me he's talking about. Paul never met me, but he's describing me right there". "…but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called". Don't flash back too far. I might not get you back to church today if you think about what you were and where you were. "…think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise…"
Don't clap too hard. They might think you're the foolish one. I'm past the point of caring, man. I'd rather somebody think I was foolish than actually be a fool. "And the fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" "God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong". The subject I want to talk to you about today revolves kind of around this thought. The problem you're having in your life right now to align with what God spoke about you has a very discernable diagnosis from the Word of God. I'm going to give it to you up front, and then we'll unpack it together. It's that sometimes you get who you are confused with where you are. That's a lot of what you've been having severe and even crippling anxiety about. You keep getting who you are confused with where you are, and God knows the difference even when you don't.
I'm not going to fill this sermon with anecdotes from people I met, but it just so happened, going through Krispy Kreme the other night… I wasn't eating them. I was getting them for the sleepover Graham was having. I just want to tell you that right now. I can't eat one of those. I pulled through, and I felt like it was a good test for me against temptation, too, to have two dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the car and just drive home and not touch them. And I did it. I got a Quest cookie, and I called it even. It took me awhile to get to that place where I could do that, so don't give up. There's hope for all of us. Anyway, the guy said, "Hey, man. I know who you are". I said, "Cool. What's your name"? He said, "I used to go to Elevation". I said, "Great. What's your name"? He said, "No, I don't go anymore". I said, "What does that have to do with what your name is? I didn't ask where you go to church. I asked who you are".
In Judges, chapter 6, we meet a man who is being raised up by God who is unlikely, being that he's from the tribe of Manasseh, which is looked down upon among the nation of Israel. In some ways, for good reason. They were kind of a messy tribe. Also, within that designation, he saw himself as being the youngest in his family, because he was biologically, but God had chosen him for greatness. If you go through the book of Judges, you'll see all kinds of strange elevations. What I mean is God will reach down and raise up somebody who no one else had noticed and do something really great through them while nobody is looking.
One of the stories is about Ehud, who was a left-handed judge. The good thing about him being left-handed was he reached over to his right thigh and stabbed a fat king. The attendants were outside, thinking the king was in the bathroom, but he actually had a blade sucked into his cellulite. He snuck out and saved the nation because he was left-handed. Now, the tribe he was from, Benjamin… That means son of my right hand. So, he was a left-handed dude in a right-handed tribe, but God raised him up at just the right time. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that he may lift you up in due time. Of course, you've never heard of Ehud, because it's kind of a nasty Scripture, so they don't teach it over there in Sunday school class very much.
However, you have heard of Gideon who I read about in Judges, chapter 6. I think you have. I think you've heard about what he did, how he saved the nation with just 300 men. My plan is to attack that next week and show you how everything that has left your life is not needed for the next season God is bringing you into. If you have him, you're going to do great things, and greater things in the future. Now, Gideon is the least likely… He calls himself that. In just a moment, we'll see his conversation with God. He calls himself the least, and he calls himself the weakest. In fact, he calls the clan he's from within his family the weakest, and he calls himself the least within that family.
So, the weakest and the least. He goes on to save the nation, but before he does… Before we talk about what Gideon did or before we even talk about who Gideon is, I think we need to remember where he was, because I think that's where a lot of us are. I know it's where I've been. I spend a lot of my time in life in the place where Gideon was when God called him to do something amazing and raised him up. It's a strange elevation. It's God raising up an imperfect person. As Paul said, "The foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and the weak things to confound the strong". The Bible says in Judges 6:7, "When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt…'" Elevation. "…out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, 'I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites…'"
"Do not worship the gods of comparison. Do not worship the gods of status. Do not worship the gods of sexual expression at the expense of addiction and entanglement and bondage. I said to you, 'Don't do it.' Don't become like where you are. Don't confuse who I made you to be with what you see in the place where I put you". The prophet said that. We don't even know his name, but he said that. "But you have not listened to me". Now, I promise I'm going to raise you up, but first… We have to start where we have to start. Okay? Because that's true about a lot of us. You've been there before. I call it predictable misery. You know it's not where you need to go to get what you need to have, but you do it. Predictable misery. Predictable pleasure. You do the thing. You get the thing. You lose the thing.
Now you've got nothing, and you cry out to God. What I love about him is that he still lifts me. That's what I love about him. The question isn't if he will lift you out of it. The question is how long you insist on staying in it before you ask him to do what he said he would do. Now, for the Israelites, it was a seven-year cycle this time, seven years of being oppressed by the Midianites. It would get really bad when they tried to plant. When they tried to plant, the Midianites would come. The Bible says they came on camels, and they were like swarms of locusts. That's how many there were. It was overwhelming. Like swarms of locusts, they would come and raid and invade. Every time the Israelites got ready to grow and do something forward-thinking and progress and put something in the ground, here came the Midianites, the Bible says, like swarms of locusts. Every time they went to sow into their future, here came a swarm of enemies to drive them back into their past. Every time they went to sow, here came a swarm.
I'm setting this up so when I tell you where Gideon was you won't judge him, because you will judge him if you just meet him where he is. But if you know what he has been warring against, maybe you can relate to this guy a little bit. Maybe you won't call him a wimp if you see why he's hidden. Maybe if you realize that every time he has tried to plant, every time he has tried to reap… Every time I tried to go for a job interview, every time I tried to move forward, every time I tried to get my feet under me, every time I tried to talk to them, every time I tried to apologize… So, now we have Gideon, who is hidden, but he's a hero. But he's hidden, but he's a hero. Which one? It's both. And so it is with you.
I'm preaching today to a hidden hero. I'm preaching today to somebody who is stronger than your life has been suggesting you are. I'm preaching today to somebody who has more potential than you've been giving yourself credit for. God said, "I'm coming in to show you who I am. I am the Lord your God". Now let's go. Here comes the angel in verse 11. "The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah…" This was before she had her talk show. I like to point that out. She's been doing it a long time. I always throw that joke in there because that's a really good little preacher joke. Sorry about it. "The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite…" Shock of shock. Horror of horrors. "…where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, 'The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.'"
Now somebody is lying. These cannot coexist. You cannot be threshing wheat in a winepress and be a warrior while you're in a winepress threshing wheat, hiding from the big, bad Midianites. Somebody is lying. Somebody is wrong. Somebody is not seeing something correctly. One is an angel, and one is Gideon. One is the messenger of God, and one is Gideon, a human from the tribe of Manasseh. So, I'm going to ask you a question. If it's God and Gideon saying two different things about the same situation, which one is wrong? That is not a trick question. Shout this out loud: "God is not wrong".
So, why are you hiding if God is not wrong? Why are you worried about tomorrow if God said he's already there? Why have you given up on yourself when he didn't give up on you yet? Why do you talk to yourself like you're trash when he spilled his blood for you like you're treasure? Why do you keep going into a dark place? I'll tell you why. You are hiding because you've been hit hard. I understood the more I studied about the tribe of Manasseh. They were hit harder than any other tribe. When the Midianites would come in on their camels like locusts, they hit Manasseh the hardest. So Gideon has this little spirit on him. "Why is everybody always picking on me"?
That's because the enemy only picks on what he perceives to be powerful. (Do you see why it's going to take me two weeks to do this the right way?) But he's in a winepress threshing wheat. There's nothing wrong with a winepress. He's not down there getting drunk. He's not down there making meth, Mr. White. It's not exactly that he's in a wrong place. It's that he's doing the thing he's doing in a place that is not most appropriate for who he is. When you thresh wheat… And trust me, I've done it a lot. I've never threshed wheat, but I understand from people who have done these things. When you thresh wheat, the goal is to thresh it up on a hill, in an elevated place, as high as you can get. If you thresh your wheat in a high place… Let's, again, remember what threshing is. It's separating what's useful (the wheat) from what's useless (the chaff). When you're threshing wheat, they say, if you throw it up and the wind is there, then the wind will take what's invaluable and blow it away. Oh, I could preach this about the Holy Spirit. You know the Holy Spirit is like wind, right? Pneuma, the breath of God. When God does what he does, it blows useless stuff away.
I see chaff flying out of your mind today. I see chaff flying out of your emotions today, but you have to get where the wind is. It's hard to be where the wind is when you're in a low place. That's what's wrong with the winepress. It's a low place. That's what's wrong with the winepress. It's a depressed place. That's what's wrong with the winepress. It feels like a safe place, but the wind can't blow there. That's what's wrong with pornography. It's a low place. It makes you feel certain for a few minutes, but it really puts you in chains in the end. It's not a safe place. That's what's wrong with states of anger and rage. It's that when you're in that state, you're crazy, and you can't remember who you are, because all you can deal with is where you are. Are you confused? Have you started conflating who you are with where you are? Because Gideon did.
And maybe you're better than Gideon. That's possible. It is possible that you are holier than Gideon. I'm not, so I get this guy. When I say I get him… Watch this. He doesn't even know he's going to be… I would put Gideon as the GOAT of all of the judges God raised up. I would say he is the greatest of all time, the greatest ever to do it. He had tact and diplomacy. He could talk people down who wanted to fight, but if you wanted to fight… "If you want to fight… Do you really want to do this? I'm warning you". Buck, we went to the wrestling tournament. All of the guys with their ears all cauliflowered up… I was really nice to them. "I know you've been through something, man. Whatever you did to get your ear like that, I don't want you to do it to me. So, how are you doing? Yes, go first. Go right ahead. I'll hold the door for you".
So Gideon was rough and tough, but he was depressed. Now watch this. Stop confusing yourself with your state. It's easy to do. Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress. He's a warrior… Come on. We just have to stop and marvel at this, that he could be a warrior in a winepress. That you could be a great man trapped in a really bad habit. That you could be a great woman going through a period of chronic pain followed by depression. You could still be something and not see it in yourself because of where you are. I don't even think I knew what that line meant when we wrote it, Chandler. "I know who I am, but I can't stay where I'm at".
Now I get it when I read Gideon. The Lord says, "Mighty warrior, the Lord is with you," and Gideon… Look at verse 13. He says, "Pardon me, sir…big, strong, scary-looking angel…" Oh, by the way, angels aren't cute and comforting. Do you ever see what they write about the angels in the Bible? The angel will make you throw up and pee your pants, pee your pants while you're throwing up. The angels are scary. The first instinct sometimes when the angel came… They'd be like, "Don't be afraid"! It's like, if the angel looked cuddly, like that little one you have up there on your mantelpiece, then why would he say, "Don't be afraid"? Angel's got cauliflower ear. Angel's looking rough coming up in there. Gideon is like, "Hey, man, pardon me. I don't want to start anything, because you're a bad man, but, uh…" "…if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, 'Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian".
You know that's not what the prophet said. When I read you verse 7, that's not what the prophet said. The prophet said, "You abandoned God". That is not what the prophet said. Gideon is wrong. He's a warrior, but he's wrong. He's gifted, but he's wrong. He's anointed, but he's wrong. He's strong, but he's wrong. He has confused where he is with who he is to the point where when the angel calls him what he really is, he's like, "Who? Is there somebody else in this winepress who I haven't seen? He just said, 'Mighty warrior,' and here I am down here in a depressed place". You know, when you've been in a situation long enough… I don't care if it was done to you or if it was done through you. When you've been in it long enough, you begin to get the negative things so embedded into your mind you can no longer see anything but that. Am I right? When you've been in it that long, the negativity becomes embedded.
So, you are no longer choosing to be negative; you now think that's normal to be negative. You have names for it. You call it keeping it 100. Or when you do something really rude and out of pocket, you go, "I've just got to be me". I've been teaching you all year that's not you anymore. God is raising you up out of that. God is calling you up out of that. God is saying, "Come up a little higher. I've got something for you to do, and it's not just about you". We're almost to verse 14. I believe we can get there by 6:00 if you pay attention. God says to Gideon, "You're a mighty warrior". He identifies him by something he sees, which made me wonder. Is Gideon the only one who is sifting in this passage or is God sifting too? The first picture I saw in the passage was Gideon sifting. Write down sifting. That's my first point. "That's only your first point"?
I'm going to go quick. Write it down like this: before lifting comes sifting. It had better. If God raises you up to something, and he hasn't sifted from your life some of the attitudes, you will sabotage what he brings you into. How many witnesses do I have that you tried to skip the sifting? You just thought, "Well, I'll just go ahead and do it anyway". Mm-hmm. How did that work for you? When you said, "I know I have 17 warning bells going off". One of my buddies said the other day, "I was asking God if I should marry this woman". He said, "She was so hot. I didn't want to hear what God said". He said, "We got in a fight. I reached in the window and tried to take the car keys so she wouldn't drive off. She rolled my arm up in the window and squeezed it for a good 10 seconds, and I married her anyway".
We make some weird decisions when we really want something so badly, and we just decide, "Oh, no, this is what I want. I've just decided". You'd better let God sift that thing. "I don't like being single". You'd better let God sift that thing. I'd rather be single and sifted than married and miserable. I want God to sift them out. You'd better let him sift it. He's sifting it. Just like Gideon is sifting the wheat, God is sifting Gideon. He's blowing out all of the worthless thoughts, all of the vile imaginations, all of the things I think I am that I'm really not, all of the things I think I need that God is more than enough to cover for, all of the ways I used to do it. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, but when he raised me up to become a man… I'm coming into a season now where I have to be the real thing for Jesus.
I am so passionate about that, because if your faith does not survive the sifting, you will miss the best parts of being you. I've been down before and thought about quitting preaching. Sorry, but I have. It's hard to get the wind of the Holy Spirit to get a word to give to you when I'm in a winepress of my own weakness. And I've been there…many times. It makes me want to cry when I think about all of the times I tried to quit, but he sifted me to show me I don't even need a feeling to do this, that the Word of God is powerful enough without my feelings for me to stand up and preach it. Let it flow, God. I don't care. I don't look at those notes anyway. Don't get nervous. It's in my spirit. I've been sitting with this for three weeks. God has been sifting it and getting it ready to feed you for the fight you're in, for the future that he sees. It's not going to look like where you are. It's going to look like what he said.
Do you feel that? That's the wind. That response… That's the wind blowing out all that condemnation you've been putting on yourself. He died for you. He bled for you. He rose again. It's a strange elevation, but he will lift you up! He's lifting me. It seems like a bad time. It seems like it's over. It's a strange elevation, but he said in due time you will reap if you don't faint. I might be down right now, but I'm mighty in God. I might be sick right now, but I'm healed by his stripes. I might be broke right now, but my God shall supply all of my needs. I know who I am, and I'm not staying in this winepress. So take down my pictures. Call Two Men and a Truck. I'm out of here! This is what a breakthrough feels like. This is what the wind feels like. This is what the Spirit feels like. If I die in this winepress, my kids don't get this word.
Do you understand how important it is, what you're fighting for right now? The Devil will send every little locust to get you in that hole. How many had the locusts coming this week? I heard it called ANTS one time…automatic negative thinking syndrome. Isn't that good? I didn't make that up. I read it one time on a paid subscription website to Psychology Today. They said ANTS. I said, "That is it". It's automatic negative thinking syndrome. It becomes just who I think I am. It becomes my automatic response to anything God wants to do. I hide. Sifting. I'm only going to get to point one this week, but let's just do it, Lord. Let's just do this one so good that they go home and realize that you are with them, sending your word into their winepress. God saw his people oppressed by the hand of Midian. He saw you oppressed by sin. He saw you oppressed by shame.
And do you know what he has to do? Before God can get you out, he has to get in. He's getting in. You tried to keep him out. You tried to do everything you could do. You tried to push him away. You tried not answering your phone. You tried not texting the healthy people back. You texted the other people back. You tried everything you could do to love the locusts, but do you know why it didn't work? Because you have a lion inside. I'm about to up the dosage. Are you ready? Lions don't hide from locusts. Mighty warrior, miserable situation, predictable systems of enslavement. God is not confused about you. You don't fool him with all that fake crap that fools people, acting like, "This is just how I am. This is just how I'm going to stay". Nuh-uh. You can't. I'm sorry, but you can't, because God is about to go in.
When God goes in, it's not like… You know how you get in a fight with somebody, and you're like, "Oh, they're going in right now. This is crazy"? But they can only do so much. When God goes in. He's coming into the house he built to remodel it. When God goes in. He's coming into something that only he knows the blueprint for. When God comes in. He knows where every busted pipe is. He knows where every traumatic event is. He knows where every fault line lies. He knows where everything is busted. He knows where you're disgusted. He knows where you're just about to give up, and he says, "Good. This is going to make a great partnership". Just like Chandler and I write good songs together, you and God are about to do good work together, because what you're not, he is. After all, that's his name.
Moses said, "I don't have good speech". God said, "I Am". "'I am'? What does that have to do with good speech? That's not even good grammar". No, no. Just plug in whatever you need behind the name of God. Take it for yourself, and walk in it for a purpose, and we are going to get you up out of this. In the name of Jesus I decree it! Because we've got to. You've got to come out of that. You've got to stop deciding stuff in your depressed state. You keep cutting off the life of God, man. Do you know all of the things I would have missed if I would have made my decisions based on where I was emotionally? The best things that ever happened in my life… "You are more than able…" I didn't feel like writing music that day, and neither did Chandler.
People say sometimes, "I'd love to watch a song be written". No, you wouldn't. It's the most horribly boring, vulnerable thing of people with egos trying to eke out their ideas in a room. Everybody's ego is fighting everybody's ego, and until everybody shuts up and lets go and just tries something, nothing happens. But, boy, Chandler started playing this thing, and we wrote it. You know what? Chris had to make me do it in church. He said, "'More Than Able' is awesome". I said, "I don't know. It's kind of Broadway. Is it trendy"? Chris said, "Come on, man. The people will need it. I ride around listening to it. I need it. Let's do it". Then we released it.
Now, I just use it as an example. I'm not up here doing a class on communication songwriting, fitness, doughnuts, or anything else like that. Everything I bring you today I bring you to serve to you something God has helped me to understand. A lot of times in my life, I let the wrong thing be sifted out, and I kept the wrong thing sitting in. Three weeks? Four weeks? How long are we going to need with this word? I'll be here in 2029, saying, "There's so much more to the story. You're not done with me yet". And he's not done with you yet. He's not finished sifting. It must have felt horrible for Peter saying, "I failed Jesus," but Jesus told him, "Satan is going to sift you," and Jesus said, "I'm going to let him". "The only way I can let you know you have a lion inside and you won't turn it into pride is if I let the locusts come for a little while". But then comes a word from God, and it may be for you today. The Lord said he's about to go into your insecurities, to your inadequacy, to your incapacity.
I told the Lord one time, "I'm not capable," and he said, "I'm able, and I wear the cape, so you just do it". Isn't that cool how the Lord gives me wordplay because he knows that's my love language? I'm like, "O Lord, talk clean to me. I love that wordplay". What's wrong with me today, y'all? I just decided now I'm going to be me in this pulpit and everywhere I go, so we're just going to have a good time in church. Y'all can clip me, meme me, do whatever you want to do, but I've got to be me. I've got to go home with me, and Holly thinks it's okay. She thinks it's attractive.
Now, I've almost gotten us to the point of verse 14, which is really what I stood up to tell you today. Almost there. The Lord said… Wait. I have to do this. Verse 14. Before the Lord said anything to Gideon… Look at verse 14. I almost skipped this. I'm glad I saw it. Before the Lord said it… I'll give you a minute to think about this. Why were they in this situation to begin with? Because they turned away from the Lord. So the Lord says, "Even if you have a will to turn away, I have a word to turn you back". This is a turning word today. It's "Go in the strength you have". Before you can go in the strength you have, you have to stop worshiping your weaknesses. You have spent enough time in your life, in the form of the excuses you made, worshiping your weakness. For every time you make an excuse about something God called you to do, you worship the weakness instead of worshiping the God who gives you strength.
I love the Scripture that says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Well, that's just the New Testament version of what the angel said to Gideon. He said, "Go in the strength you have. I'll be with you, and you'll strike them down. Am I not sending you"? And Gideon was like, "I'm still not really convinced about this". You don't have to be convinced to commit to it. I know that sounds controversial, because we think it takes full surrender to God in order to be used by God. It doesn't start with full surrender. It starts with you saying, "If God is strong and is in me, then where I am is not who I am, and it can change because God does it". If God called me a warrior, that didn't change because of decisions I made. If God said I can be free and pure and new, and God said I can be fresh, and God called me creative, and God is calling me forward… Whatever the locusts are saying is a lie, and God is true, God is right, God is sovereign, and God is judge.
God is still speaking to some of you. He's stirring something up in this season of your life. It hasn't been comfortable. Sifting isn't meant to be comfortable. It's meant to be profitable so that when you get through this season, what's left over is his strength, not yours. Whatever is keeping me from seeing you, get it out, God. Whatever is keeping me from connecting with you, get it out, God. Whatever is keeping me from believing again, from having childlike faith, from speaking to mountains instead of bowing to them, get it out. I have to grow up. I'm not a kid anymore. Gideon, you're not a kid anymore. You're not a child anymore. God is raising you up now. You're not immature anymore. You're not a slave to that anymore. You're not in the hands of Midian anymore. The hand of God is on you. The Spirit of God is in you. You are not under the law; you are under grace, and you can do anything he says you can do. But you need a reminder, because sometimes you lose your mind, and you hide because you don't want to fight.
"I don't want to fight, so I'll just hide". "I'll just shrink my life down to the level of this problem. I'll just shrink my life down into this bottle. I'll just shrink my life down into this cynicism. I'll just shrink my life down into this stupid iPhone, and I will scroll my life away, hiding from real relationships because I'm scared of rejection". But it's a strange elevation happening today. Even as I preach this word, even as we worshiped, God was going in. You think God has to bring you out of prison for you to praise? Let me tell you a little secret. When you praise in a prison, God goes in. No, I'm saying God goes in. When God goes in, fear has to go out. When God goes in, depression has to go out. When God goes in, every excuse we made… Let me give you an illustration of how much of a warrior I can be and how much of a weakling I can be.
I'll give you an illustration from my own life. About four or five years ago, we were driving home from church. I was fried, man. I preached that same week in three other churches. I came home and preached here. I know; I'm in a winepress. I'm whining, and I'm depressed. I'm in a winepress. "Why me, Lord"? Because you accepted too many invitations, dummy. But I don't want to take responsibility for my decisions. I just want miraculous deliverance. Illustration resumed. I'm so fried. I'm going home, and I have no voice. I've been screaming at y'all for an hour, like I do. "Why do you scream? The microphone works perfectly fine. Pastor, let's take a microphone offering so you don't have to holler so much".
I know the microphone is fine, but there's something in me, like a fire shut up in my bones. I have to get it out. But after all that mighty fire in the pulpit in all of these different places, I'm riding home. I'm like, "Holly, you've got to drive". Normally, she drives home. I'm still so in my head about the message and what I said that I don't want to get in a wreck, so I let her drive. I'm smart enough to have discernment. Then I tell her to go faster and slower, which is really annoying. She's like, "Do you want to drive"? I'm like, "No, no, no. Just thank you so much".
So, we're driving home, and I'm tired. The kids, the boys… I don't remember if Abbey was in the car, if she was just being angelic or if she wasn't there. Probably she just wasn't there. But the boys are fighting, back and forth…boom, boom, boom. I'm like, "Y'all shut up. I can't take it right now. I can't take it right now. My last nerve is still in Toledo from Thursday night preaching. I don't have my last nerve. It's in Toledo. Y'all got to shut up. I'm telling you, please shut up. Please. In the name of Jesus, please be quiet. Peace, be still". I'm speaking to the storm. Nothing is working. So, finally…
Do you ever just get so overcome you do something that you're watching yourself do? You're not doing it anymore. You're watching yourself do it. I told Holly on Providence Road, "Let me out". We were at a stoplight. I said, "Let me out". She said, "Babe, we're only a mile and a half from home". I said, "Let me out". I said, "I'm telling you, if you don't let me out of this car, something is about to come out of me, and I don't know what it is. I don't want to know, and I don't want anybody to know. I just want us to guess for the rest of our lives what would have happened if I'd stayed in this car. Let me out"!
See, I don't even have my voice, so I can't scream at the kids. I can't scream. I feel trapped. They won't stop. I get out. She drives off. I'm walking, but I'm walking like I have a right to be walking on this road. I'm a taxpayer. Then I start thinking, "What if somebody from the church sees me? What are they going to think"? Then I think, "They'll probably think, 'Man, he is nonstop. He preaches the Word and walks home praying for us. What a man of God.'" Y'all don't know any better. Just use the illusion. You know what I'm saying? I'm walking. It didn't take me about 30 seconds to a minute till I was regretting the whole decision. What should come back my way but Holly's Denali. She came back down toward me on Providence.
I'm thinking, "Woman, I'm telling you, I can't do this right now. I don't want to be a bad role model, and me in that car and them is not a good thing". So she comes. She pulls up. She pulls around, and I'm opening the door to tell her, "I can't right now; I'm walking it off," which isn't a bad strategy. It could be worse. But when I opened the door, I noticed something different than when she left. It was only her in the car. Oh yeah. I said, "Where are the kids"? She said, "They're walking". What? Huh? Revelation. Look at what she said. I'm going to release it in the Spirit. She said, "You don't get out; they do".
I came to tell every devil that has been forcing you out of your right mind… You don't get out; they do! Every fear, every lie, every chain, every tribulation… I'm not getting out of the will of God; you are, Devil! Get out! Get out! Get out! I've got somewhere to go! I've got somebody to be! I've got somebody to help! I've got some kids to raise! You don't get out; fear does. You don't get out; panic attack does. You don't kill yourself; you run that Devil out of your life in the power of God, and you live to declare his goodness. You build a testimony, and you sing a song. "He's not done with me yet! There's more to my story. I'm just getting started. I'm not staying in this winepress".
Tell every locust, "I've got a lion inside, and lions don't hide from locusts". The Lion of the tribe of Judah is just about ready to roar to break your seven-year cycle, to break every cycle that has kept you stuck in sin and stuck in shame and stuck in a situation of predictable misery. God is about to go in, and all you have to do… I'm telling you, by grace we are saved. All you have to do, Gideon, is let the wind blow and let the way maker through. Because I know who I am. I know who you are. You are Jehovah-Jireh, so my needs are provided. You don't get out, God; limitation gets out. You are Jehovah-Shalom. You are my peace. Your peace is not going out of my life this week; my thought patterns that keep me in a place of panic are. You don't get out; they do.