Steven Furtick - Your Limitation Can Unlock God's Power
Sometimes God uses the wrong things from our perspective to accomplish His purpose in our life. Sometimes God uses something that we would never see coming, or someone that we would never see coming, to help us or to instruct us or to challenge us or to grow us. So watch the left hand. I went out and took this boxing lesson the other day, and I don't know if I'm going to go back because I got these injured shoulders, these 43 year old men injuries.
So I got to weigh the cost benefit of going out there and doing this MMA at this stage in my life. But when he was teaching me the boxing stuff, he said, "I'm glad you know your stance". Because one time a guy showed me that because I'm right-handed, I don't lead with my right foot, that the leg that my power comes from, boom, my right hand, I'm going to pivot off that leg. So I don't want to stand up right now and demonstrate this because I might scare you. But your left leg leads, right? Then you pivot from the hip to get the power from the right hand.
So I'm leading with the leg that's not on my strong side, so the power can come from the back. Now, I probably need to take another boxing lesson or two before I start teaching this principle publicly. But between me and you, I think that is in itself kind of a metaphor for the fact that sometimes God will lead with something that looks like weakness, left leg, weak side, because the power is in the pivot so that his power, watch this, his right hand can do the work. God sent a left-handed deliverer, and I don't know the percentages, but there are less left-handed people. Particularly in the military, some commentators say that it was unusual for a left-handed marksman or a left-handed archer or a left-handed slinger to be promoted in the ranks, the right-handed people are put first.
Well, we're going to see all through the Book of Judges as I come back to these devotions while we're doing our personal family reading from the Book of Judges, we're going to see over and over again… hey, sometimes God is going to do something and he's going to lead with the left. He's going to lead with the thing that we don't expect. Many times in your life you are diminishing what makes you different and destiny is sometimes in your difference. You are comparing yourself so much to others who you think, "Oh, they're the right person. They do it the right way. They got the right stuff". The New Kids On The Block weren't the only ones singing about you got the right stuff. We all look at somebody else. Well, she got the right stuff. He's got the right stuff. I guess God can use them.
Look how smart they are. Wow, I guess God can use them. Look how charismatic they are. I guess God can use them. Look what all their parents taught them. Look what they inherited. Stop talking about that and look in the left hand. What do you have that is uniquely you that God can use for his purpose? Isaiah said, "I am like an arrow. My mouth is like an arrow that God has hidden". It is hidden because it is significant. You are hidden because you are significant. Really important things you put away where thieves can't break in and steal, right? God has things locked inside of you. He's locked them because they are valuable. He has locked the treasure, the resource of your contribution, of your spiritual gift, of your acts of service. When the time is right, He going to bring you forth and use you.
So the idea that He locked the door, what's the significance of Him locking the door? It says in a later verse that they found the key and unlocked the door where the king was sitting there dead with his guts spilling out. I'll leave that to your imagination. I could get real graphic here. As the entrails spilled, no, no, no, and they found the blade that had previously been on the thigh of the judge. No, I just leave it to the imagination. You can't unsee this, right? The fat closes all in over the blade. So now the blade is still hidden, sucks the blade up in there. The weapon is hidden first on Ehud thigh and then in Eglon's belly. Everything in the passage is hidden. But when they found the key, they unlocked the door. That spoke to me about how the unlock for the nation of Israel after 18 years of chains of oppression, metaphorically speaking, not that they were physically in chains, although some of them were, but the captivity that was a part of this cycle was unlocked by a man with a left hand from the tribe of the right hand.
Many times in my life, I have limited myself because I'm left-handed. Again, just to be clear, in case this video is ever made public or in case I send it to a friend who is left-handed and you are offended and you send me an article on seven reasons that left-handed people are more likely to go to Harvard, be the president and win an Oscar and send me all the geniuses that were left-handed and talk about, whoa, ambidextrous, and boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. No, I don't really... Okay, well send me the articles. I'm sure I'll find them interesting and then I'll put those in the illustration too. Because here there is a clear literary device that the author of Judges is saying. Benjamin, son of my right hand, Ehud a judge that the Bible doesn't even say the spirit came on who was left-handed had a secret meeting, and God used an 18 inch, 18 inch weapon, a left-handed man in a secret place to deliver a nation.
I think there are secret weapons that you have that you sometimes don't recognize because you get discouraged, right? Isaiah goes on to say in Isaiah 49:3, "he said to me, you are my servant Israel, in whom I will display my splendor". Well, Isaiah comes long after the Book of Judges, but when he says, "You are my servant, Israel," Isaiah's not just talking about himself, he's talking about the whole nation and he's prophesying about Jesus the Messiah. But in this case, watch what he says. "I said," verse 4, "I have labored in vain. I've spent my strength for nothing at all". Wow. "I have spent my strength for nothing at all". Man, I'm doing everything I know to do, but I'm left-handed. I'm weak.
The next verse, it really hit home for me and brought this thing together in verse 4, part B. He said, "Yet what is due me"? Because he's feeling like a little bit of self pity. He's not seeing the results. He's not feeling like he's making a difference. The nation is not turning back. In this particular instance, he's preaching and prophesying. But you might feel like that with the investments that you're making of your time. You might feel like that with the way that you're trying to create relationships. You may be in a season of feeling rejection. You may just feel like, man, I'm not getting any progress or any traction. I keep getting sick in my body over and over again and I keep having to reset and I can't move forward. I keep going back into this old pattern and it seems like it's all for nothing.
Well, if you feel like that and you've been saying things like that lately, "I've spent my strength for nothing at all," you need this next part of the verse 4B, Isaiah 49, "Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and my reward is with my God". What is due me, say this out loud, what is due me is in the Lord's hands. See, because I'm His servant. It's His purpose. It's His will. It's His word. It's His word. So God, get me out of self-pity. Oh, why does nobody appreciate me? Why don't they see and put the shine on me? Why is nobody thanking me? All of those things are natural to feel, but get this in your spirit. "Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand". Which one? Sometimes the left one. Sometimes God is going to bless you out of his left hand.
Look for it in the left hand. Watch for the left hand. Watch for God to take somebody that you weren't even trying to impress or get to notice you and bring them over to help you with something that you needed help with. Watch for God point you to somebody who isn't looking for you. Let's don't just get in a selfish mindset. We got to think servants of the Lord here. Watch for God to say, I want you to be the left hand in this situation. I want you to offer to do that for them. I want you to make a difference in this situation. And nobody's expecting you, and you'll need to blow a trumpet. In fact, do it in secret. Don't even blow the trumpet about it. Don't announce it. Oh, I'm coming to help. Just be that left-handed, that sneaky secret weapon that God can use.
You don't have to preface things when you encourage people, "I want to encourage you today," just slip a little encouragement in. Boom. Do it so much that they don't even know it was you. They just get it like it was from God or they think they thought of it. One of my favorite things people tell me after I preach is, "I loved when you said blank, blank, blank," and I didn't say any of that because I feel like I got them tapped into the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit said that and the Spirit is way smarter than Pastor Steven. So we did our job, Lord. Boom, you got him with the left hand. Boom. Got him with the left hand. Boom, that sneaky jab. That’s that jab right there. That's God coming in to do a work in your life through the left hand. Watch for the left hand. The unlock is in the left hand.
How many times did I think that I wasn't going to be a good songwriter for worship music because of my vocal limitations? Oh man, I can't sing like that guy or that person. I don't even know all the music theory. Maybe I should have studied more and learned the music theory. Maybe I could have. Maybe I could have. I'm sure I could have. I know I could have. I could have paid more attention to those lessons. I got a book somewhere around here where the lessons are sitting in a notebook. I'll find it. I don't want to distract myself right now, but it's a big thick green binder where a guy named Darryl in St. Stevens, South Carolina taught me. I'd go out there and drive to St. Stevens every, what was it, Tuesday night. My mom will give me the money to go pay. I'm 16 years old. She's still paying for my guitar lessons like she did when I was 10, but I wouldn't practice. So I know a little bit about a guitar. I probably know enough to say, if you just head me, go boom, you'd be, "Oh man, he knows his stuff".
Well, I wasn't that clean. But if we just sat here for a minute, you'd think I'd know, but my knowledge would run out. So for years when I was in a songwriting situation, I would think of myself as the least musically knowledgeable person in the room and I usually am, as far as theory. I only really can play this one instrument. What I know about it is limited. But I have been able to work with great people who know things I don't know and bring the gift that I do have. As a musician I have an instinct that's unique to me. I have a way of phrasing things. Like one creative put it, "each personality is a prism and the light shines through us differently than it will anybody else". So when I get in there and see myself as a prism, rather than putting myself in the prison of what I don't know, what I can't do, how much better they are, how much better they sound.
Sometimes the fact that I only know so many chords helps me do something simple. That's the chords to a song called Graves Into Gardens. That song has gone around the world. It's been one of the most powerful songs that I've ever been a part of writing with the people I wrote it with, and I was just playing, this guitar's out of tune by the way, the simplest riff you can imagine with my left hand. So you can't see the right hand. The right hand is strumming down here, but the left hand is fretting. Just that… sus chord set the tone for... I'm right-handed, but my left hand is fretting. Your left hand has a job too. In your weakness, he has made strong. So look for the unlock in the left hand. Offer not only your strengths to God, which are awesome.
As Isaiah said, "I spent my strength in vain". But the Lord said, "I have hidden certain gifts in weaknesses". Not as an excuse not to practice your guitar. Just to realize that your limitations sometimes are what God uses to unlock His power. You can see this over and over again in scripture, can't you? You can see God using an apparent limitation to unlock a miracle, to unlock a collaboration, to unlock a blessing, to unlock a healing. To the crippled man with the crippled hand, he said, "Stretch out your hand". That's a limitation, if your hand is shriveled and you can't stretch it out. I really don't know which hand it was that was shriveled. I don't know if the Bible says or not. I haven't looked at that passage in a few months. But I think it's relevant to our discussion today to look for the blessings in the left hand. Son of my right hand, that means blessing. But sometimes God blesses you on the left hand. Sometimes we're caught up on people who have left us. Sometimes we're caught up on things that have left us, that we don't see what God has for us in our lives.