Steven Furtick - Positioned For A Purpose
This is an excerpt from: Bent Knees Break Chains
The position I'm in determines the decisions I make. Sometimes I did something because I'm depressed. The depression may not be my fault. I believe there's a genetic element to depression. But in the process of me complying with the habits that brought me to that place, I may prolong my stay in depression by my decisions. When we talk about, "The Devil attacked me. The Devil attacked me. The Devil attacked me…" Well, the Lord gave me a word on that a few weeks ago. He said, "It is not the attack that matters the most; it is what you do after the attack". Watch this. New Testament verse. I hope I get back to Genesis 50, but I'm anointed for this right now. The Bible says the Devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. It does not say he can devour whoever he wants, but he can attack whoever he wants. The difference between him attacking you and devouring you will be the decisions you make in the attack.
So, when you feel anxious, what do you do with that anxiety? When you feel sad, who do you speak to about your sadness? When you feel overlooked, do you retaliate, or do you bring it to God and allow him to help you process it? We could describe Joseph's life in terms of a chain of events. In reviewing all of those Scriptures this week, I felt myself wishing we had three days to do this, because everything in Joseph's life… Oh, it's so rich with detail. Just to boil it down to "What the Enemy means for evil, God means for good…" My friend Rick Beato, my YouTube guy, would break it down and show you the isolated tracks. He'd be like, "This is what makes the song great". I want to show you how the events in Joseph's life that God did not prevent that were painful positioned him for the purpose of Joseph's life that he could have never imagined. So, let me do a typical sermon about Joseph in two minutes. You have to walk through everything that happened to him. Right? He had a dream. He told his brothers. That's an event. His brothers got mad about it and didn't like his Gucci coat that his father Jacob gave him.
Now, understand, when they threw him into a pit, they saw him as a snitch because he came out to check on them and see if they were doing their jobs. You can understand, then, that from their vantage point, the position they were in influenced the decisions they made. It's easy in this passage to feel like you're Joseph, but have you ever been his brothers too? Have you ever been jealous? Because you do things when you're in a position comparing yourself to others… That's why the Bible says when you compare yourself to somebody else, you're not wise. That's what it says. It doesn't say it's evil; it says it's not wise. You are going to do dumb stuff trying to be like somebody who does not have your same bone structure, background, or the same blessing on their life. Reuben saved his life, because he said, "Let's not kill him. Let's sell him. We can probably get 20 shekels for him". They sold him to the Midianite caravan. These are the events of Joseph's life.
So, if I'm walking you through it, I'm saying by the time you get to Genesis 50:20, he's 56 years old. You didn't know that, did you? You thought he was standing there saying, "What the Enemy means for evil, God means for good" while he was going through his testing, but he went through 40 years to get to the point where he understood the events of his life…all of them… The dream he had, the coat he wore…the good things. The pit they pushed him into… Y'all, he even ended up in prison because he did such a good job serving this man named Potiphar, and Potiphar's wife "Hotiphar" (I named her) said, "Hey, big boy. Come to bed with me. I like your coat. I like your character. I like the way you clean windows". Remember, he has a menial job, but he has a great sense of responsibility. Everything he did in Potiphar's house drew attention because God's favor was still on him. God's favor is still on you. Pushing a mop, God's favor is on you. Washing dishes, God's favor is on you. Quarter of a tank of gas and don't know how to fill it…God's favor is on you.
Oh, by the way, when you get a promotion that puts you in a tax bracket you never imagined, that's God's favor too. It was your Father who put the favor on you to bring you into the position. When you understand that, that God raised you up, it makes you two things: it makes you humble in high circumstances and hopeful in low circumstances. When I see that my Father favored me… Joseph knew that early in his life. He saw this vision that his brothers were one day going to bow down to him, but he didn't see everything that would come before that. This chain of events, things that happened to Joseph that he largely could not control… Some people say he shouldn't have told his brothers his dream, and they wouldn't have pushed him in the pit. I say if he didn't go in the pit, how could he have gotten to Egypt so there was food waiting for them when they came through the famine? It makes me think that even my mistakes can become miraculous if I give them to God and be humble about them.
A lot more happened to Joseph, and although we won't explore all of it today, I just want you to hear some of the other things that come before this so you can put yourself in this story, in a way, to try to figure out "In this season of my life, what decision is God leading me to make"? The events that led you to this point in your life, however painful they were… I forgot to tell you this part. When he got to prison, he started interpreting dreams for the other prisoners. I wouldn't have done that, because I would have been pouting that "I don't belong here," because Potiphar's wife accused me of raping her, and I was actually running from her. I probably wouldn't have been able to get past my own pity party. Pit…he was in the pit…pity party. I'm just checking to see if I still have your attention. There's a lot of background.
So, there are a lot of things that happened. Eventually, when he interpreted… The cupbearer had this dream. He was like, "I saw these three vines coming off of one branch. It had grapes on it. I squeezed the grapes, and then the cups were filled". Joseph is like, "Oh, in three days you're going to get your position back. It's going to be great. On Pharaoh's birthday, he's going to put you back into position". The baker was like, "Oh yeah, me too, me too. I had a dream too. There were baskets on my head and bread in the baskets, and the birds came and ate it". He was like, "Oh yeah. That's because your head is going to be cut off in three days. That's why it's three baskets. And the birds will eat your flesh". So, all of that happens just as Joseph spoke it. The cupbearer gets out of prison and completely forgets to mention Joseph. Oops.
For two years he stays chained in a dudgeon, not because of his decision but because of an event. But here's what I want to show you. Within every event is a decision. You got it? I'm not even asking you to understand it yet. Just, did you hear it? Within the event there's always a decision. Illustration of this. Today, we are having a worship service. It's an event. The service is an event. We sang about four songs. That was part of the event. Hopefully, somebody offered you a breath mint and a pen when you came in the door, if you came in the door, or you logged online, and here I am now, standing behind my pulpit with my Bible open, ready to preach to you. I've been praying about it all week. This is the event. This is the service. But worship is a decision you have to make in the event. The service is the event. Worship is the decision. Worship is an offering. Some of y'all didn't sing a note. You were watching this like you're going to vote whether they stay on the stage or not. Like, "Oh, I don't know…" You are not Simon Cowell. Why weren't you singing? God is the star of this. God is the audience of this. Why didn't you sing?
"No, no. Pastor Steve, Pastor Steve, Pastor Steve, I didn't sing because I can't sing that good". That doesn't stop you in the shower. Another thing is if the person next to you doesn't like your singing, you just told them 10 minutes ago they're not God. So, if they don't like how it sounds, it's good news, because they're not the audience you were singing to anyway. So get this. When we were singing at the campus I'm at, "I'm going to see a victory…" If that song went by and you didn't sing it… I mean, sing it out of tune, sing it loud, sing it bad, sing it good, sing it falsetto, sing it bass, sing it tenor, sing it alto. If you didn't sing it, and if you didn't believe it and put your heart in faith and say, "You know, I don't feel that right now, but I believe it. In Jesus' name, I'm going to see it with my kids. I'm going to see it on my job. I'm going to see it in my body. I'm going to see it in my mind. There is a breakthrough with my name on it. I don't know when, but I have faith for it. I'm going to see a victory…"
If you didn't sing it, how can you expect to see it? The song was the event, but your worship was a decision. I forgive you. Hearing the sermon is an event. Sharing it with somebody who needs it is a decision. What if they're about to give up and you could send them a link? I'm talking to you. Logging on watching a sermon… This is an event. You can watch a lot of things on YouTube. But what if God prompts you to send it to somebody else? "Hey, man. Thought about you today. Preacher is up there talking about decisions and stuff, and I was just thinking how you have to make this decision right now. So here it is. I love you. I'll see you Tuesday". Whatever. That's a decision. The more we separate the event from the decision, the more room it gives God to move in our situation.
I'll go a little deeper. Here's one. I thought of a bunch of them, but I won't give them all to you today. Y'all won't like this. Traffic is an event. What time you leave the house… Got 'em! Like traffic was the Red Sea, like you didn't know it was there, like it isn't there every morning. "I'm sorry; the traffic was bad". The traffic is always bad. It's 485. They're going to be building it for the next 485 years. You knew that when you pushed it till the last minute and hit "snooze" for the third time. Leaving early is a decision, and the decision to leave a little early might affect your decision to road-rage. See, we have to stop blaming so much stuff in our lives. Joseph is a model. We have to stop blaming the events and start making the decisions God is calling us to make within the events that can empower us to move forward or else we will always be a slave to what happened.