Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Restore Your Joy

Steven Furtick - Restore Your Joy

Steven Furtick - Restore Your Joy
TOPICS: Joy, Happiness

This is an excerpt from: The Hard Work Of Happiness

But I think, according to Psalm 126, there are some decisions you can make in the dry places of your life that will lead you, no matter where you're starting from, into a place of supernatural happiness. "The Lord doesn't care if I'm happy". What? The Lord doesn't care if you're happy? You take your kids on a trip, and they're sitting there mad and screaming and yelling and crying. Well, you don't care if they're happy; it's just for the experience. No. You care if your kids are happy. You're just not willing to sacrifice their long-term good for their short-term happiness. That's what God is like.

So, when we see in Psalm 126, this is not happy-clappy. This is not the shortcut to feeling good. This is actually a spiritual path for the daily decisions we can make in the dry places of our lives. So, I want to give you today… Are y'all all right if I teach? I have notes everywhere for this one. Because the sermon came to me in the restaurant after riding my bike, my notes were on receipts. I didn't even move them over to my iPad, because I wanted to preach from the receipt. I thought that would be cool, that would be hardcore. I thought it would make it feel authentic and gritty.

"He was preaching from receipts. My pastor never takes a break". I mean, I prided myself on that for years, because I'm good at hard work. Ask my kids, "Who's the hardest-working person you know"? They'd better say me, because I'm the one who paid for everything they call drip. If it isn't from my faucet, they don't have any drip. I might not be happy, but we have central heating and air in the house, and the fridge is full, and you're not hungry. I prided myself on that for years. Do y'all remember the story of the prodigal son in the Bible? The one boy goes, and he spends all of his father's money. He rolls around with pigs and lays around with prostitutes and squanders his fortune, because he just had to have it now. He just had to be happy. He just had to go get it. He just had to go see.

We preach about that boy, not realizing that wasn't the point of the story Jesus was telling. It was his older brother back home who was home but not happy. He wasn't happy when his brother came back. He was mad that it had dipped into his college fund with his brother's dumb decisions. In fact, in Luke 15, when the father started throwing a party for the son who came home who was lost… He said, "He was dead, and he's alive. He was lost, and he's found. We have to celebrate". The older brother said, "I've been slaving for you all of these years, and you never did any of this for me".

I always thought I didn't really relate to that story because I wasn't that wild in college. I never had this season of my life where I developed a horrible addiction to a substance. The Lord started showing me recently, "You are often like the brother who stayed home, working for something that is already yours". I put a lot of my worth in my work. I remember many times when we were starting in the ministry thinking, "If I get there, I will be happy". Legitimate. Real.

One of my buddies has a church here in the area, and he had 2,000 people coming. I remember going to see him one time. Now, at this point in our church we had 20 people. Like, that row. And five of them were the same ones who are there right now. "I'd be happy if I had 2,000". Since we're taking a psalm of ascent and talking about the lament within the psalm, I want to point out the fact that you can be on your way up and still have to deal with being down. Watch it in the text. I want to ground this thought in the text so you don't think I'm off on a tangent here. Instead of talking about truth, I'm talking about feelings. No, watch it. He said, "When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed". "We were shocked".

They had been in Babylon for almost 50 years, and God brought them back. They had been captives in a strange land for almost 50 years, since 587 when Babylon came and got all of the Jews. The ones they didn't kill, they deported. The ones they deported they detained. For 50 years, the people of God had to live in the patterns of Babylon, but now we see that they have been brought back. That's what he means. "When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion…" This is a past tense event he's remembering. "When the Lord brought us back, we were shocked. We couldn't believe it had actually happened. It had been so long since we had expected this result that when we actually experienced it, it didn't even feel real".

Sometimes you can't even be settled into your own blessing because you have gotten so adjusted to a negative experience. This is it. This is a decision you have to make in the dry places of your life if you are to really be lastingly happy, supernaturally happy. What the Bible calls "Joy unspeakable and full of glory in the Holy Ghost". Holy Ghost happy. Jesus joy. The world didn't give it, and the world can't take it away. Your boyfriend didn't give it, and your boyfriend can't take it away. Your ex sure didn't give it, and your ex can't take it away. Situational happiness has no interest in the kingdom of God. It is too cheap, and Jesus paid too much for me to need for my life to be going a certain way to feel a certain way.

So, part of the process of coming to church and listening to sermons and having your mind conformed not to the patterns of this world, but transformed to have a new mind, is this decision. Write this down. Are you ready? Negative is not my normal. Help me, holy angels of God. I feel like a hypocrite saying that, because, honestly, my first view of a situation… I need you to raise your hand if you're like me, because I feel awfully lonely up here. I don't even have a collar on this jacket to keep me company up here. I feel all alone with y'all looking at me so judgmental right now.

My first instinct in a situation is to see vulnerabilities, liabilities, and even sometimes hypothetical liabilities. Oh, I am a creative finder of things to fear and dread. Y'all pray for Holly, the happiest person I know. This is what she has to live with. I came by some of it honestly. I was born into a family called the human race. My first parent, Adam, screwed up really badly. He had the whole thing on lock, walking around with plenty to eat and no clothes on and a woman he said was very good, and he had to have an apple. That was my first father, so I came by this… I can't really be too hard on myself, because the Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

The prophet Jeremiah took it further and said, "The heart is deceitfully wicked above all else. Who can know it"? That's why I had you tell your neighbor, "I don't know you. I don't know you like that. I don't know what you cry about behind all that clapping you do when we're in church together. I don't know you like that". Really, it takes a while before you know yourself well enough to ask the question…Do your patterns match your prayers? Psalm 126 is not only a song; it's a prayer. It's a petition. "Lord, restore to us the fortunes of Zion. Lord, restore our fortunes. Lord, restore us to the state we were intended for".

Now, I want to make this clear. If you are a Christian, it is not normal for you to be ruled by the same cynicism you see seething from this angry world. It is not normal for you, if you are a Christian, to spend all your time running after solutions to problems God is not staying up late about, pacing the halls of heaven, wondering what he's going to do about them. Furthermore, for those of you who might have grown up in an atmosphere, in a family, or in an environment where you say, "Everything was pessimism how I grew up…" Well, you know what? That might have been your background. That might be your default setting, but it is not your destiny in Christ.

Spoiler alert: that's why I named the church Elevation: because I think you're going up. I think if Christ is seated in heavenly places, you are not going to spend all of your days down here on this earth, wallowing around in stuff God has called you to win over. I don't believe it. I'm not settling for it, and I'm not going to be the older son, standing around going, "Well, God, I'm serving you, and it sucks, but one day in heaven I'll get wings and sing and play harps, and then I'll be happy". You won't be happy playing a harp! "We're not supposed to be happy until we get to heaven".

Well, if heaven is happy and they let you in with that attitude, it won't be happy once you get there, so you're not going, because it would ruin the whole program. Say it. "Negative is not my normal". No, no, no. It might be natural, but it's not normal, not for a believer. My Bible says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation". That means I have a new nature. That means the way I wake up in the morning doesn't determine how I walk through the day. I have to get my mind right and my heart right. How many of y'all are over 40? Wave at me. How many of y'all have to stretch before your maximum capacity can be achieved? If it's true in the body, it's true in the spirit. You really wake up in the morning and consult how you feel in your mind to see what kind of day you're going to have.
Are you Human?:*