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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - List Your Victories

Steven Furtick - List Your Victories

Steven Furtick - List Your Victories
TOPICS: Gratitude

I think it's crazy inspiring that in the Word of God they listed the victories God gave the Israelites. Let's start with the fact that it wasn't just Joshua who won these victories. When we start the book of Joshua, it's like, "You and all of these people are going to enter the land". Nobody does it by themselves. Nobody who makes any progress or who sees any success or who gets forward momentum does it by themselves. Anybody who says they do is delusional. Nobody does it without God. However, there's something I learned about myself in the last year, particularly, and it gave language to why I get so discouraged, why I get so defeated-feeling, and why I can even be winning in my life but feel weak inside. God has done a lot of great things for me, things I can't take credit for. I know he has done the same for you. If you look at where your life is today, there are some things that aren't where you want them to be.

There are some things that are much farther along than you ever thought they'd be. In some sense, you might say, "Man, I thought I'd be farther by now". But there's some sense in which you're like, "I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I get to be a parent. I can't believe I get to be married to this person. I can't believe I recovered from that devastation. I can't believe I've been 40 days without a drink. I can't believe it. I can't believe I made it through that trauma, survived, lived to tell about it. I can't believe I'm even reading my Bible, studying my Bible today, praying. I have a better relationship with God". For some of us, though, it's easier for us to see how far we have to go than it is for us to see how far we've come. It has a lot to do with personality. It has a lot to do with background. It has a lot to do with early childhood templates. I'm not an expert in that.

What I came on here to tell you is that I got happy when I saw the list of victories God gave Joshua, realizing that just before, in Joshua 13, he starts dividing up the land, because Joshua is really a book about battles (chapters 1-12) and boundaries (chapters 13 up until his farewell speech). Battles and boundaries. I want to teach that one day too, so I'll come back and do a session on "battles and boundaries," I'm sure, in the next few sessions. Before we get to that, he goes, "Hold on. Before you divide up the land God gave you, I want you to record in the record…"

Now, I understand that this list was put in later. I know that. But it was put in for a reason before they started dividing up all the land that was conquered and giving each person their inheritance. They start with Jericho. They then go on to Ai. Remember Ai? They were defeated the first time, but then they went back and beat them the second time. It's interesting. It says that Joshua and the Israelites conquered Ai. Do you see it? It doesn't say anything about the time they got beat, because it's not talking about that. This is a list of victories. It goes on and on, and each one of these… The king of Jerusalem who ganged up on them because they had made an alliance with the Gibeonites, and they weren't supposed to make an alliance with the Gibeonites, but God gave them the victory anyway. Well, this is a list of victories, remembering who they conquered, not a list of the conflicts, not a list of their vulnerabilities.

There's a time for that. It's called self-awareness to know, "This is where I'm weak. This is where I need to get better. This is how I need to be stronger. This is how I could have done it differently". Boom, boom, boom, boom. I could list my vulnerabilities all day long. I like to say that if many of us who are more pessimistic in nature had been Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones, and the Lord said, "Can these bones live"? we would have started listing the bones instead of speaking the language of faith and saying, "Bones, live". It takes faith to say to the bones, "Live". It doesn't take faith to list the kinds of bones that are in the valley. "There's the patella". (I remember when Abbey was learning all of the bones in the human body, and she would just go through the list. It was so cute, because she had a little list, and she would talk about the patella. It was so cute how she did it.)

It doesn't take any theology to list your problems. All that takes is anatomy to list the bones. Even honesty, like, "Yeah, I'm not good at that. I didn't handle that right". We can do that all day long. Confession is good. "Confess your sins one to another, that you may be healed". Present your requests to God. Make your needs known to him. Cry out to him for mercy. A broken and contrite heart he will not despise. I am not diminishing the value of coming before God in repentance when you get it wrong. But there are moments where you have to take inventory of your victories and say, "Look at what God did for me. Look at what he has given me. Look at how he won the battle for me".

List your victories. I'm trying to think of how to define this guy. I don't like to define people. He does personal development, and I mentioned him in one of my sermons and developed a friendship with him. His name is Brendon Burchard. I like how he phrases this idea of listing your victories. He does it from a psychological standpoint. He talks about "Integrate your wins". Maybe he says it differently than that. That's how I remembered it. I didn't look at my notes before I got on here. He's saying, "Look at the things you have progressed in. Look at the things you have accomplished". Specifically, when somebody is a high achiever, wired for wanting to get better and better and better, which you probably are if you're listening to me teach the Bible right now… You want God to make you better. You're sitting there going, "Oh, yeah, but I could have done it this way. Oh, yeah, but I had a 9.9, not a 10. Oh man, I just…"

I want to give you a little bit of an idea of how much of a perfectionist I can tend to be so you don't think I'm just fussing at you about this idea and telling you, "Be more grateful. Be more positive. Make lemonade". This is not a cliché. It's, for me, a really convicting thing. When I don't appreciate the victories, I don't acknowledge the giver of the victories. To just move from battle to battle to battle to battle to battle and to never go, "Okay, hey, look at what I did yesterday. I went to this meeting that was difficult. I showed up for it in a present way. Boom, boom. I actually sat and listened to my kid tell a long story, and I didn't act bored. I did a deep breath when I wanted to say something, and I bit my tongue". Or even bigger stuff.

This week, I got a song back that we worked hard on, and I had to take a moment and go, "Hey, hey, hey". It's the final mix mastered version of a song we're going to release soon. It was like, "Hey, before you release this to other people, before you send it into the world and chart its performance, take it personally and remember the moment you pushed through and set up the songwriting session. It got canceled, so you rescheduled it with the same people. You sat down, and you pushed in. You pushed into this particular part to write this with these particular people. You put it together, and you weren't sure about it, but you tried it out, and you moved it and did it. Boom, boom, boom, boom". I was like, "Wow, man". That song belongs on a list of victories God gave us that resulted from battles we fought.

I told you on one of these videos, and I've told it in the pulpit, I track… I'm so embarrassed about this. I track every workout I do with a little star on a chart. We used to have charts with your bench press and stuff in high school. The idea of a workout chart that would hang on the wall… When the girls' volleyball team would be working out, they'd see the charts with the boys' names on it and how much we bench pressed. I'm sure they never even looked at it, but as a 14-year-old boy, you think the bench press is the sum total of your masculinity. So, something about that is a positive mental trigger for me. Now I have a star chart on the wall, gold stars. (I actually use blue stars; it's not important.) The point is just that little thing of going, "Hey, man, I did my workout today…"

I do a lot of check marks. I am better personally day to day when I make a list of things I need to do, but I also need… Just like I need a to-do list, I need a God-did list. You need a God-did list. That's what I'm saying. You need a God-did list. That's what this is. I promise you that if most of us read this little list right here… If this came up as our daily Bible reading on our YouVersion Bible reading plan, we would go, "Uh, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip". For the people who fought the battles, every one of these names…Arad, Libnah, Adullam, Makkedah, Bethel…these kings of these places, the kings of Hazor, Akshaph, Megiddo… These are actual places. Some of them are named differently today. These were real kings. These were real battles. This was real blood. This was real fear. This was real action. These were real swords. This was real heat. This was real endurance. This list was real for them, and your list is real to you.

I made a meal for my family this week. I put my heart in it. I burned the potatoes, but nobody even knew. I threw them away. It smelled kind of funny in the kitchen, but I did it. You're like, "Well, that doesn't belong on the list". Doesn't it? There are 31 kings Joshua defeated. There are 31 days in certain months. What's this month? Okay, February…28. This is a different month, but that's not the point. There were 31 days in January. I bet there was a victory every one of those days. Did you take it in? When my friend Brendon talks about integrating your wins, he talks about "Stop, pause, and feel grateful for it". This is where I want to challenge our religious dogma.

Can you list it and, without taking credit for it, feel a sense that God is proud of you for it? He's not impressed by you, because he knows without him you're nothing, but he, like a father over a child, looks at you and says, "Yeah, put that on the list. Yeah, I'm proud of you. It has been three days and you didn't cuss. Put it on the list". Whatever, you know. I think we need little lists and big lists. I think we need mental lists and written lists. I think we need help with this, because if we don't list our victories, we don't have strength to fight our battles. Now you find yourself going into next month going, "Okay, man. I'm going to work, paying bills, going to school, getting it done". I have to start many of my days from a baseline of feeling deficient. "I have to do enough today".

I know not everybody is like this, but I bet you know somebody who is. You love somebody who is. Maybe this will help you understand them. Sometimes by listing the things the Lord has done in my life… Can I say this? Listing the things you have done because he was with you, listing the things he did through you… "Wow! God did this". He healed your body, but you went to the doctor. You did the rehab. Both are important. What's your God-did list? I started praying a very specific way before I went out to preach each night at our last Elevation Nights tour. I would pray every time before I went out, "God, tonight is going to be different than last night. I'm going to try to flow in the Holy Spirit and give everything I have to these people and minister the best I can. At the end of the night, I want to feel good about what you and I did together". That felt really good.

"I want to feel good about what we did together. I want to please God. I know you're not going to say the words. You're not going to pick me up and carry me physically to the stage. I'm going to say the words. I'm going to hold the microphone. It's going to be in my hand. I'm going to move my lips. I'm going to use my mind. We're doing this together. I need you. At the end of it, I want to feel good about what we did together". Isn't that a good goal for preaching? I love that. It helped me. I shared it with a friend or two. I'm sharing it with you now. "God, at the end of this day, I want to feel good about what we did together".

Now can you build in some reflection to go, "All right. I'm going to do it by hand. I'm going to do it on my computer. I'm going to do it on my phone. I'm going to do three right now. I'm not going to list everything". For those of you who love lists…grocery lists, shopping lists, Amazon carts…this is a new list for you to make. List your victories. You're like, "I know. Count your blessings. Don't count sheep; talk to the Shepherd". You're not hearing me. I'm talking about something a little bit different. There's a little distinction here. It's owning the fact that there are victories God has given you that you haven't stopped yet to celebrate. I am the world's worst at this, so when I coach you or teach you or preach you or mentor you on it, I'm coming from a place of telling you I needed to see that list just to remember.

Yeah, we have to fight the battles, and we can't get complacent. There is a thing in football called excessive celebration. This is when you lose two pounds, so you eat a dozen doughnuts. That's the wrong way to celebrate. I taught a sermon years ago called Win a Battle, Take a Bite. That sermon was all about "Hey, you need the strength of the savoring of this victory to build the faith to fight the next battle". So, list your victories today. List them when the Devil tells you you're nothing, you'll never be, and you never have been. "No, no, no. I've got some wins, man". I feel David coming in the room right now, shepherd boy David. "You can't kill Goliath". "The God who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear…"

Ah, what are you doing? Listing your victories. Let them become a part of you. I think some of us have become so identified with our weaknesses that we are blind to our strengths. List your victories sometimes. Yes, confess your weaknesses, but list your victories. Thank God for them. Say them to the Lord. "Thank you, Lord, that you brought me through. Thank you, Lord, that you gave me the ability today. That felt good to do that. Thank you, Lord, that you helped me to organize this and that and to make a decision. Thank you, Lord, that I made a decision". Then let them become a part of your heart. Let them become a part of your sense of seeing yourself the way God sees you. He sees all of the little victories. Other people won't. That's the problem. Nobody is going to come by and pat you on the butt, "Good game," because you showed up on time.

That might be a big deal to you, showing up on time. That might be one of the hardest things in your life, showing up on time. Or leaving your phone in another room so you can actually focus on a conversation. Nobody is going to congratulate you for that. That's why you have to list it with God for yourself. So, I think this is a wonderful thing for us to think about today. Not only the battles we fight and the blessings, but think of it in terms of this list in the book of Joshua, a book where he said, "Be strong and courageous. I'll be with you wherever you go". Then we get to chapter 12, and there are 31 victories in a list. There's one for every day of the month of January, and there's one for every day of the next month and the next month and the next month and the next month.

I want you to make big lists of things God has done in your life that represent a year, a season, a week. I want you to make little lists of things God did, helped you through, even in the next hour of your day. I want you to begin to open that file in your mind. "God, where am I winning"? Then you can deal with "And, God, what do I need to work on"? When you come from a place of "God, where am I winning"? it helps you appreciate his grace, tap into it, and move forward by faith. When you come from a place of "What do I need to work on"? first, it doesn't really give you much momentum, does it? So, that's what I want you to do today: list your victories. Put a few down right now.
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