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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Be Careful What You Crown

Steven Furtick - Be Careful What You Crown

Steven Furtick - Be Careful What You Crown

Sometimes the thing you call on to save you will end up enslaving you. Something you think is going to save you will actually enslave you. I'm not going to preach this right now. If I were preaching it, I would build up to it a whole lot more than I just did. I'm just getting the idea down because it's a powerful thought. He's telling them, "Yeah, you can get a king, and he'll fight your battles, and if you get the right king, he'll definitely drive back your enemies and give you a measure of protection, but there's going to be a cost to having a king like the other nations".

Moses even warned in Deuteronomy that the kind of king they would need in order to lead them in God's ways couldn't be like the surrounding nations and cultures, but they wanted to be like the other nations and cultures because they didn't want to be vulnerable. Out of their vulnerability, they came to Samuel and said, "We need a king. We need a king like the other nations". Samuel says, "You don't know what the king is going to cost you. If you let God be your King and follow his ways, he'll fight your battles. He'll give you the necessary leadership. The system he set up will work. If you try to do this like the world does it, it's going to cost you to have that kind of king". He actually uses the word slave. "The king you choose will make you his slave".

Bob Dylan said you've "gotta serve somebody". Everybody has to serve somebody. (I heard him sing that song in concert a couple of months ago when we went to see him. I thought it was awesome. He did a real rock version of it.) It's true, right? You're going to have a king in your life. You're going to place the crown on somebody or something. For some people, it's going to be wealth financially or status socially. For some people, it's going to be acceptance by a certain group or certain person. For some of us, it's going to be appearance based. For some of us, it's going to be achievement based, a certain type of achievement…academic achievement, career achievement.

Whatever the thing is that you bow to and you come when it calls, that's your king. Sometimes we get into addictions because the feeling we get from that thing we're addicted to becomes greater than the freedom God has called us to. We choose that feeling over our freedom to serve God and what he's doing. What is the king you have chosen? At different seasons in my life, I hate to say, I have chosen the king of comfort. I have. I've chosen to worship at the altar of comfort rather than to accept a challenge God put in front of me. You know, what I knew in my spirit was the right thing to do was too difficult, so I didn't do it. I chose comfort. I chose to play it safe. I chose not to serve because I thought it would cost too much of myself. Or even, I could say, I chose comfort and wouldn't come around to God's way of seeing something because my way of seeing it made me feel right, and I didn't want that to be challenged.

So, when we talk about kings, don't think about presidents and world leaders and the monarchy. Don't think about it like that. Think about what you've crowned in your own heart as king. In the New Testament, the Bible talks about setting apart in your heart Christ as Lord to say that Jesus is King, that he is the true King. Do we really believe that? If he is King of our hearts and our lives, then what does it mean for us to submit to him? What does it mean to say his word is final? What does it mean for us to say he has authority in our lives? What does it mean to say we bow our knee to him? What does it mean for us to say that Jesus is Lord? Does it mean anything or does it just mean he's our "Get out of jail, get out of hell free" card.

You know he doesn't desire just that place in our lives. He wants to protect us, guide us, lead us, reign over us, and not just so we'll do whatever he says. Not just so we can have obedience to him but so we can have deliverance through him. He wants to liberate us. He wants to show the world that he's great through us. He wants to break chains for us. He wants to come through for us. He wants to protect us from anxiety and fear and selfishness and greed and everything that is destructive to our souls, but we end up choosing other kings, other things. The Bible says, "Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you". But we choose things instead of the kingdom, and instead of the things being provided by the King, we end up missing the kingdom of God, the internal and eternal realities.

One thinker said the kingdom of God is upside down and inside out. I want to teach a whole session on that one day…the upside-down, inside-out kingdom of God, how it's completely contrary to the world's values. "Blessed are the poor in spirit; they'll be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they'll inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are you when men persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you".

I don't rejoice in persecution; I rejoice in popularity. I'm not saying our whole goal is to be disliked, but do you see how upside down the kingdom of God is? Furthermore, it's inside out. Where earthly kingdoms are established, directed, estimated, and esteemed by how much external prestige they have… How beautiful, ornate, and elaborate the kingdom is is a reflection on the glory and splendor of that king. Well, the kingdom of God is established through an internal state…righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. This is the kingdom of God. From the inside out, upside down.

Many of us have chosen the wrong king because we worship something external. We worship something that's really beneath the ways of God, that's really beneath the principles of God. The danger in that is what Samuel said to the Israelites. You call on a king to save you, and, yeah, maybe that king can save you. Maybe you can get popular. Maybe you do earn a lot of money but at the expense of your health and your relationships because you don't do it God's way. There's nothing wrong with having finances, nothing wrong with having great relationships and a great reputation, nothing wrong with popularity in and of itself, but if that's your king, what you call on to save you, he will eventually enslave you. "We need a king".

When you run to something to save you that isn't God or is opposed to God, that thing will eventually enslave you. This is just a deeper teaching on something I've referenced from the pulpit at least a dozen times in the last couple of years. I use the analogy of God's people going to Egypt in a famine and how they were fed in Egypt, but then another Pharaoh arose and eventually enslaved the people of God. What they escaped to in one season they were enslaved by in the next. They weren't doing anything wrong by going to Egypt.

That's where God provided for them. But it illustrates a dynamic that does happen in our lives. In one season something is an escape for us, and in the next season we are enslaved by what we escaped to. That's a whole teaching I've already done. This is an even deeper level than that. Again, our key phrase is the king you have chosen. You will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen. That's a powerful picture. Wait. You chose this king. You chose this lifestyle. You chose to throw yourself into this and make it the ultimate thing in your life with no balance, with no regard for other things God is speaking. You chose to crown this thing in your life as supreme and make it your highest priority, and then that becomes your slave master. That becomes your chain.

The thing you crown as your king owns you. The word own is in the word crown because that's how it works. So, Samuel's warning is really relevant to us. Be careful what you crown. Be careful to whom you give the keys to validation in your life. Be careful who you crown, because, yes, there can be a thing you can use to save you from loneliness, to save you from feeling insignificant, to save you from boredom, but it can just as easily enslave you. That's what Samuel wants them to know. They don't listen. We need to heed this warning today, because we have a king. He is crowned at the right hand of God, and he lives inside of me.

I don't need another king. I don't need somebody else's approval to know that my life is valuable. I don't need to reach a certain status to know I matter, because I have a king. The king I want to choose is the King who has chosen me. He has chosen me to be his child. He has chosen me to be a part of his kingdom. He has chosen me to represent him. So, here's the reflection tonight…What is the king you have chosen? Some of us have chosen to make sex the king of our lives…preference, career, even the way others see us. The list can go on and on.

Be careful, because you will eventually cry for relief from any king you choose that is not God. Any king other than Jesus, you will eventually cry for relief from the very king you called on to save you, because only he can save you. Only he can give you meaning. Only God's ways work long term. Be careful the king you crown. There's a cost to crowning the wrong king. It definitely cost Israel to crown Saul as king, and it has cost me. Anytime I've crowned something other than God, other than my commitment to doing his will as King of my life, it has cost me. It has cost me sleep. It has cost me peace. It has cost me time. It has cost me stability.

So, I just want you to think carefully about the king you've chosen today. Hopefully, you and I can get better about reserving our crown for the only one who's worthy of it, to know that Jesus is the worthy King of our lives and the Holy Spirit is the captain and that God is calling the shots concerning us and we don't have to crown another king. We can call on him, and he will save us from every pestilence, from every pit. He's a good God, and we can trust him. I encourage you to know that today and crown him as the King of your life.
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