Steven Furtick - Feeling Like A Failure?
I was thinking about how God sees you stronger on the other side. Yeah. And I remember a very unique thing that I heard when I was doing a workout recently with a bodybuilder, a bona fide certified Instagram verified bodybuilder came over to workout with me and he was showing me some different things that will make me look like him. I guess if I did enough and took steroids. God was really strong. Elijah brought him over and he brought somebody with him and we were lifting together and he said something to a spotter that I thought was a strange thing for somebody that strong to say. Listen, what he said. He kept saying to a spotter, Hey, come over here and help me fail. Help me fail. Now, what he meant, technically speaking, was just when I get past the point where I can do it, I need you to make sure that I get that rep after the rep where I would have stopped. Because if I don't push past the point where I can't go anymore, I won't grow. That's how it works in the gym.
So for all of you who do three sets of eight and you really could do 15, you're only going to get so far that way if you don't reach the point of fatigue and failure. Now you've got to fail with good form. You can't just be throwing weights around. You'll end up in surgery that way. But there is a point where you need a spotter if you're really going to get that last bit, not end up dropping something on your toe or on your head. It's good to have somebody who can help you with the last rep. But what got me was the language. It was so interesting that he said, Help me fail. And I sat back and thought about that. I thought about how I have never in my life asked God to help me fail. I did pray the prayer of Jabez when I was in college. I don't know if you were around for that one, but it was Lord bless me. Indeed, I prayed the blessing.
The Numbers chapter six: Blessing even was a part of writing a song about it. We take that song all over the country and we sing. May his favor be upon you. But never in my life did I pray the prayer: God help me fail. I don't even like saying it in front of you because I'm scared he might do it to me right now. Just make me blank out and forget what I'm preaching. Make the legs fall off the chair. So I fall down on the floor and you can all laugh and say, Was that a bland illustration? I'm so scared of God that he might actually take me seriously. But see, Peter didn't ask Jesus to fail. In fact, he insisted that he wouldn't. Never. Lord, I will never deny you. And yet he did three times, and Jesus knew that. Jesus didn't predict that at the moment that He saw Peter's faith getting weak. He knew that from the moment that he got in Peter's boat the first day he called him.
So God is not surprised by Simon and God is not surprised by you. And Jesus was not surprised by the cross, even though the disciples were and tried to do everything in their power to stop it. That's what he came for. And yet it wasn't a failure at all for him. It was the reason for which he came. And it got me wondering if in your life and in my life, that some of the times where we feel like we're failing are some of the greatest times that God is building, that some of the times that we feel like we have nothing are the times when God is actually up to something. Y'all aren't going to help me preach. But if I had a Good Friday crowd, I would have you touch three people and say, God is up to something. And you know how I know he's up to something? Because when it gets too heavy for you, that's where he steps in and does the things that only a God like him can do. Because if you can do it, you don't need him. Because if you can take it, if you can make it, if you've got it in you without him, you don't need him. And God will never design a life for you that makes him unnecessary.
So what he does from time to time, did you ever hear him say, God will never put more on you than you can bear? That's not true. The Bible says he won't tempt you beyond what you're able, but I'll give you a way of escape. But he will most certainly allow you to have more than you can handle. So you will turn to him and find that he is more than able. Simon. Simon. Satan. Asked if he could sit you and I said yes. You said yes. I thought you loved me. Yes. Well, you love me or you told him no. Yes, I love you. And yes, I said he could lift you. And yes, Jesus loves you. And yes, your life is really hard right now. And yes, Jesus loves you. And yes, you're going to have to walk through the valley sometimes. And yes, Jesus loves you. And yes, sometimes you deal with depression and yes, Jesus loves you. And yes, you're under financial strain and yes, Jesus loves you. And yes, you still struggle in your flesh. And the yes that you struggle with does not prove the yes that he said when you asked him what he saved you because God still says yes, that big old bodybuilder said, Help me fail.
And I thought, I'm going to start praying that sometimes. Not that I'm shopping for God to give me failure. I mean, I want him to use me and I want him to bless me and I want him to increase me. But there are going to be times in my life where I know that I'm failing. And I got to know in those times that I'm not a failure, but I'm still a child. That's what Good Friday does for me. It lets me know that failure in my life is an event, but Jesus is my identity. I won't make you raise your hand as some of you have felt this week, like you are really failing those that you love, failing yourself, failing God. And you know, I bet if we went deep enough into the categories of the spreadsheet of your life, we could find one column where you're really, really, really, really not getting it done. And if you make me, I'll come interview your wife about it and she will show me the column in your life.
The difference that we have as Christians is not whether or not we ever feel disappointed or whether or not we ever fail. We were singing a moment ago. He will never fail, but we know that we still will. So that's why this moment is so important. And that's why we have to stop in the shadow of the cross before we shout in the light of the empty tomb. Wow. Wow. Because many of you are singing about a God who never fails, but yet you feel like you're failing. And I want to invite you that the prayer that Jesus prayed for Simon before he went to the cross on that Friday, where he would be denied by the very disciple that he would go on to use in the greatest way, that this moment invites a prayer for us to pray. God help me fail in a way that moves me forward. Because he said, When you turn back, Peter, you are going to know that it is my hand that is able to lift you. And when you turn back, the strength that is going to emerge from this, sifting in your life is going to surprise us, even you.