Steven Furtick - Defeating The Devil's Deception
This is an excerpt from: God's Got Your Back - Part 2
You're not weak; you're weary. With every step he took by himself without talking to the God who brought him this far, the Devil was able to delete different things that could have been in his story. It said Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, and that's why she threatened him. Ahab goes home and tells Jezebel, "This dude… Don't mess with this dude. You'd better do something about him. He's going to yank your whole idol-worshiping kingdom out of your hands. He's going to send you back packing to Phoenicia. This dude is crazy. He had them cutting up bulls. This dude told them to take water in a drought, four jars of water, pour the water on the wood three times, and then called for fire. This is not exactly a strategic mastermind, but he is a spiritual giant. He was wetting wood and praying for fire". That's what Ahab said. His enemy was doing a better job telling his story than he was. I mean, Ahab wouldn't shut up. He told Jezebel everything Elijah had done. He didn't leave out any details.
"And then he got the bulls, then he started taunting them, and then he was like, 'Hey, maybe you should call louder. Maybe Baal is in the bathroom.'" He told everything Elijah had done. He told how Elijah had told him, in chapter 18, where he said, "There's a cloud the size of a man's hand," then his servant said, "I don't see anything," and Elijah said, "Well, the problem isn't with God's word; it's with your eyes. Go look again". He sent that poor servant… Remember when I had you running up and down the stairs one time preaching this passage? I sent him back and forth seven times, the most cardio he had ever done in his life. I sent him back and forth and talked about the frustration of faith. He told Jezebel all that…Ahab did. The Enemy did, because the Enemy is a better storyteller than most of God's children. He'll tell you stories… Here's how good he is. He will just make up stuff that might happen, and then he will emphasize the hypothetical as you forget the historical.
All Elijah really had to do was give the Devil a history lesson. All Elijah really had to do to stop himself from going in the wrong direction, from sinking into the depths of despair and saying, "I'm suicidal. I don't want to live. I don't want to do this. They're trying to kill me…" All he had to do while he was walking was stop for one moment and tell the story like it really happened. "I thought I was the only one, but my God is Yahweh. I stood on that mountain all alone. I called down fire. I wet that wood, and God came through. I went to the brook called Cherith, and the birds brought me food. I went to the widow's house, and I multiplied her oil".
Why do you keep deleting all the stuff God did and adding stuff the Enemy might do and running from your purpose? That's Jezebel. You can have Jesus in your heart and Jezebel in your head. "Oh, yeah, I'm saved and going to heaven. I have Jesus in my heart". I believe you. I really do. All you have to do is ask him, and he'll come in. That's not the hard part. The hard part isn't getting Jesus in your heart. That's by grace anyway. It isn't like you did so much good stuff he's like, "Okay. Cool. This is a five-star hotel. I'll come live in your heart". No, no, no. Your heart is nasty. Your heart is filthy. Your heart looks like a college dorm room. It looks like a frat house. It has been torn apart. Your house looks terrible, and he came in anyway. That's not the hard part.
If you believe and repent and turn to him, he'll come into your heart, but if Jesus is in your heart and Jezebel is in your head, you won't follow him; you'll follow fear. Fear makes you forget. Every step he takes away, he's telling himself this same story. With every step he takes away from what God has brought him into… Do you know what I mean when I say that or do I need to break it down? It's when God has called you to be really present, really invested, really faithful, really take the next step. Don't be afraid to look like a fool. Just do what he gave you to do. God has called you. He has given you a gift. Every step he takes away from that and rehearses the wrong story, it becomes so solidified that by the time he gets to the cave, he has this story down. Not even the earthquake, the windstorm, or the fire can reverse what he has rehearsed…not even the greatest act of God.
(Come here, Holly.) So God is like, "I know what to do. Since I've got your back, you know… Since I know you, since I made you, since I called you, I'm going to whisper it, because I'm right here. What are you doing here, Elijah"? Elijah is like, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty". Here's why I think Elijah's speech sucks. This is why I think his story is trash. Put it back up, verse 10 or 14. It doesn't matter. They're both the same stupid story, the same stuff over and over again. You know how you get when you get stuck in a story. We used to say in my house, "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it".
All right. Let me tell you something new. Your mama didn't tell you this one. That's your story, and you're stuck in it. Even when God blasts the cave apart. Now there's no real cave for you to stand in, but you're still trapped in that conversation in your head, what Jezebel said. Anyway, he's like, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I…" That is why the story stopped: because of what he started with: I. "I…" Wherever this story goes next, it is going to be confined by the point of view of the narrator. You can't narrate by faith in first person. In fiction they have what's called a third-person narrator. It's when the character isn't saying, "I did this, and I did that, and I went here, and I went there".
So, basically, the way we live our lives. "What do they think of me? What are they saying about me? Why didn't they invite me? Why don't they like me? What's wrong with me? I…I…I…I". Third-person narrator is different. It describes the event. (Remember, Holly has a book club.) Then they have third-person omniscient. This is a narrator that knows stuff they have no business knowing. They say stuff the characters in the story can't see. God said you have been stuck in first-person frustration, but when the third person… You missed it. The Father, the Son, and the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit speaks, when the Spirit tells your story, when the Spirit interprets your situation, when the Spirit quickens you, when the Spirit of God shows you what's up, when the Spirit of God tells you, "I've still got something for you to do," when the Spirit of God speaks… When you speak to God through Spirit and he speaks to you through Spirit, something happens and the angels come.
So, Holly, I'm not going to holler at you. I'm just going to let you know I'm right here with you, and we can talk. We can talk about this. Talk to him. Talk to him about it. Talk to him about what you're afraid about. Don't you go 40 days trying to figure it out in your own strength, starving your soul, starving your spirit, eating junk food, wondering why you're weak. I'll tell you why you're weak. You can't go 40 days telling yourself stuff that starts with I. I'm going to tell you what the kids taught me. They taught me that in video games you have an NPC. Do y'all know this term? The non-playable character. Those are the people who are just there over to the side. They don't do anything. They're just there. Then, of course, you're the main character. Y'all, that's a boring game when everything else in your life is an NPC and you are the only character that matters.
What about what God wants? What about what he wants to do through you? "I have been very zealous…" True. "…for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites…" I know what's wrong with us now. I saw it in the text. I saw what's wrong with me. I saw why I'm stuck in my story. It says I and them. "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. They have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword". Wait a minute, Elijah. You killed 850 of them. "Yeah, I'm not going to tell that part. I'm leaving that part out". Oh! Be very suspicious of any story that has self-pity. Be very suspicious of it. Anytime that little voice inside you starts saying stuff like, "Nobody appreciates you," call it into question. That's probably not true. She's getting fired up now. I'm getting her ready for Reflect.
I want you to know when you go to prepare to preach to the ladies on Friday, God's voice won't be the only voice speaking to you. Jezebel will be telling you stuff too. "Who do you think you are to preach this? You don't have anything to say. Nobody wants to hear from you. You struggle with all the same stuff too, you hypocrite". By the way, Jezebel will be the loudest voice you'll hear, because Jesus will whisper. Watch this. Jezebel is trying to attack you from the outside. Jesus is empowering you from the inside. I feel somebody getting set free today! You will hear a voice behind you, saying… "This is what I gave you to do. This is how I want you to raise those kids. This is how I want you to do great stuff for your husband. Be really nice to him. He's wonderful". The Lord says stuff like this, just for example. I want you to understand the power of the story you tell yourself.