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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Don't Let Fear Control You

Steven Furtick - Don't Let Fear Control You

Steven Furtick - Don't Let Fear Control You

This is an excerpt from: From What If To What Is

The Lord said we're going to deal with the spirit of what if that has been making you an insomniac, that spirit of what if that has been running the show in your imagination. The Lord said we're going to deal with it today in the Word of God. I confess to you that I am a world-class "What-iffer". In the beginning of this ministry, it worked for me to say, "Man, what if we started a church in Charlotte? What if by faith we launched a worship ministry? What if we did a second campus? What if we did a third? What if we did a fourth? What if we dropped eggs out of a helicopter on Easter? What if? What if we baptized people and had bathing suits and toothbrushes and toothpaste and sports bras so they had no excuse, and we called on them and said, 'Get baptized right now. Not after 17 weeks of class, not after you memorize Augustine and Spurgeon, and not after you can quote the book of Romans, but right now get up here and get baptized'? What if"?

What if you just did it? What if you just got up today and gave your life to Christ? What if you just raised your hand in the middle of the prayer they pray at the end and said, "I'm coming just as I am"? What if? It's kind of a recklessness that can serve you well in certain seasons before you know all of the reasons to answer "What if…"? with a whole lot of why nots. I now find that what if is a weapon the Devil uses to keep me from doing things I know good and well in my spirit God has called me to do.

So, for the five people who are like me in church today, and this what if thing has been really grinding in your mind, we are going to have a talk, just me and the crazy people. The rest of you will have more Bible verses by which you can pray for us when we're finished with this 22-minute sermon. I went all the way back to the book of Exodus and introduced this character named Moses to talk about what to do with the "what ifs".

Just so I can see if I heard from the Lord or if I was offtrack this week when I was praying, how many of y'all have been wrestling with some "what if" scenarios that have been messing with you, and how many of you feel like it's getting worse the older you get? Moses said, "What if they don't believe me"? and he had good reason to ask that, because chances were they wouldn't. God just appeared to him in a bush and said, "I want you to go tell the most powerful person on the face of the earth, the pharaoh of Egypt, to let my people go and to release his entire slave labor, which will decimate his economy. By the way, while you're at it, do it at age 80". Moses said, "What if it doesn't work"? I get it, because it probably won't. I mean by human standards. This is not going to work. So what if?

Now, Holly is a great… I'm going to just say this. She's the best person I know. For real. She's less petty than me. She has more energy than me. She's definitely more optimistic than me. When we were going on our twenty-year trip… We went to Northern California. She was like, "Can we just make a rule before we go on this trip that whatever happens, we'll just make it a part of the journey and you won't freak out too much"? Our whole trip was to go drive the PCH and get out there and see stuff. She's like, "We're probably going to get lost, and I need you to commit to me, before we buy these plane tickets, that that's going to be okay. We'll just be lost together, and that'll be part of the day that we got lost. It'll be part of the story later that we got lost".

"Yeah, but what if…? What if we get where there's no cell signal? What if we can't get un-lost? What if we starve out there? Did you see that movie Wild with Reese Witherspoon where she got out there? What if my feet get banged up in my shoes, and what if I can't walk? What if you have to carry me out, and what if you're not able to do that? What if you get a hernia trying to carry me out, and then we'll have to tell the whole church that you're the new pastor, but you have to pastor with a hernia? What if…"? She's like, "Can we just go, and we'll figure that out"?

It's horrible. I can't even let my phone get below 80 percent. I have issues. I always pray before I preach, "God, help me tell them enough where I can be relatable, but not so much that they become distracted by how ridiculous I am and can't receive the word I'm going to preach". You know, you read about Moses, and you hear about the great things he did. I want to take this apart for just a moment today. God has been speaking to Moses for an entire chapter of Scripture about all of the awesome things he will do…not Moses, but God. He said, "I have seen the misery of my people. I have heard their cries, and I will compel Pharaoh to let them go. If he doesn't let them go, I'll put a plague on him. If he still doesn't let them go, I'll put another plague on him. And if he still doesn't let them go, I have more plagues than Pharaoh has patience. I'll kill everything that matters to him until what matters to me is accomplished. I will do it".

So, Moses is like, "All right. Well, who are you? We haven't heard about you much since Jacob and Joseph and since a Pharaoh died who didn't know who you were and the Pharaoh who rose now doesn't really understand who you are". God said, "I Am That I Am". "That you are"? "That I am". This is an amazing conversation. You have Moses, who's 80, hearing from a God who's eternal about something God has seen that he has promised to do that he will do. Not might do. Not thinking about doing. Not flipping coins. He's going to do it. I'm not talking about somebody you work with. I'm talking about somebody who started this whole thing called the human experience, who speaks into what he started to tell you what he intends to do. Moses is like, "Cool. But what if…"?

I want you to notice something very key. He doesn't really doubt God. Verse 1: "Moses answered, 'What if they do not believe me or listen to me and [what if they] say, "The Lord did not appear to you"?'" Moses is so good, because Moses didn't say, "What if you can't do it? What if you aren't great? What if you run out of plagues? What if you run out of strength"? No. It's not about Moses' doubt directed toward God. He said, "What if they…"? Now, as I was studying this text, it was very interesting to me that Moses is afraid of the Israelites, and he is called to deliver the Israelites. He said, "What if they…"? Who are they? The Hebrews. Who is he afraid of? The Hebrews. Who is he supposed to help? The Hebrews. Who is he delivering? The Hebrews. Who does he doubt? The Hebrews.

Isn't it interesting how the thing you're most afraid of can be a clue to the thing you're assigned to? Think about it. The deepest insecurity in your life reveals something about the assignment God has given you. The thing the Enemy resists most about you is often the greatest thing God has put inside of you. He said, "What if they…"? This is the crazy part about life. Not wondering about "What if God can't"? or "What if God won't"? but "What if they don't"? "What if the thing you're speaking to me about doesn't want to hear what I have to say? What if the thing you're calling me to…"?

Now, this is something I've come to believe: when God calls you to something, he sees everything about it at the moment he's speaking to you about it. So, there is nothing God did not see about you when he spoke to you. There is nothing God does not know about you when he placed you where he put you to do what he called you to do. So, when we doubt our capacity to do what God called us to do, it is not us we doubt, but it is God who made us and placed us who we doubt. But we don't want to say we doubt God, so we say, "What if they…? What if I can't do it"? But it's not really me I'm doubting, because I didn't manufacture me. If I really, for one moment, believed God made me how he wanted me, gave me what he wanted, did inside of me what he wanted to do inside of me, put me where I needed to be, planted me by where I needed to be planted by… If I believed that for one moment, it would kill my what if before it got out of my mouth.

Any view of God's sovereignty that does not make room for your struggle is a false claim. Any view of God's will that is not wide enough to accommodate your mistakes is too narrow. Any belief about God you have that is not big enough to take into account all of the flaws inside of yourself is too small. At certain times, asking "What if…"? can be productive, but then it gets past the point where you're making plans. I mean, there are good things. I'll just break it down real quick. Before I come out, I have a whole check. "What if my zipper is down? Okay. Let me check that". You know, I have my undershirt, so I put my hands up. I don't want anything to be showing that's not supposed to be showing. You came here to see the Lord's glory…not to see anything else other than the Lord. So, I have to get this down. Okay. What if my mic isn't on? Okay, okay. I have to turn it on. What if…?

But then it comes to a point where I stop solving problems and start shrinking God. I get caught up in my what if. "What if I get up to preach this and they don't like it? What if I get up to preach it and it doesn't go well? What if I get up there to preach it and forget what I'm supposed to say"? It takes faith for me to preach how I preach, because I don't look at notes. I mean, I guess I could. I don't think the Lord would strike me with anything if I looked at notes. I don't think it's bad to look at notes, but I want to be in the moment with you, and I want to see what God has to say. It takes faith, because what if I forget? What if I get to a point and I can't even remember if I'm preaching on Moses or Abraham? What if I say something in this sermon, and they clip it and put it online and take it out of context and make me look like I said something I never said before? Oh, that would never happen. That doesn't happen.

Now I have to get up here and think about not only what I'm going to say. It's not only "What if I don't hear from God and say it to you"? It's "What if I hear from God, I say it, somebody takes what I said, puts it where I didn't say it, and says something around it I didn't say"? It's enough to make you want to stay back there and suck your thumb and sing "Way Maker" by yourself. But I have to get through the what if so I can get to what is. And what is today…let me remind you…is somebody is here who is going to hell if they don't give their life to Jesus. Somebody is in here who is living in hell, and they have given their life to Jesus. Somebody is in here today who doesn't really feel like going on next week, and their life might be on the line. So, the big question isn't "What if I got up here and preached and said something wrong"?

It's…What if I didn't give you what God gave me and you didn't make it because I didn't show up? It's not really "Well, what if I do it and fail"? That's what God gave you grace for to begin with! That's not the real fear. See, the real fear isn't "What if I fail"? It's "What if I'm not enough to recover"? "What if they…" The moment Moses said they, he was in trouble. There are a few things in life you can't control. The weather is one. Just put your hand on the shoulder of the person next to you real quick. That's another one. Uh-huh. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. But you had faith to drive here. You had faith to drive here with all of the bad drivers you passed on the way here. No, not you…the other drivers. That's what you tell your kids when they're learning to drive. "It's not you I'm worried about; it's the other…"

You know good and well it is they who have no business driving. But I want you to think with me. "What if…"? is a game you can't just play a little bit. Once you start playing the "What if…"? game… I mean, you get in that, you know… Let me think of one from your life this week. Okay, I've got one. You text somebody. They start texting back, and you see bubbles. The bubbles go away. "What happened? Are they mad at me"? You go back and read the text. You start looking. "Maybe I should have put a heart after the text". Then you start sending a follow-up text to make sure, and you start layering it. "Lol. Ha-ha". "Do they hate me? I think they hate me. What if they hate me? What if they never text me back? What if nobody ever texts me back? What if I die alone right here in this…"? It has been three minutes. It has been five minutes. The more you love something, the more opportunity the Enemy has to get in it and make you afraid about it.
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