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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - The Greatest Limitation On Your Life

Steven Furtick - The Greatest Limitation On Your Life

Steven Furtick - The Greatest Limitation On Your Life

This is an excerpt from: We Are We Label

A lot of the times in our lives we will label something and limit someone while we are still figuring out what it is. A lot of what God speaks over your life never happens, not because of your limits but because of your labels. There were those in the early church who wanted to limit salvation to those who were circumcised. Paul says, "I hate your labels, because in Christ there is no longer slave nor free, male nor female, Gentile or non-Gentile". God doesn't run around labeling stuff like you label stuff. The difference between you and God is you label things you didn't even make. You try to label stuff that doesn't even belong to you. We try to judge other people. I'm really bothered about it, and I don't want to talk about it much, because I get angry, and I get unfiltered when I think about it. I hate how our culture has become so eager to believe the worst about anybody the first time we hear it. I hate that.

Something somebody says gets taken out of context. Oh, now they're a racist. You didn't even see the whole sentence they said. You just read a headline, and now they're a racist. Are y'all kind of scared to say something to that? We do it all the time. That's not black people, white people. That can go any way you want to put it. We'll call somebody something because we heard a rumor from somebody, and we didn't even verify if that person was the very thing they were calling the other. Especially during political season, when you see how they make these ads… They are preying on our prejudice, trying to get us to believe a snapshot of somebody so we will go out and categorize ourselves as enemies of something we don't even understand. Paul said, "Don't get this twisted".

In Christ, it's not about what it looks like on the outside. It is not about what you can identify somebody by that you can see and you can understand. We love labels because we have limitations on our understanding. The only way we can get through our lives is to safely categorize people, like we try to organize our pantry, so we can know which shelf to put somebody on. "Oh, he's not qualified. She's not qualified. She's from this family. Oh, they are from that background". We love labels, and God hates them. I'm not telling you to go through and peel off everything on your soup and your green beans in your pantry or some superstitious thing like that. I'm saying God hates when we label something in order to limit something, which is why I believe the Holy Spirit chose Romans 4 to talk to us about this today. The greatest limitation on your life right now is not your potential; it's your belief.

When we look at the Bible stories of characters like Abraham, we get into this complicated story. We see one example of his life, and he looks like a man of great faith, but how many know? We could have labeled him a lot of things. We could have labeled him a liar because he lied. We could have labeled him an adulterer because he slept with somebody who wasn't his wife, even though the cultural custom of the time was very different than ours. We could have labeled him a lot of things. We could have labeled him by the fact that he laughed at God. We could have labeled him by a lot of things, but when God labels him, he calls him the father of many nations. In fact, it says something that really got my attention. Are you ready for this? It says, "Abraham believed and so became".

Let's look at that with our own two eyeballs. I don't want you to believe it because I said it. I want you to believe it because God said it. It said in verse 18, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became…" Say that with me. He believed and so became. I love that. I love it because you would think he became it, so he believed it. Once he saw the evidence that God could do what he promised, then he believed it. That's how human hope works. It needs to see something to believe it. This is a very different kind of faith, this faith of Abraham, the faith by which God justifies us. It's the faith which has an ability to know I can stand in the middle of something I don't understand, waiting on a detail I don't yet have, and still believe in a God I haven't figured out. I can produce a promise that is inside of me that I can't even perceive with my senses. Sometimes I have to believe things I can't see and can't feel but God has called me to be.

Now, often, when we talk about believing, if you go by culture's understanding of belief and faith, we are believing to have something. "I want to have a better job. I want to have a better body. I want to have a wife. I want to have a husband. I want to have a child". That's fine, because God will give you things. He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4), and not only will he put the desire in your heart, but he will fulfill the desire. He'll put the desire there, and he will fulfill the desire. He will give you things you didn't even think you were worthy of having. Some of us are standing in a place in life today that we honestly never knew to ask God to bring us to. I mean, I didn't know to ask God that I could pastor this church. I made myself available to him, and he did it, but that doesn't mean I knew it was in me when I asked God to use me. But here you are, and here I am, and here we are.

The greatest thing God will give you faith for, though, is not something he wants you to have but someone he wants you to be. Not "What does God want me to have"? although that is a very important thing to your Father. I'll prove it to you. Jesus said the birds don't store up, yet they're never far from the worm, because your Father knows they need them. So, he'll give you a worm, but he is more concerned…infinitely more concerned…about who you are becoming in the process of receiving. I don't know who this is for, but if you get it and God doesn't get you, you will not be able to sustain what you obtain, because it's going to take the same grace and the same faith to keep it that it takes to come into it. I want to lay this foundation. This is so important.

In the passage I read it said, "Abraham believed and so became". Against all hope, when it was so far past his time, when it seemed like there was no way it would work, when there was nothing pointing to the fact that he had the potential to bring forth this nation, he believed it and so became it. Certain Scriptures are not prescriptive. Meaning, they don't tell us what to do; they tell us what the character did. That's called descriptive. Not all Bible verses are telling you what to do. For instance, "Jonah ran from the Lord". That doesn't mean you go and run from the Lord because you read that Jonah ran from the Lord. It's telling you what he did. I'll give you a better one. "Judas went and hanged himself".

Don't do that. Did you all read about the man who started opening his Bible? He said, "God, speak to me. Give me a word. Show me what to do". He pointed, and it said, "Judas went and hanged himself". He said, "O God, let me try that again". He flipped again, put his finger right down on the Bible, and it said, "Whatever thou doest, do quickly". Don't do that. (That's an old preacher joke.) Look at this. I wonder if this dynamic… I know I'm not Abraham. I know you're not Abraham. I know you're not the father of many nations. I'm not the father of many nations. I'm the father of three kids, and I've got my hands full and my quiver full. My quiver is overflowing, and my cup is flowing over, and everything is running over. I'm grateful, and I don't want any more. I'm saying…Does the dynamic apply that we all become what we believe? Not what God says.

If everybody became what God said, then everybody would be the righteousness of God. If everybody became what God said, we wouldn't live a day of our lives defeated, because we wouldn't be addicted, because we are more than conquerors through him who loved us, because that's what God said. It is not what God said over your life that determines the limit of what you will be. That limit is determined by your belief. I just want to stand here and tell you I want to be all that God called me to be…all of it. I want to do everything he called me to do. I want to walk in everything he called me to walk in. I want to give everything he called me to give. I want to say everything he called me to say. I want to write everything he called me to write…every song, every sermon, every conversation. I want to put it all out here while I'm here, as long as I'm here. I want to see what God can do through me.

I don't want to get to heaven and God show me a whole warehouse of who I would have been if I had listened to him rather than listening to the labels of people whose own minds were limited. I don't want to get to heaven and God show me the church I could have pastored if I would have had the faith to stand flat-footed and say what he told me to say. I don't want to get there and regret that God would speak something that I would refuse to believe. I don't want to go 10 years not eating Doritos because you told me Fritos were health food.

Now, I want you to get something in your mind. Let's make this a seminar today, because that's all wonderful. Oh, Abraham had faith, and that's wonderful. Abraham set out, and that's wonderful. Abraham received the promise, and that's awesome, and that's terrific, and that's spectacular, but if we just do that, this is a fantasy football service where none of us do anything but watch somebody do something and loosely associate with what they did and call ourselves a coach. The Lord said a lot of people's faith is a fantasy realm. We don't know how to do this…believe God. "Yeah, I believe God". That's great. "I believe in God. He's directing my paths". But what does it mean to believe until you become? In order to do this… We're going to all do this…everybody in the room, everybody on eFam.

I want you to get one thing. Write it down. Put it online if you're online. Put it in your notebook if you're on a notebook. Put it in your phone if you can open your phone and not be distracted by the people who have been texting you who should be in church right now but are busy distracting you, trying to snatch this word while God is preaching it. I want you to get one thing on your mind. We're going to make this so simple. You can't leave here today and be like, "Okay, Abraham is the man". We're going to talk about you…your label, your limits, your faith, your belief. He said we are all the offspring of Abraham who believed. God doesn't look through the room and be like, "Okay. This sermon is good for her. She's at an eleventh-grade Christianity level. He's at the fifth grade. She's at the third grade. He's going to need some summer school".

God doesn't look at the class like that. We all need the same grace. None of us need mini grace, bitty grace, itty bitty little grace. We all need the same grace. So, here's what I want you to get on your mind: What is one thing you want to be that you don't feel like you are right now? "I want to be…" Not what I want to have. And don't put "rich," don't put "skinny," and don't put "ripped". Put something we can't pull up on TikTok or YouTube Shorts right now. Put something deeper down. "I want to be more…" What is it? Put it in the chat if you're watching online. "I believe God is calling me to be more…" Somebody got one? Shout it out. Okay, okay, I heard one. Confident. That's a good one. Loving. You said that kind of angrily. "Loving"! You really seem like you need it. I'm just kidding. I just thought that was funny. "Loving, by God"! Confident. Loving. I want to be more…what? No, no. You can't pray for that one. He said, "Comfortable". Nuh-uh. I'm going to tell you why.

A lot of times, your comfort zone is what kills you. If God makes you more comfortable, he's going to make you more complacent, because if you get comfortable you get complacent. God is never going to design a life for you that doesn't require him. He's always going to give you something in your life where you feel like, "Oh, I don't deserve this. I'm not worthy of this. I can't do this". The moment that stops happening, you stop growing. The moment you stop growing, you start dying spiritually. God isn't like that, so he'll say, "I know that at this point in your life you've gotten pretty comfortable, Abraham. I know you're rich, Abraham. I know you're settled, Abraham, but I'm going to give you a place in your life where you don't have it yet that you still need me so that you can see me for who I am, not who you thought I was when you labeled me when you first met me".
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