Steven Furtick - A New Point of View
Since I'm saying there's so much more to the story, I just want to point out that so much more to the story may not just mean that it isn't finished yet, like that there's more to come. But it also, as a phrase, could mean the story as it has been so far is much different than what you've been told about it. Because in storytelling the point of view is everything. So I want to talk about that. Point of view is everything. Point of view is everything. Have you ever had a situation that felt really big to you in one moment and really small in the next? What was different? The situation obviously can change, but let's say it didn't.
Have you ever had a situation that felt in the moment like the biggest thing in the world. Later you saw "That kept me up at night? That"? Okay, it's probably that the point of view changed. The point of view changes sometimes because of you changing. Sometimes the point of view changes because of you. As you change, the way you see things changes. As you mature, as you grow, as you get tools, you should be able to look back over your life and go, "Oh wow, I was a jerk there". And you don't even have to necessarily call the person and say, "I was a jerk four and a half years ago," but at least to know it moving forward. And sometimes you make repairs in relationships, and sometimes it would do more harm to open an old wound.
But, see, the point of view changes because of you changing. And if you don't let God change you, that's where you get stuck in a story. You go, "Oh man, this always happens to me. It never gets ruled my way, and everybody always picks on me". What is the "everybody always picking on me" character? Maybe you can put it in the comments for me. I don't remember. But point of view is everything when it comes to not only how you tell a story to a friend. I was telling somebody the other day about working with a certain individual and I was like, "That was awesome. They came in, they gave their all, it was incredible".
The person sitting in the room didn't look like they were on the same page as me. This person who had come in and worked with me, I had seen, right, they were all in. They were going hard. The person in the room had been involved in the lead-up to the person coming in to work with me. And in the lead-up the person was really difficult, non-committal, indecisive, put a little extra strain on my team who was helping to arrange all of the details. And so in that particular situation, the person that was sitting in the room with me had information that changed the way that I saw the story. There will be times in your life where either an outside observer or an inward witness will call to your mind something that you just know happened this way.
"I know they took advantage of me. I know I did 97% of the work and got 3% of the credit". And then time shifts the story, because of you changing, growing, evaluating, experiencing life, gaining ability for empathy. Because you change, your point of view changes. Now, I'm going to bring this to the Gospel real quick, because we could do Joshua and Moses, but we could also do Jesus and the disciples. Moses, discipled Joshua. Jesus, discipled Peter. Imagine the difference of Peter telling the story about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane before and after the resurrection. Imagine he's telling the story. "They came up to get Jesus. He was praying. We were sleeping".
Maybe he leaves that part out of the story. "He was praying. We were sleeping, and I was trying to help, because when Barabbas came to get him, I cut his ear off, and Jesus didn't even appreciate what I did for him. He put his ear back on. He undid the work I did". And then all of a sudden, at the cross when he denies Jesus in the courtyard and then isn't there at the cross, and then he's out fishing and Jesus comes to get him and talks about "feed my sheep," and he goes on in his ministry in the light of the empty tomb rather than in the shadow of the cross.
I believe he told a different story after he had lived through a few stages of life, and you will too. You will too. Maybe at the time he wrote 1 Peter, because he was older then, he's saying, "Humble yourself". Like "You don't know what you don't know. Point of view is everything. I was young and now I'm old, but I've never seen the righteous forsaken". And we are not always on the same page with God. We're not always on the same page with God's spirit. And maybe it would be helpful for us today, sometimes, to find those points of communion in contact with God, so we can get on the same page, so that we can have His point of view.
You know that God has a purpose in the earth, and he's working that purpose in your life, and there is a bigger picture than any particular incident or preference. There's a bigger picture than your past up to this point or your present pain. And to get into that place with God where you can say, "All right, Lord, I want you to be my new point of view". That means allowing him to speak things about you, how he sees you. Because God sees you different than you see you, your situation, your struggle, the injustices that have been done to you, the mistakes that you've made, and what you need to do next, and what you can do next.
Point of view is everything. The same Peter that was saying, "Never, Lord," telling Jesus what to do, was saying, "Humble yourself". Because of you changing. Because of view… because of you changing… as you change, your point of view changes. Point of view is everything in the story. So a little exercise that I was introduced to recently.. it was saying, “How would somebody who admires you describe you?” Try seeing yourself through the eyes of someone who admires you. Now, that's hard for me, because I am very self-critical. I have a hard time giving myself credit, and because of that, I probably don't encourage others as much as I should, but I'm working on this.
And the advice "See yourself through the eyes of someone who admires you" sounded good to me, and a little fluffy, if I'm honest, but in the process of considering it, I realized that my wife, Holly, sees me through eyes of admiration. And it's not the kind of admiration that's based on a lack of information, where she doesn't know me really well, and she only sees a certain side of me, so she admires me. She sees everything. She sees the days in the past where I couldn't get out of bed because I was depressed. She sees the days where I go hide out in my man cave mind and barely engage with the family. She sees the days that I'm irritated. She sees the days that I'm short-tempered. She sees the days that I doubt myself.
On an even more practical level, she sees the messes that I make. She sees the slob that I can be. And yet even today, as I was waking up, I opened this letter that she had written me. She gave me a stack of letters for Christmas, and there were only about four or five of them, but I was on the fourth one. And she put a picture of me with a little note about me (it was a picture that she took of me getting ready to preach in Los Angeles last year). And in the picture, I'm kind of like sitting there with my head in my hands, with my Bible in my hand. And I know how I felt in that moment, which was like, "I'm not the man for this. Who do I think I am going out to preach to 12 thousand people at the Forum in LA"?
I feel all this self-doubt, and I can almost see the self-doubt when I'm looking at the picture. But she wrote me a note saying "Thank you for working hard. Thank you for not just relying on your gift strictly, but seeking God to preach to us". And she said, "I hope you forgive me for taking this picture without asking your permission". And I thought, "Man, I need to see myself sometimes through her eyes," because all I see in those moments is what I don't have, what I'm afraid I can't do. But she saw a man who was trying to seek God and lean into him.
Point of view is everything. Point of you. The point of you. The point of your life is not just to be self-serving. The point of you. The point of your life is to not just be a consumer who eats all the messages that professional marketers send to you every day. The point of you is to glorify God and to know Him and to make Him known. And so when God says to Joshua, "You will lead these people to inherit the land, which I promised their ancestors," Joshua is getting God's point of you, point of view. What is the point of you being in this marriage? What is the point of you being in this family? What's the point of you being on that job? What is the point of you being in that city, Toronto, Wichita, Houston, Charlotte? What is the point of you being there?
It's so the glory of God can be revealed. He told Joshua, "You are leading these people into the promise," and God is fulfilling His purpose. And from God's point of view, it didn't start with you. So if it didn't start with you, how could it stop with you? He who began a good work, and he’ll be faithful to complete it. God sees the end from the beginning. That's His point of view. Point of view is everything. I believe that God can take you into the future. Do you remember the apostle John? He said, "After this, I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven," John, Revelation 4:1.
Yeah, that was different point of view, right? The voice said, "Come up here, and I'll show you the things that must take place after this". God said, "I'll show you. Get with me". Get around people who will not flatter you, not just gas you, and not only admire you in an empty way, but people who God can put in your life to see the things that God put inside of you. Of you. Point of view. Kingdom of heaven is in you. Living from the inside out looks like trusting God even when you can't see what he's going to do. Getting his point of view, his promise, and walking in it.