Steven Furtick - Your Thoughts Are Hurting You
This is an excerpt from: Not Dead Yet
God works in your weakness. God works in your waiting. It's not the promise. It's not the past. It's the wilderness. The Lord sent me to somebody today who has been in a wilderness. Not physical. He brought me from a place (Egypt), but I'm not already all the way to the place (heaven), and I'm still here. I think this might be the best way to say it: I'm out of Egypt, but I'm not sure Egypt is out of me. I'm in the world. I'm not of it, but there are some patterns. One day I'm going to be with Jesus, and I'm going to sit around his throne and sit at his feet forevermore, and I'm going to play a harp, but I'm not there yet because I'm not dead yet. The only time I'm going to be free from this conflict is for me to be free from this body, but as long as I'm in this body… Yeah, I'm brought from a place (I'm rescued). I'm bought with a price (I'm redeemed), but I'm caught in a pattern (I'm wrestling). I'm wrestling between "This is where I came from. This is where I'm going. This is what I've done. This is what he's doing". I'm caught in a pattern.
So, this is what I needed to tell the nutritionist. "Stop cussing at me. Stop criticizing me. Stop acting like I don't exercise six days a week. I work really hard at this. I need to be taught through a process". Clap your hands and praise God for his process. God doesn't drop an f-bomb on you just because you messed up again. He could, but he didn't. He is taking his people through, and he is taking you through a wilderness experience. There's not much water, and there's the same old scenery, and it's not exactly my home. Here I am living this life, and he's teaching me. The book of Leviticus is actually amazing, y'all. That's why it's "Love-iticus". I love it. I love it now. I love this book of the Bible. He gives them the offerings they need to make, whether it's a thanks offering, whether it's a fellowship offering, whether it's a peace offering, whether it's a sin offering, whether it's a guilt offering…any of those five offerings. He shows them how to do it.
"Hey, here's how you do it. Hey, here's how you cut it up. Hey, here's where you offer it. Here's how you offer it. Here's who offers it. Here's the priest. Here's what they wear. Here's what they do. Here's when they do it". All of this is not to limit them but to liberate them. He's a liberator. He brings me into places. He brings me into spaces. He brings me into challenges. He brings me into dilemmas to set me free from my flesh, to set me free from my feelings, to show me, "This is how you do it". I need him to teach me. I need God to teach me a different way to do it, because, honestly, the ways I tried without him do not work for very long. Oh, they can get me what I want right now, but they actually leave me in greater bondage than I was before. I love the Lord, because he's a teacher. He has been teaching me lately. Not about shellfish. Definitely not about monitor lizards and wall lizards. What did it say? You can't eat the skink? What is a skink? I've heard of the gecko.
I see his commercial during football every single Saturday while I'm studying. But the skink? He said, "No, don't eat that". What if you see it not about eating clean, because we know those dietary restrictions were for that time, but the way you think about you, the way you think about God, and the way you think about your life? Isn't this what God is always teaching me…how to think like he thinks about what I'm going through, how to think like he thinks about what is best for me? One of my favorite Scriptures says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, says the Lord". That means there's a big gap between great big God and little bitty Stevie. That means what he thinks and what I think are not automatically aligned every morning.
I have to get in sync with God so I can think like he thinks. He says, "Don't eat the skink". Why? "Because I want to teach you to discern so that when you go into these neighboring nations in Canaan, you won't do what they do. You won't think like they think. You won't try to win like they win. You won't fight like they fight. You won't worry like they worry. You won't respond like they respond. You won't react like they react".
God is teaching me to think, and if I don't let him teach me how to think, but I just quote the promises of the Bible verse… To have confidence in God's promises but not commitment to his process is delusional. If I have confidence in God's promise ("Oh, he can do it"), but I don't have a commitment to his process, that is not depending on God. That's called denial, because we just want to believe over top of all of our behaviors that don't line up with the Word of God. Yet he loves me, and he's not waiting on me to act better for him to love me, but I don't love him like I should if I don't get taught the process of figuring out, "Is this what God wants for me"? I don't have to do that with fish anymore, but I do have to do it with feelings. I don't have to do this with shrimp, but I do have to do it with contacts in my cell phone. "Is this good for me"?
When is the last time we really let God speak? "Is this best for me"? If he tells you, "That's not best for you. I don't want that for you…" "I didn't bring you out of Egypt for you to bring Egypt into your future. I want that out of your life. I want that out of your heart. I want that out of your mouth". God keeps telling me I'm too negative, and I keep telling him, "No, I'm just realistic". God keeps saying stuff like, "Okay. That would be great, since you want to do my job and tell me what's good and what's bad". I'm like, "Well, God, this is kind of the way I think". He's like, "But it's not the way I think, because I can face the facts but speak in faith".
So, the Lord has been interrupting me a lot lately, telling me, "This is unclean for you. This is hurting you. You're not getting to heaven because you're holy; you're getting to heaven because I'm holy and because of what I did for you. I brought you and bought you, but the Devil has caught you, so now it's time that somebody taught you". I feel bad for Moses. He's the one who had to teach these people these things. Y'all, I find it hard to stick to my diet for myself. Now you have to get two million people to study insects in order to eat in a place where there's already not much water? It's harder than we make it sound, isn't it? It's not hard to say certain things. Okay. The Lord said, "Don't commit adultery". It's harder to discern sometimes in your attitude. "Is this really how God wants me to think about this? Is this really what God wants me to say about this? Is this clean or unclean? Is this God's will for me or is this the way I've known that feels familiar to me"?
Am I going back to Egypt instead of following Jesus forward? They were out of Egypt. The Egyptians were dead, but guess what: the things they learned in Egypt were still alive. "I'm dead to sin. I'm alive to Christ". Great, but we still have to deal with these little things. I love the contrast. God did a big thing for them. He parted the Red Sea. That's a big thing. How many agree that watching a major body of water part is a miracle? How many agree that's big? Oh, come on. You clapped better than that over your parking space this week at the gym. "Oh, the Lord gave me a parking space". He parted the water! That's big! God has done big things for me. If there are three people that God did something big for you since last Sunday, give him a big praise right now on the level he blessed you on. He did a big thing for me. Guess what it was. He woke me up. "That's not big".
If you didn't then it is. He woke me up. He started me on my way, and he watched over me so I could be in the number one... I praise him. He did it big. He didn't do it small. He did it big so that everybody would know it was the Lord. He made a way! High-five like we won something, and tell your neighbor, "He did it big". God is a show-off. He doesn't give you a boat. He parts the water. He said, "I want you to know this one is on me, so you'll give me the glory, so you'll give me the praise. Pharaoh is not going to let you go unless a mighty hand compels him, so guess who has a mighty hand".
My God has a great big hand and a long arm, and he can do big things! Don't ever let people make you feel bad if you're an exuberant praiser. A big God gets a big praise. On the level that he did it, that's how loud I want to let him know I appreciate. Big things! He opened a living way. Do you understand how much I survived? Do you understand how many times I almost gave up? Do you understand what I went through? It's a miracle I'm sober. It's a miracle I'm sane. It's a miracle I'm preaching. It's a miracle you're praising. It's a miracle! We survived it! Because he brought me, and he bought me with his redeeming blood. Big things. It might not be big to you. Maybe you grew up in a different household. Maybe it's no big deal to you, but it's a big thing to me.