Steven Furtick - When Life Pushes, God Pulls
This is an excerpt from: The Power Of The Pull
I wonder what you're sitting on that you're not using today. "You should have used all of your arrows". You should have taken everything God gave you and kept striking until you saw it, until what you see in your life reflects what God has spoken over your life. It was not a deficiency in the artillery that caused the king to be defeated; it was his lack of drive. He wouldn't drive every arrow into the ground. "You should have kept pushing". We all need a push every now and then. We all come to the place in our lives where we need somebody to help us, motivate us to do what we can't do and to get us started in the right direction. I feel like it's my job in some ways to give you a push as you go into your week. Just a little nudge, just a little push. That's what the worship leaders are doing. They're giving you a push. You know you come in some weeks and you don't feel like praising God.
You know you cussed at your kids in the van on the way to church and said, "Praise the Lord" when you saw the parkers. What I'm saying today really doesn't have as much to do with that as it does with the other instrument. We've talked about The Power of Precision. You have to aim at something. We've talked about The Power of Preparation, that the ground must be plowed for the harvest to be plentiful. We even talked about The Power of Potential and The Power of Provision. All of these things we've talked about using these arrows. As I was praying about how to close this series, it was almost like I heard the text talking to me. I've been preaching so much about these arrows and how you can't leave any of them in your quiver. You cannot quit with arrows left in your quiver. We've been preaching so much about the arrows, but it's like I heard the text talking to me, and it's as if the text said, "How about the bow"?
The whole thing started with a bow. JJ, do you have a bow? How about that? He has a bow and some arrows. Of course we worked this out ahead of time. This is Graham's bow. He didn't even know where it was. I told him this week to get his bow that Uncle Max gave him a couple of Christmases ago, and he couldn't even find it. I thought, "Well, that's a sermon illustration in itself. You're like a lot of Christians. You wrote it down in a notebook, but you never…" Whoa! But he brought me the bow, and I was thinking in the context of what we've learned about all of these principles from God's Word. "Get a bow. Get some arrows". On the count of three we're going to shoot it. Are you ready? One, two, three. Shoot! Well, that didn't go very far. Let's try again. Count me down. Are you ready? Get a bow. Get some arrows. Take the shot. On three, here we go. One, two, three. You like that?
I feel kind of stupid up here, because in my mind I saw the arrow flying through the air. The Lord's arrow of victory. I saw it like a great illustration. Am I doing something wrong? Oh. So in order for the arrow to fulfill its purpose, the bow has to be… I want to preach today for 25 minutes on The Power of the Pull. If you go out of this series trying to live out these principles in your own strength, you are going to look as stupid to the Devil as I do with this little Banshee. Once you understand the power of the pull, once you understand that the power of God is not in your effort, not by your might, nor by your strength, but by his Spirit… See, it's good to get a push. It's really, really good to get a push. Some people, like this king, will do what they're told as long as somebody is pushing them. Everything Elisha told the king to do he did.
"Get a bow". He got it. "Get some arrows". He got them. "Strike the ground". He struck it, but it was the moment Elisha took his hands off the king's hands… Some people have to be pushed to praise God. Other people have something on the inside of them. You don't have to prompt me. I don't need you to tell me to lift my hands. My hands are lifted up. My mouth is filled with praise. It's the power of the pull. Before I was armed, but now I'm dangerous. The Devil doesn't fear you with your little… I can see you right now coming out of here, trying to push yourself to live for Jesus. "Come on, Devil. I've got something for you," and the Devil isn't scared, but I guarantee you with a little bit of leverage… I said all you need is a little bit of leverage. How many are seated in heavenly places with Jesus? Somebody shout, "I've got pull"!
That's what Paul was saying in 2 Corinthians 10, verse 3. He said, "Though we walk in the world, we don't wage war as the world wages war". We're not throwing our own arrows. We have heavenly leverage. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds". You've been pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, and that's why it's not working. God said, "If you would pull…" It's a big difference. This is motivation. It'll work. If I motivate you in church, it'll work until Wednesday. I mean, the arrow went somewhere, but not where it could have gone, not all the way over Aram, not complete victory. Motivation.
If there's something on the inside of you (and that's what Jehoash didn't have), that's called inspiration. It's something pulling on me from the inside that made me want to preach on my birthday. I could be on the beach, but something pulled me to this pulpit. I wanted to do it, not I had to do it. I want to do it. I love to do it. I want to serve him. I love to serve him. I want to worship him. I love to worship him. I want him. I need him. I've got to have him. I look back on my little life even though it has not been a long life yet. God has been pulling me according to his purpose. Sometimes I didn't see it that way at the time. Sometimes it felt like life was pushing me around. I don't know if you've ever felt that way. I don't know if you've ever felt like life had pushed you past your breaking point.
So much pressure on you that you didn't know what to do. I found out that the power comes from the pressure. I could use a lot of biblical examples of this, but I chose Joseph, because he said at the end of his life, after he saw what God's purpose had been all along fully fulfilled and he saw the portrait of it, not just one little part of it but the whole panoramic view, he was able to say to his brothers, "You meant it for evil…" His brothers had pushed him into a pit. Have you ever been pushed around, ever been rejected? You might need to know this verse. He said, "You meant it for evil. You were pushing me, but while you were pushing, the hand of God was pulling". He was pulling me. When it didn't go the way I wanted it to, when they talked about me, they were pushing. God was pulling. The hand of God has always been on your life.
While people were pushing with one hand, God was pulling with the other. It's the power of the pull. God was positioning me for exactly where he wanted me to be. When you understand the power of the pull, life doesn't seem so random anymore. You understand that there was a purpose behind all of it. If you look out here you can't see it, but if you look back you'll see that your dad didn't make you come to church that night. You thought he made you come to church that night, but it wasn't your dad pushing you to come to church that made you come to church. God used your dad. Your dad is in heaven now. My dad is in heaven now. They're probably eating some carb-free angel food cake to celebrate my birthday together, 37 candles, in Jesus' name.
Cody bugged me to get me to church the night I got saved. He was pushy about it too. He showed up in his pickup truck, and in my mind he was being pushy, but while he was pushing me, God was pulling me. On February 19, 1980, I came into the world because she pushed me, but at the same time she was pushing, God was pulling. I wasn't born on accident, and neither were you. God knew you needed to be here. God brought you here right here, right now. It was his hand. Your car didn't bring you to church; God brought you to church. "Get a bow. Get some arrows".
Let me give you an object lesson on the way God works. God is pulling you. God is drawing you to himself. God is drawing you into purpose. Yeah, sometimes it's painful. Yeah, sometimes it feels like you're going backwards, but wait till you see the trajectory of God's purpose. He pulled me out of some relationships I didn't need to be in. Yes, he did. He pulled me out of some pits I fell into with my own dumb decisions. How many are grateful for the hand of God that pulls you out?