Steven Furtick - Don't Let Others Define You
This is an excerpt from: My Maker Is My Mirror
The Lord has heard the questions you've been asking. He has seen the struggle you've been facing, and he wants to give you something today to see it in a different light. Joshua, chapter 14, a very pivotal Scripture for the nation of Israel and for us, as Joshua gives the inheritance that God promised so many centuries ago to the people who are walking into the land. As he's dividing up the different parcels, or the lots, casting lots to decide which tribe will live on what lot, one person named Caleb takes initiative, and I want to read you his speech that he made to Joshua. He's trying to convince him that he's supposed to live in a certain place, so he's going to tell him some things from his résumé, and he's also going to tell him some things and reflect on some things that have happened, and I want you to eavesdrop on it today.
Joshua 14, verse 6. "Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh…" I wonder if it's significant that it's Judah, because that represents praise in the Bible. I wonder if there's something about praise that helps us to take possession of the promises of God. I just wonder that out loud in your presence today. I'm not sure, but I wonder if some of the problems you've been focusing on… If you could get in a place of praise you might see the solution clearly today. "Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, 'You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea…'" "I was just a young man, just 40 years old".
That's very youthful, a very youthful age. "I was forty years old when Moses [sent us] to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God". "I didn't let it get to me. I didn't let what they said get in me". "And Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.' And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time…"
That's a long time to wait for a promise to come to pass. That's a long time to suffer for somebody else's disobedience. Forty-five years I survived the wilderness. "[It has been] forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today…" Eighty-five and still flexing. "I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now…" It has been a long time coming. "'So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.' Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance".
Look at your neighbor and give them my title, and then I want to share a lesson with you. First of all, say, "You look amazing". Tell them, "You've never looked better". Now say, "I appreciate that, but my Maker is my mirror". They didn't get it. Look at the next person and say, "I appreciate it, but my Maker is my mirror". Thank you, Lord, for illumination of your Word. In Jesus' name, amen. It's great that we get to see how God makes a nation. He's forming a nation. He said, "I want a people who can present me to the world". He didn't do it the typical way. If you wanted to have a great nation you would pick a rich one, a wealthy one, yet instead of making a nation that was already great greater, God found a man who was too old to have kids with a wife who was barren in her womb and created a great nation out of an impossible situation.
When God found Abram… This was before he had a consonant in his name. The artist formerly known as Abram. He went on to be Abraham. He was the father of many nations, but when God called him his stuff wasn't even working anymore. The reason I'm telling you that is because sometimes God will speak something over your life and you will look in the mirror and not see it. He'll speak something in your soul, and you'll look in the mirror and won't see it. It is so important to know that it's not how God sees you that determines where your life ends up. If it had been, Moses wouldn't have died in the wilderness. It's not how God sees me; it's how I think God sees me that determines where I end up. I'll prove it to you, all the way from Genesis, chapter 1. Remember? "Let us make man in our image".
God needed someone to show the world what he looked like or else he would have just been a concept. God would have been an abstract theory. So he made man and woman to reflect who he was. He needed someone to show his nature through, so he made you and me. When you insult the product, you insult the manufacturer, which is why it's good to know our theology, that he made me from the dust. God took something that seemed filthy and something that seemed finite and made something that would reflect what is eternal. Then, after making the man, he began to create not only the man but a nation through Abram, through someone who seemed unlikely. The nation of Israel spent a whole lot of time trying to figure out what we spend our whole lives trying to figure out, or at least our teenage years and our 20s. "What's my identity"?
What you're really seeing in Joshua 14 is not just people getting some real estate, but they're coming into their identity, their national identity. It's hard because they've been through so much and they started from something so small. It's easy for them to see themselves according to what they've been through or where they started. Now they're breaking up. There are nine and a half tribes that get this land, so Joshua and the priests are shaking this receptacle. This is how they would cast lots. They would take the thing and shake it. They would have little wood blocks with different codes on them, and then they would kind of shake it out, and what it fell on, that meant, "This tribe gets that land, and this tribe gets that land".
When Caleb interrupts the process, he's like, "Hold on. You're not going to figure out where I live by just rolling some dice. Okay? I've got a promise. Moses said…" Now remember, Moses was the one who was supposed to lead the people into the land, but he was unable to do it. Here's how I would put it if I were a preacher. He got them out of Egypt, but he never got Egypt out of them. They were oppressed for 430 years, and when you've been under the power of any influence for any length of time, that influence becomes your identity. So now your addiction speaks more to you about your potential than God's Word over you, than the prophetic gift that's inside of you. It happens to all of us.
When you've been suffering from something, you can begin to take on the name of your disease or your issue, trading the name of your Creator whose image you were made of. It's how you see it. It's how you see yourself. I think I can prove to you, if you give me like two and a half minutes that the reason the people didn't go into the land under Moses was because Moses never really saw himself in the image of his Creator. Abram did, even though he had a hard time getting with it, even though he was like, "You got any pills for that, or anything like that, because I'm old now"?
Even though he had to wait for Isaac and he messed up in the process and ended up producing something that caused him more trouble by sleeping with Hagar… Even though all of that happened, God still called him the father of faith, the father of many nations. To show him who he was, he brought him out of his tent, out of his limitation, out of his situation, and he said, "Okay. Here's your revelation. Here's your situation. Get out of your situation, and now look up". He said, "Count the stars if you can". I don't know how far he got before he was like, "What's the point, God? You know, 343, 344… What are you trying to show me"? God said, "As many as they are, so shall your descendants be, so shall your seed be".
So he gives him an image. Not just an idea but an image. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. That's very powerful. Jesus shows us what God is like. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That's what Jesus is. He is the image of the God we can't see. He is the image of the invisible God. This is the challenge for everybody under the sound of my voice. There is a way that God sees you because he formed you. There is a way that you see you. There is a way that others see you. Where you go from this point forward in your life is going to depend on which mirror you believe. I have all of these mirrors in my house that are messed up. I know they're messed up because they keep showing me… My beard is supposed to be black, but I look in those mirrors… They're messed up. They're defective.
I'm going to take them back to the store, because they keep showing me these gray patches. I'm 40 years old. I've started rebuking mirrors in my house. These lines coming up under my eyes, and I'm like, "You are a liar like your father the Devil. I cast you back to the pit of hell". How many have ever looked in a messed-up mirror? How many ever have had people around you who made you feel a certain way about yourself? When Moses was coming into his identity and assignment, he had to deal with the fact that he was really living with two different images of who he was. Remember, God is using Moses to deliver the Israelites out of this Egyptian oppression. When Moses first starts to act on his impulse, he does the right thing, but he does it the wrong way. He defends his people, but he does it by murdering an Egyptian.
So he's ahead of his time and he's out of his zone, but he's doing the right thing. But he still doesn't know who he is yet. It's difficult for him because he doesn't really fit in with either group he's living with. The Hebrews are the people he was born from, the Egyptians are the people he was raised by, but he identifies more with the people he was born from than the people he was raised by. So he doesn't really fit in, and when you don't really fit in to either group you end up running. That's what happened to Moses. He confronted an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew one day, and he killed him and buried him, but then the next day he went out and saw two of his brothers fighting. He was like, "Break it up, guys. We're suffering enough from them. We don't have to kill each other".
This is in Exodus, chapter 2. I want to show it to you really quickly. The man said back to him, "'Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?' Then Moses was afraid, and thought, 'Surely the thing is known.'" And he ran. We don't really see him in his next stage of his assignment until 40 years later. He ran, because he was too Hebrew to be an Egyptian and too Egyptian to be a Hebrew. When you don't really fit in with either, you don't know who you are, and you spend years of your life running from who you really are, looking in the mirror of your last mistake. He ran and he ran and he ran. See, the question is the right one. He said, "Who made you"? If you don't know that, you will hand other people your mirror to show you who you are.
Let me tell you something about people. People would rather define you by your worst mistake. What's crazy about Moses is he killed a man and there's only one verse in the Bible about the murder. Now if you let church people write the Bible, they would have had a whole book about… It would be called "The Book of Moses' Murder". "The Book of Moses' Mistake". "The Book of Debbie's Divorce". "The Book of Your Lowest Moment". But maybe God doesn't see you through the lens of your mistake. Maybe he sees you through the lens of his grace. Maybe when he looks at you he sees the finished work of Jesus Christ. Have you ever thought about the fact that if they didn't make you they can't define you? My Maker is my mirror.