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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - You Are Not Behind

Steven Furtick - You Are Not Behind

Steven Furtick - You Are Not Behind

This is an excerpt from: The Limp Won't Make You Late

There is a sense in which Jacob in this passage serves as a model for all of us who have been going through things others don't see, showing up looking like we planned to get there all along. But they don't really know what you went through to get there, do they? They don't really know what you went through to show up at the job every day last week, do they?

And you would never tell them that. To tell them what you went through to get there would make you feel a little vulnerable and insecure because you don't think you're supposed to fight, because nobody else shows you their fight. You only see the fragments of their lives that shine through a screen light. So, through the light of the screen, you can't really see the struggles other people deal with. So now here you are in your life feeling like, "Oh, I feel like I'm a little behind. Oh, I feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be". Who says you're not where you're supposed to be? "Well, I'm not where they are". Well, how do you know where they are really? You don't know what they dealt with last night. You don't know what they were doing last night. You don't know what's going through their mind right now. So why would I compare myself with somebody I can't see through?

I think it's worse than ever for our kids, because now I have to compare myself to the whole world at all times. When I first started learning how to play guitar, I just had to be better than my friends in Moncks Corner who also played guitar. There were three. Now I have to look at a 4-year-old in Japan who can play "Stairway to Heaven" left-handed on one string. I saw it. And just about when you think you're doing pretty good, here comes somebody. Y'all, there is a man in our neighborhood… I testify. God as my witness, I am not lying. When we walked by his house yesterday, he was putting up his Christmas lights. Pray for all of the dysfunctional people who are clapping for that like that's normal. That's a demon. That's a childhood trauma. That needs therapy, because it's November 5. It just got cold three hours ago, and you're blasting "Simply having a wonderful…"

He had music playing in his yard. All of the kids were out there. Nobody was fighting. I was like, "What's wrong with me? I don't even know where we keep our Christmas lights. Holly is in charge of that. I'm not a man. I'm not a good man". When my kids started playing sports, I thought, "Well, maybe I'll coach their team". They started playing baseball. I found out really quick the standards for coaching Little Leage baseball have changed since I played Little League baseball. It used to be "Show up. Don't be drunk. Don't yell at the ump". My dad coached my team, and he didn't ever play baseball, didn't know about baseball. He went to the library and checked out a book. I used to see him reading the book. "How to Coach Little League Baseball".

Times have changed. He bought a rule book. He memorized the rule book. He was out there teaching us to play baseball. The team was worse than he was. All he'd let us do the whole season was bunt because we were that bad. So, I'm out there thinking, "Well, maybe I could coach the team. Maybe I could go to the library, go over to the card catalogue, get a little book, and learn how to coach, and maybe that would be a good memory for the kids". Man, I don't remember if they were 5 or 7 or 9. I don't remember exactly. It's all blurry. But they started talking to me pretty much before the boys were in middle school. "You got them on a travel team yet"? I'm like, "A who what? I'm doing good to get them out there for every practice". "No, if you don't have them on a travel team…"

This is what the man pulled me aside and explained. "If you don't have them on a travel team by age 10, they'll fall behind. They won't even be able to make the middle school team". I said, "Wow! Looks like you're not making the middle school team. Better learn to wrestle or something". There's nothing bad about travel teams or elite teams or AAU or any of that. That's all wonderful…except when your whole life begins to kind of feel like that, where I feel like I'm behind, and I don't even know how I got behind, but it seems like everybody knows something, has something, sees something, and can do something I can't do. What I realized about Jacob's life, as the sun was rising and he was limping, is he was born feeling behind. In the literal birth order of Jacob and Esau (they were twins), separated by only a few seconds, Jacob was only going to get one-third of the inheritance, because that's the way it worked in those days. When he was born, he came out grabbing his brother's heel.

That's what the name Jacob means. It means heel grabber. There was something in him even in the womb that was wrestling against his brother, something that felt like, "I'm behind, and I can't be behind". For all of his clutching and grasping at his brother's heel, he still came out second. Now, at age 90, he's very blessed because he has stolen a blessing and a birthright from his blind father Isaac, yet there's a wrestling match that happens on his way to reconcile with Esau. It has been 20 years since he has seen him. As he's getting ready to go and face Esau and make it right with Esau (he hopes, because Esau could kill him), an angel appears and wrestles him to the point where his hip is wrenched. He leaves the presence of the angel to face his brother, and the only evidence he has that he has met with God is his limp.

We think the evidence that we've been with God is that our situation gets better. We then take all of the evidence other people present to us of how good their life is, and compared to them putting up their Christmas lights in April… Compared to them whose kids are always on a field somewhere getting better and better with hitting coaches and batting cages, and we can barely afford to buy the bat to begin with, so how would we pay for the private coaching lessons if we could… I came to announce to you today that nothing in your life is originated divinely by your comparison to people, only by your commitment to purpose. The starting place for contentment is commitment to purpose.

Why is that important? Because the alternative to commitment to purpose is comparison to people. If I'm comparing myself to people, I'm always grabbing heels. If I'm comparing myself to people, I'm always feeling either better than or less than, but neither of those will bring you close to God. If I'm comparing myself to people, I'll always feel like I was born behind, and here's why: because everybody in here has a limp, but some limps are more easily hidden than others. Some limps show up later in life. Some limps show up privately. Some limps show up in intimate relationships. Some limps show up in an inability to hold down a job. Some limps have catastrophic results. Some limps have insidious effects that no one can see. Some limps you carry alone, but everybody came in here limping. Yeah, you came, but you're limping. You've been limping this week. It has been a long week because you've been limping.

"I'm limping. I'm here, but I'm limping. I love God, but I'm limping". I'm bringing this back from last week because something needs to break in our lives to where we stop showing up on Sunday and don't get what we really need from God because we don't want anybody to see where we really limp, or where you stop coming to church every time you have to limp in because you feel too guilty. That's how shame operates. The time when you need to drag your behind to this church the most is the time where you've done the dumbest stuff in your life and you say, "God, I need a course correction. God, I need you to top me off. I need you to fill me. I feel empty. I feel crazy. I don't feel like myself". Limp in here and see if the Lord won't lift you up. The Bible says, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and in due time he'll lift you up".

Watch this. Somebody say, "The light is coming". It's a new day dawning on Jacob. The sun is coming up over Jacob. The night is over. The wrestling is over. The struggle is over. He has let go of his old self. He has received a new name. He has been touched and transformed by God. He is carrying destiny. He is on his way to his purpose, but he's limping, because the light doesn't stop the limp. Just because you know doesn't mean you can do it. Just because God shows you who he's calling you to be doesn't mean you yet have the courage to do it. Everything I've become in my life, everything I've accomplished in my life that was worthwhile for God, I confess to you, I limped into.

What are you limping into today? The light is coming and Jacob is limping, and those are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes we get confused. We think when the light comes, the limping stops. We think when we see Jesus, meet Jesus, receive Jesus, grow in Jesus, that means we're automatically going to accelerate and reach the place where he has called us to be. The evidence of this meeting with Jesus was a limp that never left Jacob's life. I suggest to you that some of the times of the greatest light will also be the times of the greatest limp. The Bible says Jacob limped all the way to the place where he met his brother. Sidenote: you can get there limping.

Where God has taken you, where he's calling you, what he's drawing out of you, what he's using you to do, what he's moving you into, how he's maturing you, how he's growing you… It might not be pretty. That's all right. Nobody's is. All of the pretty people just have really hidden limps. Some of the people with the biggest strut are compensating for something that they're dragging behind them. Now, imagine you're Jacob. And maybe this is how you feel in your life. He's coming up on something that is the most important meeting he has ever had. If this goes badly, Esau kills him. The stakes are high. How many would say that's high stakes? And it's not like it's even going to be a close call because Esau is a skilled hunter. Jacob is a skilled cook.

By the way, that's part of the reason Jacob felt very insecure in his life: he never had his father's love. His father loved Esau. One of the reasons he pretended to be his brother was to get the love of a father who expected him to be something he could never become because it wasn't according to his purpose. Jacob isn't just limping at age 90; he has been limping all of his life because of the love he didn't get from the only one who could really confer a blessing on him. He's limping. See, there is a reason. If in your life you're not who you're supposed to be yet, there's a reason for that. There's an explanation for it.

"Yeah, I would love to be a better wife, but it's hard for me because I didn't see that modeled. I've been limping". "I would love to be a more patient person, but I grew up in a family where people exploded with their temper. I am trying to unlearn that template so I can change it and turn it around so my kids don't live with my limp". "I wish I was farther along, and I wish I had saved more money, but nobody taught me how to do this thing, so I went into debt trying to compensate for the love I didn't get. I went into debt trying to compensate for the approval I didn't get. I've been limping my whole life. I've been struggling my whole life".

The truth of it is some of the people who are critical of you would celebrate you if they could understand how hard it was for you to get to this point with your limp. Don't let them intimidate you when they show you their dance, because everybody limps somewhere. They're not farther along than you; they're just called to a different place than you so they have a different pace from you. So, when you get there on Thanksgiving and they say, "I thought you'd be married by now," say, "I thought you would have learned how to pray and let God lead me by now and stop trying to manipulate my life.
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