Steven Furtick - Stay Steady. The Promise Is Yours
This is an excerpt from: Say Hey By Faith
It's possible to arrive at your promise and live in a tent. It's this feeling of, "I'm here, but this is way different than how it sounded when I left". Anybody there? "I'm here". Remember when you were in seventh grade and all you wanted was your driver's license? You're driving. Where are you going? What are you going to do when you get there? Now, two things happened. He got there without knowing where there was. That in itself is complicated. I've heard people say things, and I don't mean to pick on it. I'm sure I've said something like this. "If I could just have clarity from God, and if he would just confirm his word to me…" "I am waiting for confirmation. That's what I'm waiting for".
Okay. Confirmation comes after commitment. He obeyed as God was calling him. It wasn't even complete yet. It wasn't even a destination yet. It was just something God moved him by, but then he got there, hundreds of miles with hundreds of people, with a caravan full of people he was responsible for, and he lived in tents. Have you ever had God bring you to a promise and then make you pitch a tent? He brings you to a place, he brings you to a moment, he brings you to a relationship, he brings you to a stage of life, he brings you to your anointing, he brings you into the area of your giftedness, and you know, "This is it," but then you think, "Is this it"?
I could understand if he lived in a tent for a week while the apartment lease was going through. I could understand if he lived there for six months while he found the best school district in Canaan. Abraham lived in tents the entire time he was in the Promised Land. What I'm trying to say is you might be a pilgrim in something God called you to possess, and just because it doesn't feel stable doesn't mean it's not secure. There are times where I question God, and my faith gets low. "Did you really say to do this? Did you really say to forgive them"? Sometimes even when I get up here… "God, did you really tell me to preach this"? Just because I don't feel it in the moment… Just because it's foreign doesn't mean it isn't yours. So, here's what I want you to declare by faith. Say, "It's mine".
Now, that sounds selfish, because we're not supposed to talk in church about what we have and what God gave us. It's supposed to be all about him. But he said, "I will bless you". He said, "I will make you…" He said, "I will guide you". It's not really him that we doubt; it's us. Have you ever had to hold on to the truth living in a tent? Have you ever had to suffer from clinical depression and show up smiling at an office building? Have you ever had your kids not doing well, but you had to be there for somebody else's kid? Have you? Then you've lived in tents. It is being somewhere you're supposed to be, but the accommodations aren't what you imagined.
I was reading some definitions of faith. Check this out. It said not only is it about our salvation, but there is a situational faith as well. It is a faith that defies all contradictions and outward circumstances but looks entirely to God and his promises alone. One said, "Faith is living as if God's power for the present is real and his promise for the future is secure". That's faith. Saving faith. He died as if he sinned so I could live as if I didn't. Faith is living as if. I'm going to say this again. Faith is living as if. Faith is going forward as if you knew where you were going and then going home and wondering, "Am I there?" because you're living in a tent. Faith is saying, "I am fully forgiven by Christ" even as the waves of shame wash over you, and instead of drowning in the regret of that shame you transform it by the power of grace into wisdom so you never make those mistakes again.
Faith is showing up to church as if you knew God had a word for you even though you secretly wonder, "Is he talking to someone else"? Faith is picking up your tent and moving even though you don't know how far you'll have to go. Faith is making your home in joy even though sorrow may last for the night. Faith is giving God praise for who he is when you can't even see what he's doing. Faith is reaching on your inside reserves and pulling from your experience to say, "Hey, God, I need you right now". Faith will stretch a stick over the water. Faith will pick up a rock and hit a giant in the head. Faith will say, "Hey, Jesus, if it's you, tell me to come," and Jesus will say back, "Come," and faith will walk on one word. Faith will step out on four letters.
Faith will jump out of the boat and say, "God, hold me up by your righteous right hand. If you had not been on my side, my enemies would have swallowed me alive". "So here I am, God. Hey, God, it's your man Furtick, and I need you now. I don't deserve it, but I receive it, and I claim it by faith". What do you need from God today? Claim it by faith! What do you need him to do in your body? Claim it by faith! What do you need him to carry you through? Claim it by faith! Clap those hands if you have a claim by faith. "I don't have what you think I need". Faith. Father, bless in the name of Jesus. Bless them right now. Everybody shout, "Faith". By faith. So, how are you coming to God after everything you've done? By faith. How are you really believing that God is going to redeem the years when you're the one who wasted them? By faith.
Here's what I love. He had to show up as a stranger to something God gave him. Have you ever had to show up as a stranger to something God gave you? I had a friend invite me over the other day, and nobody knew I was coming. I was invited by my friend, but I was treated as a stranger by the people who had to let me in the door. They had no idea who I was. I waited and waited, because I knew, "When my friend finds out I'm here, I'm going to walk right past all of these people who don't believe I belong". He showed up as a stranger to a place God gave him. Is that not what Jesus did for us, who came to his own, and his own received him not? He showed up on the earth he created, was rejected by the humans he fashioned, was crucified by the ones he came to save, but because he showed up as a stranger, I can come to him as his child.
How many are grateful for access? Just because it feels foreign doesn't mean it isn't yours. When you've hurt a long time, healing feels foreign. It doesn't mean you won't be healed. You just might have to live in a tent. A tent is an interesting image, because the New Testament also calls our mortal bodies a tent. In 2 Corinthians 5:4, Paul says that while we are in this tent (speaking about our bodies), we groan and are burdened. "Wait. I thought we were blessed". We're blessed, but we're burdened, because we're living in tents. You're living in a tent. It doesn't mean you're not in the promise. You're just living in a tent. It takes faith to say, "Hey". It takes faith to welcome something into your life that you've never had before.
So often, we are glorifying the goodbye, but we're not saying "Hello" to the promise. Imagine Abraham walking through Canaan. Nobody knows who he is. He's living like a nomad, but he's the father of many nations. Can I prophesy this to you? You're bigger than what you're living in. The bondage, the dysfunction… Abraham was the most famous person the writer of Hebrews could bring up to illustrate faith, but he showed up like a stranger. It takes faith to show up like a stranger.
Do you think Abraham walked into Canaan and they were all like, "Oh, you're Abraham. Take over. This is great"? He had to show up in a tent as a stranger. I see you coming into your promise. I see you coming into your wholeness. I see you coming into the next season of your life, but you're coming in as a stranger. Stay. Faith feels foreign. Stay. Joy feels foreign. Stay. Peace feels foreign when all you've known is storms. Stay.