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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - How Fear Keeps You From Your Calling

Steven Furtick - How Fear Keeps You From Your Calling

Steven Furtick - How Fear Keeps You From Your Calling
TOPICS: Fear, Calling

This is an excerpt from: Don’t Tap Out Tap In

Have you noticed the Devil doesn't really respect your tap? Some of you have been trying to tap. "Okay. That's enough now. Okay. Quit picking on me, Devil. Pick on somebody else. I've got a few suggestions. I'll give you a list. Just leave me alone". Tap, tap! There are many of us who have been trying to tap or surrender, not in the good "I surrender all to thee, my precious Savior" kind of way but the tap that says, "I'm really done trying in this area of my life. I'm really done loving with my heart. It costs too much, and it makes me feel too exposed".

Tap in this relationship. Tap in this quest to overcome this habit. Tap in this really living fully for Christ. Tap, tap! But the thing about the Enemy, if you don't know, is he doesn't… I hate to compare Graham to the Devil, but just for a minute. Just like Graham, the Devil does not respect the tap. So, when you give up on freedom to go back to slavery, you get momentary relief but greater bondage in the end. Do you think the Devil feels sorry for you because you tap? Do you think the Devil plays by the rules and leaves you alone because you're tired? "Oh, I'm tired. I tap. I give up". I think that's what a lot of relapse is, not just in terms of substances but when we fall back into something. It's us tapping, going, Tap, tap! "I'm done feeling this way". Tap, tap! "I don't want to feel lonely. I'd rather be high". Tap, tap! "I don't want to feel like this. I'd rather be with the wrong influences than be in isolation". Tap, tap! "I give in to the thing that has ahold of me".

But the Devil doesn't respect your tap. That's why giving in to self-pity never produces progress. (I'm preaching like a motivational speaker today.) You know, this picture in the Scripture is a picture of a nation that is ready to tap. Now, Isaiah is preaching to the entire nation of Israel during the reign of Hezekiah, and the Assyrians are coming to take them. In the process of preaching to them to encourage them, the prophetic word speaks directly to their pain. He says, "In that day, the Lord will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword…" What kind of sword? Fierce, great, and powerful.

Touch somebody and say, "I've got a big God, and he likes me". Tell them, "So before you mess with me, you might want to know who my friend is". Yeah. You might want to know who my tag team partner is before you start beating me up. That's a whole message. In the text I read to you, there are a few things. We'll go through them like this in order. I believe this is going to help you in your life for those areas where you've been trying to tap. I will admit that it isn't always that you want to give up completely and tap. It's just that a part of you in your life is exhausted of trying to extend yourself and expand yourself, so you go into shrinking mode.

Look at me confused if you want, but everybody in here has these four things in their life. I'd like you to write them down if you have a pen or something like that. First, there is a fight. Secondly, there is fruit. Thirdly, there is a fence. Fourthly, there is a future. A fight, fruit, fence, and a future. "In that day, the Lord will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword…"

If God has his sword out, there's a fight going on. Just like the Assyrians were invading Israel, God is very aware of what is messing with you. In this Scripture it's interesting, because Isaiah draws on a mythological figure called Leviathan. Leviathan was known as the chaos monster in the ancient world. So, drawing on a secular example of a chaos monster, the legend went that in creation a higher power defeated the sea monster in order to create the world. Well, Isaiah doesn't believe this as a myth, but he uses it as an example to bring a message. He says, "In that day, the Lord will punish with his sword…Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea".

Now, scholars suggest that perhaps these different mentions of Leviathan represent the three major threats to the Israelites. First, there was Leviathan, the Assyrians, who were impending right now with an attack that would be unsurvivable for God's nation. This is represented by Leviathan the gliding serpent, because it represents the Tigris River, which was a smooth, fast river. Then you have Leviathan the coiling serpent, which represents the rivers of Babylon, which was Israel's other enemy…the Euphrates River, which would snake and slow as it curved and twisted.

This is the river of Babylon, representing the second enemy. The third enemy is the monster of the sea, and that's Egypt. That's the nation that originally sheltered God's people during famine and oppressed them after the famine was over, because many times the things you run to in one season of your life you will need to be released from in another season of your life. God says, "In that day, I have my sword drawn. I see what's being done to you. I am fighting for you. I'm in it with you. I'm working through you. I've got your back. No weapon formed against you will prosper". It will be produced. It will be forged in the flame, but it will die in the air, because when the wind of God's Spirit takes the arrow off the trajectory of your life, even what the Enemy means for evil will be used for good.

So, we use in preaching all of these different characters, like Pharaoh, who was the Egyptian god, where Moses goes to Pharaoh and says, "Let my people go". Or you might think about Goliath when David was trying to save the nation from Goliath, the Philistine warrior. He stands up in front of Goliath and says, "You defy the armies of the living God. Today I defy you, and God will give you into my hands". We use all of these metaphors throughout Scripture, because we know we have a Goliath, and we know we have a Pharaoh. Yet when I was studying about Leviathan, I realized that while maybe it represented Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt in its original context, it represents something different to each and every one of us in the room.

Leviathan, for most of us, is not necessarily like Pharaoh who you can see or Goliath who is big. What I noticed about the passage is that Leviathan's strength is in his ability to hide. So, while there are giants we face that we can see, and while there are economic conditions that cause us to be afraid, and while there are events in our lives that cause us to be stressed out, Leviathan is a little different. Leviathan is not an ancient monster at all. In fact, Leviathan is waiting for you for when you get back home. You see, the strength of this sea monster is in its ability to hide.

Leviathan hides behind nice smiles, suppressing buried rage until it explodes at the wrong time and you wonder, "Where the hell did that come from"? It came from hell, but it hid. Did you know that hell knows where to hide in your life? When we say, "All hell broke loose," it didn't just break loose; it built up, and then it broke loose. As long as the Enemy can keep you thinking you're fighting Pharaoh or Goliath, he can hide in the form of Leviathan and pull you down every time you try to rise higher and leave you wondering, "Where did that come from"? It came from hell, but the Devil doesn't wear horns. The Devil doesn't own a red cape. The Devil doesn't carry a pitchfork. The Devil just hides until the time that he knows you're susceptible.

I feel like what Paul said is relevant to us today and relevant to you and relevant to me. We are not ignorant of the Devil's schemes. You and I have the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine on Leviathan. I thought today, since you're already fighting with it, since you're already dealing with it, since you already have to put up with it, since you're already wondering, "How long is it going to be like this"? since you can't really tell any of your friends about it because you can't even describe it, you and I ought to call Leviathan out in the light of God's presence today and talk about your Leviathan. I'll start the party. Here's mine. It comes in the form of insecurity.

The insecurity manifests itself in my irritability, and I'm usually irritated at something that isn't even the cause of a problem, but it usually locates a deeper insecurity in me. If I put the mic down and walked off the stage, I did enough for your gas money today by telling you that, for many of us, our biggest enemy is our insecurity.

Okay. Here's the example. I was really, really passionate about music from a very young age. When I became a pastor, I decided probably I wouldn't do music anymore, and then I ended up being the worship leader for the first part of the church. Then when I quit playing music, I felt like I was done writing songs. This was about a decade ago, but something started stirring in me, and I would start sending Chris little song ideas every once in a while. I would hum them into my phone, but I was too embarrassed to really sing them. So I'd walk around the house mumbling stuff into my phone. I'd try to get away from people when I did it because it was kind of embarrassing, because I really felt like, "This probably isn't very good," but I would mumble into my phone.

One day, Holly walks in when I'm mumbling into the phone, and she goes, "What are you doing"? and laughs. When she laughed, I lashed out. I said, "I'm trying to write a song! I guess I'm not allowed to write a song in my own house! I'll never write another song in front of you again. I'm sorry"! Where the…? All she said was, "What are you doing"? If I had really been singing, she wouldn't have had to ask because she would have seen, "You're singing". But I was too scared to really sing, because there was something I had stuffed and suppressed that I dreamed of doing. When she walked by and asked me about the thing I was trying to stuff, I lashed out because I thought her laughter was aimed against me. I realized about myself that in this specific instance I would rather make Holly my foe than to deal with my fear. I'm trying to break this Leviathan thing down, because when I preach about Leviathan you picture a flying dragon. Nuh-uh.

Leviathan is your temper-tantrums. Leviathan is your sharp, cutting words. Leviathan is that pushing away of people you do the moment they try to love you for real. Leviathan is that thing that grabs you, and it's pulling you down, but it kind of comforts you because it feels like warmth. I'm not talking about the Devil. I'm talking about the way Leviathan manifests in your life. In my life, I had to admit that my wife, who God sent to be my greatest partner, was being treated like my opponent because of my own immaturity. The Lord spoke something to me. He said, "You would rather invent an enemy than deal with your insecurity. You would rather fight against the one who's trying to fight for you than to fight against the insecurity that keeps you from seeing things as they really are".
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