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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - God Is Trying To Protect You

Steven Furtick - God Is Trying To Protect You

Steven Furtick - God Is Trying To Protect You
TOPICS: Protection

This is an excerpt from: Don't Waste Your Angel

There's one thing God won't do for you. He'll protect you. He'll keep you. He'll keep your mind. He'll keep your sanity. He'll keep you from people who would harm you. He will keep you from places that you didn't even know if you would have been there what would have happened. You will never even know on this side of life how many times God blocked stuff and turned stuff and shifted stuff and moved stuff. You thought it was just you were a little bit late because you forgot your wallet, but there was a car accident on 77 that had your name on it, and when the Devil said, "They're out," God said, "I've got…"

Anyway, there are so many things you don't even know to thank God for. If you could see for one moment all of the things God kept you from… Listen to me, Blakeney. If we ever got a revelation of what God kept us from it would be a bad day for the worship team, because all of the worship leaders wouldn't have a job, because we wouldn't even need them, because we would lead ourselves in worship, because we would walk in the door clapping and shouting and rejoicing and praising God. Sometimes we don't see all of the things he has kept us from and brought us to. Now we're at this place, and God has protected us, God has positioned us, and God has prepared us, but there's one thing he won't do. He will not possess the land for you.

Here's the word of the Lord: "I will go before you, but I will not go for you. Your faith must make the step". Most of them never did. If they had gone in, they would have seen the giants who were still in the land were left there on purpose. That was always confusing to me. God said, "I'm going to be an enemy to your enemies. I'm going to oppose those who oppose you, and when you get to the land I'm going to start driving them out. I'm going to chase them away so you can inherit what I have promised to you". But then he says, "I'm not going to do it all at once. I'm going to do it like the frog, little by little".

Wait a minute, God. If these are giants who can kill us and cause us to worship other gods, shouldn't you get rid of them as soon as possible? Wouldn't it make sense that if God wants something out of your life he would take it out right away? Maybe this is just me. I grew up in churches where they said, "If you will pray this prayer, Jesus will come into your heart, and he will take away your fear and your pain and dry every tear from your eye". Then I cried that night, and I couldn't figure out, "Where did that cosmic Kleenex go that Jesus was going to bring and wipe every tear from my eye"? I couldn't figure it out. I was expecting sanctification to work like salvation.

When Jesus saves you he does it all at once. He doesn't set you up on a 30-year payment plan. Salvation is not a mortgage. When he comes in, he comes all the way in. For those of you who have received his grace, let me tell you something that's amazing. You will never be more forgiven than you are right now. You will never be more loved than you are right now. When he forgives you, he forgives you completely, immediately, fully, without qualification. There is no corner of your heart he didn't see when he sent his Spirit to live within you. You will never be more forgiven than you are right now, but there is a difference between forgiveness and freedom. Forgiveness happens all at once; freedom happens little by little. It's often so incremental you don't even think it's happening.

This is for everybody who's 40 and thought you would be smarter than you are right now. You keep doing dumb stuff you've been doing all your life. You're doing stuff right now that you were doing at age 14, and you have your own 14-year-old. You still feel like a little kid yourself. It happened to Paul. Paul was that great apostle. Have you heard of him? He took the gospel to the Gentiles. What God started through Abraham he continued through Paul. He told Abraham, "I have an assignment for you. All of the nations of the earth will be blessed through you". What an assignment. He said, "But don't worry about it. I'm going to bless you so you can be a blessing. I will not require from you a resource I do not put within you".

Do you hear me? If God called you to raise those hardheaded kids, he will make your head even harder. "You met your match now, because God gave me a cranium that can withstand all of your craziness". God gives him the assignment and the assistance. Paul in many ways was graced. He was graced to be able to speak eloquently. He was graced to be able to preach to the Diaspora of the Jewish tradition that he himself came from, but one thing about Paul he couldn't understand. There was something in his life he expected God to take away that God left. Do you have anything like that? Y'all are looking at me so weird right now. Maybe you're beyond Paul. I would understand if you were holier than Paul. That would make sense. But Paul was struggling. He hadn't quite arrived to your level of spiritual development and maturity. Paul said, "There was something I asked God to do for me that he would not do".

Now if you want to know what it was, Paul is going to disappoint you, because he refuses to name it by name. I'm glad he didn't name it by name, because if he would have said it I couldn't relate to it, but the fact that he used this image (I want to read it to you now: 2 Corinthians 12:7)… It means whatever is left in your life that you have been blaming on the Devil can be used by God to fulfill his purpose for your life. Paul said, "I ascended to the third heaven. I saw things unutterable. I was used by God in ways that are astounding; in fact, beyond human vocabulary. Therefore…" Watch this. This is crazy. He says, "Because of that level of blessing, God gave me an equal burden". Because the greater the assignment, the greater the adversity. The greater the assignment, the greater the attack.

Paul said, "God took me up so high and showed me so much there had to be something in my life that would keep me grounded to his grace". He doesn't name it by name. He doesn't need to, because he knows you have your own. He simply says, "Therefore, in order…" Here's the clue. "…to keep me from becoming conceited…" There was something God gave Paul to keep him in a space called grace, so that he would never forget who led him along the way, so that he would never forget who brought him out of bondage and darkness into the marvelous light. God said, "I'm going to leave some stuff in your life". "In order to keep me from becoming conceited, there was given to me…" It sounds like he's about to get a new car. Right? "He gave me…"

That has me in the mindset of a gift. What did he give you, Paul? Did he give you a house? Did he give you a promotion? Did he give you a blessing? No, no, no. Paul said, "One day the Devil showed up on my doorstep with a package, and it had a bow on it. I opened the package, and in the package was a thorn". It was a gift, but it didn't look like a gift. It was a gift, but it was wrapped in something that looked like pain. "I was given a thorn in my flesh". Was it a sickness? Was it a temptation Paul had? Was it people talking about him and he couldn't shut them up? Was it Facebook? Probably. He calls it a messenger of Satan. How can he refer to it as a gift if it came from the Enemy? It was sent to torment him. That was the Devil's intention: to torment him.

Paul said, "God took what the Enemy intended to torment me and used it to transform me". The Enemy's tools of torment become God's tools of transformation. Now I get it. Now I get Exodus 23. It's not just the angels God sends ahead of you that he uses to bless you. Those are wonderful. It's not just all of the promotions and the prosperity and the peaceful situations. It's not just the yeses. Sometimes God uses the noes to lead you to a greater yes. God said, "No, I won't take it away, but, yes, I will give you so much grace you will be stronger than it and you will discover a power you could have never known if you didn't have a problem". "But he said to me, 'My grace…'"

Everybody shout, "Grace". Shout "Grace". Don't mumble. Shout "Grace!" like you need it. Shout "Grace!" like you can't make it without it. Shout "Grace"! like it's not just something you say before you eat. Shout "Grace"! like you live by it. Shout "Grace"! like he died to give it. Shout "Grace"! like you know it's the avenue of blessing. "He didn't give me relief; he gave me grace". Now I get why God left the giants in the land: because he had them under contract. See, they weren't used to having to keep up their own land yet, so God said, "I'm going to do you a favor. I'm going to keep some enemies on your property, but don't worry about your enemies; they work for me. I am God".

He said, "I'm going to leave some things. I'm going to leave some weaknesses in your life". "Take it away". "No, I'm going to work through it. No, I'm going to leave that weakness in your life, and your weakness is going to lead you to my strength". God says, "Sometimes I drive the giants out. Sometimes I let them stay and I give them a job. Sometimes I use the Devil to deliver my mail. Sometimes I use adversity to create an advantage in your life. Sometimes I take what people meant for evil and use it for good, because I'm God like that, and I've got your back, and I'm already there". "I'm going to use not only my angel, but I'm going to use your enemies, and I'm going to leave them there".

"Why would you leave enemies on my territory"? It's very simple. Historians tell us that the land of Canaan at this time was populated with wild animals that the Canaanites knew how to deal with but the Israelites didn't yet, particularly the lions that lived in the land. God knew, "If I clear out all of the enemies at once, the lions will take them over". What's a group of lions called? Does anybody know? A pride. God said, "If I clear all of your enemies out all at once, pride will take over". Paul said, "I delight in weaknesses [Canaanites], insults [Perizzites], hardships [Hivites]". Don't you see it? Paul said, "I'm glad for my giants. I don't just thank God for my angels; I thank him for my giants too. They taught me how to fight. They built my faith".

It's a deep message. It's one thing to praise God for your protection, but it's another thing to praise him for your problems. I want to suggest that sometimes your problems are your protection from yourself. You've had an addiction all your life, and you've asked God to take the desire away, and he won't. Why? "Because I want you to need me, and I want you to choose to serve me. I will not force you to be free. I want it to be your decision. So I'm going to leave some things in your life that I know you want me to take out, but I'm not sending you into the fire alone. I will be with you to deliver you. I will protect you, I will prepare you, and I will position you, but I cannot possess it for you".

Only you can possess this place. Only you can do it. I can preach to you these principles, but I cannot possess them. No one can do it for you. Stop expecting for God's deliverance to be sudden. The greatest gift God can give you is gradual change, so he hides you from your own progress to prevent your pride. God doesn't even want you to know you're growing. He wants you to trust his grace. That's why God said to Paul, "I'm not going to give you the gift of relief; I'm going to give you something greater. It looks like a thorn, but it's really grace. The Devil might have dropped it off at the doorstep, but I'm the one who addressed it to you. No, I won't drive them all out, and, no, I'm not going to make it easier". God won't fix your attitude. He'll give you his Spirit, and little by little, as you serve and pray, show up, trust that he's working in your life… "Little by little, I am bringing you into the place I have prepared for you". The greater assignment gets the greater assistance.
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