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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Why God Removes Things From Your Life

Steven Furtick - Why God Removes Things From Your Life

Steven Furtick - Why God Removes Things From Your Life

This is an excerpt from: When God Goes In

That's what's wrong with states of anger and rage. It's that when you're in that state, you're crazy, and you can't remember who you are, because all you can deal with is where you are. Are you confused? Have you started conflating who you are with where you are? Because Gideon did. And maybe you're better than Gideon. That's possible. It is possible that you are holier than Gideon. I'm not, so I get this guy. When I say I get him… Watch this. He doesn't even know he's going to be… I would put Gideon as the GOAT of all of the judges God raised up. I would say he is the greatest of all time, the greatest ever to do it.

He had tact and diplomacy. He could talk people down who wanted to fight, but if you wanted to fight… "If you want to fight… Do you really want to do this? I'm warning you". Buck, we went to the wrestling tournament. All of the guys with their ears all cauliflowered up… I was really nice to them. "I know you've been through something, man. Whatever you did to get your ear like that, I don't want you to do it to me. So, how are you doing? Yes, go first. Go right ahead. I'll hold the door for you".

So Gideon was rough and tough, but he was depressed. Now watch this. Stop confusing yourself with your state. It's easy to do. Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress. He's a warrior… Come on. We just have to stop and marvel at this, that he could be a warrior in a winepress. That you could be a great man trapped in a really bad habit. That you could be a great woman going through a period of chronic pain followed by depression. You could still be something and not see it in yourself because of where you are. I don't even think I knew what that line meant when we wrote it, Chandler. "I know who I am, but I can't stay where I'm at".

Now I get it when I read Gideon. The Lord says, "Mighty warrior, the Lord is with you," and Gideon… Look at verse 13. He says, "Pardon me, sir…big, strong, scary-looking angel…" Oh, by the way, angels aren't cute and comforting. Do you ever see what they write about the angels in the Bible? The angel will make you throw up and pee your pants, pee your pants while you're throwing up. The angels are scary. The first instinct sometimes when the angel came… They'd be like, "Don't be afraid"! It's like, if the angel looked cuddly, like that little one you have up there on your mantelpiece, then why would he say, "Don't be afraid"?

Angel's got cauliflower ear. Angel's looking rough coming up in there. Gideon is like, "Hey, man, pardon me. I don't want to start anything, because you're a bad man, but, uh…" "…if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, 'Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian".

You know that's not what the prophet said. When I read you verse 7, that's not what the prophet said. The prophet said, "You abandoned God". That is not what the prophet said. Gideon is wrong. He's a warrior, but he's wrong. He's gifted, but he's wrong. He's anointed, but he's wrong. He's strong, but he's wrong. He has confused where he is with who he is to the point where when the angel calls him what he really is, he's like, "Who? Is there somebody else in this winepress who I haven't seen? He just said, 'Mighty warrior,' and here I am down here in a depressed place".

You know, when you've been in a situation long enough… I don't care if it was done to you or if it was done through you. When you've been in it long enough, you begin to get the negative things so embedded into your mind you can no longer see anything but that. Am I right? When you've been in it that long, the negativity becomes embedded. So, you are no longer choosing to be negative; you now think that's normal to be negative. You have names for it. You call it keeping it 100. Or when you do something really rude and out of pocket, you go, "I've just got to be me".

I've been teaching you all year that's not you anymore. God is raising you up out of that. God is calling you up out of that. God is saying, "Come up a little higher. I've got something for you to do, and it's not just about you". We're almost to verse 14. I believe we can get there by 6:00 if you pay attention. God says to Gideon, "You're a mighty warrior". He identifies him by something he sees, which made me wonder. Is Gideon the only one who is sifting in this passage or is God sifting too? The first picture I saw in the passage was Gideon sifting. Write down sifting. That's my first point. "That's only your first point"?

I'm going to go quick. Write it down like this: before lifting comes sifting. It had better. If God raises you up to something, and he hasn't sifted from your life some of the attitudes, you will sabotage what he brings you into. How many witnesses do I have that you tried to skip the sifting? You just thought, "Well, I'll just go ahead and do it anyway". Mm-hmm. How did that work for you? When you said, "I know I have 17 warning bells going off". One of my buddies said the other day, "I was asking God if I should marry this woman". He said, "She was so hot. I didn't want to hear what God said". He said, "We got in a fight. I reached in the window and tried to take the car keys so she wouldn't drive off. She rolled my arm up in the window and squeezed it for a good 10 seconds, and I married her anyway".

We make some weird decisions when we really want something so badly, and we just decide, "Oh, no, this is what I want. I've just decided". You'd better let God sift that thing. "I don't like being single". You'd better let God sift that thing. I'd rather be single and sifted than married and miserable. I want God to sift them out. You'd better let him sift it. He's sifting it. Just like Gideon is sifting the wheat, God is sifting Gideon. He's blowing out all of the worthless thoughts, all of the vile imaginations, all of the things I think I am that I'm really not, all of the things I think I need that God is more than enough to cover for, all of the ways I used to do it. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, but when he raised me up to become a man… I'm coming into a season now where I have to be the real thing for Jesus.

I am so passionate about that, because if your faith does not survive the sifting, you will miss the best parts of being you. I've been down before and thought about quitting preaching. Sorry, but I have. It's hard to get the wind of the Holy Spirit to get a word to give to you when I'm in a winepress of my own weakness. And I've been there…many times. It makes me want to cry when I think about all of the times I tried to quit, but he sifted me to show me I don't even need a feeling to do this, that the Word of God is powerful enough without my feelings for me to stand up and preach it.

Let it flow, God. I don't care. I don't look at those notes anyway. Don't get nervous. It's in my spirit. I've been sitting with this for three weeks. God has been sifting it and getting it ready to feed you for the fight you're in, for the future that he sees. It's not going to look like where you are. It's going to look like what he said.

Do you feel that? That's the wind. That response… That's the wind blowing out all that condemnation you've been putting on yourself. He died for you. He bled for you. He rose again. It's a strange elevation, but he will lift you up! He's lifting me. It seems like a bad time. It seems like it's over. It's a strange elevation, but he said in due time you will reap if you don't faint. I might be down right now, but I'm mighty in God. I might be sick right now, but I'm healed by his stripes. I might be broke right now, but my God shall supply all of my needs. I know who I am, and I'm not staying in this winepress.

So take down my pictures. Call Two Men and a Truck. I'm out of here! This is what a breakthrough feels like. This is what the wind feels like. This is what the Spirit feels like. If I die in this winepress, my kids don't get this word. Do you understand how important it is, what you're fighting for right now? The Devil will send every little locust to get you in that hole. How many had the locusts coming this week? I heard it called ANTS one time…automatic negative thinking syndrome. Isn't that good?

I didn't make that up. I read it one time on a paid subscription website to Psychology Today. They said ANTS. I said, "That is it". It's automatic negative thinking syndrome. It becomes just who I think I am. It becomes my automatic response to anything God wants to do. I hide. Sifting. I'm only going to get to point one this week, but let's just do it, Lord. Let's just do this one so good that they go home and realize that you are with them, sending your word into their winepress. God saw his people oppressed by the hand of Midian. He saw you oppressed by sin. He saw you oppressed by shame.

And do you know what he has to do? Before God can get you out, he has to get in. He's getting in. You tried to keep him out. You tried to do everything you could do. You tried to push him away. You tried not answering your phone. You tried not texting the healthy people back. You texted the other people back. You tried everything you could do to love the locusts, but do you know why it didn't work? Because you have a lion inside.
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