Steven Furtick - Reverse Your Worry
We're gonna look at Matthew 6 with I do like and these profound powerful words from Jesus and last week's message was intended to help you evaluate your values. I was thinking that a lot of times if we play the game and even if we play the game well, but we win at things that aren't true to our values, eventually we will get good at winning but what are we winning at? And what have we won? And so, in order to try to avoid all this empty sense of chasing after victories that are not meaningful, we're getting into God's definition of success, God's idea of what is worth winning at, and we're looking at this together.
And it was cool to me when I was in the airport Monday, I got the opportunity to meet one of our new church members. He said, I've been coming for a little while, I've been going to church all my life, been learning a lot, it's been helpful. I said, "What did you learn yesterday"? I put him on a pop quiz, and he said, "Oh yeah, that was good yesterday when you said shallow values produce empty victories, I was like Woah". You got it exactly right.
Usually, people when they quote back your sermon to you, they mess it all up and they don't make it rhyme, and they switch the words all around, it makes you mad. But he got it just right, then he started preaching other parts and he said, I went home and I told my wife and my kids, I love y'all but leave me alone the rest of the day. And he's a successful person in his field, his name is Steven, I knew he was a great man of God from that fact, and he said, "I'm really just dealing with emptiness and in that emptiness, I realize it's a lot of times because my values are shallow. So I've been listening, I've been spending just since you preached, I've been thinking about my values, not what I think they should be, not I what I want them to do, but what are my values and then aligning those values with God's values".
So let's continue to process. Let's go right on to Matthew 6:25, a very relevant Scripture today, that I want us to look at together. Matthew 6:25, Jesus speaking, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or you will drink or about your body, what you will wear, is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet", I love that, somebody say, "and yet". I don't deserve the grace of God, and yet, I don't have the educational background, and yet, nobody in my family ever broke this barrier, and yet, I made some mistakes in my life, and yet, I just like little stuff like that when I'm reading the Bible, y'all do what you wanna do, I'mma stop for those little phrases and point them out to you. "...and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they"?
Tell somebody next to you, "I'm better than a bird. I might not be better than you but I'm better than a bird, I'm worth more than a bird. I know that much". Are you not much more valuable than they? We're gonna come back to that. "Can anyone of you by worrying, add a single hour to your life"? No, but you can take some off. Or you can wish you were dead cause it would be more peaceful than being in this living hell called your mind sometimes. So, he asked a question.
So notice how it starts with a command, and then it turns to a question, he said, "Do not worry", and now he says, "and why do you worry? Why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow? They do not labor or spin. Yet, I tell you that not even Solomon", in all his Gucci, he was dressed like one of these. "If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow throw in the fire, will he not much more clothe you, oh you of little faith. So do not worry", stop telling me that.
You know the worst thing you can tell somebody when they're worrying is, what? "Don't worry". Unless you know something that they don't, cause like I was watching a football game the other day, but it was recorded because I missed it, but the person that was watching it with me, checked the score, and we were cheering for the same team, so while I was watching the game, I was also watching them and when it got a little scary, I just watched them, but when they didn't look scared, I didn't get scared.
So when Jesus says, "Don't worry", I figure He's already seen how this thing turns out, come on, it's early to have church but if you are grateful that the One who knows the end from the beginning is already prophesied to this current moment and declared that God is faithful... Come on, give Him a shout of praise. "Don't worry saying what shall we eat or what shall we drink", yeah, yeah, hallelujah is right, that's the only thing you can say when you think about this. This is good this preaches itself, I don't need to make a comment, I can just read this over and over again for 50 minutes, we go home.
"Do not worry saying what shall we eat, or what shall we drink or what shall we wear for the pagans run after all these things". These are shallow values. This is what the world worries about. Wanna worry about something? Worry about something worth worrying about. Worry about teen suicide rates. You just got to worry? Worry about that. Worry about racism. You wanna worry about something? Worry about that. Wanna worry about something? Worry about this crazy cycle of fear that we're all living in if you wanna worry about something. But don't worry about this.
"For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself, each day has trouble enough of its own".
The word God gave me to give to you today is reverse your worry. Reverse your worry. We're gonna get this thing turned around before lunchtime today, reverse your worry. Came in thinking one way, gonna go home thinking another. Reverse your worry. Turn to somebody and say, "It's time to turn it around". So why do you worry? That's the question, the command is: do not worry. And then the question is, verse 28, let's see it again, "Why do you worry"?
And at this point, if it was anybody other than Jesus asking the question I would say, "Sit down and let me tell you". You know? "Oh, I got a list, you wanna know why I worry? Well, where you do you want me to start? Like first of all, let's start with October in the stock market if you wanna talk about worry, you wanna talk about the first week in November, you wanna talk about... If you wanna know why I worry, okay, I got a 13 year old, an 11 year old, and a 7 year old and they have the internet. That's why I worry, Jesus. Because something tells me they are not yet of the emotional and mental health and capacity to have all of the information in the history of humanity in their pocket and I'm worried about what they're going to access and there's no Bible verse about how much time to give your child on Instagram. If it is, I didn't find it, somebody send me the Scripture this week, that's why I'm worried. I'm worried".
You know, why do you worry? Put the verse up again. Why do you worry? And I think that's important that we stop and think about the reasons that we worry. Okay? The reason that we worry and be really honest about it, because what I worry about more than anything is not what's happening to me, but it's whether or not what's within me is enough to handle... It's whether what's in me is strong enough to handle what happens to me. That's why I worry.
I worry because as a Pastor I am concerned that maybe the way that I communicate would be more for consumption and the people would come and hear the word or tune in online and hear the word, and then just click off but you know it seems like just more and more that people are just coming to church for what to get out of it, or just, you know, "Well, I like that preacher", or "I like that song", but that's a really shallow reason to come to church. And I worry that if people come from surface motivations, they're gonna get surface results in their life. And if people come from selfish motives, then they're gonna get empty results.
So, why do you worry? Let's talk about it. Just me and you now. It's just us. Why do you worry? What do you worry about more than anything else? What's the thing that had you up at 3:30 this morning and your mind starting spinning... 'Cause this is what happens, your mind starts spinning, some of us get up to use the bathroom and then we never quite make it back to a rested state, because our bladders and our brains are both under demon possession and so both of them are too full, and so we wake up in the middle of the night, and here we are and this is how it happens for me, my mind just starts spinning. And the way that it's constructed in the original language, I've studied this passage quite a bit, I've come back to it, several times in preaching, is that it says, "do not worry", that's the command, or "take no thought", that's literal, "take no thought".
Think about that, he's saying, a thought that presents itself to you can start you spinning in a direction if you take it, but if it can't start you spinning if you don't hold on to it. I preached a whole message one time called, "Hold That Thought". And you get a hold of a thought and you let it take you somewhere but where you take that thought, eventually you find out it takes you somewhere and for me a lot of times, I end up in this spin cycle, do you know what I'm talking about? Talk to me.
The spin cycle of stress. I've noticed this about worry. Worry is circular, worry is going round and round, it's not being concerned about something, that's not what Jesus means by don't worry. This isn't Jesus - Bob Marley moment, you know, cause I was reading it like, Look at the birds. You know, it almost sounds like Jesus is telling me not to pay my bills, just look at the birds, look at the birds and the flowers, beautiful, isn't God good, isn't He just the best, don't you just love Jesus and His muchness, you know? It's not what He's saying. You know you want me to be like a bird, Lord? No, I want you to observe the birds. I want you to consider what they know that you don't. And maybe what they know that you don't is because they live where you don't, at a higher altitude. Observe the birds.
If I could title this message other than Reverse Your Worry. I'd call it lookup. Because in order to consider the birds, you gotta stop looking all around you to make sense of your life, you know? Cause as long as you look around you, you spin around and around and around and around but when you break the cycle and consider that there is God above you who has gone before you who lives within you, who is always for you, and that you are spoken for and known and named and called and chosen and set apart. You see your life at a different level.
Can I preach a little bit? Cause I've been doing this a lot. It's funny that I just finished a whole series about anxiety called Triggered. And here we are back in this same idea, still spinning and still spinning. Worry is like this, it's around and around and around, but notice one thing about all my spinning, other than the fact that some of y'all are getting dizzy just watching me do this, imagine how it feels to actually do it, imagine how it feels for me actually doing it. Well this is what it feels like when you're spinning, spinning, spinning... Lots of motion but I keep ending up right where I started. I'm right back here only now I can't see straight.
Now that's what it's like to toss and turn over stuff you can't control. Cause after you've spent all night spinning, all day spinning in your head and what if they... and you know it starts with the most innocent thought, it's not, the devil's been at this a long time sweetie, he's not gonna give you a bad thought, he's gonna try to give you an innocent thought and get you to take it in the wrong direction. A scenario that on the surface doesn't seem that bad, but it's the way you spin it. It's like, you know, Fox News and CNN, it's just one story they're telling but it's spinning different ways. And it's how you spin it that determines how you see it.
I am preaching Matthew 6 like it's my last time today. Because when you get in that spin cycle it's just around and around and around and it doesn't make any difference, I'm not getting anywhere, I'm not working on it, I'm not making progress anywhere. And the devil gets me so dizzy that now by the time that I'm facing my real life challenges, I don't have the equilibrium to apply the effort in the direction that would create a result because I'm so dizzy I can't find my balance and now I don't know who to trust, I don't know what to do.
Woah, hang on, I need a minute, I've been spinning. By the way, that's why it takes you a few minutes when you get to church, to get your heart in the right place, for the caffeine to kick in and for you to stop spinning. Jesus said, "Look up at the birds and then look at the flowers". The flowers? So you want me to look up, you want to look down? I want you to look at both. And notice something that the flowers don't do, that your mind has been doing lately, He says, "When you look at the flowers notice how they do not labor or" - gimme the verse please, 28: "They do not labor or... and yet, your father".
They don't spin, they don't sow, the birds don't store away, the flowers don't spin, yet look at how God does that on that level. And He made you in His image, what makes you think that you have to spin out in these cycles, you know, these tormenting cycles, these confusing cycles, where you start thinking, you know, God, my kid needs braces and you know... It's the littlest things isn't it? It's the littlest things that get you spinning. My kids only two years old, but my kids gonna need braces, cause the first tooth grew in kinda crooked. And now you're looking at one crooked tooth and your two year old got's one little crooked tooth growing out, Oh God, they're gonna need braces and braces with inflation, it's gonna cost 473 thousand dollars and I won't have any money to send him in college, so they're only gonna have to resort to gang violence and then my child's gonna wind up in prison and I'mma visit my...
Now you're in prison, your kid is two. And your kid's still two. And you didn't keep him out of prison, and they're still gonna need braces. So you've been going around and around and around in circles, but God said today is your day to stop spinning, if your mind has been doing this, I came to preach to you and the presence of the Lord is in this place, and your father knows what you need, so stop spinning. Stop worrying about what God is already working on and just worship Him. Come on, take 15 seconds I know you can't do it all the time but you're in the right place today, let's give Him praise and honor and glory that our needs are met for His name is great!
That's all worship is, you know? Worship is worry in reverse. See worry is when I start with my situation and then I spend round and round and round and round and round, but God said, Stop spinning. And instead of starting your mediation with your situation, start with your source. When you know who your father is, it sends you spinning in a different direction. Come on, I know who He is, I know what He's done and I know what he's gonna do. Stop spinning. Find seven people tell em, "Stop spinning. It's not working".
Round and round in circles like the Israelites for 43 years. Why you worry? I would understand it if it was working. I wrote a country song one time, not a whole song, just a chorus... Okay. Well that's never happened before. I know, it's an amber alert, Father bless him in the name of Jesus. Well, it's like that, you know like, worries like that, it's like, and sometimes it's going off but you can't do anything about it. Sometimes it's like that, it's like think about the day we live in where we're constantly being hit with breaking news. Breaking news, Trump had lunch, breaking news. And so it's almost impossible for us to have priorities because we're being fed so much fear.
When your Father feeds you, it builds your faith. When you start with who God is, when you start with that, when you start with your source, you end up where you started. And if you start with God, you end with God. If you start with fear, you end with fear. If you start with shortage, you end with shortage. If you start with your situation, you be like Elisha's servant in 2 Kings 6, this is a great Old Testament story to illustrate what I'm talking about because the servant woke up one day and found the camp was surrounded with the Arameans, who were the enemies and he woke Elisha up, he's like, "Oh my Lord, what shall we do"?
That's exactly what the Bible says and that's exactly what you've been saying. "Oh my Lord". You know like I'm surrounded, and now this preacher is talking about birds and lilies and petunias and chrysanthemum and here I am trying to pay bills and my mom has Alzheimer and this dude's up here talking about birds. Alright, well Elisha could have prayed that God would destroy the enemies that were surrounding the camp but he didn't. He didn't He prayed something more powerful, and what he said is what I'm praying for us in this Game Changer series because this is the game changer, not that God takes your enemies away but that He enables you to see beyond them. Not that He takes your problems away, but that He enables your faith to see beyond them.
Now the first circle is the enemy and they were real, but Elisha prayed, "Lord, open his eyes that he may see". That he may see what? That there are more with us, than with them. So the first circle says, I'm overwhelmed. The first circle says I'm outnumbered. The first circle says there's nothing I can do. And on the surface, this is the truth. But the second circle, when the servant opened his eyes he saw what had been there all along. There was a host of angel armies surrounding the first circle and what was on the outside was greater than what was on the inside. Whatever is surrounding you, God is already surrounding it. And so much of our peace is dependent on whether we can perceive the second circle.
When you live in the first circle, it's always never enough. If you start with not enough, you end with not enough. If you start with El Shadai who is more than enough, you end with more than enough. So reverse your worry. my father knows what I need. I have needs, but I don't start with the need, 'cause if I start with the need, I'm gonna end with the need. But if I start with a God who knows what I need, I will end with a God who knows what I need, He's Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the first and the Last.
So, reverse your worry. Jesus says, "Look at the birds, look at the flowers, you are more valuable than them, and yet, your father cares for the lesser, will He not much more take care of you"? It means this if God is doing this level of detail, don't you think that He has already determined your expected end, if He can do that, surely He can do this. If He did that, He can do this. So there are some things in my life that God did and if He did that, He can do this. This is the second circle. And this is where we've gotta live. But in order to do it we'll have to reverse it because when we start with shortage, we end with shortage. Time, energy, money, any of it, Jesus says, "Here's the game changer".
One of the most famous verses in Scripture by the way, but now that you've got it in context, I hope it comes alive for you in a new way. He said, "If God cares for the lesser, He will take care of the greater. If He takes care of the little, He'll take care of the lot". You're the lot. you're valuable to Him. "But you", verse 33, "seek first the kingdom and his righteousness", not your own. Not your own ideas and appearances. "What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we eat? What shall we drink"?
Isn't that funny that we're still posting today, 2000 years later about the same stuff that Jesus said not to worry about in Palestine? What we ate, and what we wore, it's so circular, you know, like we're still worried about the same things. "How am I gonna make it? How am I gonna pay for it? How am I gonna this and that and other and you know, my income taxes now went up, I'm in a bracket, God bless me but now got more taxes? Or, I'm waiting on God to bless me"... What shall we eat? - That's survival. What shall we wear? - That's status. And we go around in these circles over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, but if I start with, the kingdom, God will give me the things.
Seek first His kingdom, give 'em the Scripture verse, I want you to see this, more than see it, I want you to believe it, if you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness - all these things will be given o you as well. See, you protect what you prize. And your peace ought to be important to you. But the only way to live in God's peace is to have God's priorities.
Now, in my life, every time that I have had a lack of peace, it was because something was wrong with my priorities. And the reason I can prove that now is because, it wasn't the presence of problems that created the absence of peace, sometime in the midst of my greatest problems, I had the greatest peace. That makes no sense, I understand, but its true none the less. In some of the seasons of my greatest problems I experienced my deepest peace. I think that's because sometimes problems help us to clarify priorities. If my priorities, if I don't seek first the kingdom and I'm seeking the things, I will run after all the same things that the pagans run after and it will be like I don't even have a God in my real life.
It's like this, somebody give me your phone. Gimme your phone. Someone with an iPhone, what is it now, 10? 10 super, something for Apple to get my money with by changing the way I charge this stupid device. You're a note taker. Oh, thank God for this guy. Will you send me this when the sermon's over? My notes are terrible, I don't even look at them, they're horrible, your notes are good. Oh, can I ask you something, if you left your phone at church, would you come back and get it? How about if you left your phone an hour away? Would you drive an hour to get it? Two hours, three hours? This phone is important, I'm starting to wonder what you got on this phone. What kind of business transactions? You trust me a lot?
Hand me this phone, and you come back and get it. But I notice people will leave their peace just anywhere. And we would run back, I see some of you while I'm preaching, you can't even sit through a 50 minute message, without reaching for your phone, you freaking out, rashes coming all up on you, you can't check your phone, but you leave your peace just anywhere. And we would put more importance on a possession, and we'll go back and get it, "Ah, I lost my phone. I lost my phone, argh". Like you're not wearing pants out of the house of something like that. But you won't even apologize to get your peace back and seek the kingdom. Come get this phone, you got a snap coming through, from AASteph, I don't know who she is, hope she's cute.
So, somebody shout, "I want my peace back". And the only way for that happen is for you to get your priorities straight. Friends and family, this is why I teach tithing... whoah, a wave of silence visited the church because when I put God first and I prioritize His purpose in my life, don't you see that in any area of my life when I start with God, I end with God. So look, it's not some Old Testament principle, it is a principle that when you trust God, you invest your treasure in the One that you trust. So when I say, "God, this portion is set aside for you". Guess what, I start my resources spinning in the direction of God's kingdom and then I can trust him to take care of my needs.
That's why we bring the offering at the end of the year, it's about trust. It's about training my heart to trust God. Aren't you sick of spinning like this? Just like the world spins? I mean, really people of God? If we're gonna worry like the world worries, how are we gonna win the world that we are worrying just like? I think the distinguishing mark of the people of God in the day that we live in is a supernatural peace that will become so attractive to people in the world, that we won't even have to preach to them, they will see our peace and they will want to meet the author of the giver of peace, the prince of peace, whose name is Jesus.
And so, in this season I've been asking God to start me spinning in the right direction. Even the way I start my day, I need to start my day spinning in the right direction. You know, I really don't need to read the news within the first 30 minutes that I'm awake. And by the way, there are certain people that I don't need to talk to for the first hour I'm at work. 'Cause they might start me spinning. Tell somebody "Stop spinning". And learn what the flower learned, if I stay planted, learn what the bird learned, if I stay above it, then my God will supply all my needs. Let's give Him praise for it today. Come on, give Him a good praise like you think He deserves, Matthews. Give Him a praise you thing He's worthy of.
"How I've proved Him o'er and... Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus! Oh, for grace"... Now listen, how many of you would say... everyone, standing now, no one leaving, please. How may would say, "I am a world class worrier. Like I am an Olympic level worrier". Those of you here, if you could stand I'm about to pray for people, thank you. Wave at me if you're a world class worrier. Like they need to write a front page, sports illustrated about you. Good news, if you are a world class worrier, you have the potential to become a world class worshipper. Because worship is worry in reverse. Come on spin around one good time. If you know God's got this, I'm not looking at tomorrow worried about it, I will be confident in this, that I will see the goodness of the Lord. Come on, take a good spin. Amen.
If you can stay - please stay, I wanna pray a blessing over you. When you start with God, you end with God. And the situation that you're facing today is not necessarily going to lift or remove, but the second circle is what God is already doing. And I just thought it'd be good to join our faith together today, you know, I really wanna treasure these moments to minister and that's why I've been asking, "Hey, if you don't have to leave, if nothing like gonna burn your house or nothing like that while we're in here, please stay with us". Because sometimes you hear the word, but you don't seal it, and you just let the devil take it, Just take it, Just take it, just let him take your word and snatch it, but snatch it back, snatch it back.
This is the moment for you to take your peace back, this is the moment for you to take your focus back. And I wanna pray for that but peace only comes through correct priorities. It's not a feeling. It's a sense of ordering your life. Jesus said, "If you build your life on the right foundation, you can withstand any storm". And I just feel today that as I've been ministering the spirit of the Lord has been translating my feeble attempts to get this message preached, putting it in the exact frame where you need to see what God is doing in your life.
And I wanna ask you today if you have been spinning around, trying to solve things in your own strength. And you wanna still your heart in the presence of God, one thing I love to do, is lift my hands to my father in heaven. Would you do that right now? And close your eyes. Oh, you of little faith, when you have a father who knows how to feed you, you don't have to run to the world for scraps. And you have a father who knows what you need, you can trust your deepest desires are being met in each moment. Greater than the breath that we breath. Greater than the song that we sing. And grace of God is in this moment.
Holy Spirit I thank you for this ministry that has gone forth today, I ask that you would now enable it to become active in our lives, that not only would we be hearers of the word, but doers also. And that this week, you would show us how to reverse instead of starting with what's wrong, what's missing, what's not, what's gone. We would start with who you are and that the peace of God that transcends all understanding would guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.