Steven Furtick - What's Controlling Your Joy (Backseat DJs)
I want to preach about joy today, and I wanna get there from a story, and then share several scriptures with you. Can I tell you a story? I just got a new car last year. I drove a Nissan Maxima for ten years before I bought this new car. I loved my Nissan Maxima. My car before this Nissan Maxima was a Nissan Maxima, that's how much I liked my Nissan Maxima. I maximized the Maxima, and it was very good to me. Only thing that I ever remember happening other than the time, it cut off in an intersection, was that one day I was driving down the road, a few years ago, and my stereo system started doing strange things. It started skipping around to different tracks without me telling it to, and the volume kept increasing and decreasing, and so, then I would put it back on the song I wanted to listen to, and I would turn down the volume or turn up the volume depending on it would go both ways without me telling it to, without me turning the knob.
And it happened for about 10-15 minutes straight, one day that I was driving, and it seemed like my speaker's my car had a mind of their own. So I thought maybe my Maxima got a demon. And then I looked in the backseat and realized - it wasn't a demon, it was my daughter, that she had the center console down. And I never rode back there, so I didn't realize all the years, that I've had this car, you can control the volume and skip tracks from back there. And she was laughing and graham was back there and he was laughing, and they were controlling something from the back, that I was trying to deal with in the front. And they thought it was so funny, and I told him stop that, it's annoying, when I figured out what they were doing.
Two or three minutes later there goes the volume up and down again, there goes track two track three track four again, it's on shuffle and I turned around and said: I'm telling y'all stop, I don't like it. It was maybe cute the first time for you, but it's really driving me crazy up here stop. And a few minutes go by and it starts happening again. I pulled the car over the third time. Pulled the car over the third time on providence road, I said: let me explain something to you. I said: y'all are passengers in this Maxima, I'm the driver, that means I'm the DJ, I get to choose what comes on this stereo and how loud it is, because the driver gets to be the DJ.
I want to preach to you for about 37 minutes today about backseat DJs, because I suspect, that there are some things in your life, that are being controlled from the backseat, that are being controlled at a level, that you're not realizing that they're being controlled. And I believe that today God is going to use me, and trust me, I studied. Joy has become more important to me every year, that I've been alive. I feel like in my 20s I just cared about accomplishing things. In my 30s I've been figuring out what's the point, if you don't enjoy it? What's the point in doing something awesome, if you are not in a position to appreciate the accomplishment, because you constantly need more? And I spent my 20s and maybe the beginning of my 30s just trying to get more, more, more. Sometimes that meant more popularity, sometimes that meant more impact, sometimes that meant more influence, sometimes that meant more money, more resources, more friends, more phone numbers, more connections.
But lately I've been asking the Lord for more joy. And it sent me on a scriptural trajectory, and I want to bring you into it today. Would it be all right if we talked for a little while today about what's controlling your joy? Amen. I'm excited. Do you feel my enthusiasm? James 1:2-4, we'll start here. I believe there are some things, that are destRoying your joy, that you were unaware of. And James is going to teach us how to develop joy. Very different than discovering joy. Discovering joy means it's waiting somewhere, and you got to find it. It's waiting in your next career move, it's waiting in your next relationship, it's waiting somewhere you're not right now, but James is going to show us something, that may be familiar to a few of you, but it is very strange, if you consider what he's actually saying. And I wanna just read those verses, those three verses to you.
James 1:2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds". That's not where I was looking for joy, by the way. It's not what I was praying for, hoping for, asking for, believing for. Anyway, it's what the Bible says. He said "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything". I'm glad he specified, because the first thing I want to mention to you today all of these points, they kind of followed the theme of DJ. So the first one is the distinction of joy. The distinction of joy. Knowing what it really is, understanding the nature of it. And James helps us to do that first by helping us to understand, that there are trials of many kinds, that's what verse two said.
The old king James, that pastor mickey preached from, said "Diverse trials", because I have learned, that we're not all going through the same thing, but we are all going through something. And how many know, that there are as many different kinds of trials, as there are different drinks at Starbucks, as there are different colors of paint at Home Depot? I found out, that there are trials, that are associated with plenty, there are trials that are associated with poverty. I always understood the first one, because everybody understands that being broke is a battle. But management of resources can in its own way test a part of your character, that if you're not prepared to have it tested. It can create a lot more problems, than financial poverty. In fact financial riches can create relational poverty, if there is not the emotional maturity, to help us to steward with understanding what we've been given.
I'ma preach today, it's true: there's single people trials, there's married people trials. There are trials that are associated with loneliness and there are trials that are associated with companionship. There are many kinds of trials, there are many different - that's what James is saying, he's making a distinction, that there's different kinds of trials. And some of us are like: well, can I can I try a different kind of trial, like can I trade trials, like you're talking about rich people trials, I'd like to try those for a little while. You're talking about married people trials, I'd like to try, I think I'd be good at those trials, I think I'd be better prepared for those trials, but we never again after the year, that we had last year, get to associate joy with status or success, because we have now seen, that no matter how great your name is in the eyes of people, you can still want to take your very own life, because joy is not a product of what people say about you, joy is not a product of how people hold you in esteem or in disregard.
And so there's different kinds of trials added to that. Most of us don't understand the distinction between a temptation and a trial. The language that James uses in this biblical writing, the common Greek of his day, allows for both. When he says: trials of many kinds, he could just as easily be referring to economic hardship or persecution, that many of this diaspora of tribes scattered abroad, who were believers in Jesus were experiencing. Or he could be talking about temptation. And it is important to know the distinction between the kind of trials, that you will experience in your life. Otherwise you might spend years blaming the devil for your bad decisions. There are different kinds of trials. Some of our trials are the result of evil in the world, and that results in all kinds of different warfare, that we could study for weeks about. Some of our trials are the results of things, that we did contrary to our inner wisdom. There are many different kinds of trials, and if you don't know the difference between the temptation and a trial, you will try to use the wrong tool on the trial, because when tempted, the Bible teaches, resistance. When you are tempted to step outside of the God-given means by which you've been empowered to meet your God-given desires, the strategy the, tool the technique is resistance.
When you face a trial, however, not a temptation, but a trial, often the key is not resistance, but acceptance. And this was important for me to see the distinction, because a lot of times I'm accepting what I should resist, and resisting what I should accept. It's taken me time to learn the difference, it's taken me prayer to learn the difference, it's taken the others community to learn the difference. I'm having to get into the word of God to know the difference, so that I can approach my trials with wisdom. In fact, that's what James 1:5 says, and it's connected to this passage even though I never thought. It was it says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you".
Now, if you want to flip the flow this year, just do James 1:5. Instead of asking everybody around you what you should do, start with the source, start with the solution. Quit talking about your problems with people who are powerless to fix them - it's making you feel worse, it's making them feel worse, and everybody's frustrated.
So I need the wisdom to make the distinction, to know the trial that I'm in. God, is this one, that you want me to fight or do you want me to do, what the parable said to do? One time with the weeds, that were growing up alongside, the tares and leave it alone and let you deal with it. There's a distinction, there's different kinds of trials. Some of the stuff, that I'm dealing with as a parent right now is just called puberty. You can't cast it out, you can't anoint it, you can't instruct it. It's a different kind of trial, it's just life. Some of the stuff I'm dealing with right now is a temptation. Some of it is, actually I believe, from the pit of hell. Not that the devil is like personally assigned to me, but just some stuff is evil against my purpose. And don't give yourself too much credit, because a lot of us like to think that the devil had nothing better to do, than give us, you know, a flat tire, and I think the devil is much busier than that. I think a lot of it comes down to distinguishing the type of trial, that I'm in, which helps me to understand the distinctions between joy and pleasure.