Steven Furtick - The Difference Between Distraction and Destiny
You could ask God this week. It would be a simple step, but he would do this for you. "God, help me discern the demands of my life. Help me see them for what they really are. Help me see what is really important. If I'm judging this, I'm thinking the crowd is way more important than the one little girl, but only you can show me what really matters". Otherwise, you'll define distraction in a way that will cause you to miss God's direction in your life. You'll skip the tea party to take the phone call. You can call them back, but the next time you see your kids, they're going to be Lord of the Flies, at least in my house. Touch somebody and say, "Go to the tea party". Just go.
2. Locate the leaks. It's very interesting when you begin to study… I need to pull this up because it's kind of complicated. I'm not a sociologist. I'm not a psychologist. I'm not an ornithologist, proctologist, none of those things. Just some things I was reading this week… It talked about what is really happening when we think we're multitasking. They've done enough study of this guy to tell us that he's not as capable as we think he is of switching between stuff all the time. The amount of efficiency we lose when we multitask is remarkable. They even say it's like your brain is leaking going between function and function because your brain operates on different channels or something like that. You're going between the channels, trying to cross them over.
Yes, even you, ladies. I know you think you're the multitasking masters of the universe, and I know you have to do it sometimes. I know you can't always do one thing at once, but I will say this. I will say this. Even Jesus could only do one thing well at once. He had to leave one thing to do another because he could only do one thing well at once. Even Jesus had to harness the power of focus to leave the crowd and go to Jairus. He did it, and while he's going… Okay, we already have distraction number one. It's that a crowd met him on the other side. We have distraction number two. A guy interrupts the church service and asks him to come home with him. Then it gets ridiculous.
If you are in the position of strategically consulting Jesus on how to make the mission happen in the next three years you have in front of you, you certainly wouldn't advice this next move. He's moving now. He's on the move. He's going to an emergency. Would it qualify as an emergency that a 12-year-old girl is dying, and you're the only one who has the hope of healing her? Would it? I think it qualifies as an emergency. It's a code-orange situation, and Jesus is on the move, and the entourage is trying to get him through the crowd quickly. "A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman…" She's not important. She doesn't even have a name. Not in this culture, she's not important. "And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse".
I read that description about the woman, but it kind of reminded me of our society. We are hemorrhaging, going to all of these different sources, trying to get healed, yet it's really not making our lives much better, is it? Come on. Talk to me. We're a whole lot more efficient than we've ever been. We have life hacks and shortcuts and apps for everything, but are we really that much wiser? I mean true wisdom, the skill to live and put knowledge into practice. Do we really have that, or are our lives leaking more than ever? We're leaking life, is what's happening, switching between stuff all the time. We're leaking life. That was the situation with this woman's body. It's the situation with our minds. We're leaking. That's what was going on inside of her. She was leaking. She was broken inside, and she could not hold what she needed to be whole. Leaking from the inside. She comes to Jesus. She has tried all of these other things, and she gets his attention in a strange and unusual way, which I will show you in a moment, but first I want you to think about where the leaks are in your life.
They did a study in the 1970s that you would swear was done in 2015. They started finding out that the way your brain works is that information comes at a cost. The cost is called attention. The only way to attain information is to consume it at the cost of your attention. Are you with me? Are you with me? The information consumes the attention. Therefore, the article said, we are at a time where we have a wealth of information and a poverty of attention. That was the woman. That's us. She had a wealth of doctors' opinions. She had a wealth of treatment options, yet she had a poverty of what she truly needed to have the connection that could heal her until this moment. In this moment, she presses her way.
Think about all of the distractions she would have had to overcome just to even get in the vicinity of Jesus, all of the people telling her to get off of her hands and knees, all of the people telling her, "Hey, there's an emergency in progress. Don't you see the flashing lights? Don't you see the sirens? Don't you see the Escalades lining up? The president is on the move. Jairus's daughter is sick. Jairus is very important. Jairus's need is urgent". What I can't get about the whole passage is she does something inappropriate. She does something impulsive. She reaches out for God in a way that is superstitious, but it works. It works. Verse 27. "When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, 'I've tried everything else. Maybe if I connect with this, if I can touch his clothes, I'll be healed'".
Immediately, the hemorrhaging came to an end, and immediately, the divine presence of Christ was able to locate the leak that none of the doctors could plug. Immediately, her search for her source was over, and her need was satisfied. Wow. I love the Bible. Come on. Read the Bible. Read it this week. Read the Bible this week. Read it and put yourself in the situation and think about how you're like this woman. Think about how you want to be more like Jesus. Think about what it must mean that this woman had her issue that had been incurable for over a decade stopped in a moment that the Savior became distracted with her desperation. She felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. Do you know what freed her? Her focus. She was finally freed because she got the right focus.
Man, there is something strong on me today to teach this. I taught it last night. I told Holly, "I don't think I'll do it better than that", but you're pulling something out of me, because I want to tell you something. Freedom comes from focus. Focus brings freedom. Focus on fear and you'll always be a prisoner. Focus on faith and nothing in the world can keep you locked out. This woman, when she got the right focus, she got set free. Come on. I believe God wants to set your focus free today. You've been so focused on the wrong things. You've been so focused on the last 12 years. You've been so focused on the childhood you didn't get to experience. You've been so focused on the promotion you got passed over for. You've been so focused on what might happen. You've been so focused on what one person said. You've been so focused on the wrong thing, so you've been in chains, but not after today.
There's a connection point in this church today. It's called the Spirit of God. If you plug into this what the doctors wouldn't do, what no other stream could bring, the Spirit of God could bring into your life in an instant. Make the connection. Touch seven people and say, "Make the connection". Come on. Let's hook up with something that has the power to heal. We're hooking up in all the wrong places, with all the wrong people, with all the wrong priorities. I want to get hooked up today with something that can heal my life and make me whole. Watch Jesus. "At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd…" Everybody say, "Crowd". Y'all are going to miss the best part. I'm telling you I'm going to do better in a minute.
"He turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who touched my clothes'"? A big crowd, and he notices just one person. He turned around. Remember, this is life or death. This is not a tea party upstairs. This is life or death. There is a crowd. Do you remember Michael Jackson back in the day when they used to show him show up at a place, and there would be like a mob scene? Do you remember this? Please tell me you know who Michael Jackson is. Jesus. I was about to lay hands on him. He's in that kind of scene. Maybe you've seen it with a more current celebrity, your Elvis Presleys, the heartthrobs of today. They crowd around him.
I actually was in a situation like that last year. It wasn't me they were chasing. It was somebody I was with, and it was crazy. I've never seen anything like it before in my life. People were shaking the car we were in. It was crazy. I've never seen or experienced anything like that in my life. Jesus experienced it all the time. It was kind of normal for him. Every time he goes somewhere, they're trying to get to him, and they push him, and they're pushing him around. All of a sudden, he stops and asks the disciples, "Who did that"? Verse 31. "'Really?' his disciples asked. 'Are you so serious right now? You want us to find out who touched you? A better question would be, "Who didn't touch you"'".
Jesus stops the procession that can save a girl's life to try to locate one life that was leaking that needs to be made whole. He realized power had gone out from him. Do you see it? It went out from him. Hold that. It went out from him. When it went out, he turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes"? The disciples said, "It's going to be impossible for us to ascertain that, sir. We suggest you keep moving in full direction toward Jairus's house. This is a woman. Jairus is a man. Jairus is a leader. This woman is bankrupt. She cannot contribute to your ministry. She has nothing to give. She is not a person of influence. In order to impact the world, we're going to have to infiltrate the key cultural center, starting with the Jewish synagogues, and Jairus has a position which is helpful to us. Perhaps if we can do this for him… Let's get this show on the road". Verse 32. "But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you'".
It was her focus empowered by her faith that made her whole where her heart used to have holes. "Go in peace. I don't want to just heal your body; I want to heal your mind. Be freed from your suffering". It's so good. Not for Jairus. It was good for the woman, but while all this was going on and everybody saw such a touching scene of a compassionate Rabbi who was able to be stopped in his tracks by the desperation of one woman it says, "While all this was going on, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader, and said, 'We missed our shot. Your daughter is dead. Leave Jesus alone'". See, the thing about life is that's what happens. While we're trying to get one thing to live, it's always at the expense of something else. This is what's hard about living. It's what's hard about focus.
"I need to make some money right now, babe, and I would love to be around more, but I need to do this for us, for our future, for our family because I'm looking out and trying to see where our kids are going to want to go to school. If you're not going to homeschool them for college, I have to get this money while I can. While I was out earning to provide for you, your emotional state was unattended. Now, I don't know how to keep it all alive at one time". That's the struggle of it. That's the problem with distraction. I can't decide which one is the distraction. "I want to have a tea party. I need to make this phone call. I have a couple thousand people coming to hear me preach. What do I do? Which one should I let die"?
What he did made no sense because they teach you from a business standpoint that you have to know the difference between what is urgent and what is important. That's typically good advice, very practical advice. It's meaning that the text that came from them that is their emergency because they didn't plan properly shouldn't derail your whole day. Just because they didn't plan in time doesn't mean you have to shut down your scheduled activities that are priorities in order to deal with somebody else's dysfunctional planning. Wow. That's $99 business seminar. Then, if you take this situation into account, that's out the window because, okay, who is more important, Jairus or the woman? It's not a trick question. It would be Jairus.
Would you say Jairus? Jairus is more important. Which one is more urgent, a woman who has been able to live for 12 years with the condition or a daughter who might die at any moment. She's a little girl. The woman has already lived a little while. The girl should get the chance to live a little while. The kid is always more important. Always save the kid first. Jesus did what wasn't as urgent and what wasn't as important. Y'all have a good week. Why? Okay, here's what you do. 3. Pursue the pull. Jesus is in a crowd being pushed down the street. Jesus is in a crowd being pushed along the way. Jesus is in a crowd. Everybody is pushing, but one woman pulled. One woman pulled. Life is always pushing you in many directions, people pushing you to be this and pushing you to do that and, "Buy me" and, "Eat me" and, "Tweet me" and, "Sell me" and, "Watch me" and, "Stream me" and, "Check me" and, "Respond to me" and, "Snapchat me". It's just "Me, me, me, me, me".
God wants to give you the ability in a world that is crowded with people and priorities that will push you in every direction to perceive the pull of his power he's trying to release out of your life. Everybody else was pushing toward Jesus, but when something pulled from Jesus, it pulled. Have you ever felt the pull of the Spirit of God? Have you? I have. I believe this because in my life, of all of the things I could have done with my life, God pulled on me to start this church. God pulled on me to preach the gospel. I'm sure I could have gotten distracted with other things. Maybe you think I couldn't have been good at anything else. I don't know. Maybe you're right. All I can tell you is something was pulling me from a young age. That's what separated the woman from the crowd. It's the pull of God. The pull in the midst of a pushy life.
Jesus always refused to be pushed into anything. He would not be pushed to the coronation before the crucifixion. He would not be pushed to be a king before he suffered as a criminal. He would not be pushed, but he could not resist the pull. All of the demands of life are impossible to categorize or anticipate. Some of the moments that are the most meaningful will come on the porch when you have a sermon to prepare and a conversation to have, but when you feel that pull…the pull…pursue that, not what Peter and James and John think you should do next…the pull. The Latin word for distraction is pulled apart. The word for attention in Latin is reach toward. Jesus being pulled didn't allow it to pull him apart, but he reached toward the revelation of what God had called him to do next.