Steven Furtick - The Weight of Comparison
When you measure people, and when you measure problems, and when you measure things in your life with a stick, you'll only see what is at the surface level. That's why some of you made so many dumb mistakes in your dating life. All you had was a stick. Many years later, God wanted to replace Saul because he was tall, but he wasn't true. When Samuel came to town to anoint a king, he was looking at one of Jesse's sons named Eliab, and Eliab was tall. Samuel had a flashback because the first king he anointed was kind of tall. Eliab was tall kind of like Saul, so Samuel thought to himself, "Surely, the Lord's anointed stands before me". He's looking at his standing. He's looking at his status. God says something we would do well to hear in our lives.
He said in 1 Samuel 16:7, "Do not consider his appearance or his height…" How many times have you gotten in trouble looking at something according to its appearance or its height? How much trouble has your measuring stick created in your life? You were looking at it with human measurement, but we came today to get heaven's measurement, and heaven's measurement isn't like human measurement. It's very different. In fact, God says, "Don't look at what you're inclined to look at, for people look at how tall it is. People will look at your boots. People will look at your purse. People will look at your walk. People will look at your wallet. People will look at how much. People will look at how many". God doesn't measure like people measure. The Lord doesn't look at the height. Check this. The Lord looks at the heart.
Paul said, "I want you to know how high and how wide and how long and how deep"… Not the stuff around you. You've measured that enough. I want you to take a good look at what is happening within you. People measure height. God measures heart. Are you measuring your life by the height of it or by the heart of it? If you measure by the height, you might be disappointed because you might not have what they have. If you measure by the heart, you can say, "God is working in me. He's strengthening me with power in my inner man. I have a power that goes beyond my performance". Tell the person next to you, "You're looking at me wrong. You're measuring me with a stick when you should be using a scale". Yeah, I know you've been avoiding it for months, but today, we need to step on the scale.
Touch your neighbor. Say, "Step on the scale". Come on. It's better than December. It's a good time now. You might as well do it. This is as good as it's going to get. Step on the scale. How much different would the decisions you make be if you put down the stick and stepped on the scale? How many of you want to know what the scale says right now? I'm not telling you. See, that's the thing about the heart. You can't see that like this. You can only see it when you get honest and say, "God, what's really in me"?
1. How do I measure myself? That's my first question. How do I measure myself? Write it down. Go through these with me. How do I measure myself? I read this little book. By that, I mean I read the first chapter of a book by David Brooks who was a journalist who became disgusted with his own narcissism. He wrote the book called The Road to Character. I cannot speak for the entire book, but the first chapter is fabulous. He said he wrote the book because lately, he has been thinking about the difference between resume virtues and eulogy virtues. The idea that most of us measure success in life by what we do, what we have, resume virtues, when we should be measuring by how much any of it is going to weigh when it's over. I have a son who is going into middle school next year. Prayers appreciated. Advice not welcome. There is no advice, just survival. There is no advice.
I remember middle school. I remember when Sarah told me I was shorter than I thought I was. I remember how many ways you try to compensate. It's all a measure of what? Popularity. That's the problem with middle school. Somebody hands your kid a stick. "You must be this tall to ride. You must talk like this to fit in. You must wear this to attract attention". It's a stick. Nobody is stepping on a scale. Everything is measured by popularity, but popularity is not purpose. Some of the kids who are the most popular… I feel like preaching to students for a moment, just to break away from all the adults and talk to the students. It's too late for you anyway. You're already screwed up. To the students, high school, middle school, college, if you can weigh it on a scale and not just a stick… Some of the people who are the most popular now aren't preparing for their purpose. What they're doing might be high, might be wide, might be long, but it's not made of glory.
Do you know what the Hebrew word for glory is? Kabod. Do you know what kabod also means? Weight. Oh, how good is that for my sermon? God said, "I measure glory. I measure weight. I measure the potential I put in you. If you let people size you up with a stick, you will compromise the essence of who you are in order to get a measurement that is not even accurate". I would rather sacrifice popularity on the altar of purpose than sacrifice purpose on the altar of popularity every time. Joseph wasn't popular at 17. Everybody hated that cat. His brothers didn't like him. His brothers tried to kill him. Not only could he not sit at the cool kids' table. He was thrown in a pit to die, but God was preparing him for purpose because God doesn't look at how much people like you. God doesn't look at how many people are on Snapchat. I don't even know how to use Snapchat. That's how uncool I am. I'm not trying to be cool. I'm trying to have purpose.
God doesn't look at how many followers or how many friends. God looks at faith. God wants to know, "What is the measure of your faith? I'm looking at your faith". Not your face, your faith. Not your fans, your faith. You get on the scale. You do like Paul said in Romans 12:3. He said, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought…" You know what I thought that verse meant all my life until this morning? I thought that meant, "Don't have a big head". Most of the people I meet don't struggle with thinking they're better than they are. I mean, there are some. There are a few. In the context of the passage, which is actually talking about worship and sacrifice, I think there's a deeper meaning. I don't think he's just saying, "Don't go into situations cocky and think you're better than you are". I think what he's saying is, "You're not the judge". I think what he's saying is, "Don't trust your own self-assessment". I think what he's saying is, "Don't remove God from the throne and the judgment seat of your life and place yourself there as the new presiding judge over what you can and can't do. Stop talking yourself out of things God called you to do".
When you talk yourself out of something God said you could do, you call yourself wiser than God, and you're thinking of yourself a little too highly. To tell God what you can and cannot do… Who do you think you are? Put your stick down. Step on the scale. Open the Word of God. Give his words weight and say, "God, I can do what you called me to do. I can be what you called me to be. I can carry what you called me to carry. I can take the weight". How do I measure myself? Really, this will flow into how you measure opportunity.
2. How do I measure opportunity? How do you measure opportunity in your life? I know how David did it. David was that one who Samuel was hearing about who was a man after God's own heart, a man with a big heart. Even as a little boy, he had a big heart. Saul didn't see it because he wasn't trained to see it because Saul was a stick man. When Saul saw David standing in front of Goliath, he said, "This will never work". David is like, "Let me at him". Saul is like, "No, let me see. Come back in three years". Paul told Timothy, "Don't let anybody look down on you because you're young". The assessments of others will often cause you to miss opportunities.
Three different people told me not to start this church, people I respected, and one of them was a relative. You should listen to people you love and people who love you. You should listen to them, but the problem becomes when you start letting the size of the opponent become bigger than the weight of the opportunity. Everybody else was really scared of Goliath because he was tall. The Bible says he was over nine feet tall. That's a tall guy. That's a tall dude. I've met some NBA players before. I make them sit down while they talk to me. It's just how I cope. This is tall. I've never seen anybody this tall. For that reason, all the other solders whip their sticks out. "We can't do it". They have their sticks out. A lot of churches get their sticks out when they try to decide if they're going to grow, if they're going to expand, if they're going to move forward. "Oh, it's going to cost too much. People these days will never show up for that. There's too much evil in the world. It's just the agenda of all of these other people". Shut up and get on the scale and ask God, "Are you with me in this"?
If he is, there's no Devil in hell, no Goliath on the front line, no giant in your way too big to fall. David said, "He might be tall, but I have the weight advantage". Hello. "I have the glory of God". Hello. "I have the name of Yahweh. I have Jehovah-Jireh. I have Jehovah-M'Kaddesh. I have Jehova-Tsidkenu. You might have height, but I have weight". High five somebody and say, "I have the weight advantage. I have the glory of God working in my life. I'm strengthened with power in my inner man. I can face any giant. I can climb any wall. It's not too tall". He reigns above it. He's seated above it. Why would I be scared of how tall he is when my God reigns over him? You could get in so much trouble measuring an opportunity with a stick.
Some of you got in a bad marriage because you had a stick instead of a scale. Dating seminar: don't measure a man you're considering spending the rest of your life with with a stick. I could go so many directions with that. Do you want to wind up with a stick man, or do you want somebody with substance? If I'm you, I want a dude who can take the weight of hard times. When life gets too hard, he won't run because he's a man after God's own heart. I want a dude with heart. Even if he isn't as handsome… I found out Saul might be handsome, but when it gets hard, Saul can't handle it. I want somebody who can take the weight. Ask your neighbor, "Can you take the weight"? That's what God measures. "Man, she's fine". She's fine, but is she going to be a good friend? I promise, 25 years in, you want friend more than you want fine, or you can get both. That's what I did. Come on. Speak in tongues for my blessing, somebody. How do I measure myself? How do I measure opportunity?
3. How do I measure results? Whoa. This is a big one. How do I measure whether I matter? How do I measure whether it matters? If you are a mom, you better have your own scale, and it better not be calibrated to somebody else's calling, and it better not be calibrated to how somebody else raises their kids, and it better not be calibrated to how much money somebody else's husband makes, so you start trying to keep up with somebody. Your scales are off. Now you're feeling the weight of an expectation that did not come from above because you let somebody else set your scales. I found this little verse in Proverbs, Proverbs 11:1. It says, "The Lord detests dishonest scales…" God says, "I hate it when you give weight to the wrong words". "…but accurate weights find favor with him".
Acknowledging that what God put in me is the most important thing about me. Do you step on the scale, or do you break out the stick? Do you measure your life by the impact you can see? Are you a short game thinker? Some of you have the short view. You do what feels good in the moment. "That felt good, man. That felt good". Yeah, it felt good, but what fruit is it going to bear next week? It feels good to tell somebody off. You can get a result, a temporary result. Get it off your chest. "I told them". Yeah, you told them. Now you have to fix it. You have to go back and tell them you're sorry for what you told them. God isn't going to let you live in disunity with people. Now you made yourself a mess. If you measured the result on how good it felt… "Hey, man. That was pretty good. I told him. I got ahead. I won't let anybody treat me like that". Yeah, but now you're carrying the weight of an unwise decision.
How many of you listen to Pastor Mickey White's podcast every week? Raise your hand. You know, this happened every time I've asked people that. I asked the pastors and church leaders last week that same question. Not a hand went up. He doesn't have one. Pastor Mickey, by the time I left Monck's Corner, was barely getting the Scriptures up on the screen. He wasn't technology. He sent me a text message the other day and about gave me a heart attack. Pastor Mickey is in his 70's. He sat down in my parents' living room and told me God's hand was on my life in an unusual way. In fact, the words he used were, "I've seen a lot of young men and women. I've never seen one God has his hand on like he has his hand on you". Those words had weight.
If you've listened to my podcast, you've heard his voice because it's still echoing through my life. I want to ask again, how many of you have heard Pastor Mickey White preach before? Sure, you have. His words had weight. Now the words I'm speaking… What if you measured his ministry by how big the church got? Are you really going to measure whether you're a good parent by whether or not your kid likes you today? You're going to give them the stick?
Let me tell you something about your kid. They're stupid. For now. They're going to get smarter, but they're stupid right now, just by virtue of the fact that they haven't lived yet. You're going to give them the stick? You're going to be in a popularity contest with your 13-year-old? You better get on the scale. You better figure out, "Am I doing this God's way? You don't have to like me today. You don't have to understand it today, but I'm going to parent you the best way I know how because I put down my stick, and I'm putting my feet on this scale". You give up too quickly when you measure with the stick, don't you? "This isn't even…" You have to take the long view.
Sometimes the cloud that builds the heaviest takes the longest. Sometimes when God really wants to create a result in your life, he puts that in the pressure cooker. Sometimes he puts it in the crock pot, and sometimes he lets it incubate. You can't judge it by what you see today. You can't judge it by how it turned out Tuesday. You have to get beyond this measurement.
4. How do I measure this experience? Whatever it is that comes into your life, how do you measure it? If you measure it with a stick, you'll always see the hardship, but if you measure on the scale… Paul did this one time. He was going through something so serious that he said, "I despaired of life, it was so hard. It was so hard that I despaired of life". Watch this in 2 Corinthians 4:17. He says, "When I put what I went through on the scale, I found it to be light and momentary. While I was measuring it with a stick, it was hard, and it went on forever, but when I put it on the scale, I found it to be light and momentary. It was trouble, but it was light and momentary. There was something else that tipped the scale".
Oh God. "There was something else that weighed more". "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory…" Kabod. Weight. "It is light when I compare it to the weight of the glory of God in my life". Here's what I came to tell you. Glory weighs more. The glory that God is getting out of your situation outweighs what you're going through. The glory weighs more, so declare it. Repeat after me. Say, "My purpose outweighs my pain. My destiny outweighs my history". You better jump up and declare this to the Devil. "My crown outweighs my cross. My hope outweighs my hardship. God's grace outweighs my shame. The blessing outweighs my burden, and God's favor outweighs my failure. God's grace weighs more".