Steven Furtick - Where Did This Feeling Come From?
A good question to ask about that stuff in your life is, "Where did it come from? How did I take that out on somebody who didn't even do anything to me"? Usually, where it comes out is not where it comes from. We don't usually get angry and lose our temper with people we're actually mad at. We lose our temper with people who we know will forgive us. Now you're taking out something on the people you love the most, but where it's coming out is different than where it's coming from. If we don't get honest about what we need from God this year, we will spend yet another year mopping up the floor without finding the pipe that was busted that was causing the leak to begin with.
Come on. You know this is the truth. A lot of times when I'm angry it's not really even that I'm angry; it's that I'm afraid. Rather than be vulnerable in my fear, I'd rather express my fear through anger as a protective mechanism. So I'm trying to work on my temper, but really what I need to work on is my trust, because if I trusted God more I wouldn't be afraid, and if I wasn't afraid I wouldn't find an expression of anger. "Where's this coming from"? It's great to make a list at the beginning of the year of the things you'd like to do differently, but it's better to find out where it's coming from so you don't just recreate a different issue that was caused by the same disease because you only learned to take ibuprofen for the symptoms, but you never underwent the surgery to understand some of the beliefs beneath the behavior.
Even in relating to people, I have to remember that even the way they're treating me might not be a reflection of how they feel about me; it might be a reflection of how they feel about themselves. It might be a reflection of what they're dealing with in their own time alone in the way that they push me away. That's why you really have to be careful not to let rejection take root in your heart, because sometimes people are pushing you away not because of anything that is undesirable about you; it's actually that the person finds themselves so undesirable they don't know how to let anyone get close, because to let anybody close carries a risk with it that they will be seen and found out to be less than, which they already believe they are. You are spending all of your time trying to love someone who is unable to receive your love.
The rejection is not proof of your defection; it is proof of something in their own life, but where it shows up is not necessarily where it starts. Jesus knew that, which is why he didn't go back and forth with these Pharisees. He knew better. He knew where he came from, and he knew that "Every plant my Father does not plant will be plucked up". He knew that where it comes from determines how it comes out. Can I preach a little bit today? I know you have a lot on your minds and you have to pack lunches for the kids and get back to school. I know all of that, but I want to stop and ask the question today… Where did it come from?
In my life, so often, I have been dealing with things at the level of visibility, and because I'm dealing with things at the level of… Jesus takes us inside. He says when food goes into the stomach and comes out the body it is like a thought that goes in the heart and comes out the mouth. He's making an analogy. There's not a lot of scientific explanation. It's not a biology lesson, necessarily. He's not going into the small intestine and the secretion of the fluids of the kidney and the pancreas. Did that make any sense? But he's giving us something to understand about how we metabolize our thoughts and our lives and even our disappointments and our failures. I think it's so valuable, because a lot of us started this year counting calories, counting carbs.
Some of y'all are on Paleo and keto and counting macros. I still don't know what macros are, but I heard a lot of people have been counting them. I wish you the best with that, because we all have to count something or we're going to keep counting our waistline as it expands like the Prayer of Jabez and God enlarging your territory. I have to count something at some point. When I first married Holly, the demon of fried rice came into our house. Do you like how everything is a demon today? The demon of Doritos got into our house. When I got to size 38 and it was bulging… I had a braided belt stretched across those size 38s, and I started size 30. Eighteen months later I said, "I have to start counting carbs. I have to start eating bacon. I have to get a healthy alternative. I have to get the Atkins diet. I have to have a low-carb lifestyle".
Do you know what the Lord told me last year? I was letting all this toxic talk and toxic thoughts just get all in my spirit, and it got me to a really dark place. God said, "If you would count your complaints like you count your carbs…" It's funny, because the majority of things we think we need to do better this year have to do with putting stuff in our mouths, what we put in our mouths. Maybe you do need to stop putting some stuff in your mouth, but maybe the priority (flip the flow) is what you put in your heart, because where it comes from determines where it comes out. Now I'm not telling you what movies to watch or what music to listen to this year. I'm not that kind of preacher. In fact, I think sometimes some of the stuff we put in our hearts that hurts us the most has nothing to do with bad words. I've heard pagans speak a word of God with bad language in it and Christians curse without saying a single four-letter word. I've heard Christians say some of the most hateful, judgmental, fear-inducing condemnation you've ever heard in your life.
Listen. This year, I'm guarding my heart. I don't mean I'm not watching Netflix. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about reading the Old Testament before next Sunday. I'm talking about really paying attention to the types of pattern of thought you allow your heart to digest, because your spirit has a digestive system. Jesus said it's out of your heart that's causing you the real problem. "The Pharisees are offended, Jesus, because you said they don't have to wash their hands before they eat". Well, they don't. Only Aaron and the priests had to wash their hands, but they put traditions on top of truth and made it something it was never supposed to be. You can wash your hands all you want. You can break out your hand sanitizer every time Pastor says, "Touch your neighbor" and squirt it on. Don't you wish they made heart sanitizer?
For some of these people we have to deal with, for some of these thoughts, some of these memories, some of these habits? Wouldn't that be marketable? I know how to wash my hands. I know how to make people think I'm doing okay. I know how to smile and say, "I'm fine". I know how to crop the picture 12 times and post #wokeuplikethis. I know how to wash my hands, but how do I wash my heart? This is where Jesus is greater than Moses. Moses went up the mountain and came down with the Law. Jesus went up on a mountain and taught a sermon and said, "I didn't come to abolish the law, but I came to fulfill it. I didn't come to do away with it. I didn't come so the law would not exist; I came so I could flip it".
Watch this. That the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, not by us. For you to start this year thinking there's a future version of you God will like more or a future version of you that can be happier is to negate the very nature of the grace you came to celebrate. Jesus came not to require righteousness but to enable righteousness. That's what the cross was. You understand that. When Jesus died on the cross, the angels did not get nervous in heaven. The angels didn't wring their hands in heaven. The angels didn't start devising a backup plan in heaven, because the angels in heaven knew where Jesus came from.
When you know where it comes from, you know how it comes out. Even when they beat him, even when they mocked him, even when they buried him in the grave of Joseph of Arimathea, heaven didn't get nervous, because we know where he came from, so we know how this comes out. Even before I go through the trial this year, I know how this comes out, because he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. That's why Joshua said, "Shout before the first brick hits the ground". I know where the command came from, so I know how the battle turns out. It's the spirit of faith to let you know that if it comes from God, if he called you, if he formed you, if your help comes from him, you can predict in advance how this comes out. I already know the outcome. Even when I was reading the Scripture, God said, "Flip it", because it said evil thoughts come from your heart.
It's a hard thing to sort through your heart, to know what thoughts came from God and what thoughts came from ego and what thoughts came from Grandpa and what thoughts came from Fox News and what thoughts came from Bloomberg and what thoughts came from Twitter and what thoughts came from CNN and Facebook and Uncle Ray and Uncle Tim and Aunt Cindy and Aunt Martha. It's hard to know. It's hard to know what's in your heart. That's why we need the Holy Spirit this year. That's why we need Jesus. I know it sounds simple. Maybe this teaching is too elementary and some people are a little bored with it, but I need help with my heart this year. I need help, because some stuff in there is from God and some stuff is not. I need help sorting it out.
I sent Pastor Craig some Christmas gifts this year. I always send him clothes for Christmas in case he wants to wear them to preach in the new year. He's one of my best friends, so it's not weird when I send him clothes. He gets it. He doesn't take it as an insult, like I think he doesn't know how to dress. He likes what I send him. I keep it a little on the youthful side for him. He's 51, but I feel like I don't want to push him too far. I'm not going to have him up there drippin' in off white, looking ridiculous from head to toe. I know just where to push him, so he trusts me. He trusts me. That's the point I want to make. He trusts me. This year, I sent him a nice little box of clothes. There were two shirts in the box. One of them was kind of like a zip sweater thing. It came right there, and then a Burberry shirt to put under the sweater.
I told him in the note, "Merry Christmas. Here are your clothes. You can wear it three different ways: the sweater without the shirt, the shirt without the sweater, and the shirt under the sweater. You're welcome. Merry Christmas". I am an efficient stylist. I'm thinking about having a side hustle dressing preachers, but that's not the point. The point is he sent me pictures of him wearing the clothes. He first of all put the sweater on. It looked good. Then he put the shirt on. It looked good. Then there was a third picture. He was wearing something I never saw before in my life. It was baggy and bright red. I sent it to Jess, who has worked in my office now for almost 10 years. I said, "We didn't send him this, did we"? She said, "No, sir. I never saw that before in my life".
I texted him back the good news first. "All the stuff I sent you is dope. That's the good news. The bad news is that third thing you put on… I don't know where that came from". He trusted me so much that he said if it came from Furtick… This is real faith, y'all. He said, "Even though I think it looks ridiculous, if it came from Furtick…" I said, "But it didn't come from Furtick. Not this one. I am not taking credit for this fashion decision. This did not come from Furtick. You need to find out what happened". He found out what happened. One of his staff members who knew how much he trusted me saw the box that came from me and decided to go in the box, open the box (Can y'all believe this?), find the ugliest sweater they could find, and stick it in the box under the stuff I picked.
They knew he trusted me so much he would wear whatever he thought came from me. But the Devil is a liar. I texted him and said, "You need to take that out of the box. That was not from me". I hear the Spirit of God saying, "You've been wearing some stuff in 2018 that I did not put in your box. It's time for you to go through the box. Everything that does not look like joy and the garment of praise, take it off. Everything that does not look like the armor of God, take it off. Everything that doesn't look like victory, take it off". I'm coming into a new year drippin'. I'm not coming into a new year wearing rags. His righteousness is my garment and his victory is my guarantee!