Steven Furtick - The Enemy Only Attacks What's Valuable
Sometimes when you're in a storm you need somebody to holler at you and say, "Hey! You're going to make it through this!" "How do you know"? "Because Jesus said we're going to the other side. So you can't die in this; you've got to make it to that"! That's what I came to say. I've preached so many sermons about this storm, and I've told so many people they can survive what they're going through, but there's a more important question than… Will you survive? The better question to ask is… Why did you survive the storm?
Have you ever thought about how many things the Enemy did even early in your life to try to stop you from having a relationship with God? Remember, this is Mark 4 not Mark 5. This man has not even seen Jesus yet, yet there is a storm that is sent to the Sea of Galilee to keep Jesus from getting to him. I know. You're like, "Well, how do you know the Devil started the storm? Maybe it was just climate change". Because it said Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves. Jesus doesn't rebuke natural elements; he rebukes demons. The same demonic oppression that was oppressing that man was in that sea trying to stop Jesus from getting to the man.
You were on the Devil's hit list before you were ever born. There were things in your family line that were happening before you were born that were designed to keep you from being in church at this moment today. Touch somebody and say, "You must be important". Because in spite of all of the storms that had your name on them, in spite of all of the winds and the waves and the hurricane forces, in spite of every attack, look at you in church. Look at you clapping. Look at you taking notes. Look at you praising God. Look at you believing for a brighter day. Look at how you made it. You must be important. You survived!
Do you know how I know you're important? It takes boldness to call your sermon You Must Be Important, but I know it. Not because of the car you drive. Not because of the house you live in. Not because I looked up how many Instagram followers you have. I know you're important because of your storm. The size of your storm tells me something about your importance. The size of your storm lets me know the importance of your assignment. The Devil doesn't start a storm for somebody he's not threatened by. If you're going through a storm, there's something so big on the other side.
High-five three people and say, "You must be important". That big bad Devil has been huffing and puffing, and he thought he would blow your house down, but the trial just served to prove your foundation. My house is on the rock! I was so confused for so long. I thought the storm meant God had left me, but in this passage the storm means he's on the way. Did you hear what I said? If you're going through a storm right now or if one happens to hit on Thursday morning, I want you to know the storm is a sign that grace is on the way.
The Bible says the storm came up suddenly. The moment Jesus started in the direction of the man, here came a storm, not because God wasn't with him but precisely because he was headed in his direction. If what I just said is true, that there is a storm that proves… Nobody attacks what isn't valuable. I promise you if I went to play game seven today LeBron wouldn't guard me. I promise you they would let me run all around that court and do whatever I wanted to do. They would hand me the ball gladly. Why would you guard someone who wasn't in a position to score? I know you're important.
When I prepared this message I was like, "Everybody won't get this message, because they'll do this thing. When I get to this man called Legion and say he was living among the tombs and cutting himself with stones, they will disassociate themselves and say, 'Well, I've got some problems, but I'm not that bad.' When he says, 'My name is Legion,' they'll back up off of him and disassociate in the text and say, 'Well, I'm like the disciples going through a storm, but I'm not the man called Legion.'" Really? Are you so sure?
It said he lived among the tombs. So you don't go to dead places? Are you sure? Are you sure this isn't you? Somewhere in here… It may have a different demonstration, but it's the same dynamic. It said they would try to chain him up and he would break the chains and they couldn't hold him anymore and he would hurt himself. Are you telling me there's no area of your life where you're out of control? I started to study the text thinking I was like Jesus and "Who do I need to go help"? The more I studied it, I thought, "Maybe there's some Legion in me". I don't mean demonic possession, but I do mean oppression. I have my own chains. I'll tell you the greatest secret God ever showed me about you. Yes, you. He told me that all y'all are crazy. True story.
I was getting ready to preach one time, and I wanted to preach from my own dysfunction. I was embarrassed to do it, because I thought everybody I was preaching to had their act together, and why are you going to listen to a preacher who's crazier than you? It was very interesting for me the path I went on in those two years I was learning this lesson, watching millionaires who were miserable. I realized the Devil doesn't check your net worth before he tries to wreck your house. I saw really nice-smelling people with country club memberships and stuff who drive eco-friendly cars and eat hummus freaking out on depression medication.
Once I found out y'all were crazy, I was no longer intimidated to preach this Bible like it really is. Once I realized you might be out of control in your spending, your eating, your sexuality… If I kept going long enough, I'd clear the whole room out of self-righteousness. There would not be one more Pharisee spirit left to hear this sermon if I kept going. Dare me to do it. I will name every demon in this room. Because once I stop talking about the stuff you can't see, then I would move over to gossip.
Some of y'all can't stop talking about people. You are so ugly to… I told you. I told you you were crazy. He knew the man was crazy when he got on the boat. It didn't stop him from coming. That got me excited. I figure maybe he knows about my issues too. "I am Legion," he said. A legion is 6,000 foot soldiers. That's a lot of demons. Jesus said, "What is your name? You know my name. Do you know yours"? Do you know who you are? Or do you have so many different personas… We're all a little bit of Legion. There are many me's. Somebody told me Abbey looks just like me. They said, "She's your mini me". I was like, "You don't know how true that is. There are many me's". There's online you. There's Sunday morning you.
That's the only one I ever get to see. But then I found out there's a Friday night you. Don't make me interview your spouse, please. I will pull them up here and give them the mic. There's a you only she knows or he knows. There's a you only you know. There's a you that cries out day and night. You don't cut yourself with stones. I understand that. But sometimes you inflict pain on yourself, and you can't stop it. You don't even know why you keep pushing people away. You've been living among the tombs so long. Somebody's tomb is the mall. Somebody's tomb is pornography. Somebody's tomb is an addiction that if we named it in the room you'd think surely that person wouldn't come to church.
You'd be surprised how quickly the demons run to Jesus. Those demons ran before Jesus and fell before him and said, "Don't make us leave. We've got it like we want it here. We've got these people on lockdown". They knew this man was important to Jesus, and they knew they were about to have to vacate the premises of this man's personality and his psychology. They knew someone strong enough to subdue them had finally showed up in the region of the Gerasenes. You've tried everything else and run to everyone else, but I declare today you are in the presence of a greater grace. What works couldn't do and the law couldn't do and chains couldn't do and shackles couldn't do God is about to do in your life. Grace can do what chains can't do.
So now we get to the part about the pigs. We haven't even gotten to the pigs yet. The pigs are the most important part. This is the part where I'm wondering why the demons wanted to get inside the pigs. On the surface, I understand that the Devil never wants to give up any ground. Once he has established a foothold… How many of you don't believe in the Devil? I want to see who hasn't had kids yet. That's all I'm trying to do. He doesn't want you to be the first one in your family not to need drink to feel good about yourself. He doesn't want you to be the first one in your family to be able to stay stable in a relationship rather than running around. What does he want? He wants to stand guard in the area… This is a brilliant strategy. I have to give it to these devils.
The devils are smarter than a lot of church people. They know how to get in formation, they know how to accomplish a purpose, and they know how to discern what is valuable. Are you with me? Lean into this word. The word you resist is the one you need. Jesus is in this house. The presence of God is in this place. The power of a mighty God is in this moment. Jesus says, "You have to go. Let that man go. He's important to me. I went through the storm to get to him. I went through the thunder and the lightning to get to him. I went through bucketfuls of water bailed out of Peter's boat to get to him. I came two hours across the Sea of Galilee, and I only have three years to change the world. This man is a VIP. I know everybody else has forgotten about him, but I want him".
Let me say something real quick. If he went through the storm for this man and he went to the cross for you, how valuable must you be? How much is your life worth to God? Jesus said, "Okay. You can go into the pigs". And they went into the pigs, and they made the pigs drown, because the demons know two things. First, pigs can't swim, but we all know that. What did the demons know that we don't know? I think the demons understood the people in the region cared more about the pigs than they did about the man. This is 2,000 pigs. This represents a significant part of the portfolio of these pig owners. This is a region that is known for raising pigs.
So what does the Enemy attack? Whatever you value the most. Yes, he knows what you value. Yes, he knows how to hit you where it hurts the most. That's why he'll use people to get to your relationship with God. What's really most valuable is your relationship with God, but he knows if he can get people to offend you you will do what the people did. You will send Jesus away because you were offended by people. He knows where to hit you. He knows where your insecurity is. He knows your playlist, what you say to yourself about yourself. He knows your proclivities, your perversions. He knows what makes you feel ashamed, so he hits you there to make you lash out in anger. He knows how to keep you bound.
Since he couldn't stay in the man, the Devil went into the pigs. "If I kill the pigs, they'll send Jesus away". "Let me hurt Job". This is when the Devil had a meeting with God. He said, "I've been going to and fro looking for somebody to devour," and God said, "Have you checked out my boy Job? Job is a bad dude". This is an updated translation. It's a little more modern. Probably says it in your Bible. The Devil said, "He's only serving you because his herd is still intact. Let me touch his body. Let me touch his children".
The Enemy will use anything to get to your faith. What he's after is your relationship with God, but he will use the pigs to get you to push away the presence of God. He knows exactly where you're vulnerable. Guess where you're the most vulnerable. Wherever you place the greatest value. These pigs were worth $2 million in modern money. He said, "If I can get in the pigs and make the pigs drown in the water, the people will be so afraid because they lost their pigs they will send Jesus away".
I wonder where the Enemy attacked you. I'll bet it was in the place of your greatest value. But guess what. I have good news. He only attacks what's valuable, so if he has attacked you lately, guess what that means about you. You must be important. The Devil knows more about your destiny than you do. There must be something on your life. Can I preach this like God gave it to me? God said some of you are breaking generational curses, and you don't even know it. That's why it has been so hard, and that's why it has been so strong, and that's why it has been so dark. Because you're so strong and you're so positioned and you're so important to his purpose.