Steven Furtick - Your Personality Serves God's Purpose
The strategy of the Enemy is to get you to hate your here. The way he does that… Psalm 1 says the tree God plants will yield its fruit in season. I always skipped past the word its, but it may be the most important part of the verse, because it means that if I spend my time being frustrated that I can't bear your fruit… I can only bear Furtick fruit. Right? That's all I can bear. That's all I can be. All I can be, if I could say it this way, is the most fruitful Furtick I know how to be.
Now, my temptation is to see the fruit you bear or the life you have or the talent you have or the personality you have… I usually don't want other people's lives; I want other people's personalities, because they're chill. I wonder, "What would it be like to have just a day where you were not so uptight"? Some of y'all's personality looks so tropical, so sunny. "Wow! That would be so cool. Did you see how they just handled that? They didn't even get upset". But there's a certain way God wired me, within me. He will be like a tree planted by the streams that will bear its fruit, that will yield its fruit.
Yield your fruit. Do your thing. Make your mark. Do your job. Hold down your spot. Stay on your post. If you're coaching, coach. If you're teaching, teach. If you're helping, help. If you are a shouter, shout. Yield your fruit! I might not be famous, but I'm going to be fruitful. God created me to produce a purpose. I feel freedom coming through this house! I feel freedom from the frustration. God said he wanted to set you free from the frustration of trying to produce somebody else's fruit. "I'm such a good apple tree"… until you see some oranges. It's just the Word of God.
Jesus said, "The kingdom is within you". He said, "You'll be like a tree planted by streams of water". Now, the problem with a lot of us is we can't produce anything because we don't get planted anywhere, because it's not sexy to stay planted. Even preachers… Preachers do the weirdest stuff. How many sermons did I preach about Peter walking on water and never said anything about Andrew who stayed in the boat? All Jesus told them to do was get in the boat and go to the other side. Peter was the one who needed a spectacular sign. Andrew was content to just stay in the boat in the storm, because "This is what God told us to do".
I'm looking for some people who will just go home and be a dad and be a mom and be a husband and be a wife. Oh, by the way, we live in a culture where you are not considered successful if you are still single at a certain age. By that standard, Jesus died a failure. "He'll be like a tree planted by streams of water". Streams. Isn't that what they call it on feeds…streams? To be planted by the streams of water produces the fruit that's already in you, but the temptation to think… When Jesus left the earth, he left behind some dysfunctional disciples.
Can you imagine if your greatest protégé was Peter? When Jesus was trying to go to the cross and die like the Lamb of God, silent before the shearers, to pay the price of humanity's sin, Peter was pulling out his sword, hacking off ears. Did Jesus succeed in teaching his disciples? But you judge it too soon. "Oh, I'm not really making a difference". The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they won't depart from it". Hold on. Let's take a moment. Everybody, repeat after me. "How old, Lord"? I just need to know an age so I can pace myself in the process. But really, to judge your influence like that would be a shame, because Pastor Mickey's church only grew to 200, but here I am preaching to you, and he's the one who gave me a chance.
So, I want to ask the question again today. Are you going to chase clout or are you going to embrace calling? Because those are two different things. Those are really, really different. You just can't know. So bear your fruit in season. That's the win: in season. I mean, what if this message today…? What if somebody in Russia…? We translate our sermons into Russian. What if somebody in Russia needs the message? "I don't know if I liked it today". What if that's your reaction? How could I judge the success of a sermon? What if somebody who hears it in another language two years from now is who really needed it?
It happens all the time. I only share it because preaching is what I do. Whatever you do… You have your own version of this, but I'll tell you, usually the sermon I feel the worst about delivering is the one somebody will come back to me later about and go, "I was on the edge. I told the Lord, 'I'm going to give it one more shot. I'm going on the Elevation app…'" You know, something really dramatic. Or this is the crazy one. They'll be like, "I wasn't even trying to watch a sermon, and the YouTube gods put a thing in my feed that was you preaching, and it was just what I needed". If you judge it in the process of doing it, you interrupt the power of it. How could we know? How could we know what God is doing in your life?
You're like, "I'm breaking apart". That's what the seed does before it grows. That's what happens before harvest. Have you ever thought about that, that Jesus was a failure by our standards of success when he left the earth? And look at what his faithfulness created. I was speaking to somebody today who secretly feels like, "I'm failing". Not everywhere. In my personality, it's like you can't even enjoy the places where you're winning because you're so embarrassed about the places where you're losing. I don't feel like I can really succeed in every area of my life at the same time. Whac-a-Mole.
That's how my mind feels. I'll be honest. I never feel like a good dad when I get finished preaching through the weekend. I never do, because for the 24 to 48 hours before I preach, I'm like a zombie. I'm not really there. I try. I mean, Graham and I were wrestling this morning when I came in, so I try my best, but I don't feel totally present. The Devil is going to try to get me to feel bad, after I finish preaching to you, about what I couldn't do while I was trying to do this. Does that ever happen to you? I don't mean to turn this into group therapy, but the issue with most of us is when we do produce something over here, it only causes us to feel worse about… Especially if you have a secret thing you struggle with, it tends to cancel out your joy over everything else you produce. Into this, God speaks a word to those of us who feel like, "I just feel like I'm failing. I feel like I can't do enough for everybody". You only are responsible to produce what's in you. In this moment, here, now, the kingdom of God is within you.
As we close our series together, I just want to know if anybody wants prayer today at any of our locations…Matthews, Lake Norman, University City, Riverwalk, Orlando, Greenville, Greensboro, somebody watching eFam online… to say, "I want to be blessed like the Bible says blessed. I want to live in a place that is happy with the life I have. I want to live in a place where I'm planted by streams that actually nourish me, and I really want God's help, because I feel like I'm failing most of the time. I want God to bring forth the fruit he put in me. I will not live this next year frustrated over fruit that God never called me to produce. I will not quit on the gift he gave me because I do not see it in a sensational form".
I want to pray for you. Stand up right now right where you are. I want to pray for you. The Lord is working in this moment. He's always working, but he's working in this moment. He's trying to show you that when you get set free from the need for the approval of people, then you can receive the approval of God. It's so important that Jesus heard his Father say, "This is my beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased" before he did his ministry. That way, he didn't need their validation; he already had… We just have to get this. I don't know if you can feel it in this series, but I'm consumed by it. I'm serious about it. I need us to get this, that it is not just fame and followers and all the fickle stuff.
Psalm 1 says the man who is planted, his leaf does not wither. It is something that remains. It is something the world can't take away. Anything they can give they can take, but if it comes from God, if it comes from within, if the kingdom is within you, it will not be taken away. Bow your head for just a moment. I want you to turn your palms up to heaven as you lift your hands and just receive from your Father what you need in this moment. We all walk around wondering, "Am I getting it right? Am I a good husband, a good wife, good friend, good daughter"?
We get all this guilt fed by comparison. Then we compare ourselves to stuff that isn't even real, and we keep thinking, "Oh, one day when I get there…" But God doesn't want you to hate here. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven". That's getting heaven here. When God called Isaiah the prophet, Isaiah said, "I'm a sinful man. I have unclean lips. I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips. But here I am; send me". That's all God wants from you. Just stop scrolling through all of these other images of what you think you're supposed to be and yield your fruit.
I feel the Holy Spirit on this, that if you will yield your fruit in season, your leaf will not wither. God wants to give you a peace that doesn't dry up with circumstances and does not change with the conflated tides of popular opinion. Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, lives in you, and you are enough in him.
Give them what they need right now, God. You have it; I don't. Just give them what they need, what they need in your presence. What they need is only found in your presence. We receive it, Lord. God, would you speak to the one who even this week has been on this loop? They've been meditating on this thought all week: "What I do doesn't matter. Who I am doesn't matter". They just felt like that all week. I pray they'd get a new meditation in your presence today, they'd be planted by streams of water. You will yield your fruit. None of the things are in vain. God's Word does not return void. It can't return void. What God spoke over your life will bear fruit. So, God, we release frustration. We release fear. We come to you today asking you for a new measure of success. In this moment, am I fully here? Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus.