Steven Furtick — My Confidence Is Coming Back
Instead of giving this message a title, I just want us to make a faith declaration together. You ready? "My confidence is coming back". Let's talk about where Christian confidence comes from. It's kind of hard to have full confidence when you have a troubled conscience. Some of you lost your confidence because you violated your conscience. We need you to know that the context of Christian confidence is not your ability to conform to a set of behaviors. That's the old covenant, but we have a great High Priest. He is the context.
It shocked me on Wednesday. I'd been teaching our staff, and one of the subjects I brought up was confidence and in between sessions we were singing one of my favorite new sings that's going to be recorded for the new album, and we sang it today in church. Many of you people watching on TV, and you won't get to hear it yet, but the song says "I believe I'll see you do it again". "I believe I'll see you do it again". And we were singing it, and the staff was singing it, and there's a line in that song that says "This is my confidence. You never failed me yet. This is my confidence".
And the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said go up on stage right now, and I was supposed to introduce Holly for her session, and the Lord told me she won't mind. She could wait. And give an altar call for your staff, and I said, Lord, you mean I've got staff that aren't saved? He said, well, yeah, probably that too, but that's not the kind of altar call I mean. I'm just kidding. And He said I want you to call for people who are having a crisis in confidence.
So when I did it, I said I want you to come forward if you're having a crisis in confidence. I want you to come to the stage. I thought three people would come. I turned around and all of a sudden, they didn't come to the stage. They started coming on the stage. They misunderstood my instruction, and it wasn't three of them. It was more people that came to the stage than stayed in the seats, and the next thing I know I was surrounded by these staff members, and I went through everything in my head.
I was like did they hear what I said? 'Cause I didn't say if you struggle a little bit with your confidence, you know, because if you give an altar call broad enough, you can get the whole room to come. You know what I'm saying? If you felt defeated, come. Now, you could just stretch it out. If you're here today, come. But I didn't say, you know, if you wore an outfit today, and you're not feeling so good about it anymore. If it makes you feel kind of fat, come on to the stage and pray over your outfit. I said a crisis in confidence, and over half my staff came, and I prayed with them for about 20 minutes, and I said we are going to leave some chains on the stage today.
But probably the best thing I did for them was turn around and give them some context that there are times where the pressure to preach becomes so great, and my doubt in my own ability to the lead the church becomes so strong there have been times where I have fantasized about just walking on independence and hoping maybe a truck will come. I know. I seem confident up here, and maybe I shouldn't tell you this. Some of y'all are going to pray for me, write me a prescription, or something like that. I'm not saying I walk around feeling like that all the time. I'm not saying I'm suicidal. I was just trying to get them to see that their lack of confidence does not have to be the death of their calling.
And the devil's got some of you right now. You are at that Hebrews 10 crossroads of confidence. Trying to decide whether to stay and raise your children or not. Trying to decide whether continuing to pursue Christian values is even possible or should you just give into the addiction and go back the other way. Trying to decide. I called my staff on the stage, and I even shared that about my own life because I have seen too many callings abandoned at the crossroads of confidence. And if you just would have pressed on a little more you would have seen the breakthrough.
The author said in just a little while He who is coming will come and not delay. When the devil really puts the pressure on, that's a sign that you are in proximity to the promise that you've been pressing toward. I'm praying on the stage, and I felt my confidence coming back, and it just hit me if that was my staff, and they are paid to be Christians, what's going on in the congregation?
What's going on out there. What is the devil telling you. If he's telling the preacher you know you probably preached your best sermons by now, and they all heard everything you've got to say. You know you built that Ballantyne building too big. You're never going to fill that one up. If that's what he's saying to me, I can't imagine — I mean, I'm the man of God. I can't imagine what he's telling you. I can't imagine the mistakes that he's bringing up. I can imagine the dumb decisions that he replays in your mind. Just that five-minute clip that runs randomly every time you go to step out. I can't imagine. And so He mentions. He says you need a clear conscience and only the blood of Jesus can do that, and you have the blood of Jesus.
So, be confident. When you come before God, come before Him with confidence, and you need a community. Can I say something to everybody who came to church? Oh, God, I know you're struggling a little bit. I know you've got some things, but you're around the right people right now, and we're going to do this together. But it's going to take consistency. Don't give up meeting together. Encourage one and other. All the more as you see the day approaching. You see his biceps. They didn't get like that one time in the gym. The first time he went to pick up the 40's they were real heavy, and he was grunting to himself. Now he just picks up the 80's and the 90's 'cause he picked up the 50's and the 60's. Confidence comes from consistency.
Well, I guess you're not confident. You only let me preach to you once every three months. You only open your Bible on special occasions like — I guess you're not confident. How could you be? Confidence comes through consistency. They were interviewing Serena after she won her — what was it? Her 9.432 grand slam title and tied the record. They said how do you deal with the pressure of this big moment and rise to the occasion as you have so many times? And I laughed at her response. It was instant classic. She said, well, I've played a lot of tennis. I thought that was so great.
How do you deal with the big moments? Well, I played a lot of tennis. You see somebody who has a lot of confidence? Let me tell you how they got it. They prayed a lot of prayers. You know how softly Serena speaks after she wins. I played a lot of tennis. You see somebody who has tremendous peace in their heart? They forgave a lot of people. You see somebody who knows how to persevere through dry seasons and hard times? They read a lot of Bible verses. And so He sets confidence within the context of a clear conscience within the context of a strong community and within the context of a commitment to consistency. And now He says — Let me get to my preaching part. How'd you like that set up? This won't take long. So, do not throw away your confidence. It will be richly rewarded. Don't do it. Don't throw away your confidence. It will be richly rewarded, and you need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.
Now, it's interesting to me that in order to get them to press forward He tells them to look back. In Verse 32 the writer says if you want to go forward, here's what you need to do. Remember those earlier days. This fascinates me because I've always been told that the way to gain confidence is to not look back. You know, you can't think about the past. You can't think about what happened. You've just got to leave it behind. Well, in this particular instance, the author advocates a type of memory management that will actually build your confidence.
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. He says you've been through much worse than this, and you made it. Do you know what I know? I don't know what you've been through. I don't know what it looked like. I don't know how horrible it was. You could tell your story. I could tell my story. I know one thing about you. You made it. You're still here. I know that about you. I don't even have to know your name. I just know by the fact — By the virtue of the fact that you showed up that you made it, and so sometimes it's just as simple as remembering that you made it.
You know, when I'm stressed out, and we're opening a new campus, and I just flew back from Australia and tired and one of my best friend in the ministry is going through a terrible crisis, and I'm walking through that with him, and all of it's hitting on the same weekend, and I'm coming out to open a campus, and police are being shot in the streets and young men are being gunned down in the streets, and I'm managing how to talk about that and open a campus, and you know, my best friend is going through something, and everything's going, and I haven't slept, and I'm coming out and part of me is telling God backstage I can't do this, I can't do this.
And you know when I start talking like that? The Spirit of the Lord will speak back to me, and all He says is this, "Really? Because I thought I remembered you in a white Jeep Cherokee, a 1990 white Jeep Cherokee, where you would leave on a Thursday, and you would go preach at a youth rally in "Squirrel Ville", Georgia, and you would go preach at the youth rally Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Saturday night you would leave, stop at the gas station, get six diet Mountain Dews, drive back to Shelby, North Carolina through the middle of the night, and get back and lead worship, be there for the rehearsal at 7 a.m. and have everything set up for the Worship Team, and you would lead the music.
And then Sunday night you'd go to Charlotte and do your little Core Team meetings for your church plant that you were asking me to bless, and you would have the families there, and no new people would've showed up, but you would preach right through it, and you wouldn't get discouraged, and you wouldn't get defeated, and you wouldn't get disappointed, but you'd just preach right through it, and you'd stand up and say things boldly, and then you'd get up Monday morning with a hangover — a holy hangover, and you would get in your white Jeep Cherokee again and drive to Greenville.
And sometimes you'd have Elijah, three month's old, screaming in the back seat, and Holly and Elijah would go with you, and you'd drop them off at your in-laws' house, and then you'd go to seminary, and you'd sit there from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in a systematic theology class, and you'd get back to Charlotte, and you'd do it again, and you'd do it again, and you'd do it again, and you did it before, and you can do it again, and you did it before, and you can do it again. You did it before. You can do it again. And something stands up on the inside of me, and I tell the devil I'm that same dude that ran up and down the roads of I-26 and I-85 in a Jeep Cherokee with a newborn baby. I believed God then. I believe God now. I saw Him come through then. I've seen Him come through again. I've seen Him move a mountain, and I believe — somebody shout, "I believe".
I'm going to preach until your confidence comes back. How do you get it back? You get it back in the gap. Touch somebody and say, "You get it back in the gap". Can I talk about the gap? Give me eight minutes. Come here, man. Help me preach about the gap. Please, please, please. Come here J.J. and help me preach about the gap. Who else should help me preach about the gap? I think Jared Hogan's beard should help us preach about the gap. Come on. There's this gap. He said that after you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.
So, we're on a journey, and we're making progress, but in the midst of our progress, we lose our confidence. Where do we lose it? We lose it in the gap. There's always a gap. He said there is a space of time between when you have done the will of God and when the will of God becomes apparent in your life. There's a space. There's a gap. So, these gentlemen will each represent something. J.J., you represent where I want to be, and you, sir, name please? Lamarcus is going to represent where I am.
And I'm frustrated in the gap. Where I am is not where I want to be. Who I am is not who I want to be. I'm in the gap. So, here I get discouraged, and here I get weary, and here I want to quit, and here I want to withdrawal. See, the church that the writer of Hebrews is addressing are not so much walking away from their faith as they are weakening in it. It's not a matter of we don't believe in Jesus anymore. It's a matter of wanting to withdrawal from believing for the fullness of the promise of life in Him, and I would think that's where most people in church struggle is in this gap. Between where I am and where I want to be.
So, there is another gap, and this is where Jared is going to help us 'cause the second gap is the distance not between where I am and where I want to be, but this gap is the distance between where I was and where I am. Come on, talk to me, somebody. Talk to me. We're going to put it in context today. You've been wanting to quit 'cause all you see is this, but every once in a while I'm almost done. Every once in a while you need to look back over your shoulder. Look back with me and remind the devil I'm not where I want to be. I'm not who I'm going to be, but I'm not who I was. So, I think if I already made it this far, if I've already seen this much, if I've already believed God through so much breaking and through so many battles, I think I'll press on and see what the end is going to be.
Isn't that good? Isn't that good? I got it back in the gap. I got it back when I looked back and realized that God is still with me, and so you're going to have to get your confidence back in the gap. Somebody shout my confidence is coming back. I need you to understand that my situation didn't change yet, but the return of my confidence proceeded the improvement of my situation. In just a little while, He who is coming will come and not delay, but I'm not waiting for Him to come back for my confidence to be restored. I'm going to praise Him right now. I'm going to bless Him right now. I'm going to believe Him right now.
Come on. Help me preach. The Spirit of God is in this place, and my confidence is coming back. See, 'cause in that gap is every lion and every bear that I've already killed. So come on, Goliath. My confidence is coming back. My confidence is coming back. I don't know the way forward, but the same God who got me through that gap is with me in this one. Clap your hands. Give God praise. Come on. Clap your hands. Give God praise. Do you know what praise does? Everyone standing, everyone standing. Do you know what praise does? Praise puts your problem in context. When you praise God with your mouth, when you praise God in your mind, when you praise God in your heart, it puts your problem in the context of God's power.
Some of you allowed your problem to weaken your confidence. This is beautiful the way the Lord gave it to me. I'd like to give it to you, and I'll get out of your way. He said do not throw away your confidence. The reason that spoke to me is because a lot of us would blame life experiences and circumstances and even the devil for taking our confidence. Something that happened to us. Something someone said to us. Something someone did to us. But the author of Hebrews didn't talk about other people or the devil. He said your confidence is your responsibility. Do not throw away your confidence.
For those of you who have lost confidence in your life today, listen to me. Nobody took it from you. They can't. Nobody can take away from you what they didn't give to begin with. When you lose your confidence, it's because you gave it away. Here's the good news. If you're the one who gave it away, you're the one who can get it back. Come on, church. Take it back. Take back your confidence. Take back your hope. Take back your future. Take back your dream. Take back your calling. Take it back. In the name of Jesus, we have a great High Priest. The curtain is ripped. The veil is gone. The blood is shed. The place is made. The way is before you. The past is behind you. Give Him a shout of praise. So, we say with confidence. Hebrews 13:6, "The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid". My God is too big. My God is too great. My God is too faithful. My God is too good. My God is too wise. My God is too awesome. His grace is still amazing. I've come too far to quit, and my confidence is coming back.