Steven Furtick - I Don't Need Their Opinion
Sometimes the pressure we feel to be special does not come from God. It comes from culture that tells you that you have to be so special, so different, so unique, so set apart, but you already are. I already am set apart. "Jesus, if you go down to Judea, you could show them who you are". "I don't need to show them. I know". When you live out of that place, it affects you to be able to do it for purpose and not for proof. Really, who are you trying to prove it to? I mean, whoever you're trying to prove something to isn't paying attention, because they're trying to prove it to somebody who's not paying attention, and they're proving it to someone who's not paying attention. So while we're busy posting to each other our results to prove to one another what we're worth, our purpose is dying in the place of our insecurity.
When you know it's real, when you know it's authentic, it enables you to do it from a place of purpose. "I'm going to Judea. I'm going to go. I'm just not going to go because you pushed me into it". Be careful what you let people or cultural norms push you into. You'll never be pushed into purpose; you will be pulled from within. If it's pushing, it's not purpose. God does not drive; he leads. They are very different. Jesus said, "I'm going when it's time for me to go. I'm not going for clout; I'm going for kairos". That's the Greek word that means the timing of God. In Greek philosophy, fate determined timing. In kingdom philosophy, God determines timing. It means I'm where I need to be right now and I'm good in Galilee. I'm good if nobody knows my name. I'm good being anonymous.
I was listening to a podcast the other day with a former first lady of the United States, and she said the number-one sacrifice she gave to serve the country was the loss of anonymity. Isn't it crazy that everybody else is trying to climb out of the thing she wishes she could have back? Now we have a whole generation that's trying to be a public figure. I went on somebody's Instagram account the other day. They had 70 followers, and it said "Public figure" under their name. Why do you need a label so badly? Why do you so badly need to be perceived by others? It's the pressure to be special. It's the pressure to be important. When you belong to God and are living on assignment and know your anointing and know your gift, it takes the pressure off, because I'm good in Galilee. I'll walk on water in Galilee. I'll heal blind eyes in Galilee. I'll teach in Galilee. I'll pray in Galilee. I'm good in Galilee. I see it even seep into our ministry in very subtle ways when we sit down to measure our ministry.
If I'm not careful, I will become so performance-oriented in the way I pastor this church I will get my priorities more on the statistics than the substance. I felt it happening the other day, because we were looking at all of these Instagram posts we put out. And we use it all. I promise you Jesus would have had an Instagram account. It would have been the dopest Instagram account you've ever seen in your life. You would have swiped up and got healed. You wouldn't have even had to click on anything after that. "Swipe up and lose your leprosy". It would have been an amazing Instagram account. What I'm saying about it is I was in this moment where we were showing how this post performed. Perform, perform, perform. For me, that's a dangerous word, because I am performance-oriented by nature. I don't know why. I would ask for your prayers for that. I sometimes feel like I'm just showing up to regular conversations and "O God, I hope I say the right thing".
I had a friend who got in trouble the other day, and it took me a week to call him, not because I didn't care about him but because I didn't think I would have anything valid to say. So rather than call him and say what I had, I waited and hurt him by not calling because I didn't think I'd have something to say. When I finally called him, I realized he didn't need my performance; he just needed my presence. He didn't need me to say anything. He just needed me to be there. When you don't believe that, it kills you. Unbelief always leads to performance. They didn't believe in him. They thought he was a fraud. When you think you're a fraud, when you get unbelief in your heart, when you go to those places in your mind, you kill yourself trying to prove something. We were analyzing.
You can look at how many people "liked" this post, and here's a sermon clip we put out, and here's a song we put out, and here's another sermon clip, and this one performed better than that one. That's good to know. I think you should look at all that. I definitely want the person who's managing my retirement account to look at the performance of the retirement account. I don't just want him to pray about it. "It's losing money, but it's a great company. We believe in their values". No, I want to make some money. But with ministry you can't always measure that. I don't really know if the one that got the most "likes" was the one God used, because who am I to say that the one that didn't get as many "likes"… Maybe it came across somebody's feed when their hands were shaking too badly to click "like" or to comment because they had a bottle of pills in their hand, and something that was spoken through that screen really hit their situation. You can't measure that.
When you do it for the wrong audience, when people don't clap you quit. When they don't say "Thank you" or when you get the feeling like, "They don't even appreciate me. They don't even notice. They wouldn't even miss me. They don't even know what I bring to this. They don't really…" Jesus wasn't doing it for the people, and he certainly wasn't doing it for their praise. He was doing it for a purpose. The people were not his audience. When the brothers said, "You need to do it so they'll see. You need to do it so they'll know. You need to do it to prove it," Jesus said… I believe 2019 version Jesus said, "I don't have to post it to prove it. I don't have to do it because they're clapping; I do it because I'm called. I'm not doing it for clout; I'm doing it for calling. I am not chasing their approval; I am fulfilling my assignment".
This message is for our generation. I do not mean people who are my age. I mean the time we live in is consumed and obsessed with chasing clout, approval, and publicity, but some things ought to stay private. Some things God does in your life are not for PDA. Some things are not for a public display of ability or a public display of affection. Back in my day, if you were making out with somebody in public they would holler at you, "Get a room"! I heard Jesus say, "When you pray, don't do it out in public like the Pharisees do, trying to impress somebody, but get in a secret place. Get in your closet". Get a room where you get alone with God and ask God "What am I called to do? What am I called to be? I can't take my cues from culture or the crowd. It's killing me. God, what do you want me to do in this season? It's too much pressure to please people. God, I just want to please you. I do it for you, God. I show up for you. I stay late for you. I forgive for you. I love for you. I serve for you. I breathe for you. I live for you. I worship for you. It's not for an audience of them. God is my audience".
When God is your audience, the opinions of people are no longer your sustenance. I don't turn stones into bread. We so need this word from the Lord, because we're sure not going to get it from the world. It's getting weirder and weirder and weirder how we're all performing for each other all the time. It's exhausting, and it sucks, and it's worthless, and it doesn't matter. God sent me today with a word of sanity. The crowd will kill you. I love the phrase he put. John said there was widespread whispering about Jesus. Everybody had a comment to make, but nobody had the courage to say it out loud to his face. Everybody was whispering. This is the world we live in.
When we give too much weight to the whispers of people and not enough weight to the Word of God, it will kill us on the inside. The imposter syndrome was coined as a phrase several decades ago in psychological terms, but it's as old as Moses, who stood up one day just to see a burning bush that wasn't consumed, talking about, "Who am I that I should go stand before Pharaoh"? No matter how many miracles God did through Moses, he still had trouble believing he was enough to lead the people. That's why he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. That's why he was still trying to prove at the end of his ministry, "I am something. I am somebody. I can do it". And now I'm spending too much money over here, and now I'm spending too much energy over here, and now I'm becoming something I don't even like…to prove it to who? Jesus said, "I'm going to Judea when it's right for me".
God, give us the clarity to know what's right for us, what we're built for, so we stop finding ourselves in compromising positions that do not even fit our build. God, give us the wisdom to know when people are pushing us. Just because it's normal doesn't mean it's wise. God, give us the wisdom to know our timing. Give us the wisdom to know when we need to put something in a journal, not on Facebook. Give us the wisdom to know when it's your voice.