Steven Furtick - Don't Take Advantage Of Me
I feel like I need to stop and ask you to think about where you are bleeding that no one sees. Where are you hurting that no one has really heard about? Even though you generalize those places by saying, "Just pray for me; I need a financial breakthrough," really, the issue isn't that you need a financial breakthrough; it's that you don't even feel like a man anymore because you've lost your ability to provide, and if you can't even provide for your family, what good are you? You are bleeding not financially; you're bleeding on the inside. I'm bleeding, and no one sees it. Are you ready for this? Even Jesus didn't see the woman. "He sees all things". Not this time he didn't.
The Bible says… Do y'all believe the Bible? Can I read the Bible or do y'all want me to get a Dr. Seuss? "Oh, the places you'll go". Well, Jesus did not see this woman, but he felt her presence. That's going to be important in how I unpack this. It said, "A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse".
Isn't it crazy how some of the ways you try to feel better make you that much worse in the end? Have you ever done something to feel better but found out it actually made it worse? Have you ever ate something to feel better, and you felt better for five minutes, but about 3:00 a.m., the Devil sent you running to the toilet, talking about "It felt good"? It fixed it for a minute. You've been doing some things that fixed it for a minute. The Bible doesn't say she never felt better. The Bible says she didn't get better. I wonder if in this time of our lives, this time of trouble and transition and trauma and secret bleeding, if some of us are running to places where we are spending our energy and giving our attention to things that promise to make it better but end up making it worse. My grandfather didn't have the Internet. He was at such a disadvantage. He couldn't just Google an answer. He had to actually talk to somebody. I have it so much better than him. I'm so much better off. "I want my kids to have it better than I had it".
Sometimes what we think is better is based on a point of reference that has no grounding in reality. So, if you think about this… Again, we could take a vote. Okay. Church vote, eFam around the world. Everyone who thinks that being able to constantly share and access every opinion that has ever existed in humankind in an instant has made our ability to connect with one another that much better, say, "Aye". Y'all ain't saying nothin' in the chat. Just because we have more ways to connect doesn't mean we're better at doing it, yet here's the flip: the only reason I'm able to preach this is because of the technology I'm preaching against.
When Luke gets ready to share it, he doesn't say it quite like Mark says it. Mark says she spent all she had, but every doctor she went to made it worse. Luke is a physician, so he says, "Nobody could fix this woman". Mark seems to imply that there were some people taking advantage of her. Mark seems to imply that the motives of everyone she went to weren't so pure and so clean and so clear. Mark seems to imply that the founders of Facebook and the proprietors of Instagram are not primarily interested in your inspiration or that the news is not primarily interested in informing us. So now I want to ask you a question. With the news on all week long, are you smarter or dumber on Friday? It's just a question. Answer it how you want to answer it. I just wonder, is it making it better? The place you go to to feel better, is it making it better? That's a question. Before long, you start to identify yourself with the information you receive.
In this woman's case, she was getting worse, to the point that her issue had consumed her so totally she was only known by her issue. I love when the text lines up really pretty like this. How many of y'all really love the Bible? Not just the verse of the day, but you like to see that little hidden stuff, those little hospital corner tucks the Bible does. Look at this. There's one man who is identified by his significance, Jairus, and one woman who is identified by her issue. There's one man who has a position, but he also has a dying daughter, so now his position is upended by what he's dealing with, just like the woman. Now, all of a sudden, the woman who is identified by her issue… That's why she's called, in the King James, the woman with the issue of blood.
Every kid in my house has a nickname. How would you like for your nickname to be "The woman with the issue of blood"? How about it, Looshus? That's what I call Abbey. It's a long story how it got there. It's a whole morphology of how my kids go by their nicknames. He was Graham, and then he was G, and then he was GT, and then he was GT McSwain, and then he was Swain, and then he was Schwig, and then he was Schwigalish, and then he was Lish. How would you like for your name to be Issues? Her name was Abbey, then it was Fafey, then it was Faf, then it was Foof, then it was Fief, then it was Leash, then it was Loosh, and now she's Loosh. There was a time when this woman had a name, but 12 years is a long time. Over time, she lost her name as she was consumed by her issue. Now you start thinking things like, "I'm an addict".
Now you start thinking things like, "I'm just a grumpy person". Now you start saying things like, "It's just in my genetics". But your genetics haven't met Jesus yet. Your genetics need to meet Jesus! When the woman's genetics met Jesus… I have a new nature! I'm going to come back to that. So, depression is something I deal with. I'm not depressed; I deal with depression. Do you understand what I'm saying? Just like that is true, it is also true of your achievements. Just like people will identify you with your issues, they will identify you with your position and achievement. Like the man who told me on the "Rattle"! YouTube comments… I know I'm not supposed to look in those comments. I know I tell y'all not to do it, but do as I say, not as I do. I'm a hypocrite. The man said he saw me up there. I was singing on "Rattle!" having the time of my life. It was like Metallica, "Creeping Death" in reverse, James Hetfield singing, "Die! Die"! I mean, "You shall live! Live"! Best moment of my life. The man said, "Stay in your lane, Steve. Let the worship leaders lead worship. You preach the Word".
First of all, worship… Y'all better understand where I'm coming from. Worship for me is not what happens before the sermon. Worship is how I make it through the worst moments of my life. Secondly, I'm not what you thought I was, bro, BigDaddy423 in the YouTube comments. I'm not defined… You didn't make my lane. It's weird that we just call her "the woman" and we define her by her issue. We do it to ourselves all the time. You can even define yourself by how you feel in this moment, and that's dangerous. Let me teach for a moment. Do you define yourself by your emotions? Do you define yourself by your status? Do you define yourself by your lowest point? Do you define yourself by your highest achievement? All of that is dangerous, because the moment you start believing you are what you do or you are what you went through, it creates something inside.
The woman was bleeding on the inside. There is a bleeding on the inside that happens when your sense of self-worth flows from what you do and what you go through. Some of you may be very familiar with this text. The Lord put me on a clear direction since quarantine to only preach Scriptures I've preached before. I don't know when that's going to end, because there's a whole lot of good stuff I haven't preached in 14-1/2 years, but until further notice, I'm trying to go deeper in what I thought I knew. Every time, it's causing me to stop and see what I'm not seeing. This woman who was not seen by any people, even including Jesus who she needed a miracle from… Watch what she did. She self-activated. That's what you did when you went on this stream today, by the way. You self-activated. You didn't wait for God to encourage you.
You said, "I'm getting under the spout (this is old school) where the glory comes out". "As the deer pants for the streams of water, I'm going to get on a stream today that is going to hydrate my hope". This woman got in the flow of a miracle because she needed it. "I need it. I need God. I need God at the level not only of my conceptual abstraction but at the level of my feeling, my thought". Now this is what happened to her. "She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus…"
So, that's the first thing she did. She heard. I want you to notice she didn't get healed off of what she heard. This word can only do so much by hearing. Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God, but faith without works is dead. James would say, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. [Instead, do] what it says".
Let me tell you something. It's not going to get better because you took good notes. You can go to every Bible study and get worse and think you satisfied your intellectual quest for God, but this woman did not get healed because she heard. That was the first step. She heard. I think it's important that we put ourselves in the path of God's Word. Don't you? To put yourself in the path of the promises of God, to put yourself in the path of words of truth and words of life and words of grace and words of possibility. I think that is so important, yet she didn't get healed when she heard. She heard about Jesus, and then, after she heard about Jesus… "When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak…"
So, what do we have so far? She heard, she came, she touched. Maybe instead of waiting for a touch from God you just have to make up your mind, "I'm going to touch God myself. I'm going to praise God myself. I'm going to be grateful". Gratitude is a strategy. I need to feel God, so I'm going to get grateful for a minute, because I need to feel him.