Steven Furtick - Stop Making Agreements With The Enemy
But many of us have made an alliance with anxiety somewhere deep in our hearts, and we have actually grown so accustomed to our anxiety it now feels normal to us and peace feels foreign. Now you get used to waking up feeling weird all the time, and now you get used to feeling on edge all the time, and you begin to think it is normal because it's all you've ever seen. I love what the elders said to Ahab. This is what I believe the Spirit of God is saying to somebody today, and it's the message God gave me: "Do not listen to your enemy or agree to his demands". Just because my enemy speaks something doesn't mean I have to agree with it. After all, it is not the voice you hear that determines the life you end up with; it's the voice you believe. Before the Enemy can get you to agree with it, he has to get you to believe it. So in order to get you to believe it, he'll get somebody to say it. How many have found out you cannot believe everything you hear? Not these days.
I was reading the list of things Paul said we should think about, because he's trying to give us a new perspective. You don't have to believe everything that crosses through your mind. You don't have to accept everything that comes across your heart. He said, "Don't be anxious about anything, but pray about everything". He says there are some things we should think about. Verse 8: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…" I stopped at part one when he said, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true…think about such things," because I wondered, "How do I even know anymore what that is"? How do I even know what is true? How can I possibly know in this culture of headlines and highlights?
Now you don't even just believe the headline. You believe the retweet of the retweet of the retweet of the retweet. How do I even know what is true anymore? If I make an agreement with the Enemy… That's why I was excited about YTHX. I think if we can undo some of the untruths and keep our young people from making some agreements with the Enemy… This is what I'm praying, not only for this week, but I'm praying this for my kids all the time. Y'all know I have a good prayer life because I have three children who are still living in my house. Y'all know I have a good prayer life because one of them has his driver's permit. Y'all know I have a good prayer life because I have a beautiful 10-year-old daughter. I'm praying every day, "Don't let my daughter, don't let my sons, don't let me make agreements with the Enemy".
Sometimes you get in this self-pity mode and you kind of go with it. You start thinking, "Oh, I'm just worthless. I'm just this. I'm just that. I'm just the other". Do you know why you do that? Because it takes the pressure off for a minute. Do you know why Ahab gave up his silver and his gold and, the Bible said, his best wives? "You can have the other ones, but, Lord, let me keep the best ones". "I'm going to take your silver and your gold, and I'm going to take your best wives and your best kids". In other words, "I'm going to tax the land". Ahab said, "Okay. If I agree with you, maybe you won't attack me".
Sometimes we find ways to make the attack stop that actually make the battle worse and weaken us on the inside after the fact. This is the root of addiction. Oh, I was praying for our kids. When y'all were standing up earlier, I was praying, "God, don't let them make an alliance with something early in their lives. Don't let them make an agreement with something". Some of us make agreements with things that provide us with temporary relief, but they are false gods. They cannot save. They do not serve us. They do not satisfy us. They are broken cisterns that cannot hold water. So, if we're going to preach about anything, if we're going to preach about repentance from sin and dead works, we have to first understand that before the promise of God can be received, your agreement with the Enemy has to be broken.
There are things about you that are not true, that are not right, that are not noble, that are not good report, that are not virtuous, that are not praiseworthy that you have begun to believe, because sometimes it is easier to believe the lie that looks like the evidence I can see than believe the truth that is new. It's easier for me to bring God my love handles and ask him to suck them out. Have you ever crawled up in the presence of God when it's so bad you can't even hardly pray anymore after you've been 15 rounds with…? "O God, I just need…" I've had God help me in those times. To be honest with you, I wouldn't be here if he didn't help me in those times. So there's nothing wrong with that, but I heard the Lord say to me the other day, "This would have been easier if you'd have brought it to me earlier". Listen. It starts before you see it. That's true for a leak in your roof. That is true for an emotional state.
I was so obsessed with Paul's instruction to the Philippians. He said, "The peace of God will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus". Look at this in verse 7. "And the peace of God…" I want the peace of God. "God, give me your peace. I'm so stressed out. I'm so anxious. I don't know what to do about it". He said, "If you don't guide your mind, it's impossible for God's peace to guard your heart". How many know your mind needs to be guided? Oh, I need to break it to you? Your mind needs guidance. Your mind is an undisciplined rabid dog that will bite the whole neighborhood. Your mind needs guidance. That powerful computer of your mind needs guidance.
Elon Musk hasn't made a self-driving mind yet, y'all. I don't think there's one coming on the market. If I'm going to bring God into my problems but not bring him into my process, watch what's going to happen every single time. When the king said to the enemy Ben-Hadad, "I can't meet these demands," the Lord gave a promise. Listen to this. First Kings 20:13: "A prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, 'This is what the Lord says…'" "This is what the Lord says". I'm supposed to read what comes next, but that's where I'm stuck. "This is what the Lord says".
What did I come to church to hear? What the Lord says. What do I want to fill my heart with? What the Lord says. What do I want my kids to believe? What the Lord says. What am I building my life on that can't be shaken with a storm? What the Lord says. What has the power to defeat and uproot every lie I believe? What the Lord says. What am I steering my life according to? What the Lord says. What has the final say over what happens to me in this season of my life? What the Lord says. What has divine power to demolish strongholds and defeat every devil in hell? What the Lord says. "This is what the Lord says. I heard what you said, Ben-Hadad, but this is what the Lord says. Do you see this vast army? Do you see these problems? Do you see this situation? This is what the Lord says: 'I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.'"
"Well, Pastor Steve, that doesn't apply to me. I'm divorced". "Well, Pastor Steve, that doesn't apply to me. I'm 12". "Well, Pastor Steve, that doesn't apply to me. I have a learning disability". "Well, Pastor Steve, that doesn't apply to me. I have an eating disorder". "Well, Pastor Steve, that doesn't apply to me. I don't have any friends". "Well, Pastor Steve, that doesn't apply to me. I have a GED". If God did it for Ahab, he'll sure enough do it for me. I am his child. Do it for me, Lord! I have been carrying the burdens of battles that my decisions created. I have been anxious about agreements I made with the Enemy. But the Lord said, "I'm going to deliver them into your hands today, and then you will know…" "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind…"
Wait a minute. What's the difference? Heart and mind. The heart is the emotions. The mind is the thought process. I can't pray my way out of emotional states that my thinking caused. I'm not very good at vacation. I don't know how you can be bad at vacation, but I am. Usually I'm too lazy to do anything fun with my kids and make any memories, but then sometimes, when I try stuff, it just goes horribly wrong. In fact, every time I try to do something a little adventurous it goes wrong. We were talking this summer… We went to the beach this summer, and they had kayaks you could ride in the ocean, but it's different… When Holly gets in the kayak, it's peaceful. When I get in the kayak, it's cursed. There were three times we got in the kayak that it went badly all in one week last summer. I didn't get in a kayak this summer, because the kayak is cursed when I get in. One of the times it ended with a man with scissors pointing them at me, telling me he was going to stab me with the scissors. That happened.
We don't have time to talk about that, and I don't really want to talk about it. It's a horrible memory. Even when I'm not in the kayak… Listen to how bad I am at adventures. We swam in the ocean two summers ago. I think I told y'all this story where the riptide… Yeah, I told y'all that? But it's a conversation I had with Elijah I wanted to say to you. Maybe I'll say more about this at YTHX, because they're going to let me preach a session too. I might have to talk more about this. I said, "Elijah, you've got to be so careful how far you swim out from me, because even if I want to get to you out there, there is a place that you can get so far away from me… I'm your dad. I'm your father. If I can get to you, I'll get to you". In this particular instance, the undertow was so bad I had Abbey on one arm, and Graham was hanging on the other. They didn't care if I lived or died. They were just using me as an object to get out.
I said, "If you get too far out, it won't be about whether I want to come get you. There is such a thing…" I used it to parallel to him not just the water, but I talked about, "In your teenage years, in your decisions, there is a place where you can get far enough out…" Now, I'm not saying God's love can't reach you wherever you are, especially for y'all in the back. I'm not saying you're too far away for the Lord. What I'm saying is you can't make an agreement with the Enemy in your soul and then ask for peace in your life. If you do, it's going to be cyclical. You're just going to keep bringing your problems to God over and over again, and he'll accept them, but the Lord has been asking me, "Do you always want to be bringing me your problems or do you want to bring me your thoughts before they become problems"?
I think we have to decide. Will we be willing to let God guide our minds so his peace can guard our hearts? The term is a military term. It's an amazing picture Paul gives. It's a military term. It's talking about a detachment, that God will set up at your heart the peace of God. There are two things mentioned in Philippians, chapter 4. You may not notice them on the surface, but they're both right there. One is the peace of God, and one is the God of peace. In Philippians 4:7 it says, "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding…" Every time I call someone who's going through something you can't imagine or can't figure out how to deal with or you can't counsel, the standard thing I will pray for them is, "God, and I pray that your peace that passes all understanding will guard their heart and mind".
When you're calling someone who lost their child, as a pastor, or when you're calling somebody who is in the fight of their life, dealing with things they didn't cause for themselves, it's no good for you to try to explain it to them. So I'll just pray that the peace of God that passes all understanding would guard their heart and their mind in Christ. But some of the agreements you make with the Enemy, instead of keeping out anxiety… The peace of God wants to keep out anxiety, but sometimes your agreements with the Enemy keep out the peace of God. When I tell myself, "I'm not worthy…" In psychological terms, they talk about rumination. A lot of us think we're overthinking things. We're really underthinking things. We're just thinking the same thing over and over at the same level. Never involve God. Just give the Enemy whatever he wants. Just give him our mind. Just believe anything that goes through our mind. The peace of God will set up a guard at your heart (that's your emotions) if you guide your mind.