Steven Furtick - Frustrated By Change?
Change is external. Change could be traffic. Change can be weather. Change can be something that happens in your body. Change can be something that happens globally. Change happens externally, and it is a situation that is imposed by outside circumstances or unforeseen conditions. That's change. Follow me. Transition is always an internal or a psychological event. Do you see the contrast? He jumped up immediately. That's change. He began to walk. That's transition. Some of us are frustrated by change because we are unwilling to endure the process of transition. So we jump up, and we jump up happy.
You know how you get happy when God does something awesome in your life. That's a change, but transition is where transformation happens, not by something external but by something internal. I'll prove it to you. David said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me". What does that mean? David wasn't praying about his situation; he was praying about his spirit, because he understood that if God changes your situation but the spiritual process is left underdeveloped, it will cause an implosion. Now, the change happened. It was not illegitimate. He jumped up, he walked, his feet and ankles could do it, but it wasn't his feet at this point that were the problem.
Just because your feet are strong and just because your legs work and just because you now have the strength to stand doesn't mean you have the understanding to walk. You're in transition, and it doesn't make much sense to you when you're in transition. It's unstable when you're in transition. In fact, when you're in transition, you can feel trapped. Here's why: "I left Egypt. I'm not in Canaan. I'm trapped in transition. I'm saved enough not to go to hell, but I'm not saved enough to not want to go to the club. I'm trapped". The reality of it is transition takes time and change happens suddenly. To be trapped in transition is to be waiting for your mind to catch up with the transformation that has already happened in your life.
I was praying about it, and I was asking God to give me a picture of what this looks like. I went back over to Hebrews, chapter 5, and looked for background on that particular situation where you see a Christian community struggling to come into the fullness of what God has for them. In one of the most "middle school teacher" passages of Scripture of all time, because he's really, really frustrated with his pupils… This anonymous author begins to rant in Hebrews 5:11 because he's trying to get something out. It's frustrating when you have something valuable but you have nowhere to put it. It's frustrating when you feel like you have something to give but nobody to receive it, especially in a relationship when you want to give more, but when you look to give what you have in you, you don't find anywhere to pour it into. That's frustrating.
As he's building up and building up and he's describing maturity, he's describing not just the miraculous salvation event but the maturity of following Christ into deeper things and better motivations and new ways of doing things that rely on grace rather than legalism or the law. As he teaches them this switch, he becomes frustrated. Somewhere in his letter he senses that he's losing their attention, so he goes, "About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing". I love this. This means, "It's your fault for not getting it. It's not the preacher's fault for not saying it right". I'm going to put this verse on my pulpit. "You have become dull of hearing". It's not that I'm confusing; it's just that you're slow. That's what he said. Verse 12: "For though by this time you ought to be teachers…"
Do you hear it? You ought to be teaching somebody, but you didn't transition. You got up and learned to walk, but you didn't reach back your hand to anybody else. You've been a Christian for 14 years, and you're still not asking any better questions of life. You're still simplifying it. You've been walking with God this long, and you should be farther, but I'm frustrated because you're not farther along. He's frustrated. It's a halftime talk. He's in the locker room. "We're better than this, team. We're better than this". Kreitton. "You're better than this". That's what he's saying. He said, "[You have need of] someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained…" Oh. It's a skill. Transition is a skill.
Change is a gift; transition is a skill. He said this skill requires use and practice to distinguish good from evil. The only way to know the difference between God's will for your life and your will for your life is you have to go to Gethsemane. You have to go to the place Jesus went to, where he learned the separation between what I want based on comfort and convenience and human preference and feelings and what God wants based on the position he has put me in. Now understand this. When Jesus finally got to the cross, he had no trouble giving up his life. It was only in Gethsemane, transition, where he had to pray, "God, if there's any other way…" The greatest test is in transition. So get ready for this. If you are being tested, you are in transition. What that means is the greatest oil of anointing comes in the place of greatest transition. God is growing you up. That's what he's doing. He's growing you up. He's teaching you to stand, therefore. To stand when it's uncertain, to stand when it doesn't feel good, to stand when it's controversial, to stand when it doesn't seem to be happening, to stand on what you know when you can't trust what you see or what you feel. You're in transition, and transition takes a little time.
Now the decision is this: "Do I hold on to the old or do I lean into the new"? That's what the man had to decide, and so do you, and so do I. I had my spot, I had my system, I had my support, but now I'm in transition, and I can't do what I used to do anymore. I had this cup where people would come by and would drop change in my cup, and I had to drop my cup to grab hold of Peter's hand so I could stand up and begin to walk. But that's not the part of the text that got my attention. After the man stands up, everybody is shocked to see this man who they were used to ignoring, who used to be kept on the outside. They were like, "That's Joe". (I gave him a name, because the Scripture didn't, and it doesn't seem right that I would spend 50 minutes talking about him and not even give him the courtesy of a name.) "That's Joe". "No. It can't be. The dude is walking, jumping, dancing". "No, I'm telling you, that's him". "How do you know it's him"? "Because I know. I walk by him every day. I used to walk by him every day. I walked by him every day. He'd come in, and we would transition past each other every day".
See, when he started to change, they couldn't understand it, and they didn't like it. Transition is traumatic. The way I know it's traumatic is because he dances, he walks, he goes past the gate and goes into Solomon's portico. This was a big, long porch. That whole side of the temple was one big porch. I never forgot this verse when I read it, because it said in verse 11 that the man clung to Peter and John. I never forgot that. That just gripped me when I read it, because I realized that it matters in these moments of transition what you cling to. I hear the Spirit saying to somebody today that you are going to have to choose to cling to something that is new and uncomfortable to you to move forward in this transitional season of your life. For many of us, this means we are having to let go of something old that exists in the paradigm of our minds in order to embrace something new. I mean, just because the man can walk doesn't mean he can stand by himself.
When we met him in the text, he's being carried, and when we say goodbye to him in the text, he's clinging. What makes that significant for our lives is you cannot take hold of what's new while you have a death grip on what's old. God is saying you have gone as far as you can go holding on to what you used to be. This requires that the excuses that have become so embedded in your life have to be left behind at the spot of your transformation, because you're in transition now. God is giving birth to a new thing in your life. It is going to require letting go of old habits. Look, man. If you are a husband now, you can't be single in your mindset anymore. You have to consider a new responsibility. What happens a lot of times is we go into new situations holding on to old habits. You can't have a husband situation and have bachelor habits. Before long, it will tear you apart trying to hold on to two things. I hear God saying today, "Let it go". It is not serving you in this season anymore. Why would you hold on to something that taught you how to beg, that taught you how to blame? It can't heal you anymore. Something greater is here.
There is a name that is greater than any other name, higher than any other name, stronger than any other name, but you have to cling to it. Cling doesn't mean you kind of swat at it. Cling means you grab for Jesus with all you have because you know, like Jacob, that if he doesn't bless you, you won't be blessed. It said he clung to Peter and John. What you cling to in this season of transition in your life will determine whether you go forward or stay at the gate. Do you know the first thing Peter did when he saw the man grabbing onto him? He used him for a sermon illustration. God wants to use you. God wants to use you. God set it up so he could use you. God set it up just so he could use you for his purpose and his glory, but you're in transition right now. By holding on to the old, you forfeit the future. I came to say, "Let go of that thing that keeps you paralyzed, let go of that thing that keeps you fearful, and let go of that thing that keeps you stuck". This is a metamorphosis. To be stuck at one stage of your spiritual growth when opportunity, power, and authority is standing in front of you is a terrible thing.