Steven Furtick - WARNING: Comparison Has A Cost
Be careful what you copy from other people because you don't see the full picture. I remember watching a documentary last year, and I got so jealous of the person the documentary was about because he had won something like 16 Grammys. The whole time I'm watching him (I don't know if you ever do this), I sit there and compare my accomplishments to his accomplishments. It's like, "Yeah, but, Pastor, you touch souls for the kingdom". Well, I want a Grammy too. All right? I'm sitting there going, "I never won one Grammy. He has 16," or whatever. But then it was like the Lord spoke to me in the middle of the documentary and said, "Wiki him". So I put him in my Wikipedia app. (I donate to Wikipedia because they help me so much with my research. Every year.) I put his name in the thing, and I saw, yes, he has 16 Grammys, but he also has had five wives.
I didn't judge him. I didn't turn off the documentary. I still admire him, but I realized that what I had done… In the process of admiring his accomplishments, I had not considered the cost of those accomplishments. I want the Grammys, but I also want less than four divorce proceedings. No judgment on the guy. But isn't that what we do? We crop and copy. You know how you crop a picture? You know how when that person in your life is no longer in your life and you crop them out of the picture? We do that when we're comparing ourselves to other people because we're copying something that's cropped. They're showing you what they want you to see. Now you are copying a picture, a form, a shadow, a cropped picture.
You see what they did, and you go, "Well, I'm not doing that. I'm not as good as them. I haven't accomplished anything like them". Here's what I noticed: some of the people we want to be like are burning out. Influencers who we see on social media… After we have bought all their makeup product and all their diet product and all of their fitness stuff, then we see their post about "Y'all, I just wanted to come on here today. People have been asking". That's how every influencer post I've ever seen starts, and I'm not even on social media that much, but I have that one memorized. "I just wanted to come on here, y'all. People have been asking". Nobody has been asking you. Two people asked you. But now they're on a confession.
Here's what's crazy. I've been copying somebody who comes on and tells me, "I'm actually depressed". I've been copying you? "I actually feel like I'm losing my mind. I can't eat. I can't sleep". I was so busy envying your bag I didn't realize that at the bottom of it is a bottle of pills you can't function without. Be careful what you copy from another person's life because you don't know what it cost them. I told my father-in-law… He's a cool guy, so I get to tell him everything. We were talking about this one pastor, and we were talking about different people who discourage you along the way from ministry and one guy I met who had traveled the world.
When I was like 20 years old, my dad had me go to Promise Keepers with him. It was actually in Charlotte. I was in college and my dad was still in Moncks Corner. We met in Charlotte for Promise Keepers. We got to volunteer behind the scenes, and I was running the clock. I already knew I was called to be a preacher. This very famous preacher was back there, and I walked up to him and said, "I don't want to bother you before you preach". He said, "Yes, you do. Apparently you do because you are right now". I said, "No, I just wanted to know… Can you give me a piece of advice as somebody I admire? You've written so many books, and you've shared the gospel with so many people. What advice would you have for somebody who aspires to do what you do"? He said, "You don't want to be me".
I thought it was rude at first, but he was trying to tell me something. He was trying to tell me about the surcharge of sacrifice. What I saw in his books that I admired… I don't know who this is for, but you have to be careful you don't set the blueprint of your life based on the part of somebody else's life you see, because they might be cropping out stuff you don't want to copy. I wish this was Inside Elevation, because I would tell all of the pastors in this room, "There's some stuff about Elevation Church I would not advise you to do". This is a great church. To me it's the best church in the world. I love the church I pastor, and you can't talk me out of that, but come on, man. When we call the event "Inside Elevation," it's not really inside Elevation. It's barely inside. It's like lobby Elevation. It is not kitchen Elevation. You're not going to see the real mess of it.
See, this is what we do. We want to copy one part of somebody's life. What happens when we do that is we miss the bigger picture. I wonder, have you been missing the bigger picture because you've been trying to copy somebody else and you saw one part of their life? They have more followers than you, but their kids aren't following them anymore because they're never there. "That's right. That's why I don't do social media". I'm not just talking about the platform. I'm talking about the thing inside of us. Do you know what I mean? Where we copy somebody who if you could really get them would say, "Don't do it like that. That's crazy. It cost me too much".
The writer of Hebrews… Nobody even knows who wrote Hebrews, but he's so brilliant, because he's showing us Moses. Why is he showing us Moses and then Jesus? Because he's showing you that Moses could only take you so far. Even for the children of Israel… I mean, think about it. Moses led them to the edge of the Promised Land, but he didn't get to take them in. Joshua did that. When God called Joshua… Now Moses was a great man. No doubt about it. Moses was actually gracious with the people he led, because God said one time, "Well, I'll just kill them and start all over with you and give you better people to lead". He said, "Lord, don't do that. It'll make you look bad. You said you'd put your name on these people and your hand was on them to bring them out of Egypt, so if you kill them it's going to make you look bad. I probably would vote for you to kill them too, but if we really take this into consideration, it's not good for your reputation, God, even though it's my preference right now".
That notwithstanding, Moses was so controlled by the focus group he sent into the Promised Land he copied the fear of the 10 spies who said, "We can't go in," and he never got to lead the people. So, by the time Moses dies in Joshua, chapter 1, God is giving Joshua a talk about what he has called him to do. He says something kind of cool. Remember, Moses really knew God. But look at this in Joshua 1:5. After he says, "I'm going to give you this land that I swore to the people…" Joshua 1:5: "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you…" What does that mean? That means, "I'm going to be present with you like I was present with him, but your process, Joshua, will not be like Moses' process. And another thing: his limitations will not be your limitations. Where he stopped is where you're starting".
You're not going to be like me. You're going to be better than me. You're going to be so much better than me. You're not Steven Furtick's son. I'm going to be Elijah Furtick's dad, Graham Furtick's dad, Abbey Furtick's dad. Do you understand? When God calls you, when he puts his Spirit in you, you are not limited by what you've seen. That's not the end of your potential. So, he tells Joshua, "I'm going to be with you like I was with Moses. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful…"
What's my sermon called? Be Careful What You Copy. Listen. I want you to listen like God is talking to you. "Joshua, don't be limited by what you saw Moses do. Moses is not your model; God is". That's what the writer of Hebrews is saying. See, the law could only take you so far. That's why Jesus came. The law was good, but it could only get you so far. The law was great, but it was flawed in that you couldn't keep it. There was nothing wrong with the law. There was something wrong with me. I'm the lid that kept me from going further when the law was my regulation.
So now, what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his Son, the better High Priest, in the order of Melchizedek, whose blood weighs more than a million bulls and goats and doves. That's who Jesus is. He is the arbitrator and the mediator of a better covenant. My covenant is not with Moses. My covenant is not with my past. My covenant is not with others. My covenant is not with my genetics. My covenant is not with my depression. My covenant is not with fear. My covenant is not with 10 spies. My covenant is not with this staff. My covenant is not with Pharaoh. My covenant is with my Father! I have a covenant, a better covenant.
So, Be careful what you copy from before when God is trying to bring you into something better. Oh, I'm so glad I don't have to do it in this season like I did it in that season. You know how we talked about copying the world when we started the sermon? All of those drug dealers and TikTokkers and all of those evil people. That's not who the writer of Hebrews was talking to. They weren't copying the world. They were stuck in a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of worship that was external. Wouldn't that be hard? I can't even drive when I go to London because they drive on the wrong side of the road. (That's right. It's the wrong side of the road. It's pounds, not kilograms, too, while we're at it.) That's hard for me to even drive on the other side of the road. They're having to believe. They never personally saw Jesus. They're having to believe in that and let go of what they were always taught would bring them to God.
If I can make this practical, because I know that's a little abstract… Most of what we copy in relationships is not what we were taught but what we caught from the relational dynamics we were around. You know how coronavirus is contagious? So is crazy. And they don't make a mask for that yet. If they could invent a mask for that, how many of y'all would buy it? $50? $100? One of the first things Holly and I did when we sat down… This was after we had about three or four fights in our marriage. We started talking about, "How did your parents fight? How did my parents fight? What are we subconsciously copying from the way we saw conflict handled that is good, and what have we subconsciously copied that needs to go based on who we are, based on our personalities, based on our calling"?
I honor where I came from, and I honor what I saw, but I don't have to copy what I saw when it no longer fits what I'm called to. I'm going to give you that again because you just missed that filet mignon. I don't have to copy what I saw. I can honor it, but I don't have to copy it. I can honor the tradition. "Thank you, Moses. You built the tabernacle in the wilderness. Thank you, high priest". (That's the line of Aaron.) "Thank you for that". There's nothing wrong with that. In many ways, it's a continuation of that. But are you copying something you're no longer called to? Another thing… This is what happened with the Pharisees.
Do you remember the Pharisees and the Sadducees? They were sad, you see, because they… They esteemed the traditions of men above the traditions of God. That's what happened to them. What does that mean? That means that as the law was given from Moses, the law was good, but as it got copied… A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. Here's what had happened by the time Jesus showed up on the scene. They were still preaching God's commandments and copying those, but they had lost God's heart, to the point where if a man got healed on the Sabbath they would say, "You can't do that". They copied the commandments. Jesus said, "Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath". In copying it, they lost the quality of it.
A lot of our lives growing up… Everybody over 30, make some noise. There's some stuff that isn't bad, but you're standing in front of something better. If you copy the way you did it before as God is trying to bring you better… I'll give you an example from Moses' life. He did this one time. The people were thirsty one time in the wilderness. Moses is like, "Why, God? Why"? Like you're running carpool in a couple of weeks. Okay? "Why, God? Why"? The Lord is like, "Well, take that staff I gave you and strike the rock, and then the water will come out". He's like, "Really"? He's like, "Really. I'm going to show the people I'm God". He's like, "All right".
So, the same staff… Remember it? I preached about it a few weeks ago. He parts the sea with it. Now he strikes the rock with it. Here comes the water, and the people drink, and God doesn't kill them, and they go on to complain some more. Now, you have to go all the way to the end, because here's something it says in Hebrews. It says in Hebrews 13:7, "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God concerning you, and consider the outcome of their way of life". When we're looking at somebody's Instagram feed, we're not seeing the outcome of their way of life. We're seeing the snapshot. Even when you interact with people in church, they do not always lift their hands like they were doing 35 minutes ago. They are not always so peaceful and so worshipful and so holy, so don't judge yourself according to that. The Scripture says consider the outcome of their way of life.
The reason Moses couldn't lead the people in was because in his frustration about the people's grumbling… This is crazy, because I think I've done this before. God told him the second time they were thirsty in the wilderness, "Speak to the rock and the water will flow out," but Moses didn't want to speak to the rock. He wanted to do it how he did it before. In his frustration… You've been frustrated lately, so what you've been doing… This is what Moses did. It says he struck the rock…Pow!...that God told him to speak to. "I'm going to do it like I did it before. I don't care what you say, God. I'm going to get my way right away. I'm going to do this the way it benefits me. I'm going to show them. I'm the man. I'm Moses". He didn't get into the promise because he copied the way God told him to do it before. Hey thank you for watching! Make sure you subscribe to this channel so you don't miss a single video or live stream And share this video with a friend And don't forget you can join me live every Sunday. Thanks again for watching!