Steven Furtick - Restoring Your Mind
How many times have I sent away something God put in my life because I caught a thought that I'm not enough? They wandered around and around and around in the wilderness for 40 years, not because of their enemy but because of their thought. Then even sometimes when things are going well I have this thought. I don't know where it comes from. I don't think it's God. I don't think it is. It's hard to tell sometimes, because it's not like he talks like this. He doesn't sound like Morgan Freeman. It's just a thought. Come on. If God sounded like Morgan Freeman, you could do it. If he narrated your life like that, you could do it. You could make it. You would go to sleep and wake up and just be ready for the day. But it comes like a thought. Even when it's going well… "It won't last. They'll leave you too. You can't count on them". Then you sabotage the gift because you're not secure in it, because even while it's happening you don't believe it's real.
These are my thoughts. I don't know where I caught them. I had a good mom, a good dad. I mean, they weren't perfect. Don't get me wrong. I wish I could trace it back to just one traumatic event. I think that would be easier. "I'm not enough". Where did that thought come from? I'm not sure where it comes from, but I know where it takes me. When I look back on the seasons of my life that I was so deep in depression… And I know the Bible verses. I know them better than you. Let's have a quoting contest. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice"! See my hand motions? I know the verse. "Rejoice in the Lord always". Then Paul says, "I will say it again: Rejoice"! Well, you can say it as many times as you want to, Paul. I'm sad right now, and I can't find my way out. So now I'm fighting on the level of my feelings, but before it became a feeling… It wasn't just like Moses was a bad leader.
Even Paul had to fight against opposing voices and thought systems that undermined the essence of the grace of God in the gospel, even in the churches he started, even in the church at Corinth. He would write to that church, and what would happen to them was they would be led astray, or the word he likes to use in 2 Corinthians is deceived. He says, "I fear that you're being deceived by the power of suggestion". He uses the example… He says, "Like Eve was deceived by the Serpent". Do you remember that story? When God said, "You can eat any of this," and then she caught a thought from a snake. She allowed something that was beneath her to speak to her. She caught a thought. See, I've never had a snake slither up to me and talk to me. I wish I did. I wish it was a snake that I could chop the head off of. It's a thought, and I have to live with this, and I have to deal with it. The Serpent said to Eve, "Did God really say…"? Do you see it? He introduces a doubt into the possibility and potential of faith, causing her to focus on what is not available rather than what is. Paul says, "I'm afraid that you will be deceived".
There are these spies in the church at Corinth, and they're leading the Christians astray. They're doing it by the power of thought. They are introducing the thought into the church that you need something other than Christ to justify you. He says, "I fear that you have been led astray from your pure devotion to Christ". Pure is the right word. That's the important word: pure. It's that uncontaminated place that you access occasionally, where you know God has got you and everything is going to be all right. Have you ever just felt that and you had no reason to and you didn't even have the facts to back it up? Have you ever just felt that, like, "Wow! I feel like I'm going to make it and God is going to do it. I can't even prove it on a flow chart or anything like that, but I just…" What happens is the Enemy deceives you. He can't take what God gave you. You know that, right? I need to make sure you know that. He can't take what God gave you, but if he can get you to catch a thought that opposes it, he can keep you so weak you will not walk into it.
This is what he says to the church at Corinth, because they have spies running around introducing lies to the church. They have thoughts that oppose the knowledge of God. In fact, that's how he phrases it. In 2 Corinthians 10:4 he says, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds". What's a stronghold? In military terms, it's a place that you go to seek refuge, where you set up to do a battle where the enemy can't get to you, or it can become a place where the enemy traps you in. He says what happens in a physical battle can happen mentally, spiritually, emotionally to any one of us at any time. It is with the thought that I can experience God. I can catch a thought of Jesus and his grace for me and his love for me and his mercy toward me, and that thought can move me to worship him in the beauty of holiness, in the splendor of his magnificence. In fact, one thought of Jesus can lift you above any wave of worry. One thought of Jesus.
Have you been having trouble breathing this week? Get a thought on your mind of the goodness of God. Do you see that battle he brought you through? Do you see that way he made for you? Just one thought of Jesus… How many know one thought can lift me out of the pit? One thought! But a stronghold can also ensnare you. A thought: "I'm not enough". A thought: "I wonder what they're thinking about me right now". They're not. But that thought: "This isn't going to end well". That thought: "I'm not what they think I am". Here's one of my strongholds: "If they really knew you, they wouldn't like you". All of us are bluffing. All of us are faking it. All of your little cool friends are faking it. They all have acne. They all have issues. They all feel lonely, and none of y'all are cool. Everybody is faking it! I don't care how expensive your shoes are. You aren't perfect! They were coming into the church like, "Oh, he's an imposter. He's not a real one". They were introducing a thought to rob them. You know the Devil is a thief, right? He can't take your promise, so now he wants to steal your thoughts.
I was reading something in Proverbs. Can I show you this real quick? In Proverbs 6:30, it says, "People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving". A thief is just a thief. You know the Enemy is a thief. You can't blame him for trying to steal what he doesn't want you to have, but check the next verse. I love this. Verse 31: "Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold…" Today we came into this service to catch a thief and to let him know, "Give me my joy back! Give me my peace back! Give me my wisdom back! Give me the joy of my salvation! Restore it sevenfold". I caught a thought. I realized that he loves me, and if he loves me, it doesn't matter if you like me. I caught a thought! I'm bold about it! I'm born for it! I'm named for it! I'm called to it! I believe I'll walk right forward into my future, holding onto a thought of the favor of God.
Some of y'all need to catch this. Come on, catch this favor. Catch this word. Catch this joy. Catch this peace. You've been hanging around Facebook, but you came in here for some faith today. Well, catch this. God is for you. He's more than the world against you. Keep those 10 spies out of your head and listen to Caleb. We can! We should! We will! He is! I have! I am! I caught a thought. Just like I caught a cold last February, I caught a thought. I found out that he is able. I found out that he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I found out he is the Bread of Life. He is El Shaddai. He is more than enough. I caught a thought of God! A thought brought me into depression, and a thought is going to bring me out. When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of Glory died My richest gain I count but loss And pour contempt on all my pride.
What's he saying? "I caught a thought of the goodness of God, and it lifted me out of the pit of my despair". You can't keep the thought from coming, but watch what Paul said. He said, "We demolish strongholds". How do we destroy it? Verse 5 is important. He said, "We demolish [every spy that says we can't] and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…" How many know something about God that is deeper than a feeling? I mean, you've known it since you were a child. You've known it in your soul. You've known it in your spirit. Deep calls to deep. When I have a thought that opposes what I know about God… What are you going to do about it? I can't keep it from coming, but he said, "…we take captive every thought to make it obey Christ". So when they say, "You seem different this week. You don't look so stressed this week," tell them, "Oh yeah. It's the craziest thing. I caught a thought. It was about this big. I found out God is about this big. I caught a thought of his greatness. I magnified him in my mind. I began to rejoice in the Rock of my salvation. 'This I recall to my mind; therefore I have hope.' I caught a thought, and it led me to a hope".
Now, the thought you hold on to, the one you allow to dominate, will be the stronghold of your life. If the Lord is your stronghold, if he is the place where you hide, if you catch a thought, a glimpse of your calling… There was a woman who was bleeding on the inside. She heard Jesus coming through her part of town. She had done everything to fix it at the level of the symptom, but nothing worked. The condition she had was a deep one. It was causing her to hemorrhage and lose blood, just like many of us are hemorrhaging emotionally and losing energy and losing hope. When she heard Jesus passing through, her desperation for a change caused her to do something dramatic in her life. She had gotten a second opinion and a third opinion and a fourth opinion, and none of that worked, but here comes healing, and here comes hope.
The Bible says she did what she had to do to get through all of the people who could have blocked her and to grab ahold, to catch Jesus as he was passing by to heal somebody else. He's moving quickly, and Peter is backing everybody away. "Don't touch him! He's in a hurry". But she reaches out, and the Bible says she touched his cloak. She caught him. She caught his cloak. She caught what could heal her. She caught a flow. She caught a miracle. She caught a change. Mark 5:28: "…because she thought…" Before I caught the answer, I caught a thought. Before I caught forgiveness, I caught a thought. Before I caught bitterness, I caught a thought. "If I can catch a thought, I can catch his cloak, and if I can touch him, he can make me well".