Steven Furtick - Becoming More Than Self-Aware
Self-awareness is a wonderful thing. Self-awareness will save you from doing stupid things, but self-awareness, as you're about to see in this text, can only take you so far. Simon is aware of his sinfulness, but he is not yet aware of his "Peterness". (I'm making up a word just to make a point.) Simon says, "Go away from me, Lord; I'm a sinful man"! He's scared. You would be too. "How did you see that at the bottom of the ocean? We've been fishing here all night. We've been fishing our whole lives. You're a rabbi. You're a carpenter. You know more about the water than we do, and you've worked with wood your whole life. If you saw that beneath the surface, I wonder what you see in me". Most of us are still scared of God. We are. That's why we pray fake. You use some words when you pray. I just never heard you use those words until I asked you to say the blessing. "Thouest mightiest God-est, I prayest that thouest would visiteth us in this momentest".
What is this superlativeness? I never even heard your voice drop that low. "Almighty God…" You're a soprano! You're a bass. This fake prayer you pray. "God, I just want your glory, your glory, God! Your glory"! No, you don't. Not yet. You have to start where you are when you come to God. I praise Peter for his awareness of how Simon he still is. His first instinct was not, "That's right, Jesus. You picked the right boat this time, brother. I'll tell you what. This boat is going to carry you all around the… I'm going to take you places to preach. You picked the right boat, Jesus. You have the right captain". He said, "I'm a sinful man. You spoke about what was beneath the surface of the waters, but I don't want to let you too close. You might see what's beneath the surface of me". I don't get to see the real you when I'm preaching. I see the surface, Sunday, sanctified you sitting in that seat. My preaching began to change when I realized I'm really preaching to two yous: Simon and Peter. The Peter you was praising God during worship. "You turn graves into gardens"! The Simon you will try to turn a garden into a grave and kill something God is growing in your life before it has the opportunity to manifest.
This is why we spoke last week about the importance of knowing that both are in the boat. What attracted me to the text was not like, "Oh, pull up the nets and you'll have a catch. Pull up the nets and praise him and you'll get a promotion". You might, you might not. That's not what attracted me to the text for our study. It was the contrast. It was the contrast between Jesus, who knew everything and needed nothing, and Peter, who needed everything and knew nothing. He didn't know. He didn't know the fish were down there. He didn't know the power was in him to be a rock that God could build on as he took the gospel to Cornelius, which unleashed the Word of God into the Gentile world. He didn't know any of that in that moment, yet Peter was already in the boat. Purpose was already in the boat. That preacher that was in Peter was in the same boat with Simon. You could spend your whole life playing "Simon says," like we said last week. Not "Simon says touch your nose. Simon says touch your ear. Simon says touch your head". My inner Simon tells me much worse stuff than that.
You know, "Simon says cuss him out. Simon says don't call them back. Simon says don't try to do it; you're going to look stupid. Simon says give them a piece of your mind". We use excuses. Here's what we do. We say, "I'm just being me". You are being the me you have seen, but that's Simon. Simon doesn't get to say who you are. That's called immaturity, not self-awareness. I'm a fan of self-awareness. I think it's great if you brush your teeth. I think it's great to have people who will say, "Your zipper is down" or "You're talking too loud" or "You're talking too much". That's great. Self-awareness is amazing. It'll make you walk into a room and go, "You know what? I'm probably taking this the wrong way right now. They probably don't mean anything by it". Self-awareness is a wonderful baseline. A lot of us don't really know ourselves. We're filled with prejudices, like Peter was when he was Simon when he thought it was only for the Jewish people, and he didn't know God wanted to use him as an instrument to the Gentiles. Yeah, you. The you you knew before Jesus showed up is not the only you you can be.
Self-awareness will tell you about your proclivities. It'll tell you about your past. It'll tell you about your background. It'll tell you which way you lean. Self-awareness is an awesome baseline so you can know where you're starting, but it's a horrible ceiling to show you how far you can go. Now, this is what I put on a pink sweater to say today: you haven't really met you yet. No, no, no. That's not a golf clap line. You haven't really met you yet! Do you know why I'm clapping? I'm excited to meet the me God sees. All right. Let's work on this. Turn to somebody and say, "Nice to meet you". But I understand as I'm meeting you, I'm really meeting two yous. I'm meeting the nice, polite you who just looked at me and said what the pastor said to say, but I understand if I get stuck behind you on 485 tomorrow in traffic, I might meet Simon. A lot of preachers' sermons are so plastic, so candy-coated. But we don't need to just preach to Peter. I have to talk to Simon, because you have to walk this out. They are both in the same boat, both in the same body.
Pull out your phone. You have apps on there that can grow you in your faith. You have apps on there that can lead you off a cliff. Go to your contacts. You have contacts in there that can strengthen you in faith. You have Delilah in that phone somewhere who will cut your hair and leave you shaking and blind…yes, you do…in the same phone, in the same boat, in the same Steven. Now let me tell you. This is how it works for me. It's not all this space for me either. It can be like… Before I came out here today, I was walking around the green room speaking in tongues, just wanting to get out here so badly. Three minutes later, I thought, "O God! I don't know". Before I could even get the microphone on, my batteries wanted to die. Not the batteries on the microphone…the batteries in me. But that doesn't cancel what God spoke. Peter (Simon) had enough sense to say, "Because you say so…" "It doesn't matter how I feel about it. I can go off your word".
By the way, I want to tell you something. Jesus didn't need Peter's boat. That's why it was so powerful when Holly was talking to me and y'all were listening. She said, "Yes, you". Y'all were like, "Oh, that's my word," and I was like, "Oh, that's cute. That's my word". What I heard in that word was "He wants you". That's hard for me to believe. People don't use you because they want you; they use you because they need you. I give Peter credit for his self-awareness. "I'm a sinful man". That's exactly what Jesus knew when he went to the cross. All that was in you… That's what he died for. He's going to take care of that in Jerusalem, but for now… I may say it this way on Elevation Nights tour this week. He stepped in. Grace got in the boat knowing. Jesus needed nothing, knew everything. He knew Peter would sleep in the garden of Gethsemane while he was over there praying like drops of blood. That's not how it is for us. We wouldn't let people close if only we had known what they were going to do. Simon Peter is like, "Jesus, go away. If I let you close, I will let you down".
Jesus said, "Let down the nets". That wasn't the only "let down" in Peter's future. Jesus knew at the moment he got into Peter's boat that Peter would deny ever knowing him. Why I praise God is he got in anyway, fully knowing what Peter thinks he's telling Jesus. "No, Jesus. You don't know. I'm a sinful man. You should get in John's boat. John will lean on your chest at the Last Supper. I'll cut off an ear. I'm a sinful man. I'm a crazy guy. Get away, Jesus. You don't want any of this, I promise you. My boat is good, but my heart isn't". Can I prove to you that Jesus didn't need Peter's boat? Because I know you don't believe me. You're like, "He totally needed the boat. The crowd was pressing. It says that in verse 1. He needed the amplification to be out on the water, because there was no microphone or battery pack. He totally needed Peter's boat". But I saw in Matthew 14 something. This is later in the ministry of Jesus. "Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake". I know this might not feel good to say it, but say, "God doesn't need me". That set me free, man!
When I thought he needed me, it felt like a burden to serve him. When I thought he needed me, I thought, "I'm letting him down. God needs me so much". Not really. He wants me. Ha-ha! Do you hear that, Devil? He wants me, Steven Furtick, Larry Steven Furtick Jr. He wants me! That is a revelation. Y'all, self-awareness can only get you so far. You need divine guidance. You need a God who spoke the sea into existence to show you where the fish are. You need a God who knit you together in your mother's womb. "Before you were born I formed you and set you apart". "Simon, I got in your boat knowing. I wasn't feeling my way around. I didn't eeny, meeny, miny, moe. I knew what was in your boat. I knew what was in your heart. I knew what was in your bloodline. I knew what was in your background. I knew what was in your temperament. I knew what was in you, and I got in because I wanted to".
When you can walk on the water, you don't really need a boat. It would be a much more effective way to preach if you were standing on top of the water versus sitting in the boat of the dude who didn't even catch anything five minutes earlier. He got in, and he sat down, and he said something. When Peter did what he said, Simon saw something that scared him to death. Now, I don't know if I've been explicit about this, so let me make sure I get my point across. He's still Simon, and he's already Peter. You already have it. "Go away from me. I'm a sinful man. I'm a petty person". Then we brag about it. "Oh, that's just how I am". Simon says, "Throw a fit". You throw a fit, because "That's just how I am".
Simon says for you to isolate yourself and hide and just kind of set yourself over here because you're defective. "That's just how I am. That's just my lot. That's just the way it has always been. If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all". He's permanently Peter, temporarily Simon. So, God brings the partners. God mends the nets. All of the things I talked to you about last week… Did you hear last week? God gives you the nod to say, "Yes, you. I'm going to mend your nets. I'm going to bring you partners. I'm going to show you where to fish. By the way, I'm not going to just show you how to catch more fish. I'm going to teach you to fish for something different. I'm going to teach you how to fish for what really matters". That's what you're going through right now. God is drawing out, bringing forth. God is parenting you. They say Jesus was teaching Peter, but really he was parenting Peter. He was bringing forth Peter. Peter means petros. Peter means rock. Peter means solid. And that's you… yes, you.