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2021 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - The Only Way To Gain Real Confidence

Steven Furtick - The Only Way To Gain Real Confidence


Steven Furtick - The Only Way To Gain Real Confidence
TOPICS: Confidence

Here's what I'm trying to say: let's stop being so quick to categorize people based on what we see with our eyes or where they are in certain behaviors in their lives. Judge nothing before the appointed time. You don't even know what battles they're fighting, and you don't know how far they've come, and you don't know what it has taken them just to keep running the race. They might be limping, but they might make it to the finish line because they limped. I don't know anymore. I put no confidence in the flesh. I don't have categories…they're not as clear anymore…for who's a godly person and who's not and who God has favored and who God hasn't.

Some of the people I thought were walking in the favor of God were faking it, but I didn't know it until they fell apart. Paul is writing to Damascus one day, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees, in regard to the law, righteous, connected and competent. All of a sudden, he was blinded by a light on his way to imprison Christians in Damascus and bring them back to Jerusalem to be sentenced. Something happened to him that will happen to all of us in one way or another. If it hasn't happened to you yet, send me a text message when it does. God in his mercy and wisdom knew, "If I allow Paul to remain confident in his flesh, he will not fulfill my purpose for his life. He will live the rest of his life putting his confidence in himself and his competence and his character".

So all of a sudden (you can read it in Acts, chapter 9), a blinding light throws Paul from his horse. He is thrown to the ground on the way to exercise his gift. With authoritative letters from the Jewish ruling council, he falls off of his horse, and a voice from heaven asks him, "Saul! Saul! Who do you think you are"? Saul said back, "I don't know. Who are you?" and the voice said, "I am Jesus". Paul spent three days blind, and someone had to lead him by the hand. That's when life gets really interesting: when you're used to leading others, when you're used to knowing what to do, when you're used to making it happen, when you're used to smiling and getting through it, but then every once in a while something will come along in your life, and you'll say, "I didn't take a class on this. I didn't read a book about this. Nobody told me it would feel like this. I wasn't prepared for this. I didn't know it would be like this".

Paul said, "I lost my confidence, and I had to start all over. I had to give up all of my connections, because everybody hated me who I used to serve with. I had to start all over, because I didn't know how to preach Jesus because I just met him. I had to humble myself, and I had to reevaluate my character, because I had been comparing myself to others". You know how we do. Holly preached this brilliant message to the ladies a couple of weeks ago. Everything about it was good, but I just want to correct one thing she said. She said, "We need to stop comparing ourselves to others". I think she's wrong about that. I think we need to compare ourselves to others every chance we get until we are so sick of comparing ourselves to others… If you compare yourself to others long enough, you will come to the place eventually… If you're not there yet, you'll get there. Just keep doing it. Keep comparing yourself to others. Just keep right on doing it. Do it to make yourself feel better. Do it.

When you see somebody whose kids are on drugs, you just silently tell yourself, "My kids would never do that". Go ahead and do that. Just go ahead and do it. When you see somebody who's not married, "I'll tell you, if they did…" Go ahead and compare yourself to them, because you're better than them. That's why you're married and they're not. Just go ahead and compare yourself. Go ahead and do it. Go ahead and do it the other way too. Go ahead and compare yourself to people who are better than you all the time. Just all the time look at everybody sucking in on the 'gram, and then compare yourself bloated after a whole day of running your kids around, and then compare yourself who didn't have time to eat healthy because you actually care about other people, and that's why you had to go through McDonald's… Compare yourself to them. You won't even know they're selfish and that's why their body looks like that, because they never have time for anybody else.

Here's what I want you to do. I want you to completely compare out of context for as long as you can. Don't ask the question, "They're really successful on their job, but I wonder if they're happy". Don't ask that question, because if you could compare across all of the categories you might see that their success is costing them their fulfillment. But don't do that. Just completely take it all out of context, and compare what people show you to what you can see. Don't take time to wonder what's really going on, and don't take time to stop and think about how they're so gifted and they're so wonderful. Just compare yourself to them until you feel so terrible the only place left for you to go, the only thing left for you to conclude, the only thing left for you to do is to fall down off your horse and say, "God, I'm sick of myself. I'm sick of false standards. I'm sick of worldly measurements. I'm tired of my flesh. I'm tired of keeping up. I'm tired of falling short. I'm tired of looking around".

In that moment, you will come to the point that Paul came to in verse 7, where he said, "I compared myself to everyone else so long, and it finally brought me to a point, not because I hit the bottom but because I was on top, and then something happened in my life: I compared myself to Jesus. When I compared myself to him, I didn't have anything left to brag about. When I compared myself to him, I wasn't such a good person after all. When I compared myself to him, I lost my confidence in me. I lost my confidence in how nice I am and how sweet I am and how polite I am and how educated I am. When I compared myself to the fullness of wisdom that was revealed in Jesus Christ, I didn't bring up my IQ anymore, and I didn't show him my SAT scores. When I compared myself to him, my posture changed. When I compared myself to him, I quit trying to be first place in a race I realized I couldn't win. When I compared myself to him, I fell off my horse, and I was led by the hand".

Paul says in verse 7, "Now whatever were gains to me I consider loss. I lost my confidence, but I gained Christ". I speak this message today in the hopes that someone who has lost your confidence in yourself would realize that this is a necessary step for you to receive the righteousness that comes by faith. That's what Paul says here. He says, "I lost my connections. I lost my sense of competence. I found out I wasn't so good at everything". You know how life is. Just about the time you master a set of skills, the whole game changes. By the time I figure out how to get my kids to be quiet, then they're teenagers and I'm trying to get them to talk to me. The whole opposite changes. It's designed that way. I wonder if God is trying to strip you of your confidence today so you can gain something greater. I lost my confidence to preach to people and tell them, "If you do this, God is going to do that".

I don't make those kinds of promises anymore, because now I have a different kind of confidence. It's a kind of confidence that doesn't come from circumcision and changing your behavior, getting it right, knowing all of the answers. It's an inward confidence. I wonder if that's the real contrast here. We are trying to project confidence, and God is trying to impart it. I wonder if we're so busy trying to be confident and seem confident that we have isolated ourselves. So we stay in places where no one really knows us and no one can really touch us, because we have gotten so good at looking confident, but on the inside we have lost a sense of ourselves and we have lost touch with our humanity as we project into the world pretend images of who we wish we were and who we think we should be.

Paul said, "I lost all that. And you know what? I'm glad I lost it. I'm glad I got knocked off my horse. I'm glad I got my heart broken. I'm glad I got my plans disrupted. I'm glad I found out that the world wasn't flat. I'm glad I found out that it didn't revolve around me. I'm glad I didn't know what to do. If I would have kept trusting in my flesh, I would have spent the rest of my life measuring myself against an irrelevant standard, but something wonderful happened. When I lost my confidence, I gained Christ". Verse 8: "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things". "I'm letting it go. I'm not trying to get back on my horse. I don't even want to ride in that direction anymore. I've been down that road, and I'm ready for something better". "I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…"

Take the whole world. Take my skills. Take my knowledge. Take my insight. Take my appearances. Take my youth, but give me Jesus. "[I want to] be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith". It's not about how much confidence you have; it's about on what basis you've built it. The answer to our anxiety isn't just more confidence; it's more Christ. He says in verse 10, "I used to know a lot of things about the law. I used to know a lot of things about life, but now…"

Look at what happens after you lose your confidence and your arrogance and your prejudice and your presuppositions. He said, "Now that I've lost my confidence, I want to know Christ. I don't want to know about him. I don't want to know what I think I know about him". "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection…" After you have lost your confidence, you can expect a resurrection. I told my friend what I was going to preach to you today. I said, "I'm going to preach on 'I Lost My Confidence.'" He texted me after I preached the first message and said, "Did you get it back"? I said, "No, I told the people to let it die". To let that confidence we put in what we can see and in what we can know and in what we can feel…let it die. Let it be nailed to the cross.

God will allow certain circumstances in your life, and he will use those circumstances to crucify your false confidence. If we don't understand this, we will try to pray our confidence back down off the cross, and we'll try to get it back. We'll go back into those same modes, but only after it dies can it be resurrected as faith. I lost my confidence, and I'm glad I did, because while I was confident in me I could not have faith in him. I wonder if today God brought you here not to give you back your confidence so you can get the girl and win the bid. I wonder if God brought you here to give you something better. Now that we have buried your need to prove that you're better than everybody else, because you realize that all of our righteousness is like filthy rags, are you ready now for a resurrection of faith?

That's what had to happen to the disciples. They were so confident in Jesus as an earthly king. When he went to the cross it killed their confidence, because they couldn't understand how he could set up a kingdom and die on a cross, but he had to crucify their confidence in order to give life to their faith. The same thing is happening in your life right now. You're getting older or you got rejected or something is happening in your body. It's not working like it used to. God is trying to give you something greater than confidence in your flesh. I've seen what my flesh can do, and I put no confidence in it anymore. I've seen what my effort can accomplish. I don't want to preach based on my opinions anymore. I'm ready now for the righteousness that comes on the basis of faith. Will you lift your hands in God's presence?

Father, I thank You for the word You sent forth from this pulpit today. While I understand, God, that there's a deep need in all of our hearts to feel assured that everything is going to be all right, I understand that also there are times that are necessary for us that we have to question everything. Sometimes we have to be shaken to our core in order to find a foundation that is worth building on. I just believe today that You didn't give me this word so I could preach it for myself. I believe there is a brother or a sister who has lost their confidence because their circumstances have changed or they've come to a place where something that used to work for them doesn't work anymore or they have not been affirmed in certain ways. I believe You sent me here to tell them today, "Let it go and receive something better". So, as their hands are lifted to You and their hearts are open to You, God, would You, in each and every heart in this place, fill our perspectives with faith? Take away our confidence in our flesh. God, even if we can do it in our own strength, we can't sustain it in our own strength. We need You. You are our righteousness, and You are the only confidence we have.

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