Steven Furtick - You Are Not Trash
This is an excerpt from: Devil You've Held Me Long Enough
You know, a lot of times when I'm asking God to change me and my life, and God is telling me to hold on to the teaching, I picture myself… Come here, Elijah. I picture it like this. A simple picture God gave me, the simplest picture in the world. This is my oldest son I was telling you about, how we work out together in the POUND. Now listen. I can still out-bench him, out-squat him, and all that stuff. He's taller than me, but that doesn't mean he can take me. All right? The Devil is a liar, the Father of Lies. When we go in the gym, I try to train him, not only in weights, but I try to train him in truth. "Hey, man. There's some stuff God has put in you, and the lies you believe can become a lid on your life. They can become a limitation. The first thing I have to teach you is lie detection so you'll even know it's happening, because it'll sound so true". Yet all the time, Jesus is saying, "You will know the truth, hold to the truth, and the truth will set you free".
Let's stand over here where everybody can see us. You stand there. I'll stand here. Just picture this. This is the truth. This is the Word of God. This is the Bible, 66 books. It's all true, from the book of Genesis to the maps in the back. I saw it like this. He said, "If you hold to my teaching, you really are my disciples, and then you will know…" So, you have to hold it to know it. Not hear it…hold it. That means it is not the Word I preach that sets you free; it is the Word you practice. That's where it happens. When I speak something from God… It doesn't come from me. If it comes from me, it's empty calories. It's Breyers ice cream if it comes from me, but if it comes from God and it comes through me and the Spirit of God speaks, whether it's in a sermon or in your life or something God shows you over and over again or something he speaks through your wife… Not every word from God comes through somebody with a collar. Not every word from God comes on a Sunday morning, but when God speaks to you… "You know that was harsh. You know you're being stubborn right now. You know you just think you need to be right right now". When God corrects you with that… "Well, the Lord is loving".
Did you hear Jesus in John 8? He said, "This is your father the Devil speaking through you". Okay? People are too coddled. We have this coddled Christianity, where we come up alongside people and always just teach them, "God will give you grace every time you screw up". What about teaching me how to get better so I don't screw up so much? Huh? Is there an axe that can chop this thing down at the root? Because I want truth! I don't just want to pop God's promises like pills to take the pain away. I want to make progress in my life to see things how they are and to not have to live in denial. Listen, saints of God. Jesus is talking to the Jews who believed him. They thought they had the way of life that honored God, and they didn't know the truth, and it was standing right in front of them. He said, "You can't hear it, and if you will hold to my teaching…" That's what sets you free. The problem is… Come here. Bring me out what I gave you earlier. I told him, "This is so simple. The church is going to laugh at me. They're going to think, 'Oh, Pastor didn't have time to study this week. He had to bring out the props.'"
I saw it like this, because I keep seeing people who can't hold the truth, and I wonder why you can't even hold… Some of us can't even hold a compliment for 10 minutes. We can't hold it. Some of us… The Lord can give us a really good direction. We can know he spoke to us, and we can sense where God has us, and we can't… Has anybody other than me noticed your attention span is getting almost zero these days? Does that have anything to do with the technology by which advertisers are rewarded for disrupting our attention and redirecting it to some product they hope for us to buy or some truth they hope for us to consume? We can't even hold the truth anymore. It's kind of hard to have room for truth holding on to trash. This is the illustration. But, son, I need you to know it's really hard for you to hear from the Holy Ghost if you scroll six hours on TikTok. I sound like an old man right now. Forgive me, Lord. I sound 83 right now. I'm trying to tell you that you can't hold truth and hold trash.
So, what are we going to do? How many need to be set free in an identifiable, specific area of your life this year? "I need freedom". I don't know what you need freedom from. God does. The Holy Spirit does, and really deep down, you do. You know exactly what it is…the compulsion, the obsession, the addiction, the torment. You know exactly what you need free from. Now, the Scripture says who you'll be set free by. You'll be set free by the Son. You'll be set free by the truth, but that doesn't mean Jesus automatically sets you free just because you believe in him. Jesus sets you free as you hold to his teaching. The first thing to hold to his teaching… I'm going to throw this again on three. One, two, three. Do you see what he did? He did it at the very last minute, but he knew enough that when I threw him the truth, he dropped the trash to hold the truth. He almost didn't. He was confused for a moment, because he thought he was doing something important standing up here, but when the truth comes…
Now this is the year. You know the Devil has held you long enough. The Devil has held you long enough. You have been holding on to the hurt long enough. This year… I prophesy it in Jesus' name, in the name of Jesus the Nazarene, the way, the truth, the life. We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth! So, when the truth came, I had to drop the trash to hold the truth. O God. The problem was you thought this was true, because the Devil lied to you so good… He started telling you you're trash, and you started thinking it was truth, because he got you into an experience and turned it into a belief, and now you call it your truth. Look at me. The Devil is so crafty. I don't like to give so much time to the Devil, but it was in the passage, and that's why I'm addressing it directly. Okay? Understand, I don't want to give the Devil too much credit, but Jesus said the problem of this is that your desires have been informed by the lies of the Devil, so it's coming from him.
So, now he has you locked into… The truth will set you free. Well, that means a lie can keep you bound, but only if he gets you to think it's true. Satan means accuser. That's the Enemy's job. He's the accuser of the brethren. So, imagine if you're Satan and you can convince somebody God has called his inheritance, somebody God has called his precious possession, his masterpiece, his workmanship, a saint… Imagine if you can convince somebody Jesus died for that they're worthless or that they are trash. Maybe you do it… I don't know. Maybe you do it with the suggestion of rejection. "You know, the reason they left you is because there's something lacking about you". Again, let's be balanced. Sometimes relationships end because we could have been more responsible, more thoughtful. We want to analyze that, but to take the lessons you could learn from the end of a relationship and turn it into a personal judgment… "The reason people leave is because I'm unlovable". Before you know it, you start to treasure the trash more than the truth, because this feels familiar to you.