In “Breaking Bad Patterns,” Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church helps us shift from old, destructive habits to new, life-giving patterns.
This is a pattern you can copy: to be affirmed
by your Father in heaven so that when you are
tempted by your Enemy in the wilderness you will
have at your core your knowing of who you are.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into
the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he
was hungry. The tempter came to him and said,
‘If you are the Son of God, tell
these stones to become bread.'”
I know you know this Scripture, but let’s just
move through it, because there’s a lesson here
for today. “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man
shall not live on bread alone, but on every word
that comes from the mouth of God.”‘ Then the
devil took him to the holy city and had him stand
on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you
are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself
down.'” “Prove yourself. Show everybody
what you can do. If you’ve got it, flaunt
it. Go ahead and show everybody who you really
are. You have to make it happen for yourself.”
“‘For it is written: “He will
command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot
against a stone.”‘ Jesus answered him, ‘It is
also written: “Do not put the Lord your God
to the test.”‘” One more. We’ve already seen the
lust of the flesh. “Turn the stones into bread.”
That’s when you try to turn things
into things they were not meant to be.
That’s when you try to turn sex into
an object to gratify a spiritual need.
Rather than in the context of
marriage expressing your sexuality,
you express it in places where it spills over
and contaminates all of the places of your life,
because it creates commitments that are not
rooted in covenant but are rather rooted in
convenience and pleasure, so then the Enemy can
rip you out because you turned a stone into bread.
This is when we go seeking for people’s
validations when our Father’s voice is not
enough. When we didn’t have a leader who spoke
the Word of God over us, then we are open to
what the world thinks about us. We will change
everything until we get the exact compliment,
the exact affirmation, the exact
validation we were looking for.
That’s the lust of the flesh. The lust
of the eyes and the pride of life…
This one right here… I’ve dealt with this a
lot in my life. Verse 8: “Again, the devil
took him to a very high mountain and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
‘All this I will give you,’ he said,
‘if you will bow down and worship me.'”
Now, I’ve never bowed down and
worshiped the Devil like that,
but I have worshiped what the world worships.
I have, at periods in my life, thought a certain
level of success would make me a real man. I have
thought a certain amount of money would make
me secure. It really has to do with worship.
I don’t want to depend on God to be
my provider. That’s too uncertain.
So I start worshiping what’s in the world (lust
of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life).
“All this I will give you if you
will bow down and worship me.”
“Jesus said to him, ‘Away from
me, Satan! For it is written:
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve him
only.”‘” I realize now that I am a leader…for
these three kids, for my wife, and God
has made me a leader in this church.
Now I’m asking myself the question, “What example
do I want to set of what we worship?” I know what
the world worships. The world worships
talent. The world worships sensuality.
Here’s a weird thing about our culture. I preach
in the United States of America…Charlotte, North
Carolina. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. I’m
born and raised in the Carolinas, and I’m proud of
where I’m from. But the weirdest thing about our
culture right now is the way we worship youth.
We don’t remember our leaders who spoke the
Word of God over us. They’re irrelevant.
They’re not trendy.
We’d rather go find somebody who hasn’t even
lived long enough that we can even know if
they make it through their 20s. Do they
even live to be 30? And we will copy that.
I’m just stirred up about
it, because I am watching us
copy the world and slap a
Christian vocabulary on it,
and there are no different values in the
house of God than there are in the world.
It’s not about the external stuff. I’m not talking
about that. I’m talking about the kingdom within
you and the culture around you. You need to spend
more time remembering those who spoke the Word
over you, because that’s what Jesus did every
time he was tempted, and that’s what you copy.
You fight the world with the Word. You
fight the spirit of the world with the Word.
So, every time the Devil said, “Do it,” Jesus
said, “It is written…” He wasn’t making this
stuff up. All three things Jesus did to fight
temptation, to fight hunger, to fight pride,
to fight his senses, and to agree with the
Spirit… All three things he said were already
written in Scripture. Jesus said, “I know what
the Word of my Father is on this situation,
and I’m going to copy that. I
will not conform to this world.”
That’s why I’m glad he’s the same
yesterday, today, and forever.
It doesn’t mean the world stays the same, but
my worship stays the same, because I understand
that what God did in my life yesterday… It won’t
look like what he’s doing today, but watch this.
The same God who delivered me from that
will deliver me from this. So, I speak
by the spirit of faith, not fear.
Imitate their faith. Don’t copy their flaws.
The world is weird, and it’s not working,
and it’s broken. It hasn’t been since Eve listened
to the Serpent twist the words of her God,
and then Adam, instead of being a good
husband and leader, blamed the woman.
In my family, I have to go through this all the
time. I have to weed out the worldly values…daily.
Transform your mind. You don’t do that one time.
You won’t even get out of church good today.
It’ll probably be somebody
with an Elevation sticker
in the parking lot who will make you so upset…
They’ll probably be playing worship music too.
They’ll probably be playing “Wait On You.”
“Quit flying and drive!” Right there. It doesn’t
take long. I’m going to say it again. Stop copying
crazy. Consider the outcome.
“Where’s this taking me?”
Now I ask that about thoughts. Some things
that are really bad feel really good to
think…really good. I don’t know if you should
confess this or not. I love judging people.
I am completely addicted to it.
It’s so fun. Oh, it’s so fun.
But how it feels, the outcome
of that thought process…
One of my friends asked me the other day,
“How do you want to feel at the end of this
day? Reverse-engineer it with your decisions.”
Consider the outcome. And to consider the
outcome you have to monitor the inputs.
Now we live in a time where everybody wants this
product, whether that’s millions of dollars or
the kinds of cars or the kind of success or
the kind of marriage or the kind of life.
I want that outcome, but I don’t
want to emulate that process.
We get it backward. The writer in Hebrews
said, “Imitate their faith and consider
their outcome.” We want to imitate someone’s
outcome, but we don’t want to invest our faith.
So, I want what you have, but I
don’t want to do what you did.
So now I’ll put it on a credit card
at age 23 to have what you had at age 32 that
I didn’t want to wait a decade to achieve.
We need better examples. I’m not just
talking about cussing and drinking and
chewing and tobacco and all this stuff.
We always love to say the external stuff.
I’m talking about the internal stuff too,
and I’m talking about the values we model.
I told Elijah the other day… We have so many
good times. He said one day, “I wish we could
record all this stuff you and I talk about working
out and just put it out. It would be the biggest
podcast.” I said, “Well, we would also get
canceled,” because we talk about everything. We
talk about Hebrews 13. We talk about other stuff
too. We talk about everything, because he’s 16.
I don’t want him to imitate everything about
me. I really don’t. He started driving recently,
and every road rage I ever showed him is
coming up behind me in the rearview mirror.
I see it coursing through my son, and I’m like,
“Don’t copy that. Don’t copy that. Do you know
how I’m nice to your mom? Copy that. Do you know
how I study the Word of God? Copy that, not that.”
Then my kids get mad at me because… Holly and
I do PDA stuff all over the house all the time,
because it’s my house.
“Yes, I will walk up to your mom
in my kitchen, and I will kiss her
with my whole mouth right in front of you, and
if you don’t like it, you don’t have to look.”
Oh, sexy stuff is only allowed on TikTok. I
forgot. Not in a marriage. Because the world
told us the place for that is out of bounds,
but, Devil, I don’t copy your technological
patterns. I’m not copying crazy. I’ll kiss my
wife. I’ll hold her hand. We’ll take a nap.
We are married! The marriage bed is
undefiled. Hebrews 13:4. “I’ll kiss her again.
Go play outside. Build a fort. Kick a can. I don’t
care. Because I want you to know you are supposed
to kiss your wife and love her more 20 years…”
“I’ll tell you, marriage is dirty and gross and
nasty, so save it for your wife.” What?! I want
to emulate something that’s worth imitating.
I don’t do it all the time. That’s
why that video meant so much to me:
because I saw a time I got it right. You know
how we get so self-conscious? I saw how she
did it even better. She was about to start
head banging. I don’t know if y’all saw that.
Because we watch Guns N’ Roses videos
too. I’m going to keep it real with you.
Consider the outcome. “Where is this headed?”
Not just what does it look like or feel
like in the moment. Where is this headed?
If you keep emulating that… There are two sides of
this. Okay? I think you have to think of yourself
in this passage thinking about the examples that
were set for you, because you copy what you saw,
and you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
You don’t copy what they told you to do.
One thing my dad did that was so brilliant… He
struggled with alcoholism, and he took so many
times to talk to me about what that was like for
him. He said, “If you will commit yourself early,
you can break this. This has been generational.”
He told me about his dad’s death. He told me about
what it was like to grow up in an abusive home
like that. He said, “But you can break it,” even
though he couldn’t break it. He struggled with it
so long, sometimes victorious, sometimes defeated.
But he was determined to give me
permission to break a bad pattern.
I don’t know who you are, but there’s
one person the Lord said to tell it to.
You’re a good person; you have bad patterns.
You know how the Enemy condemns you. “You’re
worthless. You’re this. You’re that.” Then
you start to believe that, and you copy
that, and you identify yourself with that.
You’re a good person. Christ has made you
new. You’re a new creation in
Christ. God made you that way.
But if you have bad patterns… The pattern
of this world and the renewing of your mind.
There are always voices speaking
over you and to you and about you.
What are you going to copy? There’s
the example that was set for you.
In some cases, there’s the season of life you
were in and the season of life you are in.
What are you going to copy in this season of
your life? Jesus knew what to do. He said, “It is
written… It is also written… It is written…” I am
not consulting with my Enemy for my life strategy.
I’m not going to copy it. I’m not going to
take these thoughts and just think them,
because I know where they lead.
Even recently, the Lord began to deal with me.
He said, “I want you to stop indulging your
insecurities.” He said, “It gives you self-pity,
and you use that to sedate the pain of pressure.”
I wrote all this down as fast as I could
so I could remember what I was hearing
from God’s voice. “What it costs you is
much greater than what it offers you.”