In “God Is Trying To Protect You,” Pastor Steven Furtick reminds us to not let the unexpected nature of our blessings from God make us doubt that He’s still working it out for our good. This is an excerpt from ” Don’t Waste Your Angel .” To watch the full message from @elevationchurch , click here:    • Don’t Waste Your Angel | Waymaker | P…   #Protection #Promise #purpose Chapters: 0:00 – What God Won’t Do 3:15 – The Difference Between Forgiveness & Freedom 5:45 – God, Why’d You Leave This? 9:08 – Grace To Withstand The Struggle 11:47 – How Your Weakness Will Guide You 14:26 – Your Problems Could Be Protection Scripture References: 2 Corinthians 12, verses 7-10

There’s one thing God won’t do for you. He’ll
protect you. He’ll keep you. He’ll keep your

mind. He’ll keep your sanity. He’ll keep you
from people who would harm you. He will keep

you from places that you didn’t even know if you
would have been there what would have happened.

You will never even know on this side of life
how many times God blocked stuff and turned

stuff and shifted stuff and moved stuff. You
thought it was just you were a little bit late

because you forgot your wallet, but there was
a car accident on 77 that had your name on it,

and when the Devil said, “They’re
out,” God said, “I’ve got…” Anyway,

there are so many things you
don’t even know to thank God for.

If you could see for one moment all of the
things God kept you from… Listen to me,

Blakeney. If we ever got a revelation of
what God kept us from it would be a bad

day for the worship team, because all of
the worship leaders wouldn’t have a job,

because we wouldn’t even need them,
because we would lead ourselves in worship,

because we would walk in the door clapping
and shouting and rejoicing and praising God.

Sometimes we don’t see all of the things he
has kept us from and brought us to. Now we’re

at this place, and God has protected us, God
has positioned us, and God has prepared us,

but there’s one thing he won’t do. He will not
possess the land for you. Here’s the word of the

Lord: “I will go before you, but I will not
go for you. Your faith must make the step.”

Most of them never did. If they had gone in,
they would have seen the giants who were still

in the land were left there on purpose.
That was always confusing to me. God said,

“I’m going to be an enemy to your enemies.
I’m going to oppose those who oppose you,

and when you get to the land I’m
going to start driving them out.

I’m going to chase them away so you can
inherit what I have promised to you.”

But then he says, “I’m not going to do it all
at once. I’m going to do it like the frog,

little by little.” Wait a minute, God.
If these are giants who can kill us and

cause us to worship other gods, shouldn’t you
get rid of them as soon as possible? Wouldn’t

it make sense that if God wants something out
of your life he would take it out right away?

Maybe this is just me. I grew up in churches where
they said, “If you will pray this prayer, Jesus

will come into your heart, and he will take away
your fear and your pain and dry every tear from

your eye.” Then I cried that night, and I couldn’t
figure out, “Where did that cosmic Kleenex go

that Jesus was going to bring and wipe every
tear from my eye?” I couldn’t figure it out.

I was expecting sanctification to work like
salvation. When Jesus saves you he does it

all at once. He doesn’t set you up on a 30-year
payment plan. Salvation is not a mortgage. When

he comes in, he comes all the way in. For
those of you who have received his grace,

let me tell you something that’s amazing.
You will never be more forgiven than you

are right now. You will never be
more loved than you are right now.

When he forgives you, he forgives you completely,
immediately, fully, without qualification. There

is no corner of your heart he didn’t see
when he sent his Spirit to live within you.

You will never be more forgiven than you are
right now, but there is a difference between

forgiveness and freedom. Forgiveness happens
all at once; freedom happens little by little.

It’s often so incremental you don’t even think
it’s happening. This is for everybody who’s 40

and thought you would be smarter than you
are right now. You keep doing dumb stuff

you’ve been doing all your life. You’re doing
stuff right now that you were doing at age 14,

and you have your own 14-year-old. You
still feel like a little kid yourself.

It happened to Paul. Paul was that great
apostle. Have you heard of him? He took

the gospel to the Gentiles. What God started
through Abraham he continued through Paul.

He told Abraham, “I have an assignment for you.
All of the nations of the earth will be blessed

through you.” What an assignment. He said, “But
don’t worry about it. I’m going to bless you so

you can be a blessing. I will not require from you
a resource I do not put within you.” Do you hear

me? If God called you to raise those hardheaded
kids, he will make your head even harder.

“You met your match now, because God gave
me a cranium that can withstand all of your

craziness.” God gives him the assignment and the
assistance. Paul in many ways was graced. He was

graced to be able to speak eloquently. He was
graced to be able to preach to the Diaspora of

the Jewish tradition that he himself came from,
but one thing about Paul he couldn’t understand.

There was something in his life he expected
God to take away that God left. Do you have

anything like that? Y’all are looking at me
so weird right now. Maybe you’re beyond Paul.

I would understand if you were holier than
Paul. That would make sense. But Paul was

struggling. He hadn’t quite arrived to your level
of spiritual development and maturity. Paul said,

“There was something I asked God
to do for me that he would not do.”

Now if you want to know what it was, Paul is
going to disappoint you, because he refuses

to name it by name. I’m glad he didn’t name
it by name, because if he would have said it

I couldn’t relate to it, but the fact that he
used this image (I want to read it to you now:

2 Corinthians 12:7)… It means whatever
is left in your life that you have been

blaming on the Devil can be used by God
to fulfill his purpose for your life.

Paul said, “I ascended to the third heaven. I saw
things unutterable. I was used by God in ways that

are astounding; in fact, beyond human vocabulary.
Therefore…” Watch this. This is crazy. He says,

“Because of that level of blessing, God gave me an
equal burden.” Because the greater the assignment,

the greater the adversity. The greater
the assignment, the greater the attack.

Paul said, “God took me up so high
and showed me so much there had to

be something in my life that would
keep me grounded to his grace.” He

doesn’t name it by name. He doesn’t need
to, because he knows you have your own.

He simply says, “Therefore, in order…” Here’s
the clue. “…to keep me from becoming conceited…”

There was something God gave Paul to keep him
in a space called grace, so that he would never

forget who led him along the way, so that he would
never forget who brought him out of bondage and

darkness into the marvelous light. God said,
“I’m going to leave some stuff in your life.”

“In order to keep me from becoming conceited,
there was given to me…” It sounds like he’s about

to get a new car. Right? “He gave me…” That has
me in the mindset of a gift. What did he give you,

Paul? Did he give you a house? Did he give you a
promotion? Did he give you a blessing? No, no, no.

Paul said, “One day the Devil showed
up on my doorstep with a package,

and it had a bow on it. I opened the package,
and in the package was a thorn.” It was a gift,

but it didn’t look like a gift. It was a gift,

but it was wrapped in something that looked
like pain. “I was given a thorn in my flesh.”

Was it a sickness? Was it a temptation
Paul had? Was it people talking about

him and he couldn’t shut them up? Was
it Facebook? Probably. He calls it a

messenger of Satan. How can he refer to
it as a gift if it came from the Enemy?

It was sent to torment him. That was
the Devil’s intention: to torment him.

Paul said, “God took what the Enemy intended
to torment me and used it to transform me.”

The Enemy’s tools of torment become God’s tools of
transformation. Now I get it. Now I get Exodus 23.

It’s not just the angels God sends ahead of you
that he uses to bless you. Those are wonderful.

It’s not just all of the promotions and the
prosperity and the peaceful situations. It’s

not just the yeses. Sometimes God uses the
noes to lead you to a greater yes. God said,

“No, I won’t take it away, but, yes, I will
give you so much grace you will be stronger

than it and you will discover a power you could
have never known if you didn’t have a problem.”

“But he said to me, ‘My grace…'” Everybody
shout, “Grace.” Shout “Grace.” Don’t mumble.

Shout “Grace!” like you need it. Shout “Grace!”
like you can’t make it without it. Shout “Grace!”

like it’s not just something you say before you
eat. Shout “Grace!” like you live by it. Shout

“Grace!” like he died to give it. Shout “Grace!”
like you know it’s the avenue of blessing.

“He didn’t give me relief; he gave me grace.”
Now I get why God left the giants in the land:

because he had them under contract. See, they
weren’t used to having to keep up their own

land yet, so God said, “I’m going to do you a
favor. I’m going to keep some enemies on your

property, but don’t worry about your
enemies; they work for me. I am God.”

He said, “I’m going to leave some things. I’m
going to leave some weaknesses in your life.”

“Take it away.” “No, I’m going to work
through it. No, I’m going to leave that

weakness in your life, and your weakness
is going to lead you to my strength.”

God says, “Sometimes I drive the giants out.
Sometimes I let them stay and I give them a

job. Sometimes I use the Devil to deliver my
mail. Sometimes I use adversity to create an

advantage in your life. Sometimes I take what
people meant for evil and use it for good,

because I’m God like that, and I’ve
got your back, and I’m already there.”

“I’m going to use not only my angel,
but I’m going to use your enemies,

and I’m going to leave them there.” “Why would
you leave enemies on my territory?” It’s very

simple. Historians tell us that the land of
Canaan at this time was populated with wild

animals that the Canaanites knew how to
deal with but the Israelites didn’t yet,

particularly the lions that lived in the land. God
knew, “If I clear out all of the enemies at once,

the lions will take them over.” What’s a group
of lions called? Does anybody know? A pride.

God said, “If I clear all of your enemies out
all at once, pride will take over.” Paul said,

“I delight in weaknesses [Canaanites], insults
[Perizzites], hardships [Hivites].” Don’t you see

it? Paul said, “I’m glad for my giants. I don’t
just thank God for my angels; I thank him for my

giants too. They taught me how to fight. They
built my faith.” It’s a deep message. It’s one

thing to praise God for your protection, but it’s
another thing to praise him for your problems.

I want to suggest that sometimes your
problems are your protection from yourself.

You’ve had an addiction all your life, and
you’ve asked God to take the desire away,

and he won’t. Why? “Because I want you
to need me, and I want you to choose to

serve me. I will not force you to be
free. I want it to be your decision.

So I’m going to leave some things in your
life that I know you want me to take out,

but I’m not sending you into the
fire alone. I will be with you to

deliver you. I will protect you, I will
prepare you, and I will position you,

but I cannot possess it for you.” Only you
can possess this place. Only you can do it.

I can preach to you these principles, but
I cannot possess them. No one can do it for

you. Stop expecting for God’s deliverance to
be sudden. The greatest gift God can give you

is gradual change, so he hides you from
your own progress to prevent your pride.

God doesn’t even want you to know you’re
growing. He wants you to trust his grace.

That’s why God said to Paul, “I’m not
going to give you the gift of relief;

I’m going to give you something greater. It looks
like a thorn, but it’s really grace. The Devil

might have dropped it off at the doorstep,
but I’m the one who addressed it to you. No,

I won’t drive them all out, and, no,
I’m not going to make it easier.”

God won’t fix your attitude. He’ll give you his
Spirit, and little by little, as you serve and

pray, show up, trust that he’s working in
your life… “Little by little, I am bringing

you into the place I have prepared for you.” The
greater assignment gets the greater assistance.