In “Stop Listening To The Enemy” we learn to trust God, even in the face of our doubts.

A lot of my anxiety comes because I
get confused about who is in control.

I get responsibility confused with sovereignty.
I start thinking that because God has given

me responsibility God has also given me
control, and that’s where I get stressed out.

A lot of my anxiety comes from making
it about me when it’s not about me,

making it about my strength when
it’s not about my strength. It’s

not by might nor by power but by his
Spirit, but I know God has given me a job.

I know when I stand before you like
this and people in the room are suicidal

and people in the room are addicted not only to
illegal drugs, but some are dependent on drugs

that at first they were taking the recommended
dosage, but now it has gone far beyond that…

I know there are some of you who have not slept
in three nights except for a few minutes here

and there hearing this message. I know I can’t say
the words you need. I need God to speak through me

to you. I always pray for that, because I know
how disappointing it’s going to be if I speak.

I know I need to move my mouth, and I
know my vocal cords need to rub together,

and I know I need to produce a sound, but I know I
need the substance of God behind the sound I make.

I need God to speak. I know you did
not load up those demons…I mean,

precious children, blessings,
quiver full of arrows from the Lord,

and get to this house of worship today
in Gaston or UC or Lake Norman… You did

not log on to hear me speak. You need God
to speak, and I believe God will speak.

I believe he is speaking. I believe he wants to
speak. I believe he still speaks. I don’t believe

he spoke one time in the past and now we have this
dusty book full of principles that applied at one

time but don’t make sense in a modern age. I
don’t believe God is outdated or irrelevant.

I don’t believe I need BuzzFeed to
tell me what’s going on in the world.

I have my Bible, and it’s living and active
and can penetrate through all the noise.

So I know we need God to speak,
and his Word doesn’t return void.

God will speak, but God won’t study. I have to
study. God won’t show me whether the sentence

was one sentence or two sentences. He gave me
books for that. I can’t figure it out sometimes,

and sometimes I feel like I’m a control freak,
and sometimes I feel like it gets in the way.

I really do. I feel like it gets in the way.
I feel like I want to control things. I want

to control people. I’m manipulative, and I see
it, and I hate it, but I do it. It’s a habit.

I know God’s hand is the hand that’s really
moving things around, but I want to put my

hand on God’s hand and just kind of nudge…
You know, sometimes God needs a little help.

Peter is writing from experience. He
didn’t come by humility easy. That’s

why I like to listen to him, because
he didn’t always think this way.

When Jesus was getting ready to go to the
cross, he told his disciples… He’s like,

“Hey, come here.” This is Matthew 16:21.
Jesus said, “I have to go to Jerusalem

and suffer many things at the hands
of the elders.” At this point,

Peter didn’t think the Savior was supposed to
suffer. Jesus’ mission did not fit his mindset.

He was still confused about whose
hand was writing the schedule. Peter,

in a younger version of himself, did not know
how to humble himself under the hand of God

or the plan of God. He liked the provision.
“Hey, Jesus, don’t go die. Let’s go feed some

more people. That was awesome when you did
it. That little boy was so happy. Jesus,

it was amazing. Everybody got a bag of
leftovers. It was great. You don’t have to die.”

Watch what Peter did. Jesus said, “I have to go.
I have to suffer. It’s a part of a plan. I have to

fulfill the plan. I can’t get caught up in my
preferences. I can’t get caught up in my ideas,

my expectations, or the expectations of
others. I didn’t come to be an earthly king;

I came to inaugurate a reign and a rule
that is not the result of human hands.”

Peter (verse 22) took Jesus aside…

He put Jesus in time-out. The same dude who
was saying, “Humble yourself…” This is like

you telling your kids not to do exactly
what you did when you were their age.

Younger Peter, “first half of life” Peter says,
“Lord, never! This shall never happen to you!

I won’t let it. If they try, I have a sword
and they have an ear, and watch what I can do.

I’ve got a plan. Let’s go. Work my plan.”
Verse 23 says, “Jesus turned and said to Peter,

‘Get behind me, Satan!'” Ooh, that’s a
downgrade. He went from Simon to Peter.

That was his first name. Simon is kind
of like shifty, and Peter is the rock.

He goes from Dwayne Johnson in one verse to
Satan in the next verse. He says, “You are

a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind
the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

“You still think you’re in control,
and that’s why your mind is a mess.

You are still trying to control things that are
beyond your pay grade, Peter. You’re confused.”

We get confused. Sometimes I don’t know
when to let go. I don’t do this very much,

because I’ve seen some really, really,
really horrific things happen on church

stages, but sometimes I call somebody up on
stage and have them share, and I don’t know them.

I feel kind of like my responsibility is
to control whatever happens on this stage

as the pastor, so when they come up… Usually I’ll
call them up and ask them to share something,

and I do this even with our staff. I’ll
call them up and ask them to share,

but one thing I learned to do… I
always keep the mic in my hands.

When they come up, they think they’re
going to take the mic, but they’re not.

I’m the mic stand, and I’m going to hold this mic.

In case you decide that now would be a good time
to say something weird, I can snatch it back.

I just like the feeling it gives me of
being in control. You know, I might ask

you something and you say, “Well, when I was 3…”
“We don’t have time for when you were 3. I didn’t

ask you all that, and I have the mic.
Give it back.” It gives me a good feeling.

Because there are crazy Christians. Sometimes
when I call them up I can’t see their eyes, and

when they get closer I’m like, “Oh God! I picked
one of those.” You don’t see it from a distance.

So I like to keep the mic. I like to hold the
mic. The interesting thing is I’m holding the mic,

but there’s a guy you don’t see, among many others
at our different locations, who happens to be in

the back of the room sitting behind a console.
It’s interesting. I’m up here talking, and I’m

holding the mic, but at any moment he can
decide… At any moment he can decide… You know,

maybe I fuss at him or something like
that and he doesn’t like it. At any…

Here’s the principle: I’m holding
it, but I’m not controlling it.

That’s what I know about my life.

That’s what I know about my time. That’s what I’m
learning about my money. That’s what I’m learning

about my children, my responsibility. I’m holding
it, but somebody I can’t see is controlling it.

He’s in control. He speaks and winds
obey. He speaks and waves die down.

He speaks and seas split, because what I can
see is controlled by that hand I can’t see. Now

I want to humble myself under that mighty hand.

I’m coming to the place in my life where I say,

“God, I don’t even know what I need
anymore, so I trust you and your timing,

and I trust you and your heart, and I trust
you and your wisdom,” and I humble myself. As I

humble myself, my anxiety goes out the door
with my pride and my arrogance and my plan.

I become what Peter says is the goal of the
Christian life in verse 8, which I don’t like

any more than I like verse 6, but it’s on the
other side of verse 7, and I want the result of

verse 7, because I don’t want to live with the
weight of the world on my scrawny shoulders.

So I have to be what Peter says… Strange
phrase. He says, “Be alert and of sober mind.”

I didn’t even know I was drunk,

but I am. Peter didn’t know. He was stumbling,
telling Jesus what Jesus needed to do.

Do you see how we get intoxicated? In the age we
live in, there’s so much information coming at us

we’re drunk and we don’t even know it. We can’t
defend ourselves, and we’re getting eaten alive.

God gives us peace, and the Enemy eats right
through it, because he’s a lion. At least

that’s what I always thought. I thought he was a
lion. This week I slowed down and read the verse,

and I realized the Bible never says the
Devil is a lion. He’s a liar. I know

he’s a liar. Do you know how you can know
when the Devil is lying? When he’s talking.

He’s a liar, but he’s not a lion.

Peter says, “Watch out…” One translation
says, “Pay attention. Wake up,”

or “Be alert and of sober mind.”
Here’s why: “Your enemy the devil…”

Your enemy. God’s enemy is pride. Your enemy
is the Devil who wants to fill your mind.

As if we don’t already suffer enough, as if we
don’t already have enough to deal with today,

he wants to put you in a hypothetical tomorrow,
where things may or may not happen, or put you

in a past, replaying what you wish you would have
said to the person who offended you. How many come

up with great comebacks about three weeks too
late? “God, let me see them again. Please let

me see them again and let them say it just like
they said it. I’m ready now.” The Devil is a lion.

But he does not say, “Watch out for the lion.”
The Devil is not a lion. What does it say?

“Your enemy prowls around like…” He’s
not a lion. He’s loud like a lion,

but he’s not as powerful as a lion unless you
let him be. This is what I’m going to teach in

the series. Are you coming back after this week?
I really want to get into this, and I want to look

at some of the lies we have believed in the realm
of our minds. That’s where the attack happens.

We’ve been looking for a lion, but
it’s not a lion coming to attack us;

it’s our minds. It’s in our minds. We’ve been
calling the wrong stuff the Devil. “I got a

flat tire. It’s the Devil.” No, it was a nail.
It was a construction site. They’re building

houses across the street. “I ate a doughnut.
It was the Devil.” No, it was delicious.

“It’s the Devil. It’s the Devil.
It’s the Devil. I’m under attack,

a spiritual warfare. Devils are attacking me.”

“What do you mean devils are attacking you?”

“Well, my mother-in-law is coming to visit.”

That’s not the Devil. That’s your prayer
request. Remember when you asked those

women to pray that you would have more
patience? Well, God wrapped patience in

a package that looked like your mother-in-law,
and she’s about to get FedExed to your doorstep.

God delivers. That’s not the Devil. He’s
loud, but he’s not a lion. What is he?

I remember hearing years ago about

the part of our brains… Again, bear with me.
I know there are neurologists in the crowd.

You don’t make me feel bad about that and
I won’t make you feel bad about the Bible.

We’ll just agree together that everybody
stays in their own lane. But I did hear about

something (the phrase got my
attention) called the lizard brain.

I wrote a book one time about the chatterbox, and
I think I was trying to talk about what they call

the lizard brain. I just remembered it the other
day, because Abbey wanted to show her brothers…

She’s our youngest child and our
only daughter, our smartest child.

I’m just kidding. My son is in here. But she
does have a little advantage over the boys

because she has always had to step it up to keep
up, and she’s superior by virtue of being female.

(Working my pulpit, winning some points.)

She wanted to go all the way across the pool and
hold her breath, which her brothers couldn’t do

until they were 10, and she’s 7. She’s like, “I
can do it. I can do it. I can do it.” I said,

“All right. Let’s do it.” She wanted
everybody to see her. I said, “You can do it,

but just know that the lizard brain is going
to be telling you that you can’t do it,

but the lizard is lying.” She said,
“There’s a lizard in my brain?”

I said, “No, baby.” You know, she’s 7,
so I just pretended to be an expert.

I said, “The human brain…” I gave her some
outdated theory on the triune brain that

probably isn’t even accepted anymore, but
I was talking about that thing that is real

in our brains that doesn’t process at the
level of wisdom and doesn’t process at the

level even of emotion but processes at the
level of fear. They call it lizard brain (or

they called it lizard brain) because it’s no
different than a reptile, a snake or a lizard.

So when I told her, “Don’t listen to the lizard,”
I was explaining, “You’re going to go down,

and you’re going to think you’re going
to die, but you’re not going to die.

Just don’t listen to the lizard.” She went
down under that water, and she swam clear

to the other end, and she came up. She took
the biggest gasp, the biggest gulp of air,

and she was so proud. She said, “Man, that lizard
is loud!” I said, “Well, what did you say back to

him?” She said, “I told him, ‘Shut up, lizard!
I’m doing this.'” Now hold on. I know the Enemy

has been telling you some stuff. I know he has,
because that lizard has been talking to me too.

But I came to tell you today that lizard has
no power over you. He might bruise your heel,

but you’re going to crush his head. In the
name of Jesus, I am going to make it! I shall

live and not die! I’m going to raise my kids.
I’m going to make a difference in the world.