Pastor Steven Furtick Sermon Unhealthy Ways of Escape : There’s nothing you’re fighting against right now that somebody didn’t already fight against, that ought to take away a lot of the shame for those of you. Who don’t feel like you deserve to be in church?
If what the man said was true, that no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man, that means even if you struggle a little bit differently than the person three seats down your row, they need the same grace you need to be saved, and you don’t have to be ashamed about your need for grace.
Yet there is this particular way in which when we are tempted we think we’re the only ones. “I am the only one who is experiencing loneliness in this unique way, I am the only one who deals with these thoughts, I am the only one who cannot get over this and just move past it and deal with it.”
Paul says, “No. It’s common, you’re not really that special, Satan didn’t just make up a whole new temptation for you, you’re really not that special.” It’s the same temptations, and it’s the same grace that was available to me as a teenager when my biggest temptation was AOL Instant Messenger, It’s the same grace for Snapchat, It’s the same grace, it’s the same temptations.
The Reformers had a term called common grace that they used to talk about how all people experience the grace of God in some measure just by virtue of being humans who were made in his image and according to his likeness. Then there is that special saving grace, but here Paul wants us to know that just like there is a common grace, there is a common temptation.
So you’re really not alone, and you’re really not that weird, and you’re really not that broken, and there really were no parts or pieces missing in your box. You really do have everything everybody else does that is needed to accomplish what God has purposed for your life.
Just like we think the world has never been worse than it is right now, Paul says, “This is nothing new, this is the same old crap.” It’s the same crap, same old stuff they were dealing with in Corinth.
This church at Corinth was wild; they would come in for Communion and get drunk on the Communion wine, it’s the same temptations. People say, “Oh, we need to get back to the church of the New Testament.” You mean the ones where Paul had to write them a letter and say, “You shouldn’t sleep with your stepmother”? Because that was the church, it’s the same old stuff.
It’s the same temptations, like there was some pristine, pure, holy time when people didn’t struggle, it’s a different manifestation, but it’s the same temptation. It’s the same stuff.
We have to be really careful, because we’ll start judging people if their temptation has a different flavor than ours. It’s hard to be human. It’s hard to deal with the fragmented heart that is common to each of us, so early in life we begin to manage the pressure to escape the pain, and we all find different ways.
Some ways are innocent enough, some ways are destructive, and most of the ways are somewhere in between. There’s always a way of escape. Everybody in here, young and old, Baptist, Pentecostal, atheist, agnostic…we all have a way of escape.
Sometimes the place you go to to escape will become the place where you are enslaved. It may be that you are escaping for survival. You escape to a relationship that is really not good for you. You know the relationship is not good for you, but you are so lonely. Rather than live by yourself, because you feel like you’re dying inside, you would rather join up with someone who is bringing you down.
Pastor Steven Furtick tries to explain to us that we must never forget that the lord is our shepherd in trying moments, and that he is always there to guide our steps, we do not have to turn to wrong habits or worse situations when we are trying to escape.