How far from the reality is the movie in my mind? Don’t you think it matters? We like to make life more difficult than what it is. So, yes. It matters.
This is another sermon from the series Triggered by Steven Furtick and we’re focused on living a life without anxiety destroying our potential.
This one is very interesting because we are getting inside of our mind to see how some characteristics of our mind can be very harmful. Let me give you a little advance: It all starts with manipulation.
The Movie in my Mind
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.Luke 10.38 NIV
Jesus was always focused on his path, but through the path, there are great invitations of God that usually will seem like life’s little interruptions.
Before this story, Jesus gave the parable of the good Samaritan on which we could see a lot of people who got distracted on their own plans.
It’s interesting to mention this context because sometimes our plans are the distraction while some interruptions are God’s plans.
For now, it may not be clear how our plans can be distractions, but you will understand it better with this story of Martha.
39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10.39-42 NIV
For Steven Furtick, his favorite character is the one who is getting crapped on. And it makes sense when he explains it. No one wants Mary in their staff, we all prefer Martha because we like people who do stuff.
Sure, Martha had a bad attitude but Mary has a gofundme.
Notice that is Martha in verse 38 who opened her home to the Lord, she’s the one paying the mortgage. So, before we beat up on Martha for being too busy, let’s recognize that if it were up to Mary, Jesus wouldn’t have met them or eat with them. Thank God for Martha. She’s the one bringing the Messiah at home.
Not that is your business but Martha means “MASTER” and she’s probably a widow since there’s no mention of her husband.
When Jesus rebukes her, He’s correcting her distracted approach as it says in verse 40 “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made”.
It may seem weird that Jesus is correcting the responsible one, but Jesus is not correcting her actions, He is correcting her attitude.
Jesus wasn’t mad at Martha because she was busy. In fact, the reason He liked her house is probably that it was clean and the reason it was clean is that she didn’t stay praying 24/7.
Guilt might be the root of Martha’s bad attitude in this passage. Actually, there are 5 characteristics of Martha’s heart in this story, and about the movie that Martha made in his mind.
Martha goes from managing the situation to manipulating the situation. She invited Jesus and then she started telling Jesus what to do.
Manipulation es when I start holding the responsibility that God has given me rightfully, too tightly. It’s a subtle shift. We can easily find ourselves beginning to control something or someone that God has called us to care about, not to control.
That’s when you found yourself doing the right thing in the wrong level.
We know Martha started to be manipulative in her approach because she tells God what He should tell her sister. She’s telling God what He should do. This is a passive way to get her way.
I want to apologize for preachers who don’t know what it’s like in the real world, preachers who don’t understand that if you’re gonna provide for your family, sometimes it’s gonna mean that you might not be able to be in church in every single weekend. I understand this is a priority for you, but I understand you’re not perfect.Steven Furtick
Religious manipulation can make you feel like you’re never winning anywhere.
There’s a saying “nobody ever said on their deathbed, I wish I could spend more time at work”. Sure, that’s beautiful, but we’re not on our deathbed yet. Right now, you or your loved ones have needs and to meet some of those needs you have to get money and to get the money you have to work.
See what’s happening? We’re not talking about bad things. You want to worship in church but you also want to provide for your family. We’re getting pulled not between the good and bad, we’re getting pulled between several good things. And that’s how you get distracted.
This is the second spirit we can see on Martha as we can see on ourselves.
You can hear a lot of people who say “I’ve to go to work”, but the truth is that you don’t have to. Don’t go and see if the world stopped spinning.
The spirit of obligation is the enemy of joy. What happens naturally is that things that used to feel like a great opportunity, start to feel like an obligation. That’s the way the enemy gets Mary to start acting like Martha.
This is not much the story of two people but the story of two tendencies.
We can all be in a moment of Mary and out of nowhere, we develop the spirit of got to, the spirit of need to, and the spirit of have to. The moment we start to feel the pressure, we should remember that it’s not an obligation, it’s an opportunity. We don’t got to do it, we get to do it.
After all, why is Martha so upset? It was her idea to host these people in the first place.
Jesus is not rebuking our responsibility, it’s our heart. Let me make this very clear because is not like Jesus hate our hustle. Actually, Jesus likes to see you make the most of your day.
In our little minds, we can’t believe that God cares more about us than he does about what we do.
You should also read [Lions & Lizards & Lies].
Be careful, because if you want to sit in the seat of the judge, you’ll end up as the victim of your own judgments.
Most times we are just victims of our own decisions.
Martha said “Mary left me all along”, but Mary didn’t send the invitations, she wasn’t the hostess, Martha was. As Luke 10.38 says “A woman named Martha opened her home to him”.
Have you been complaining about the schedule that you made?
Why Jesus said “Martha” twice? It was to call her attention since she was distracted.
Martha starts as the judge and she ends up as the victim. Comparison will always kill contentment. Martha lost her peace and that’s what bothers Jesus.
The movie in my mind: I start to interpret the fact that people didn’t check on me to mean that they don’t care about me. This is what happens to Martha.
In Luke 10.40, Martha said ”Lord, don’t you care?” and Jesus is like ”not really, I care about you but I don’t care about what you care about right now”.
Martha interprets the fact that Jesus is not doing what she wants him to do as a sign that He does not care about her and nothing could be further from the truth. She doesn’t get it, but what Jesus is telling her is ”I care more about you than you care about you and that’s why I wish you would just be here with me”.
So, the strategy is this: God wants me to give but first I gotta get filled. Otherwise, I will be ministering and living out of emptiness, that is, to live at the level of what I expected.
The final element of this passage is expectation which if you haven’t notice, it forms the acronym MOVIE = Manipulation + Obligation + Victimization + Interpretation + Expectation.
You would never be able to interpret what God is doing if you never stop talking and start listening.
The contrast in this story is not about work and worship, the contrast is between Many and One. That’s why Jesus said ”Martha, you’re concerned about many things, you’re doing too much, but there’s only one thing needed.”
This story doesn’t have an ending, we don’t know if Martha replied something.
Although, we know that Martha didn’t learn the lesson, as most of us don’t either. We know this because, in the story of Lazarus, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus to come and heal their brother Lazarus. Yet, Jesus didn’t show up and deliver his lines according to their script.
Jesus shows up a little late because He had a different script. Jesus could say: ”In your script, you expect me to show up and heal your brother. In your mind, in your movie, I show up, say my line like ‘be healed’, and everyone’s happy. But, I’m not gonna say that. I have something in mind. I’m working from a different script.”
Let’s see what really happened when Jesus finally arrived at Bethany:
20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”John 11.20-22 NIV
Can you see how Martha is still trying to manipulate Jesus? She’s still playing the movie in her mind.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;John 11.25 NIV
Mary scripted a healing, Martha scripted a healing, but Jesus flipped the script and gave them something greater than they could know, expect, request, or guess.
When you know the one who directs your movie, you know how it ends and for Lazarus wasn’t what everyone thought.
Sometimes you have to sit like Mary (at the feet of the Lord). There’s a Mary in all of us that knows what is important, and that knows how to walk with the Holy Spirit. There’s also a Martha within us, that means well but tries to do too much.
It’s better to be misunderstood like Mary than being distracted like Martha.
We need to remember that the movie that God is making, is way better than the one that we’ve scripted.
God is telling you “If I always meet your expectations, I will never be able to exceed them”.
By the time we see Martha in her last appearance in the scripture, look what she’s doing:
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.John 12.1-2 NIV
Now, Martha is using her gifts in the right way. She’s no longer distracted because she didn’t have to serve, she gets to serve.
She has experienced resurrection, she has experienced disappointment, she has submitted her expectations and surrender her will.
This was the whole message, for now, I hope it has blessed you and that you apply it to your life.
I invite you to talk about it through social media as @lenusme or by [clicking here].
By the way, this message was sponsored by Ulysses which is the app I use to write all these articles. You can get it on your iPhone and iPad by [clicking here] or on your Mac by [clicking here]. Test it, is really useful.
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See you in the next post.
- The Movie in my Mind | Steven Furtick | Triggered | 18.08.26 | [Link]