Pastor Steven Furtick: How to Know If You're Heading in the Right Direction

Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick's sermon on 'Are You Headed in the Right Direction?' in Charlotte, North Carolina, May 15, 2016.
Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick's sermon on "Are You Headed in the Right Direction?" in Charlotte, North Carolina, May 15, 2016. | (Photo: Screengrab/Elevation Church)

Pastor Steven Furtick who heads Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the fastest growing evangelical churches in America, uses the story of an imprisoned Paul in Philippians Chapter 1 as an example of how Christians can determine if they're headed in the right direction in life.

When Paul was imprisoned for his Christian faith, instead of being negative about his plight he saw it as a chance to interpret God's plan for him.

"Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the Gospel," Paul says in verse 12. "As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the Gospel without fear."

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Such an interpretation is a show of faith, Furtick says, because Paul was expressing how he believed God's plan would come about from his circumstances.

This verse is very telling in how we decide our direction in our life, Furtick told the congregation.

In order to determine if you're headed in the right direction in life, you need to be making progress, as progress is an essential aspect of maintaining happiness, Furtick continued. To make progress, we need both effort and direction, and Paul is showing us his personal view of progress in these verses.

The key to maintaining this high level of optimistic interpretation is deciding your intentions, or the "why," before you are placed in a bad situation so you know how you will respond to each situation and how you will progress forward.

"Decide the 'why' before the 'what,'" Furtick advised, adding that all Christians should be telling themselves: "I'm here to glorify God — that's my 'why.'"

If you decide your "why" beforehand, you'll be able to maintain your progress in times of discouragement and difficulty because you'll know you have "a sense of purpose, [your] life has a larger context, [you're] here for the Gospel, [you're] here for His glory."

Along with honing the skill of interpretation, Christians must also master the skill of anticipation, as outlined in verses 18-28, in which Paul switches from speaking in the present tense to the future tense in an attempt to show his anticipation for what is to come through God's plan.

"Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death," verses 18-20 read.

Paul uses the future tense because he has an "eager expectation" for God's plan for him.

Chrsitians can emulate Paul's attitude in this chapter by interpreting their current situation as being part of God's plan, and maintaining an eager expectation for His plan in the future.

Such an attitude will result in progress, which will allow us to determine if we are moving in the right direction, both in our faith and life.

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