Jentezen Franklin - Little By Little
If you have your Bible, I'd love for you to open it with me to the book of Deuteronomy 7:21, "You shall not be terrified of them, for the Lord your God, the great and awesome God, is among you". That's pretty powerful because He said I don't want you terrified. The King James, I think it is, says that our God is great and terrible. It says that in several places. God is great and terrible. What does that mean? That means God's great to us who love Him and serve Him, but He's terrible to our adversaries. I like the fact that I don't just serve a great God who is great to me, but He's terrible. No weapon formed against us will prosper. He's the terrible one to our adversaries.
Watch verse 22. What a profound little verse right here. "And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, here it is, little by little. You will be unable to destroy them at once". In other words, it's not gonna happen instantly. It's gonna happen little by little. That's what I wanna talk about for just a few moments. Because I believe that there are many people who need to hear and understand. What God said to the Israelites, He's saying to you and I today.
Number one is this. He said victory and success to you is no longer in debate. It's going to happen. But what is in debate is the timing. And Psalms 84:11 underscores it's not in debate because he said in Psalms 84:11, "No good thing will He withhold from them who walk uprightly". God will hold no good thing from them. God will provide every good thing you need. It's not in question. Victory and success is not a hope so, maybe so, I wonder. God says, I wanna get the debate over. I am a God whose very nature is to bless you with victory and success. I want you to win. You're going to win. But God wants you to see how much He loves you so that you will be powerfully favored, supernaturally gifted, and abundantly successful.
I'm not afraid of any of those words I just said. As a matter of fact, I want you to speak it if you're not scared of the good part of the Bible. Everybody say God wants me powerfully favored, supernaturally gifted, and abundantly successful. In Jesus' name. Shout about it just a minute, and I'll keep moving. That's good news. Now lemme balance it out. Now that's the good news, but it needs a little balance. And here comes the balance. The balance is this. The progress to your promised land may not be at the rate and at the speed that you think it should be.
Have you ever felt like that you knew that you were headed somewhere? That God had promised it, and yet the progress, the success, the advancement, felt like it was going way too slow? But I'm here today to defeat doubt. I'm here today to conquer confusion. Many of you have irritation, agitation, and frustration as to why am I not there yet? Why doesn't it grow quicker? Why won't God give me instantaneous success? What is the inhibitor? What is the problem? Why can't I seem to go as fast as other people are going? And I'm gonna answer your question because God's word gave the answer in the text I read. The issue is not a what. The issue is a who. The answer is God. God is the one who has slowed you down because God loves you for who you are, not what you do. God's not gonna love you more when you do something big than He loves you right now, doing what you're doing.
I learned, and I had to learn, that when the church grew from 300 people to 500 people, this came as a revelation to me. God didn't love me any more than He did when we had 300 people. And when we grew from 500 to a thousand, He didn't love me anymore. And when we grew from a thousand to 5.000, He didn't love me any more. But what happened is, I began to get in love with all that, and more busier, and busier, and busier. And all of a sudden, I'm giving Him less time, and I'm giving this more time. So God has to put a governor on our success sometimes and say let's slow down, and let's go back to what made you great. It's not your talent. It's not your gifting. It's not your ability. I'll bless you in accordance to how you lean on me and you connect to me. What we want to do should always be overshadowed by who we want to be. I wanna be like Jesus more than I wanna do something great.
In Luke 10:20, the Bible said the disciples came back, and they were rejoicing. They said, were not even the demons subject unto us. And Jesus said, rejoice not that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your name is written in Heaven. I don't want you rejoicing over what you are doing. I want you rejoicing over the fact that I, through my blood and my love for you, have saved you. And who you are is more important than what you do. Matthew 7:22 reads like a revival dream list for a preacher. It says "Did not we prophesy in your name? Cast out devils in your name? Do many mighty works in your name"? And then the dream turns to a nightmare when Jesus says, "Depart from me. I never knew you".
Now they did some pretty amazing things for Him, but they weren't in relationship with Him. Relationship should supersede what you do. So many times we want what we do to be the biggest, and fastest, and greatest, and who we are and who we're in relationship with is totally neglected. What we wanna do should be overshadowed by what we want to be. What I'm saying to you is really illustrated in the fact that in 1 Samuel 3:1, the Bible said and the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord. But six verses later, in verse 7, it says now Samuel did not yet know the Lord.
So he's in the ministry. He's on the praise team. He's singing. And he's ministering to the Lord, doing things, doing work. Doing things, but he's not in close relationship with the Lord. Our greatest blessing is not our gifting. Our greatest blessing is not our talent. It's not what we can do. But it's simply to know Him and to be known by Him. That is the greatest blessing. Now listen carefully. This is why I'm saying this. It's possible that you can get what you want at the expense of losing what you need. And God knows that. God knows that it's possible to get what you want, and I've seen it happen to so many people. It happens to athletes. It happens to people who find great success in business. It happens to people who achieve their dreams and their goals. And they pursue 'em and start climbing the ladder.
And it's possible to get what you want and lose what you need. God said, I'll give you the land. Nothing's going to stop it. You will conquer them. But it will be little by little. Why? Lest the beast of the field devour you. God said, I want you to understand, listen, let this sink in. Victory and success will undeniably be yours if you will follow the Lord. But it will not be instantaneous success. There's unrest. There's frustration. There's agitation in hundreds of you, thousands of you listening to me right now because it's not going fast enough according to your plan.
I'm going to tell you why it hasn't happened yet. There is a God who loves you so much that He knows that if He gave you instantaneous success all at once, you would be consumed by the beasts. He knows that the higher you go up, you get the attention of the beast. And there's always, on a person that God elevates, the release of the beast. Because the higher you go up, while you're down here with everybody, you can hide. Your gift can hide. But when God starts elevating you, it means two things. You're uncovered. You're standing out. And suddenly the beast notices you. And when the beast notices you, he targets you. And if you're not ready for the attack, the beast will consume, everything that you started out to do, it will be consumed.
And how many people have we seen who begin to blow up? Whether it's in Hollywood, or musical talent in the church that they had and developed, and then they went big time. And it's not the big time is the problem. It's the fact that they haven't walked with God long enough. Little by little. That when you get there, it's not your God. He's my God. And you say, oh, I could handle it. I could handle it. But how many athletes have we seen, how many people have we seen? It's the spirit of the world. It's the spirit of the beast. And you can't fight that with natural inclinations. God loves what you are more than what you do. That means He loves you right now like you were on top of the world and had done everything you've ever aspired to do.
Now that oughtta warm your heart. Let's just take a moment and say thank you for loving me just like I am. Not for what I do, but for who I am. Wow. That set me free. That set me free. We don't even know who's, oh, he's so successful. She's so successful. We really don't know who's successful. We really won't know until a few hours after the rapture. And if you're left here with all your stuff, you were not successful. But when the trumpet blows, and you and your family go up, you are... I'll take my little by little.
I don't want God to bless me outta the church. I have seen too many people get blessed outta the church. Started out in the church with nothing. Struggling. Oh, God, I got a dream. Please help me. Please help me. And God began to bless 'em, and God began to bless 'em, and God began to bless 'em. And they got blessed right out the church. And now they're at the lake. Now they're at the beach every weekend. They're blessed right outta, the Bible, don't read it anymore. Blessed right outta their prayer place. Blessed right outta serving. Blessed right outta the body of Christ. They don't ever need to come to church 'cause I'm so me, and it's egotism. It's centered on you, your life. And the rules don't count, and you don't need church anymore 'cause you make the big bucks. And it's possible to be blessed right outta church.
That's why I say He'll withhold no good thing. So if the Lord's withheld it, it meant either it wasn't good for you, or it wasn't time. And He's gotta develop you a little bit before the beast is released, and comes with pride and ego, and tries to take away and consume God's purpose for that platform. Clap your hands and say, "Yes, Lord". Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. So I wanna say it like this. All you young people, listen to me. You got big dreams. The question is not can God handle it, and can God make it happen, and can God — God could flip a switch spiritually, and tomorrow you could be discovered. Tomorrow you could get a full-ride scholarship. Tomorrow, you know, why doesn't He just flip a switch here and, instead of us going through hell?
And, I mean, fighting with banks, and going through stuff, and church splits, and all that to get to here? Why didn't we just "boom" here? 'Cause then you'd have another preacher crash and burn. Have a lotta you do the same. So God says, let me let you walk through the valley. Let me let you walk through some humbling situations. Let me teach you how bad you need to stay on your knees. Let me teach you that in the good times, you praise. In the bad times, you praise. In the good times, you go to church. In the bad times, you read that book when you're on top of the world, and you read that book when nothing's going right, and everything's the reverse of what God told you. And when you go little by little when you get there, and the beast comes at you, you say greater is He that is in me than he that... I can rebuke the devourer for your sake, Jesus said. When you've walked with Him little by little.
2 Chronicles 26:15 says this. And his name was spread abroad. He became famous, for he was marvelously helped, listen to these words, until he became strong. This is the story of so many people. They become famous because God marvelously helps them. God marvelously blesses them. The fame was not from hell. It came from God. But when he became strong, the next verse says, but when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his own destruction. The beast was released. And when the beast got released, he couldn't handle it. So if God has you on a slower pace, it's to prepare you for what He's taking you to so that when you get there, it won't be about this. It'll just be stuff. It'll just be another thing that I do for the king. But the king is the focus. The king is my everything. The king, not the dream, is the most important thing in my life. Here's how you do it.
The Song of Solomon 8:5 says, who is this coming out of the wilderness, here's the key, leaning on his beloved. You can't lean on your own intelligence. You can't lean on your personality. You can't lean on your talents. You've got to lean on Him. I'll give you victory. I'll give you success. But not at once. You will be highly exposed to the beast. When I let you enter into the promise, you will get the attention of a demonic, evil spirit.
Now lemme tell you what that beast is. I wanna put my foot on his neck. What beast do you get exposed to when you get success? The beast of pride. Elitism begins to register. Egotism begins to dominate. You're no longer a servant. If you're going to be gifted, if you're going to be powerful, please hear this preacher, If you're going to be productive and successful, you must hide behind the cross. I'm not going to give it all to you at once. If I do, the beast will devour you. Not me. It couldn't happen to me. How many people have said that? How many ministers have said that? How many ministries have said that? How many stars have said that? How many good people? The higher men and women elevate, the less covering you have. The greater of a target you become to the beast.
And I wanna close with this little thought. That some of you are just like the story of the prodigal son. You're the angry elder brother because you've seen people pass you by, remember the younger son wanted instant success. Gimme my inheritance now. I ain't waiting on nothing. No little by little for me. Give it to me, Daddy. Give it to me, Father. See it? And the father says OK. A gift is a gift. The gift and the calling of God is without repentance. I love you. This is not your best. Your best is, let's do this little by little 'cause you're not ready to handle it. You're gonna... the beast in... where's he going? The pigs. The beasts are going to devour everything good in your life 'cause you can't fight this in the natural. You need supernatural protection, son, where you're going. No, I want mine. Boom. Instant success. Wow. Talk of the town, the younger brother.
The older brother stays home, and he's angry. He feels overlooked. Does it pay to serve God? Look how much fun he's having. Look how much attention he's having. I'm living right. Ain't had a date in six months. Lonely. They go out every weekend, living it up. Seemingly no ramifications. Seemingly. Angry with the father. This elder brother gets angry with the father. Some of you, if you were to tell the truth, you're a little bit irritated at Him. No good thing He'll withhold. He's withheld a lot from me.
Here's my point. It's a loving father. A father that has your best interest that holds you back. More than what you do, it's what you are. And He loves you now just as much as He would love you if you did all that stuff. But He would rather you let Him give it to you little by little, as your life becomes His life. Then He'll get the glory, not you. Your father has not forgotten you. He's just trying to save you. The beast will appear as soon as you get there, so you better be ready. And the only way to do that, here it is, leaning on your beloved.
The question is not can God handle it. The question is, if God were to give you everything deep in your heart you know you were put on this earth to be and do, could you handle it? And are you content enough, and committed enough, and submitted enough to Jesus Christ to say Lord, thank you that I'm on my way to the Promised Land. And I don't have to have instantaneous success, but I'll take little by little. As long as I've got you, I don't wanna get it, I don't wanna gain what I want and lose what I need. I need you.
How long has it been since you said I need you? How long has it been since you got before God and just said Lord, cleanse me and purify my motives. And here's my dream again. I lay it on the altar, and I raise the knife. And hey, if you want me to kill it, it can die. I want your will. See, some of you don't think you can trust Him like that. But you can trust Him like that. 'Cause the strange thing is, when you do trust Him like that, so much stuff comes that you don't know what to do with it. But then you do because you're leaning on Him.
You say, I only wanna go where you'll go with me. I have no desire to be there unless you go with me. Your presence must go with me. Could God give you glory today and you not go goofy? Really? Could He? 'Cause He's gonna find people 'cause He's gotta get stuff done. And He's gonna find vessels that He can trust to turn around and lean on Him more. That when they have been marvelously helped, they don't trust in their strength, but they turn around and they say, I lean back on the one who gave it all. And I am not ashamed of His superiority in my life. He is my everything.