TD Jakes - I Learned From My Losses
I don't care if I fail playing the organ, that's not my greatest competence; I play, but I don't play well enough to have an ego attached to it. But if I fail in the area of my greatest competence then it challenges how I see myself. Joshua fought first battle at Jericho, he devastated the place, the walls came tumbling down, they entered the city, they took over the city, they set the city on fire, he was winning. The next battle he had to fight was at Ai. Ai was gonna be easy, it was a piece of cake, it was small compared to Jericho, Jericho was sophisticated, Jericho had walls around it thick enough that the chariots could ride on the top of the walls. Ai didn't even have any walls around it, it was easy, it was a piece of cake. "We'll take this out in our sleep, I know how to do this," and they lost, Ai whipped their socks off, beat them half to death. And when we read in the previous chapter, Joshua is having what my grandmother would call a hissy fit.
Now I don't know exactly what a hissy fit is, I couldn't find it in Webster's Dictionary, but it always sounded real bad. Anybody ever hear my hissy fit? Joshua is having a hissy fit. He tore his clothes off, he's rend his garments, he's thrown ashes on his face, all the leaders are falling out like babies crying with wet diapers, they're all having fits and seizures because they reject the spirit of failure. That's important, I'm glad you noticed that, that was a good point. They reject the spirit of failure. It is important that you reject the spirit of failure. When you accept the spirit of failure as if it were normal, you will lose your fight back. There ought to be something in you that has a hissy fit when you fail because you're not expecting to fail, you didn't get up to fail, you didn't train to fail, you don't expect to fail, you don't take failure as normal, you can't stand to fail. Holler at me if you're hearing what I'm saying.
Joshua was laying down on the floor, kicking like a baby, screaming, throwing dust up in the air. He's having a fit. Look at his aversion to failure. You see, you get what you expect. Oh my God, I'm preaching better than you shouting. You get what you expect: if you expect failure, you say, "Well, I lost, I guess it wasn't meant to be, if the Lord would've wanted me to have it I would've had it. It must not be God's will for my life, I guess I'm supposed to be down, I guess I'm not supposed to run track again, I guess I don't deserve to be on the football team, I guess we're supposed to lose, I guess I'm supposed to be broke," and you build a culture around losing. And once you build a culture around losing, even when people try to get you to win, you will acquiesce back to the level of your thinking because you built a culture around failure, you've built a culture around being unloved, you built a culture around being divorced, you've built a culture around being rejected; you're not happy until somebody rejects you, you're not a happy till you're in a fight.
Oh my God. When Joshua lost he almost lost his mind, he said, "This is not normal, I am not supposed to lose". I am not supposed to lose, I am not supposed to lose, I am not supposed to lose, I am not supposed to lose, I am not supposed to lose, I am not suppose to lose. That's right, I want you to get that in your spirit, I want you to get that in your heart, I want you to get that in your mind. I break every curse that's been over your life that has defined failure as normal. "I am not supposed to lose," say it again, say it again. See, when you have that mentality, when you have that mentality, it doesn't mean that you won't lose, it does mean that you won't lay in your losses. Many of you know the story, God told Joshua, "The reason you lost is that there's sin in the camp," the reason you lost is that there's sin in the camp. In other words, the reason you lost is because disobedience is in the camp, because sin is disobedience.
God says, "The reason you're losing is because sin is in the camp, you disobeyed me, you went in your own way. You took me for granted, you thought you could do it your way and come out on top. You tried to slick the Master. The reason you lost is that you didn't do it the way I told you to do it, you're stubborn in your self-will and you got your own mind about things. And because sin is in the camp, you lost the battle, you and all of your men lost the battle. 'Cause I will be with you but I'm not going to be with you if you're gonna do it your way".
I have cut people a loose because they did it their way. Don't keep me on the phone all night asking me for advice that you are not going to follow, don't do that. Once I learn that you're gonna do it your way, I see your name come up on the phone, I just keep looking at it, I keep looking at it till it go away. I don't push decline 'cause I don't want you to know, but I just let it ring and ring and ring and ring because my time is too precious to be wasted on somebody who is going to do it their way. You can't run your marriage your way and expect to win, you can't do business your way and expect to win. The worst part about it is Joshua had not sinned, Joshua had not sinned, nor did he even know that there was sin in the camp. He learned there was sin in the camp by losing. It's not like Joshua had done something to lose, but he was connected, he was connected to somebody who had done something that caused all of Israel to lose because of who they were connected to. Be careful who you connect with.
So Joshua said, "Okay, I'll tell you what we'll do. I'm gonna take tribe by tribe, tent by tent, family by family, until we find this sinner," and he starts going through the camp, because the one thing Joshua knew is that he was not supposed to lose. And he said, "As soon as I find this, I'm going to straighten this out". So here comes this brother in the camp way back in the fifth section on the ninth row, in the bleeds section name Achan, and Achan said, "Uh, what had happened was, while we were destroying Jericho, I went into this tent and this fine Babylonian garment was in the tent, it was so sharp. And it was about 200 shekels of gold and I wrapped the gold up in the garment, and I kept it. And I kept it and I didn't tell anybody".
Now let me tell you why that was a problem. God had told them to utterly destroy everything in Jericho, to save nothing in Jericho, to burn it completely, everything. "Don't take nothing for yourself, don't hold nothing back, don't save an ox, a lamb, a goat, a dove, burn it all". Let me tell you why. Canaan, or Jericho, was the first city, it is a principle of the firstfruits, it belong to God. God said, "If you give me the firstfruits, I'll give you everything that comes after it". This ties into the New Testament, "Seek ye first the kingdom and then all these things shall be added unto you," if he would have given God Jericho first. The reason God wanted it burned, it was to be a burnt offering, a sin offering, a trespass offering. He said, "Totally destroy it, it will pay for everything you did wrong, and you'll win the rest of the journey".
But oh no, not brother Achan, brother Achan was determined he was going to do it his way, and they lost the battle. So they took Achan out and they stoned him and his wife, and his kids, and his animals, and his oxen, and his dog, and his goldfish, and all of his puppies. They stoned every thing that was standing in between them and victory, they stoned every thing that was standing in between them in victory, they stoned every thing that was standing in between them and victory, they stoned every thing that was standing in between. They stoned every pride, lust, jealousy, envy, unforgiveness. I'm gonna stone every thing that's standing in between me and victory, because I have learned from my losses, that holding on to you is not worth losing it.
When we come into the text, now, in the 8th chapter, Joshua now has a second chance. God says, "I am going to give you Ai". Now he is fighting where he lost. This is an important message, this is a prophetic word: He is fighting where he lost, he is going back to fight something that he failed in the past. There is no fear like going back to fight in a place where you have failed in the past. When you in a fresh fight, you don't know till you're in it whether you're gonna win or lose, but when your fighting something that has a history of beating you. This is a prophetic word for somebody. You're going to have to go back and fight in the same area where you lost. And God told him to, "Stretch forth your javelin, and not to stop until you have utterly destroyed Ai. You don't have a rod like Moses, you got a javelin, but I will be in your javelin like I was in Moses's rod".
And you don't have to be nobody else, but if you stretch forth what God gave you, it will work just as good as what God gave somebody else. Look at somebody and say, "Stretch forth your javelin". And God said, "When you stretch it forth, don't stop". I wish I had time to do this justice. See, before Joshua used to get in fights, Moses was up there on the mountaintop lifting up his hands. It was never Joshua's fighting that got him the victory, it was Moses's intercession, but he didn't understand the power of intercession, and now he has to be what he didn't see. Stretching forth his javelin was like Moses raising his hands, it was the signal that procure the victory. But you couldn't stretch it forth and get tired, and say, "My arm hurts, I'm tired of this, I want to do something else".
I'm gonna give you something, this is important, I want you to get this, I want you to get this and I want you to keep this the rest of your life. Being relentless will get you there, being relentless will get you there. Anytime you see anybody who's amazing at anything, they've been relentless. Whether it's building buildings or playing concert piano, or whether it's artwork or whatever they mastered, they got there because they were relentless; they got there because they rehearsed while you was watching TV, they got there because they worked on it while you was playing basketball, they got successful because they did it every day, every day, every day, over and over.
If you do anything long enough you will get good at it. Being relentless will get you there, but being consistent will keep you there. Uh-oh, uh-oh, being relentless will get you there, but being consistent will keep you there. A lot of people are relentless enough to get there but they're not consistent enough to stay there. I got one more point for you: Being grateful will increase what's there. So we want to go back, we're going to do a review right quick, I want you to get this in your spirit. Being relentless will do what? Being consistent will do what? But being grateful will increase what's there.
When you are grateful for what you have been relentless and consistent about, you will get more of what you're grateful for. When you are grateful and don't take it for granted, you will get more of what you were asking for. When I talk to you about learning from losses, learning from losses are interchangeable terms, it's almost a play on words, because my losses are my learnings, my losses are my learnings. I don't learn from winning, I learn from losing. When I lose, that's when I learn. If you told a baby to walk but not to fall the baby would never walk, because it is a falling that teaches the baby how to walk.
So when you ask for a life without losses you're asking for a life without learning. They asked old man Bush was there anything he regretted. He said, "No, I made some mistakes, and I made some things I would do differently, but none of them rise to the level of regrets". Losses don't create regrets unless you don't learn from them. God has chastened Joshua, Joshua has corrected the problem, he has not lost relationship with the Father. And the Father says, "Okay, go back and fight again". Get back on the bike, go back out there again. And he says, "I am going to give you the victory. In fact, Ai is not the problem, Ai is the switch I use".
Look for them switches, them switches are not always switches, those switches will be situations that you should be victorious in but God is using that thing to spank you. C'mon, somebody. Ai was God's switch to make Joshua into the leader that he should have been. And he said, "This is a little loss, but it's strong enough to get your attention to make you start listening to me. Now, when you go back out there and fight again, stretch forth your javelin". And God gave him three things, he gave him three things, he gave him a promise, he gave him a plan, and he gave him persistence. He gave him a promise, "I'm going to give you the victory".
He gave him a plan, he said, "I want you to use an ambush approach". He said, "I want you to split your army in half, and I want you to put half of your men behind Ai, and half of your men in front of them. So, the men in front, I want you to march down into the valley and I'm going to let the king of Ai come out after you. When he comes after you, 'cause he's confident, he whipped you before, we're gonna use his confidence against him, he's gonna come up out of there". Because of the King of Ai said, "Oh, you want some more of this"? He comes running out there, he said, "I'll whip you again," and when he ran out there he didn't know that Joshua had men in the back of the camp, who came out and burned down the city. By the time the king of Ai looked back and saw the city was on fire, Joshua stopped running from him and turned around the fight him.
Now they are caught in between two sides of the same mountain. Good God, y'all didn't. God will give you a plan for every problem in your life, God will give you a plan. Glory to God. It's not enough to have a promise if you don't have a plan. I'm tired of you shouting about the promise and not getting the plan, get the plan. So it was... can I teach this? I am shocked at the church people who run off with the promise but they don't stick around for the plan. Don't you understand that the power of the promise is in the plan? God gives him the promise quickly, he gives him the plan gradually. He says, "Now you're going to, I'm going to". The plan will show you how to position what you got. "I want you to put some of it over here, I want you to put some of it over there," and the plan included Ai's ego, "They gonna run out after you 'cause they confident".
See, God is smart. He said, "When they run out after you, burn up the city. They'll have nothing to go back to, and then, instead of running from 'em, turn around there and attack them, and you're gonna sandwich them in". And he said, "Stretch forth your javelin. Stretch forth your javelin, and don't stop until every last one of 'em are totally destroyed". Whoo God, I feel the anointing of the Holy Ghost. God is saying, "Something that defeated you, this time you're gonna totally destroy that enemy in your life". Somebody shout about three minutes in here. Touch your neighbor and say, "Don't stop".