TD Jakes - The Infectious Spirit of Entitlement
From president to president, from government to government, we flip back and forth. Sometimes we don't even recognize our own country because once entitlement sets in, it's infectious. It will draw what it is. You always attract what you are. If you're arrogant, arrogant people are gonna flock to you. If you hateful, hateful people are gonna flock to you. If you're moody, moody people are gonna flock to you. If you're lascivious, lascivious people are gonna flock to you. If you're envious and full of gossip, all the gossipers are gonna follow you. They're gonna follow you on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest gossip because whatever you feed, that's what grows.
Entitlement, let's define it so that there is no ambiguity about what we're talking about tonight. I do not make the assumption that everybody knows what entitlement is. Entitlement of the plural noun entitlements, the fact of having a right to something. Full entitlement, full entitlement to fees and maintenance should be offered in that kind of case. The amount to which, the amount to which a person has a right or they think they have a right to something, maybe it's annual leave entitlement. The belief that one is inherently deserving, inherently. You missed that. Inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. No wonder your kids have a sense of entitlement. I deserve it 'cause I'm here.
People do not realize today it is not what we leave to our children that makes them great. It is what we leave in our children that makes them great. Oh, I'mma go deeper. I'mma keep going till I get every toe in the building. In fact, if you leave more to them than you leave in them, they will run through what you left to them 'cause they don't have enough in them to stabilize them to handle what you left to them. That's why I told all my children, you gonna need a job 'cause I'm cutting way into your inheritance, I'mma leave you a little something something, but it's gonna be after I get through 'cause I work for this, I'm gonna use as much of this as I feel likely. And if there's anything left, you can divide it up amongst yourself. But you better get you a job 'cause faith without... is dead.
You better get a job, you better get some work. You better not believe that I'm gonna die, waiting on me to die. Don't be like the prodigal son who went to his father and said give me the portion of goods that fall unto me. What falleth to you? You ain't done nothing. You mean you're waiting on me to die to start your life? What kind of entitlement that you would rather have a dead father and a full wallet. The problem with all of our sinful behavior is an arrogant posture of entitlement. You think if you sit long enough and wait long enough, it's gonna come to you just 'cause you supposed to have it. At the core of this text, for about three weeks, the Lord has been telling me to preach about Ichabod. And I kept reading about Ichabod and reading about Ichabod to see what the Holy Spirit was saying about Ichabod. At the core of this text is entitlement, and it has started at the leadership and crept down through the ranks of the army and into the people where they take God for granted and they become presumptuous.
Let me remind you in case you've forgotten how the story has gone. We are somewhere in between the judges and the kings, the transition of power and leadership. We are in that nebulous position where the voice of the priest has become most profound and prolific and powerful, and Eli has led the people of God for 40 years. His influence and power is so profound because they have not yet anointed their first king. And on the other hand, they have come to the end of their judges. So he's standing in a position of unique authority, and he birthed his sons into a position of unique authority, and maybe perhaps the old man could handle it, but the sons are drunken off of their father's position. So they had infiltrated the ranks of the sanctuary but not been sanctified. If that don't sound like today, I will drive my car right down the center of the aisle.
It's so easy to infiltrate the ranks of the church and not be sanctified, to have a form of godliness and deny the power thereof, to preach, to pastor, to lead, to sing, to shout, but it's not really church to you, it's really a gig. So even though you're talented enough to bless people, you don't get blessed yourself because you're infected with entitlement. So you lead us into worship, but you don't go into worship, and you preach us into a shout, but you don't have a shout, and you tell us to pray, but you don't pray yourself. I'm tired of people teaching me to pray, and you don't pray yourself! Telling me to study, and your lazy self ain't studied all week. Hallelujah. You don't know Phinehas from Nehemiah, and yet you're telling me to know the Word.
Entitlement has rent the church. We used to have power, yoke-breaking power, demon-casting power. We used to have the kind of power that people would throw down their crutches and start dancing in the service by the power of the Holy Ghost. We used to have the kind of power that, before the paramedics got here, dead folks sat up and started moving again because the old church mothers would pray 'em loose. But now the mothers have gone sexy and the preachers have become powerless. And the worst part about it is it has become so normal that we have raised up a generation that likes to sing about glory but has never seen glory.
When was the last time that you saw real glory sit down on a church? The kind of glory that messed up your hair do, the kind of glory that went up your makeup, the kind of glory that made you come out of your tie, the kind of glory that lasted when the music stopped, the kind of glory that made you dance and wasn't nobody playing no drum, the kind of glory that got in your house with you, got in your car with you, the kind of glory that, when you were laying in your bed, you couldn't stop crying and you were still speaking in tongues. When was the last time your children saw you have church in your house and they said mama, what you crying about? And you tell them it's nothing but the glory!
Let me tell you something. In the book of Revelations, the Bible says that Christ is the one who stands in the midst of seven golden candlesticks, and that the seven golden candlesticks are for the seven churches in Asia. By the next chapter, by the time he gets to Laodicea, he is not in the midst of the church, he's on the outside of the church saying, behold, I stand at the door and knock. How did Jesus get outside of his church? He walked out. You stayed, he left. You joined, he moved. Anytime God is talking to the church and says behold, I stand at the door and knock, that means that if you continue down this road, you're gonna have church without me, and not just church, you're gonna fight your battles without me, and you're gonna fight your cancer without me, and you're gonna fight your disease without me, and you're gonna fight your depression without me, and you're gonna fight your plagues without me. If you don't want me, I'm leaving.
Oh, you think revival's just about tickling your ears and making you dance. Revival is about bringing you to your knees. Revival is about you laying prostrate on the floor. Revival is about you breaking up with your boyfriend. Revival is about you cleaning up your act. Revival is a about you consecrating yourself. Revival is about you speaking in tongues while you're washing your drawers. Revival is about the power of God helping you to get to work, cut off your radio, cut on your tongues and get in the Spirit so you can deal with the devil on your job. I ain't scared of you. I'm not scared of you because sooner or later, you're gonna lose enough to become humble enough to hunger and thirst for something real. Israel had normalized whoremongering, and it wasn't just in the pews, it was in the pulpit, it was at the top. Hophni and Phinehas were picking off the women at the door.
Now, God had entitled them as priests to live as Levites as a part of the priesthood of the finances of the church, but not to take all of it. The best of the offerings were to go to God, but they were eating up God's stuff. So they were mishandling finances, and they were mishandling morality. Money and morality, if you don't have discipline about one, you probably don't have discipline about the other. Keep on standing there, I'm coming right to you. Take them stilettos off, we ain't gonna need to see them red bottoms tonight. I want you to see the red blood coming down off the cross. I want you to see yourself slain in the spirit. I want you to see yourself governing your attitude. I want you to get a grip on your tongue and your nasty ways. You can't cuss your husband out all the way to church and then get in here and speak in tongues and expect cancer to come out. You gotta make up your mind! We got a devil to fight like we've never had before, and the church has lost her power.
They went to battle against the Philistines and 9000 people died in the first battle, and still they did not repent. They said let's go get the ark of the covenant. Entitlement. Let's go get the ark of the covenant. We don't need to change our behavior. We don't need to change our ways. We don't need to consecrate ourselves. We don't need to get down on our knees. We don't need to crawl on our face before God and throw up some of them demons that have got down in our spirit. We don't need to do none of that. We can win with a symbol of holiness. So they grabbed the ark of the covenant and went down to fight the Philistines, and 30,000 Philistines died with the ark of the covenant.
Now, the devil was afraid at first 'cause when they brought the ark of the covenant, the ark of the covenant had a reputation for getting the victory, and it should have been the deal breaker. It should have changed the stats. It should have been the breakthrough. But when you go get a God you don't walk with, you can't get God to work with you if he don't walk with you. Let me try it over here. You can't get God to work for you if he don't walk with you. You can't just get him 'cause you're in an emergency. You can't just get him 'cause you've been diagnosed with breast cancer. Now you got a lump in your breast and you don't want that midnight call to come in at 2 o'clock in the morning. Now you're gonna pray. Now you gotta make up in your mind if you're gonna walk with God, you need God before the strike. Because hell is gonna strike ya, and when hell strikes ya, you gotta have something to fight back with. Thirty-thousand people died.
The Philistines knew more about God than the people of God did. The Philistines said is not this the God that destroyed the Egyptians? They were intimidated at first. They said oh my God, this is a God with a reputation. And if they bring him down here, we are going to die. They said prepare to die. Fight all you can, but this God is a killer. Everything that rises against him, he destroys it. Everything that stands in his face, he brings it down. Everything that exalts itself, he brings it low. Everything that stands up against him always got defeated. And if they brought God, we gon' die. But they didn't know that God was tired of spoiled children. They didn't know that God was tired of children who refused to get better. They didn't know that God was tired of people who refused to be healed. They didn't know that God was tired of people who refused to change. They didn't know that God was tired of people who turned church into a fun house. And so God let his people lose.
Do you know how hard it is as a parent to let your children lose? To let 30,000 of your children die calling on you? Do you know how sick God had to be of their foolishness to let 30,000 widows be born in a day? Thirty-thousand children lost their father in a day. Thirty-thousand people died that day with no mortuaries and no cemeteries. Thirty-thousand bodies had to be burned, and the stench of their rebellion had filled the air with infection. Thirty-thousand people. Thirty-thousand people could fill this church to the rafters three times, all of them dead. You would think 30,000 people would make folk change. Thirty-thousand people dead, and the people were at home waiting for the victory because one of the signs of God being with you is that your enemies are defeated.
Oh, preacher, can you prove that? Oh, yes. I'm glad you asked me. David said by this I know that the Lord is with me because he has not allowed my enemies to triumph over me. When you walk with God, you're not supposed to be defeated. When you walk with God, you're supposed to be the head and not the tail. When you walk with God, you're supposed to overcome every adverse thing that comes against you. I'm not saying you won't have trouble, I'm saying trouble won't have you. When you walk with God, he'll make you more than a conqueror. When you walk with God, he'll raise you up. When you walk with God, he'll send honey out the rock. When you walk with God, he'll send resources out of a fish's mouth. When you walk with God, he'll open up a door and make a way out of no way. When you walk with God, expect to have haters 'cause God'll give him something to hate you about. When you walk with God, he'll make a way out of no way. When you walk with God, he'll make the crooked path strength.
I wish I had 100 witnesses that would testify what the presence of God will do! When the people heard that using God like AAA didn't work, when they found out God wasn't a butler to come just when you needed him. When they found out that God required a deeper relationship than what they had invested, they started screaming. They started wailing. They started making noise because their modernistic ideology about God didn't work, and the expensive bill they paid was 30,000 more dead people. It's expensive to be stubborn. You brag about being stubborn. I got to know it for myself. I got to see it for myself. It's expensive to be foolish.
Did you hear me online? I'mma say it again for the folk in the back. It's expensive to be stupid. It'll cost you your life. It'll cost you your marriage. It'll cost you your child. It'll cost you your mind. Burger King was wrong. You don't get to have it your way. And it would've been unfair except if you study it out, God had warned Eli. God had warned Eli and told him both of your sons are going to die in the same day because they have turned my house into a mockery and you looked the other way and you wouldn't say nothing about it. And God said, I am sick of you because you're more concerned about them liking you than having my favor. You haven't learned to endure anything, to stand anything, to stand up for something, to fight your way through something, to be relentless, to be tenacious, and so since you won't hear the preacher, God uses your enemies as your pastor.
The book of Joel chapter 2, verse 11 through 14, God said I will use your enemy to teach you a lesson. I'll use the cankerworms and the palmerworms and the locusts to attack your fields and your harvest and your ideas and your concepts and your possibilities and your potential until I finally get your attention. You wouldn't hear the choir. You wouldn't hear the praise team. Maybe you'll hear trouble. I'll send trouble till you buckle your knees. I'll send trouble till you lay prostrate on the floor. Oh, you too cute to get on the floor, but when I get through whipping your behind, you'll lay prostrate on your floor in your cute Lilli Ann dress, in your fine linen, in your red shoes. You'll fall out with your doctorate degree. You lay out on the floor.
It'll look like your enemy, but the Bible said in joy the Lord thunders at the head of his army. His forces are beyond number and mighty is the army that obeys his command. The day of the Lord is great. It is dreadful. Who can endure it? Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. If you return to me, I'll return to you. God said rend your heart and not your garments. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. You didn't know God could send calamity? God will send you calamity to get your attention. Who knows? Joel says he may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing, grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God. But in order for that to happen, there's gotta be a change.