TD Jakes - In Between Fights
He had a moment with God, a moment with God that disrupted everything he knew about himself. He was of the tribe of Benjamin. He knew that about himself. He was a Pharisee. He was a Pharisee, the most conservative group. He was a Pharisee. Concerning the law, he was zealous. He was committed to what he believed. He has lived all of his life up under the law, and in one moment, it was all disrupted. Do you not know? I don't care how long you've been in the religion. I don't care how long you've been following an idea. I don't care how many generations it's been in your family. One moment with Jesus can radically revolutionize your life.
Somebody listening at me, you're trying to hold on to your traditions and get a little bit of Jesus, and you like some of the stuff Jesus said, and you think that religion is a smorgasbord. I have a cup of this and a little bit of that and a little bit of the other, and I mix it all up together. Me and God got my own thing. No. If you encountered Jesus, you got to give up everything you encountered before and walk away from it. That's why Paul said, "I count it all as dung, everything I knew, everything I learned, everything I live for. I had a radical moment with God that changed my value system. My values have been misaligned".
And all of a sudden, Paul, who was leading men, ends up being led by the men he was leading, and they had to lead him because he was blind, 'cause God said, "I'm gonna shut your eyes till you get this right. I'm gonna shut you down till you get this right. I'm gonna shut up your finances until you get it right. I'm gonna shut up your strength until you get it right". God has a habit of shutting you down till you get it right. Especially when you're stubborn, especially when you're hardheaded, especially when you like to fight, God knows how to shut you down. He said, "I'm gonna bring you to a place of vulnerability where you're gonna need the people that you used to lead, and they're gonna have to lead you as I bring you into the truth".
It was the moment. It was the moment that changed the rest of the moments for the next 2,000 years, and God didn't trust no evangelist to do it. He appeared unto Saul on the Road to Damascus. Now, part of the criteria of being an apostle is to be an eye witness to the resurrection, and Saul wasn't at the tomb. So Jesus did a special appearance. O God. God will do a special appearance. He'll come in your room, he'll come in your hotel, he'll come in the club, he'll come in the bar. God will do a special appearance. He'll come right where you are and just show up. Oh really, God.
Somebody, holler "he showed up". He showed up in my life. I wasn't planning to get saved. He showed up. When I came back to the club, I went to Columbus. I brought two sets of clothes. I said, "I'm gonna go to the convocation, and at night I'm going to the club". I never got to use the second set 'cause he showed up. I packed all my sharp stuff too. I was gonna be clean, baby. I was gonna be clean. I put a couple of suits in there. You know, give God a nod. How you doing, Jesus? Yeah, I'm going to the club. Quick change after church. Never made it to the club 'cause he showed up. Next thing I know, I'm walking down the aisle with tears running down my face.
Mother Makassar was singing "All of My Life". I say, "Yes, Lord," and I'm crying in an offering, coming back to the Lord. Have you had a moment with Jesus, or do you just go to church? Have you had a moment with Jesus, or is there a nice-looking girl in this church, and you're coming over here 'cause you're trying to convince her that you and Jesus, are you cool? Cool, I'm cool. Give Jesus a nod. It's really you I'm after. You can experience The Potter's House and not experience Jesus. You can experience me and not experience Jesus. If you have a moment with Jesus, it will radically change your perspectives, your attitude, and look at how Jesus wrecked everything that Saul's life was built on, and suddenly in one moment, it's gone.
You can't be a member of the Sanhedrin and preach Jesus. You can't be a Pharisee and preach Jesus. You can't be zealous concerning the law and teach grace. It changed his head. It changed his identity. It changed his personhood. It changed everything about him. God wiped the slate clean, completely clean. This is why you hear Paul saying over, "I profess to know nothing but Christ and him crucified". He is not going to fall into the trap of thinking he's smart again. He spoke in five different languages and, he says, "I am a fool for Christ". Y'all don't hear what I'm saying. And he has a moment with God, alone, with nobody there but the men who were with him, and they're leading him. They're leading him into Damascus, and this is not how you plan to go into Damascus. He didn't plan to come into Damascus blind, being led by men.
He planned to come into Damascus strong, attacking men, snatching women out of the house, but it doesn't always end up like you thought. Just 'cause you think something right now doesn't make it true. He comes into Damascus helpless. The powerful man is now helpless, blind, groping, depending on them to lead him, and God tells him to go to a man he doesn't even know named Ananias, and there he is on a street called Straight. Doesn't even know Ananias's address. Y'all don't hear what I'm saying, and Ananias, when God tells Ananias to pray for Saul, he says, "Are you serious? Saul of Tarsus? You want me to pray for him? You want me to go pray for him"?
See, we get in these cliques, and sometimes we won't pray for people 'cause they're not in our clique. "I'm not praying for no Democrat. I'm not praying for no Republican. I'm not praying for no White folks. I'm not praying for no Black folks. I went through something. You know what I went through"? I don't care what you went through when you was a child. God will humble you down because God does not promise to always use who looks like you, votes like you, dresses like you to bless you. God uses whoever he wants to use. He don't meet with you. He doesn't do a poll. He doesn't do a census. He doesn't meet with the committee. He doesn't need board approval.
When God gets ready to snatch it...oh, y'all got quiet. When God gets ready to snatch somebody, he will snatch somebody. Ananias doesn't wanna be seen with Saul. It's bad for his brand. It's bad for his reputation. It could be bad for his life, and yet God says, "He prayeth now". There ought not be nothing that supersedes the command of God in your life. When God says "forgive," forgive. When God says "let it go," let it go. When God says "it'll all be over in the morning," it'll all be over in the morning. When God says "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning," he don't ask you how you feel about it.
"Well, Lord, I just don't feel like it. I don't feel like this morning. It don't feel like morning to me". Shut up. If God says it's morning, it's morning. It may still be dark outside, but it's morning. You do know that morning starts in the dark. When God says it's morning, it's morning. So he wants you to rejoice like it's morning. He wants you to shout like it's morning. He wants you to move like it's morning, and Ananias, he wants you to go down to a street called Straight and pray for a man who was coming to kill you. Good God of mercy.
How do you pray for a man who was coming to kill you, a man you have ought against? That's why God won't accept your gift if you have malice in your heart. He said, "Leave your gift at the altar and reconcile yourself with your brother," 'cause whatever they did, it ain't worth you losing your authority with God. Whatever they said, it ain't worth you losing your power with God. No matter how it hurts you, it doesn't matter. You still got to do what you got to do, and if God says "do it," you gotta do it. See, we don't use this word anymore, the old word, "obedience". Obedience is better than sacrifice. Obedience is better than sacrifice. I appreciate whatever you sold, but obedience is better than sacrifice. You can't give your way into getting a license to do wrong.
So Ananias obeys God, and he goes down there and he lays hands on the man who was gonna lay hands on him. Can you do it? No, seriously. Can you do it? Can you lay hands on the person who was coming to hurt you? Ananias lays hands on Saul, who was gonna lay hands on him, and the power of his obedience causes the scales to fall from Saul's eyes. I don't know who I'm preaching to, but I'm talking to somebody that if you would just do what God says do and stop wrestling with your ego and your pride and humble yourself, the power you would have. The scales fall from his eyes, and suddenly Saul can see, and he goes from having a moment with God to a moment as a misfit.
I want you to feel this. How can he go back to the Sanhedrin court and tell them about Jesus? 'Cause he is no longer one of them. There is no seat for him amongst the Sanhedrin. He's lost all of that. He's lost all credibility with the Hedrin because he has taken on this Jesus philosophy that they hated. They have empowered him to attack what he has become. So she got a tickle, so he can't go back. There is a point in God. It's not that you don't wanna go back. It's not that you ain't tempted to go back. It ain't that your flesh don't wanna go back, but there is a point in God where you cannot go back. The problem, however, is not just that he can't go back, because I can leave one group if I connect with the other. I can be rejected by this group if I'm accepted by the other.
The problem with Saul is, when he comes to the apostles, they don't believe in him. They don't believe him. They don't believe in him. They don't like him. They don't accept him. And so he has to accept being a misfit. You have to accept being a misfit. You can change your hair, you can change your clothes, you can change your style, you can change your walk. They still not gonna like you because when God has called you out, you can't go back in. You have to accept being a misfit.
Look at somebody, say, "I'm different. I'm different. You ain't never seen nobody like me before. You're never gonna see anybody like me again. I'm different, and after years and years of low self-esteem and crying about it, I'm finally starting to accept that I'm different. I'm cool with it. I'm okay with it. I can live with it. I understand it. I've been trained in it. I learned how to be a misfit. It doesn't matter that you don't like me, and it doesn't matter that you don't believe in me. I can stand on my own because I had an encounter with Jesus". And so when Saul, who is now called Paul, starts to minister, he ministers from the place of a misfit. All my misfit people, hear me good, the reason you have the anointing is because you are a misfit.
The reason you have your anointing is because you're a misfit. Had they accepted you, you wouldn't have had the anointing. Had they embraced you, you wouldn't have had the anointing. Because Paul was a misfit, he gives us most of the New Testament epistles because he does not fit in with either group. He's an outcast on both sides, but when you're an outcast with men, you are incast with God. Do you hear what I'm saying? I'm talking to somebody. I don't even know who it is. You are misfits. Stop fighting it, stop changing yourself, stop redoing your philosophy, stop trying to be what everybody else wants you to be. You were meant to be a misfit. Your Savior was a misfit. The stone that the builders rejected has been made the chief cornerstone. Stop crying about it, stop worrying about it, stop being frustrated about it. You don't wanna be in with them. God saved you from being in with them. He meant for you to be different.
Look at your neighbor and introduce him. Say, "Hello, I'm different. Yeah, my name is different. My walk is different. My talk is different. The way I think is different. The way I believe is different. The way I flow is different. I understand it if you don't like me. Everybody can't walk with a misfit. You have to be a misfit yourself to understand another misfit when you see it," I want some misfits in this room to give God a praise. You don't fit in with your family. You don't fit in with your community. You don't fit in with your neighborhood. You just a misfit for Jesus. Often, it takes half your life to accept being a misfit because we are always advertised, marketed, modeled, and promoted fitting in, and it hurts to not quite be either one. It's lonely. It's lonely being a misfit. When you are a misfit, you are misunderstood. They accuse you of being arrogant. They accuse you of being high-minded. They accuse you, we used to say, of being suchy much. They accuse you of walking around with your head up in the air. They accuse you of forgetting where you came from.
Come on, misfits, back me up on this. Being a misfit means that you have to learn to be okay with being misunderstood. That ain't easy. That ain't easy. That ain't easy. It was not easy to be the apostle Paul. It was not easy to be shunned by your future and rejected by your past. It'll make you pray harder 'cause you don't have nobody to depend on but the Lord. It'll make you get up and come to church on Sunday morning. I don't care how cold it is outside, you wrapped up and came to church 'cause this is the only place you fit, not the building, the presence of the Lord, the glory of the Lord, the anointing of the Lord. This is a place where we feed the misfits. Hey, misfits dinner is served. And the Bible says that "immediately, Paul started preaching immediately". Ain't that something?
Immediately, he starts preaching in the synagogue. He doesn't come back to the synagogue to be accepted. He knows they think he's crazy, but he's preaching in the synagogue. He has to fight all of his life, but in between the fights, he's writing most of the New Testament in between fights. He came to Lystra, and they threw rocks at him and they stoned him till his head was busted and his back was bleeding, and they drug him out of the city as half dead, but as soon as he woke up, he got in between the fight and started preaching again, saying stuff like, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus who walk no longer after the flesh but after the Spirit. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. All old things are passed away. Behold, all things have become new, for we know if this earthly house, or tabernacle, shall be dissolved, we have another building eternal in the heavens. Having this assurance that God, who has began a good work in you, shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ".
I wanna talk to everybody in here that's been in fight after fight after fight. The Lord said, "In between the fights, preach the gospel, lay hands on the sick, open up blinded eyes, rebuke the devil, and keep on going". They put him on the boat, and the boat fell apart. He survived the shipwreck and the snake bit him, but in between the fights, he kept on telling them Jesus is Lord to the glory of God. I wish I had 100 people that would praise God in between the fight.