TD Jakes - Growing Into God's Favor
Whether you know it or not, you may not consciously be waiting, but whether you know it or not, many of us are waiting consciously or unconsciously for something to break over our lives. And if not us, our children. And if not our children, our finances. And if not our finances, our community. That, seemingly, there's always something that you're waiting to mature or develop into what you see in your spirit it ought to be.
Isn't it amazing how you can get a vision, and the vision can be so exciting that you celebrate the vision, and then wake up in a reality that's so dismal and so different from the vision that there is an extreme polarity between what you believe in your spirit and what you see in your life? Reconciling the difference between what you believe and what you see is what faith is all about, for faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things that we cannot see. "By it the elders obtained a good report". I need faith to bridge the gap between what I believe and what I'm dealing with at this particular time.
Now, how do I get faith? How do I get faith? "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". That means that when I come together, I didn't so much come to praise the Lord, because I praise the Lord all week long. I didn't so much come to see you, because I see people all the time. But I come that I might hear a Word that would gestate in the womb of my spirit and produce a faith and a commitment and a solidarity that would anchor me while I'm waiting on the promise to come to pass in my life. Touch somebody, say, I'm waiting on something.
Now, Isaiah teaches us about waiting. He says, they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. In other words, Isaiah says, don't say you're waiting by just sitting down, crossing your legs, and twiddling your thumbs. He said, while you're waiting you should renew your strength, you should mount up on wings like eagles, you should run and not be weary, you should walk and not faint. Why should you renew your strength? Because when the thing that you're waiting for happens, you're gonna need strength to deal with the backlash of walking in the favor of God. That went over your head. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall build up and get ready".
In your waiting period you ought to be getting ready for your favor period so that you are strong enough to bear the weight of God's favor on your life. Because when people see you walk in favor, they don't see you as the person being blessed the first of many more to come. They think that your favor was at their expense, and they may not celebrate the thing you've been waiting on all your life, and you have to have strength to stand up to their faces and set your face like flint and make up in your mind, I don't know what you're talkin' about, and I don't I don't care what you think. All I know is that it works for me.
The Bible says, that in the 9th chapter of the gospel of Saint John, that "Jesus passed by and saw a man, which was blind from his birth". His disciples, who were hungry for information, they had to take a crash course in faith to understand who they were and how they were to operate, said, "Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind"? Whenever we have an adversity in our lives, we have a tendency in our own human reasoning system to always wanna understand why this happened. Who do I blame for this? Where I'm like this because my parents were like this, I'm like this because I didn't have parents, I'm like this because I'm Black, I'm like this because I'm White, I'm like this because my father dropped me on my head, I'm like this because my mother ate ice cream when she was pregnant.
We always look for some reason to explain the vicissitudes of life. Jesus blows all of this out of the water, said, "Neither did his parents sin nor did he sin". In other words, it was nothing that he did to bring this on himself. Oh, God, I want that to sink in, because somebody's blaming themselves for something that you have no responsibility in. He said, it was nothing that you did that brought this on you, this happened. It is nothing that your parents did that caused this to happen. Things happen. Bad things happen to good people.
So rather than to spend your energy trying to figure out who do we blame for this condition, you ought to be preparing yourself because God is about to give you a breakthrough in your life. Look at this. "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him". This is a profound statement. Jesus is suggesting here that the works of God are made manifest through the adversities of men. I'm gonna say that again. That the works of God are made manifest through the adversities of men. In other words, if you didn't go through anything that was adverse, God would not have a way to show how strong he is in your life.
Are you hearing what I'm saying? That when you want to see the works of God made manifest, look for somebody who's in the most deplorable situation, because God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. When we are at our worst then God is at his best. And just because you are in a crisis mode right now does not mean that you're going to spend... oh, I gotta deal with that a minute.
Too many times, more times than not, we have a tendency to Wanna, categorize people and put them in a file. This was a good person, this is a bad person. This is a successful person, this is a failure. This was the black sheep of the family, this is a person who has favor. But I want to warn you against snap judgments. Because some of the very people who lag behind and look like they weren't gonna ever bud or blossom or bring forth fruit may be the very person that has an appointment with destiny. But because you judge them prematurely before they had developed and gone through their changes, you might X somebody out that God has checked the block and said, "I'm going to bless her. It might not be in January, it may not happen in February, it may not happen in March or April or May, but I have set a date on the calendar, September 26 at 5:15, there is going to be a turning point". Are you hearing what I'm saying?
Many of you have lived your life with a sense and a feeling that something was about to happen in your life. You've gone through adversity and challenge and just felt like giving up, felt like throwing in the towel, sometimes felt like life was not worth living. But at the moment of your greatest despair, there was an intrinsic voice down in your spirit that kept telling you, Hold on, something, something is...
Now, I would like to be more intelligent and more articulate than that and specifically say what is going to happen, but sometimes you're holding on just because you know something, it's about time. You don't even know what it is, you can't describe it, you can't explain it, you have no point of reference for it, you haven't seen it before, it's just a gut feeling that where I am right now is not where I'm going to end up, and somehow or other I will come out of this on my feet. Something I don't have a name for it, I can't explain it, I've never seen it happen before, I don't see it coming quickly, but down in my spirit I sense that some thing...
Isn't it amazing how you can hold on to something that you can't describe and you can't explain, but you're still holding onto it for dear life? Something is about to happen. Now, all of you who have received your blessing, you don't have to really get into this, but all of you that are waiting on yours, touch somebody and say, Something is about to happen. Now, this business about this brother being born blind. That means from the moment he was an infant he was blind. He'd never seen a sunrise or sunset, grew up in a world where people described and talked about things that he could hear but couldn't see.
Isn't it amazing how you can live in a world or in a community or in a city or in a neighborhood where somebody's going through great blessings at a time that you're locked out of it? You heard about it, but you can't see it. You listen at the radio and other people were talking about how it was going for them, but you're not singing. You work with people who have a great marriage, but you don't see it. You go to church with people who are getting a breakthrough in their lives, but you don't see it. And you are in a state of blindness. And yet, in spite of his blindness, he's still growing. Growing in the dark. Growing in the dark. Growing in isolation. Growing through rejection. Growing without having the benefits of other people around you. And still growing.
Now, you can laugh at him if you want to, but I have to respect people who grow in adverse circumstances. You can say what you want to somebody else who had to deal with what this brother had to deal with, may have committed suicide, thrown in the towel, said I can't hack it, I can't handle it, I'm at my wit's end, I can't. But in spite of his blinded eyes, he kept feeding everything else and kept growing anyway.
There are people in this room who are growing in spite of dark situation. They are growing in the dark. They got dressed in the dark. They came to church in the dark. They bought a house in the dark. They're raising their children in the dark. They're dealing with adversities in the dark. They go to work in the dark. They pay their bills in the dark. Don't have everything that everybody else has, not seeing the blessings that other people are having, but you're still going ahead anyway.
If that sounds like you, then the Lord sent me here to preach to you, to teach you, to challenge you. You can't wait till the change occurs to strengthen yourself. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. That means, in spite of the darkness, the bleakness, the adversity, the crisis, the trauma, the rejection, the pain, the divorce, the abuse, whatever it is that your face, you still have to have a forward motion in your life to prepare yourself that something else is going to happen in my life. You're not going to tell me that God brought me into this world and all he had for me was misery. I refuse to live in misery and die in misery. A breakthrough is coming.
Look at somebody and tell them, There has to be something else. Now, this requires that you believe God for something for which you have no point of reference. If the man had been born sighted and then gone blind, at least he would have a point of reference of what it would be like to have his eyes opened. But because he was born blind, this man is now believing God for something for which he has no point of reference. A nebulous faith, an indescript faith, a faith for which there is no verbiage or vernacular, a faith that attacks your spirit and gets down in your heart. And yet you can't honestly say that you've ever been happy, that you've ever had joy, that things have ever gone right, but you're believing God for something for which you have never seen it. Oh, God, who am I talking to today? You have to have the faith to believe that things are not going to end up like they started out, that somewhere there is a U-turn where you can turn things around and go in another direction.
When he got ready to heal the man, he spat in the ground, made mud out of the spit. Now the man can't see him. But imagine with me if you will. You're blind. You have come in the presence of this healer that everybody's talkin' about is able to heal. He has called you out of the crowd. You have moved toward him in the dark. He is getting ready to heal you, you think. And then you hear him... Isn't it funny how God's method of bringing you out may not be the method that you would have chosen?
Oh my, I could spend the night right there. He didn't always bring me out through the person I wanted him to use, in the way I wanted him to use him, and he didn't bring me out as comfortable and as classy and as refined and as conservative as I would have liked for him to bring me out. This leads to a question, how bad do you want out? See, there are people who want changes in their life as long as it costs them nothing. I want the Lord to bless me, I want to lose 50 pounds, but I wanna eat ice cream late at night, while I do it. I want to get my degree, but I don't want to go back to school. I want to get out of debt, but I don't wanna pay anybody. I want increased income, but I don't wanna work another job.
You'd be surprised that people who want things but are not willing to go through what it takes to get your breakthrough. I don't have a sermon for you. I want to preach to the people who say, "Whatever it takes". What I like about this man is, the condition that started from birth, he lived through it all of his life, but all of the while he was growing up. Is there anybody in here that's growing up? I know that looks funny, because we got a little salt and pepper going now, it's kind of late to be saying we're growing up. But how many people know that you don't finish growing up at 21? No, they're not real.
How many of you all know that you don't finish growing up at 21? How many of you know that you can be 30 years old and still growing up? Some of us are 40 and still growing up. Some of us are 50, and we're still growing up. We're just now getting to the point now that we don't care what you think. We don't! Y'all don't hear me. I feel like having some church in here by myself. See, you couldn't get the blessing earlier because you'd have been so conscious of what they were saying that you couldn't receive your blessing. But you're finally old enough now that you can be blessed while people are murmuring and complaining and biting and arguing. But all you know is that God worked a miracle.
Give God about 30 seconds of praise right now. Touch three people and tell 'em, The time is right. The time is right. The time is right. The time is right. I'm ready now. I can handle it now. I can deal with it now. The time is right. If God would have done it five years ago, I couldn't handle it, but I've grown up now. Now you can zap me with your favor, now you can release what you have for me, now I know how to hold it, now I know how to not blow the job, not blow the favor, not blow the Grace. Now I know how to treat somebody in my life, now I know how to do business in high places. I'm ready now.
I don't know who I'm talking to today, but you're just now getting lined up for the favor of God to saturate your life and more. Give God a praise if I'm talkin' to you. In our country now, they're forever listening for terrorists. And they're listening at the underground communication of the terrorists to see what the plots and the plans are. And when there's a lot of turbulence, a lot of emails and a lot of interaction, they call it chatter. And chatter gives you an image of a whole lot of noise going on in the room. And when the chatter increases, a lot of times the threat level is raised, because the chatter is there.
And I want to tell you something. When you're really getting blessed by God, expect there to be a lot of... There will be chatter. You can't be blessed and everybody just sit back and fold their arms and say, go ahead, go ahead, go ahead, it's your birthday, I'm not mad. It ain't going to happen. There's gonna to be a whole lot of, I don't believe it, I don't think it's right, who is she to be, who is he, I know he doesn't think. But in spite of the chatter, if God has blessed you, Oh my God, my God!
Touch somebody and say, "Don't let the noise stop you". All the while they were arguing, this man was just looking, Ooh my God, there's a sunset. Look at that, that's a willow tree. I never saw the palm tree before. Look at the brook, look at the water moving in the brook. All the while they're talking, Is this a man? Is this the same man? I don't believe he was blind in the first place. What's he doing, getting healed? Did Jesus have the right to heal him? He healed him on the Sabbath day, isn't there a Scripture about that? But sometime God has to break a rule to bless you.
Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying to you. I'm going to quit 'cause I feel something about to take over this place. I don't wanna wreck a good Sunday morning service, but I tell you, I tell you, sometimes God has to reach over people who thought they were supposed to get the blessing and say, "Not you, not you, not you, I want him". And God's favor will snatch you out.
So they asked his parents, "Is this your child"? They say "yes, this is our child, he's legit". They said, "Was he born blind"? They said, "We can tell you for sure he was born blind". They said, "Who healed him"? They said, "we don't know how he got healed. He's of age, let him speak for himself".
Look at somebody, say, "I'm of age now. I can speak for myself". They brought the man to the forefront, they said, "You mean this controversial Jesus, this water-walking Jesus, this scout-about Jesus, this Jesus that doesn't follow rules and doesn't obey instructions, this Jesus that didn't come from our university, this Jesus that wasn't endorsed by our group, you mean he healed you? This man is a sinner".
Blind man said, "I don't know what school he went to, I don't know what the Board of Bishops said, I don't even know whether he's a sinner or not, all I know is that I was blind". Y'all don't hear me. It's working for me. Whoo, I got to quit. I said it's working. You can debate about it, you can argue about it, you can cuss me out about it, but I came to tell you. Oh, oh, if he ever opened up your eyes or, opened up your mind, or opened up your finances, or opened up a job, or opened up a position for you, I want you to take a moment, if you're of age, and give God praise.
Well, well, well, well. Well, well, well, well. Well, well, well, well. I know I gotta quit, but I feel the anointing of the Holy Ghost in this place. Shake somebody by the hand and say, I'm old enough to speak for myself. Tell them, the Lord brought me from a mighty long way. I don't care what you think, I don't care what you say, you can laugh if you want to, but when I think of the goodness of Jesus and all that the Lord has done for me, my soul cries out, I am! Somebody oughta grow up! Somebody oughta grow up! Somebody oughta grow up! Somebody oughta grow up! Somebody oughta grow up!