TD Jakes - Pass The Love Test
He says I pray that you might strengthen your inner man. How do you strengthen your inner man? One of the ways that you strengthen your inner man is to build yourself up spiritually in worship. How do I do that? I wanna make this clear. To disregard the physical, that that comes in through the eye gate, and the ear gate, and the mouth gate. All of those tangible, touchable things, those earthly, carnal things, and to build up the spiritual part of yourself, so that you can have the will, and the strength, and the stamina, and the guts. The Jews call it the hutzpah, the staying power to stand up to whatever life throws at you. In order to do that, you gotta exercise in building up the intangibles, because the tangibles can be shaken.
Oh, you can have it today and lose it all tomorrow. One storm, one disease, one sickness, one fool can destroy your whole life savings, but if you strengthen the inner man, no matter what happens on the outside, you can stand on the inside, because you have the tenacity and the will. I have the will enough to love you if you stay and the strength to take it if you walk away. Ha, ha, ha, y'all don't hear what I said to you. That was worth gettin' out the bed this morning just to get that one line right there. I'm strong enough to love you if you stay and I'm strong enough to survive you if you leave. Having done all to stand, and before it's over, you're gonna have to do it all over, all of it to stand, just to stand, just to stand. He says I pray that you might be strengthened in your inner man.
That's why you came to church this morning, to be strengthened in your inner man. That's why you come and receive the word, and study the word, and pray, and try to build up your inner man, and cut off your radio, cut off your TV, and go in your secret closet, and say I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses. God, help me through this mess, help me through this storm, strengthen me in my inner man. That's why you pray in the Spirit, 'cause sometimes you don't know what to pray for as you ought, "But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for you with groaning and moanings that cannot be uttered". Sometimes I don't know what to even ask God to do. I don't know how to get out of this. You wanna be strengthened in your inner man. And then he goes on to say, "That you might be rooted and grounded in love". Not rooted or grounded, rooted and grounded.
Now, rooted is an agricultural term, okay? It is an agricultural term, like you root a bulb when you plant it, to root it, for it to take root, for it to take down in places you can't see. You're not asking for fruit before root. He says I want you to be rooted, and I want you to be grounded. Grounded is an architectural term, it deals with building construction. The building is grounded, it has a foundation. In the original Greek, it means I want you to put more emphasis on your foundation than you do your building. Good God, have mercy. Whatever grows, agricultural, whatever grows, whatever builds, architectural. There's a difference between what grows and what builds. What grows is the outworking of the internal, what builds is what you add to your foundation. He said not only am I praying for what grows in your life, but I'm also praying for what is laid on top of you.
But the test comes to try the agricultural and the architectural design are priorities in your life. And if you do not build from a place of love, when the test comes, you will settle for lust over love. Now, I know when we think of lust, we always think of sex, but I'm using it in a bigger connotation. I'm dealing with it from a perspective of selfishness and taking care of you over taking care of others. Lust takes, love gives. The street translation is, "It's not about you, Boo". Yeah, let me break it all the way down, so let me take out the Greek and the Hebrew to the hood. Your pastor is multilingual.
So, Paul says I'm praying that you start right, because if you don't start right, you can't end right. If you're not rooted, if there's not love in the root, there won't be love in the fruit. You can quote Scriptures all day long, you can send nasty texts, and tweets, and say that you're doing it in the name of the Lord, but you can kill the prophets and say you do God's service, but if it didn't start in love, it won't be love in its, if it doesn't start with love in its origin, it won't be love in its definition, it will not happen. In other words, he said in order for you to pass the DNA test, there must be love in the seed and love in the fruit. And anytime God says you must be fruitful, it is a sign that you are seedful, because you cannot be fruitful if you're not seedful.
The fruit is the derivative from which the seed has given birth, okay? So, he says I want you to focus not on the fruit, but on the seed, because if the seed is right, the fruit will be right. That's why, in a paternity test, I welcome them, bring 'em right on, because the paternity test says if the kid is mine, when you test the DNA of the kid, and the DNA of the daddy, there ought to be some similarity between the child and the offspring. The only people who don't like to take a DNA test over a child is somebody who's scared they, well, that one that's runnin' from the test is worried. That one who knows it couldn't be me, talkin' about, "Bring it on," because there is some connectivity between the seed, the father, and the fruit, the offspring. Whatever is in the daddy is gonna be in the child. Are you following what I'm saying?
So, he said don't worry about the fruit, worry about the root. If it's rooted in love, love is gonna make it all the way to the fruit. But if it doesn't start from a place of love, it won't end in a place of love. If it doesn't start in a place of selflessness, it won't end in a place of selflessness. Am I helping anybody today? So, this is important enough that Paul prays that you might start right, that you might be rooted, rooted so that all that comes naturally, organically, out of the development and process of time will have the same DNA to it of its origin. So, if you were rooted in evil, all that comes out of you will have the same DNA of evil. But if you're rooted in love, all that comes out of you will have the same DNA of love.
There's a difference between wickedness and weakness. If you were wicked in your origin, you're gonna be wicked in your destiny. If you start from a place of evil and self-serving, you're gonna be like that in the end. So, Paul said I'm not praying about your ending, I'm praying about your beginning. 'Cause if you start out right, you may go through weakness, you may go through tests, you may go through storms, but when it's all over, when we get to the fruit, it's gonna look like the root. So, he said I pray that you be rooted, so I want you to be sure you get this, so that all that organically grows out of you through the process of time and life has the suggestion of its origination. It still has that. It might go into business, it might go into marriage, it might go into life, but it's all gonna smell of love because it started in a place of love.
That's what comes from being rooted, all that grows organically out of your life. All that is added onto your life, outside things, brick, block that are put on top of the foundation, you're gonna be able to stand up under the weight of it all because you've been grounded in love. I can trust you with success, 'cause you've been grounded in love. I can give you a little money, 'cause you've been grounded in love. I can give you a little power, 'cause you've been grounded in love. I can give you a little bit of favor, 'cause you've been grounded in love. And even though these things might produce some weakness in your life, because your foundation is grounded in love, eventually love will snatch you back to sobriety and say, "Wait a minute, don't forget where you came from. Don't go crazy, don't lose your mind if you've been grounded in love".
But you must pass the love test to survive life, or you won't make it, and it's not a fun test. A test is tough or it's not a good test. A test means there is the potential of giving the wrong answer or it's not a test. If I can easily guarantee the right answer, it's not a test. A test is only a test when I have a choice. What choices are you facing? And how you respond to those choices tells you about your root. Whoo, give me ten more minutes, I'll wrap this up. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River, he comes up out of the water, the heavens roll back, the Holy Spirit descends like a dove, a voice speaks from heaven, says, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased". That's how his ministry got started, with water running in between his legs, and a voice over top of his head. That's how he started. That was in induction to ministry at the age of 30.
You would have thought at that moment of induction, with the Holy Spirit authenticating the validity of who he was, that he would have ran to a pulpit. But no, instead the Holy Spirit ran him to a test. The Bible said that immediately the Spirit led him in the wilderness to be tested of the enemy. Oh, watch me, watch me, watch me, watch me, watch me, watch me, I'm headed somewhere. Once you reach the peak and the pinnacles of success, and power, and authentication, and verification, you go through tests. So, the test didn't come because you're phony, the test came because you're real. The test didn't come because you're not a child of God, the test came because you are a child of God. Stop thinking you're being tested because you're not real. Jesus was real, but he still had to pass the test. Oh, God, help me preach this. Hallelujah, hallelujah, glory to God.
Slap somebody and holler, "I'm real". I know I'm real 'cause I'm being tested. I know I'm real 'cause I'm being tested. I know I'm real 'cause I'm being authenticated, I'm being validated, I'm going through the furnace of affliction, I'm real, but I came to serve notice on the devil. When he has tried me, I shall come forth. Tell your neighbor, "There will be glory after this". You're in a test right now, but there will be glory after this. So, let me give you this quick thought and I'll be done. So, they led Jesus out in the wilderness, said, "If thou be the Son of God, turn this stone to bread". In other words, use your anointing to provide for yourself, self. Yourself is hungry, yourself wants something to eat. Use your position to be selfish.
Jesus resisted the temptation to use his propensity to be a provider to save himself, so he would not turn the stone to bread. I wish I had time, because selfish people turn stones to bread. Selfish people will take something that isn't and turn it into something you need to get you by a pinch, but that ain't bread, it's a stone. But when you're hungry, stones look like bread. Oh, somebody understand when you get hungry enough, you'll fool around and put a rock in your mouth trying to feed your hunger. Jesus said, "Oh, I'm hungry, but I'm not desperate," so he resisted the temptation to mistake a stone for bread. The test of provision. Then he took him up, and it said he brought him up on the high pinnacle and said throw yourself off the cliff, "For it is written, 'The angels will bear you up.'" This is a test of protection. He says use your position to protect yourself. Why don't you throw yourself off the rock, the angels will bear you up? Jesus rebuked him and came back with the word, "It is written, I will not use my position to protect myself". Then he says, "Take him up to the mountain, all the kingdoms of the world will I give you if you only bow to me". This is the test of power.
These are the three tests that are on your quiz of love. How you handle provision? Whoo, glory to God. I got something for you this morning. Everybody in this room will have to pass the test of how you handle provisions, and if you don't come from a place of love, lust will always eat up your resources, mess up your provisions, and you don't understand, you think it's a budgetary test, no, it's a love test. Until you get rid of lust, you won't be able to handle provisions. Oh, stay with me, stay with me, don't go nowhere, don't go anywhere. But because you're in it for you, you get what you want and then beg for what you need, test of provision. Number two, the test of protection. How far will you go to save yourself?
You'd be surprised when people are trapped what they will do to save themselves. Protection means that in order for you to pass the test of love, you have to feel threatened enough for us to dig down to your foundation to see if you can love one that threat. Whoo, come on, don't leave me now, don't leave me now. Y'all were shoutin' before, don't go nowhere now. Stay, whoo, "Come on with me, Bishop, say it Bishop, you're doin' it, Bishop, bring it on in, Bishop". How far will you go to save yourself? This will tell you what's in your root. Okay, so we had the test of provision and the test of protection. When you feel threatened, how do you act? On the job, in your marriage, with your kids, when you are threatened, your image, your reputation, how far will you go to save you tells me whether you are rooted and grounded in love. I got one more for you, don't go nowhere, don't nobody leave yet.
And he said go up to the high place. All the kingdoms of the world will I give you if you bow down and worship me. This is the test of power. How would you handle being on top? What do you do when you have the advantage, ha, ha, ha? This is the real test of character. It is not how do you handle being on the bottom, it's how you handle being on the top. 'Cause when you on the bottom, you ain't got no choice, it's when you're in power that you have all the options. How do you handle being right when you were right about what you said, but wrong about how you handled it? How do you handle power? So, we have the test of provision, the test of protection, and the test of power, and these three tests are the tests of love. Love is proven with how you handle power, how far you will go to protect yourself, and what you will do to provide for what you're hungry for. Every test has a reward if you pass it, hallelujah.
Touch your neighbor and say, "I'm on the verge of a reward". I might be in a test right now, but I'm on the verge of a reward. When I get through going through this, there's gonna be a breakthrough somewhere in my life. The enemy wouldn't be testing me if God wasn't about to bless me. So, Paul doesn't end it with the test, but he closes it by saying, "Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all ye may ask or think". Touch your neighbor and say, "My blessing is coming". When my test is over, my blessing is coming. When my storm is over, my blessing is coming. After I've cried my tears, my blessing is coming. "Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning". Whoo, I feel like preaching. Joy comin' in the morning.
Slap your neighbor and say, "Hold on, the test is almost over". Hold on, the test is almost past. Hold on, the test is almost finished. After this, there will be glory. After this, there will be praise, and whatever you think it is, God said it's better than that. Exceedingly, abundantly, above. Touch ten people and tell 'em, "It's coming, it's coming, it's coming". You may be high, you may be low, you may be rich, you may be poor, but I swear, the blessing is on its way. Look at your neighbor and say, "I believe I'll fight on". I believe I'll fight on. I believe I'll pass this test. I believe I'll pass this test. I believe I'll pass after I've suffered a while. After I've cried a while. After I've labored a while. After I've held out a while. Yes, yes, somebody take 30 seconds and give God a crazy praise!