TD Jakes — Ground Level Zero
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our King. I'm excited, I mean, really excited to have this opportunity to share the Word of the Lord with you. I'm excited because I know this message is gonna bless you just like it blessed our church. I stared teaching some powerful truths about being grounded, and I'm gonna share one of those principles with you today. The message is called "Ground Level Zero". We want opportunities, but we don't spend any time being grounded before we get them. You have the gifts, but you need to be grounded in order for your gifts to reach their fullest potential and capacity. If you don't understand, you will in a moment. Take a look at this.
Get your Bible and run right quick to Ezra 3:10. You don't have to stand up 'cause I'm gonna be movin' all around. You're comin' out of captivity. You're coming out of bondage. You're dealing with the people that are trying to get back up on their feet again and rebuild from what they lost. And it says, "And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets". Foundations brought them trumpets. "And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord, "Because he is good, for his mercy endureth forever toward Israel.' And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they shouted because the foundations of the house was laid". They weren't shoutin' over stained glass windows, padded pews, who sat beside 'em, how you got your hair done, or how cute ya look. They were shouting because the foundation was laid.
God sent me here to tell you that he's been workin' on you for years to lay the foundation for what he's about to release in this season of your life. Don't wait till ya get the blessing. You need to shout because the foundation has been laid. Oh, I'm gonna try it on you. I don't know whether they heard me over there or not. You need to shout because the foundation has been laid for your victory! Everything you went through was God-led, a firm foundation. Every night you cried, every moment you almost collapsed in the floor was God setting the stage for what he's about to do in your life! He laid a solid foundation. Touch your neighbor and say, "He laid a solid foundation"!
Write this down: "Storms come to try your foundation". Storms come to try your foundation. The whole test is to see if you're grounded. Once you are grounded, my friend, you can graduate, but the test is gonna keep coming and coming and coming to test you to see if you're grounded. And if you're not grounded, you can't graduate. The storm is testing your foundation, your resolve. How committed are you to it. Are you really a Christian? I know you go to church. You like The Potter's House, you know. I know that. That's nice. Are you really a Christian? If I followed you around, would I know you were a Christian? Do you really even understand the faith? Are you tryin' to understand the faith? When was the last time you, without any solicitation, read your own Bible? And you wonder why the Word isn't working for ya.
You don't have no foundation. "I gave a tithe. I gave a offering. I tried it three weeks, and it didn't work". Get on out of here. You don't have a foundation. Your roots don't grow deep. Your roots are not solid. They're not stable. You have no foundation. When you have a foundation, you can withstand opposition, persecution, trials, tribulations. You might be hurt. You might be frustrated. You might cry. You might complain, but you still come in the house every night. Still do what's gotta be done every night. Still fight the good fight. When you have somebody who has a foundation, they are not quick to take flight. You know how we got this generation of runners? You take flight 'cause you don't have foundation. When you have a foundation, you say, "I don't like storms. I don't want storms. I don't need this lightnin', but lightnin', do what you gotta do. Storms, shake what you gotta shake. When it's all over, I'm still gonna stand".
Go to Matthew 7:24 through 27. I'm just gonna teach. And it says, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man". It's not just hearin' it, baby. It's not just hearin' it. It's doin' it. "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a," what? "A rock. A solid foundation". Give me more. "And the rain descended and the floods came," rock or not, "and the winds blew," rock or not, "and it beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock".
I'm not saying that, if you're grounded, the storm won't come. In fact, I guarantee you the storm will come, grounded or not. The lightning will come. The wind will blow. The thunder will rain. The rain will come down, but if your foundation is solid... let's go further. "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house on the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind blew, and beat upon that house, and it," what? And what? "Great was the fall of it". Great was the fall. Somebody say, "Great is the fall of it".
Anything that's not grounded, great will be the fall of it. A lot of things that you're praying for, asking God to do, he wouldn't have to do if you would just be grounded. The storm didn't bother the house that was grounded. It blew on it, but it didn't bother it. The storms affect most readily those who are the least grounded. And I'm wonderin', if the storm is beatin' you to death, are you grounded? Let's go down to "Ground Level Zero". Let's get past all the pretty stuff. Let's get down: Are you grounded?
For me, "grounded" means a lot of things. I got four weeks I'm gonna be workin' with you on this. "Grounded" means a lot of things. It means "balanced". And I'll be honest with you, I struggle for it. My father was a workaholic. I'm a workaholic. Work comes natural to me. Rest has to be forced. I struggle to be balanced. So I have to have people in my life who say, "That's enough. Stop it". 'Cause if they don't help me, that thing in your head that tells you when to quit, mine don't work. That thing that tells you, "Just hang up on 'em and go to bed," mine, whatever that is, mine is broken. That thing that'll let you hear a phone ring and then not answer it, whatever that is, I didn't get that because I will answer it even though I don't wanna talk, and you called at a bad time. I will try to answer you anyway because that's how I'm wired.
Part of being grounded is being balanced. Whatever you are not good at, being balanced about, you have to put extra effort there because it doesn't come natural to you. Rest doesn't come natural to me. The idea of it sounds good, but the reality of it is almost frightening to me. But I never saw it modeled, so it's hard to do it. Our family never took a vacation in all of my life. I had never saw it happen. Our vacation was drivin' to grandma's house for Labor Day weekend. We had to turn around and come back Monday. And they'd be down there slaughterin' hogs and stuff. That wasn't no vacation. I mean a vacation where you really, like, rest and chill. I never saw it. So it's hard for me to become what I didn't see. I have to be very intentional to balance my life in that area because what is natural to other people is unnatural to me.
What is natural to me is goin' to work 'cause that's what was modeled in front of me. And when I got a certain age, I went to work because that's how I defined manhood. When men get grown, they go to work. So when I got grown, I went to work. Been workin' ever since. Are you understandin'? But that does not mean that it's a good thing because in order to carry the weight of the gift, you have to be balanced. You have to be grounded. You have to be anchored. And rest does have a purpose. I didn't realize it until I was about 50. I thought it was a nuisance.
I'm just, in a funny way, tryin' to make you understand that some things that are good for you are not natural to you. And the storm will beat you because you're not balanced, or you'll have bouts with depression because you're not balanced. You can be willing and be depressed because you're not balanced. Am I helpin' anybody? Do you not know you need to laugh sometime? People will push you into always bein' what they had in mind at the expense of destroyin' your right to have a life. And these are the very same people who won't even come to your funeral when you die 'cause they had to work. You better get the courage to stand up to them people. You better get the courage to say, "No, I can't help you move. I will not be over". "No, I can't come over this weekend". "No, I don't wanna go to the store". It takes courage to be grounded in who you are. Half of knowin' who you are is knowin' who you are not. And if you don't know that, people will make you be who they had in mind, and God didn't call who they had in mind. God called me.
When the priest went into the Holy of Holies, he went in, in white linen. When he comes out, he changes his garments to come out and move amongst the people. In the process of changin' a garment that's got bells on the bottom, they could hear him. They could hear a sound before they saw the priest. So all of Israel is waitin' outside of the camp to hear the sound. This is what Jesus meant when he told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. They went to Jerusalem, and they waited. He was behind the veil where they couldn't see him, but they were waitin' for a sound because, if you were truly an Israelite, you understood that, if the sound went forth, it meant that the blood had hit the mercy seat, that the sacrifice had been offered, and that you were free to walk with God.
So they were waiting in the Upper Room for a noise. And suddenly, there came a sound from heaven. The sound from heaven said, number one, "The priest is alive". Number two, "The blood has hit the mercy seat". Number three, "We have a covenant with God". Number four, "We're ready to enter into a presence we couldn't have before". And they started shouting and blessing God. Somebody just praise him right now for a moment. But it was the sound. It was the sound that elicited the praise.
Can I go deeper? I believe with all my heart when Paul says, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am nothing". I believe when he is making his case in Corinthians 13 about love, that he's thinking about the priest's garment because the priest's garment, down at the hem, at the hem of the garment, was aligned with bells and pomegranates, okay? Bells and pomegranate. Bells are signs. Showy stuff. Bells. Pomegranates are fruit. Both of them come from the Spirit. The Spirit has bells, and the Spirit has fruit. The Spirit has nine spiritual gifts. The bells, we can hear the sound from the bells. But it also has nine different categories of fruit: temperance, long-suffering, meekness. You've got signs and fruit.
When Paul said, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels," that's bells, "and have not charity," that's fruit, "I have become as tinkling brass and sounding cymbals" because what tempers the sound of the bell is the presence of the fruit. God don't want you to have no more gifts than you have grace. He doesn't want you to have no more signs than you have fruit. He doesn't want you to have more prophecies than you have compassion. So in between every sound is fruit.
I learned, as a father, you cannot chastise your children more than you praise them. Come on, somebody. If you get too lopsided and everything you're sayin' is what I'm not, and you never say anything about what I am, after a while, you will sever the relationship because, to the child, you become noise. You become noise. But if you got a little fruit in between, then I'm balanced. Oh, y'all aren't gonna talk to me? Now, I want you to read the Scripture. I'm almost finished. I'm almost finished.
I want you to read the Scripture. "And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen. And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe, round about between pomegranates". Look at how much detail they go to make sure you understand it: "A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe to minister in, as the Lord commanded Moses". God said, "If you're gonna minister, you gotta have a bell and a pomegranate".
You cannot minister just because you got bells, just because you got a nice voice, just because you got a degree, just because you went to school, just because you're a great speaker. No. You cannot have the oratorical ability but not have the heart of the ministry because God is gonna raise you according to your heart. When he sees his nature in you, that's what's gonna provoke the promotion in your life is when God sees his nature. His DNA test is in your fruit. Gold doesn't have DNA. Fruit does. His DNA testing is in your fruit. That's how that you prove that you're his, when you have love, joy, meekness, temperance, patience, when you are long-suffering and kind.
Now, do I need to call Maury Povich up in here? Are you his kid or not? Do we need to do a test? Because the church tests you by talent. If you're talented enough, we will promote you, but God doesn't care about the talent. He goes for the character. Come on, somebody. Oh, y'all aren't gonna say anything to me. Why does God want you to be grounded where you will have the fruit of the Spirit and not just the gifts of the Spirit?
Number one, God promotes you based on your heart, not your head. So you can have your head right, but if your heart's not right, you're gonna miss the opportunity, for man looks on the outward appearance. God looks at the heart. Out of the heart flows the issues of life. That's why the enemy has tried to attack your heart with bitterness, using the people you care about to break you because the enemy knows that, if you can become bitter, you can't become better. So he attacks your heart. He doesn't mind you goin' to school. You can get all the stuff you want in your head. If you don't get it in your heart, God is not gonna promote you. Your promotion is being held up, not because the people didn't see good in you, but because God did not see himself in you. Whenever God doesn't see himself in you, he starts lookin' for himself.
The Bible said in the book of Genesis, as long as God could see himself, he never had to walk the garden. But when he could no longer see himself because he had made himself in a little mini-me called Adam, he started walkin' through the cool of the garden, sayin', "Adam, where art thou"? Any good mother will go searchin' for her child. God says, "I'm lookin' for myself in you. Where are you? I'm lookin' for my son. Adam! Where are you? I created you to reflect me". "Let us make man in our own likeness, in our own image, after our own kind".
"I made you to reflect me. Where are you? I made you to reflect my love in the earth, my peace in the earth, my long-suffering in the earth. I made you at the core, at the foundation, to be my representative in the earth realm. I made a little mini-me when I made you, and you're so much like me that I had to make you the boss of somethin'. So I made you the boss of the earth, to subdue, to have dominion, to rule and to reign. Because you're so much like me, I had to give you somethin' to reign over. And you will never lose control of what I gave you to reign over until I can't see myself. The moment I can't see myself, your kingdom will start to fall".
Great was the fall of it. "The falling comes because I can't see myself. It's not because you're not good at what you do. You could be good at what you do, but I won't bless you like I could bless you because your foundation has got a crack in it, and if your foundation has got a crack, great was the fall of it. I wanted to keep you in the garden, but because you stopped reflecting me, I had to take you out of what I had given to you because you no longer, at your foundation, look like me".
So you've done all of these classes, and you've done all of this school, and you've argued with people, and you fought with people to get the promotion, and you've read everybody's book and everybody's tape on everything, how to get ahead, and you're wonderin' why it's not workin'. You spin around seven times, you holler, "Jesus," you jumped on one foot, you threw tithe down, danced on it, said, "The devil was a liar". And when you got through doin' all of that stuff, you were still in trouble.
I wanna tell ya where the trouble's comin' from. The trouble is comin' because you're not grounded. If you're not grounded, if you're not steadfast, if you don't have his character emanating out of your heart, if you don't have the kind of love where you can't help it, if you don't have the kind of love that'll make you call up somebody that you ought to be mad at and say, "I just wanna make sure you're okay," then you're not ready to get this kind of blessing. If you don't have the kind of long-suffering that you could take a lickin' and keep on tickin', and they never call your name, and they never acknowledge you, but you're busy doin' what you're doin' for the Lord anyway, then you are really not his child. If you don't have the patience to say, "Though he slay me, yet shall I trust him," and wait on the Lord, then maybe you're not his child anyway because, if you don't get this thing right on the ground, you won't grow to the place of being great.